The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Joseph & the Tree of Life

Since Joseph had no attachments, his mother having passed away several years ago, he decided to do a bit of travel. Living on the Mountain-top near the northernmost peak of the Cradle of Civilization, it was only natural ( some might say 'coincidental' ) that Joseph decided to follow  'The Fertile Crescent' south, into what is now referred to as 'the Dark Continent'. The deeper into this strange new land he went, however, the more Joseph wanted to explore the wonders he bore witness to. Though this new land was similar in some aspects to the land of his nativity, it was also very different! As he traveled further south in this amazing landmass, Joseph encountered many wondrous sites, from the lush, verdant Valley of the Nile to the mountainous heights of what are now known as the Eastern Rift mountains, where he bore witness to a mountain much higher than any he had ever seen in his own country, as well as a body of water many times larger than the one his Grandfather had fished. 

Following the River, as his Mother had taught him, our intrepid Traveler began his descent from these withering heights & came into regions more like he was accustomed to, from lush fertile valleys to almost barren, but still beautiful, deserts. Joseph, as he traveled though jungle regions & open plains alike, began to appreciate the stories that had been passed down to him of his exalted Grandfather's own period of wilderness wanderings. Though his own country was not home to any jungle regions such as the ones he encountered here, Joseph was witness to many wonderful things in these densely wooded areas which were similar to the forests which he had explored in his youth, except that these areas were even more closely populated by trees & of course, being now well south of the equator, these regions were much warmer, with a much more diverse range of both flora & fauna. It was in these Jungles that Joseph experienced much the same as his Grandfather had in the wilderness of what is now known as Palestine!

The Trees, in their looming silence, spoke to Joseph in ways that no other Form of Life ever had. They taught him that, no matter what life throws at you, when you stand firm, even if it means bending & bowing with life's breezes, however great or small, you will end up the stronger for it. The Trees also taught Joseph that by simply growing where you're planted, through the Elements of Earth, Air, Water & Fire, One can become a mighty Forest, or Jungle, a veritable Tree of Life for the healing of the nations. With these & many other lessons, Joseph continued his Journey South, until at last he came to the End of his Journey, a small but significant baobab tree in a deserted region that would become known as the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

One might say that our intrepid Traveler was a long way from home, but as his exalted Grandfather had found, He WAS Home. No matter where he traveled, as long as he understood the Message of the Trees, He, like the mighty Tortoise, or Turtle, carried His Home with Him wherever He might go, or be. However, as the case may be, Joseph, like most human beings, longed for the land of His Nativity, the land with which He had, in His short life thus far, become most familiar & which He had great love for! Most of all, Joseph longed for the little cabin that His Grandfather had built for Him & His Mother, those many years ago!

Having come to the End of His Journey & knowing even then that His Journey had just begun, Joseph laid a peculiar blessing on this particular Tree, out of all others around, knowing that it would weather the storms of life for millenia to come! This particular Tree stands firm, even today, in the desert region that Joseph visited almost 2,000 years ago! It is a Testimony, as others like it around the Globe ( some have stood for even longer ), of the valuable lessons that Joseph garnered from the Trees all along His Journey.

After many Seasons, through highs & lows, snows & rains; Joseph returned at last to the Land of His Nativity! He had learned many things in His travels, not only about the diversity of Life Without, but of the Life Within. Many times we are, as Joseph was, faced with seemingly impassible mountains & deserts, by the wildness of Life, whether it be flora or fauna, but when we realize, as Joseph did, our awesome Oneness, even Wildness with ALL of It, then we will stand like those Trees. Joseph took many lessons to heart along His Journey South, but the greatest He learned from the Trees!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!

Sage Charles

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Boundaries of Love

"Wait, Wait, Wait a minute.......................'Love & Boundaries'? Do these terms really go together?!"

For readers of this blog, this may seem like territory we've explored previously; I may even be accused of sounding like a broken record, but, 'Unconditional Love': "Doesn't that sound kinda like 'Love Without Bounds'?" Well, Yes & No ( Yin & Yang? )! As in all of Life, Balance is of utmost importance! In order to be truly a manifestation of the Love We ARE, "Yes", the Love we show others must be without condition, but, in the sense ( humanly speaking ) that we must first love ourselves before we can love our neighbor, we have to set boundaries. If Life has taught us anything, it's that most ( not all ) people will walk all over us if we let them!

"Love", as I've written previously, "is a many splintered thing" ( my sarcastic take on the popular phrase, "Love is a many splendored thing!" ) This 'love' of which I speak is more closely related to 'lust', which is not necessarily a bad thing ( more on this later ) By "a many splintered thing": I'm referring to the fact that, if we're not careful, 'love' can bite us in the ass! Kinda like straddling the banister: it can be a fun ride, but if we're not careful, we might end up with a splinter in our butt, or worse! This is not to say that we should shy away from physical shows of affection, whether it be sexual in nature, or simply just that most important 'human contact', that which helps us to thrive. We were 'made' for this ( human contact ) & just like a plant, for instance, when we don't receive the necessary nutrients, we tend to fade away. Going for too long without the necessary nutrients, this physical body will go the way of the world, as it simply part of the great Circle of Life, like the plants & all the other animals! In words more plain, "this physical body will pass away, returning to the elements of which it is made!"

"As Above, so Below," in all of Life, "Balance is Key!" We must maintain a Strict Balance between loving others & caring for ourselves! In this sense then, if ONLY this sense, Love MEANS Boundaries! Setting Boundaries on our 'love' does not necessarily mean that we love some less than others ( though this is inevitable, humanly speaking ), it simply means that we have come to realize that "we can't pour water from an empty vessel", IE, if we don't ensure that we are gleaning the necessary nutrients for ourselves, we will be useless to anyone else. Getting to the Center of this post, however; when we realize our OWN Worth, that WE are the Fountain of Love & that any Love we give flows from Within, We realize that, in Reality, We do not need all the physical trappings in order to thrive: the Love Within us is More than enough & We are More than Worthy!

I've said it before & I'll say it again; "If we have the physical, but don't have the spiritual, the physical is worthless & if we have the spiritual, the physical is not necessary!" I realize that this may sound contrary to what I stated earlier, that "when we don't receive the necessary nutrients, we tend to fade away", but this is, in Essence, where we get into the nitty gritty, or the Heart of the Matter! "As Above, so below"; once We realize & accept that We are ( primarily ) spiritual beings having a human ( physical ) experience, once we transcend, or move beyond the attachments that naturally come with this human experience, even with the understanding mentioned previously, that "if we don't ensure that we are gleaning the necessary nutrients for ourselves, we will be useless to anyone else", it becomes clear that, not only can we glean these necessary nutrients from others; most importantly, we glean them from our OWN store, from our Divine Selves!

As Part & Parcel with the Source of All Life, call It 'God", 'the Universe", or just simply "Energy", We, even humanly speaking, have all we really need! Acknowledging that we are 'spiritual beings having a human experience' means accepting that experience for what it is ( call it 'Life' ). In this Flesh, this physical body, we experience things like loneliness, the longing to feel that human touch, etc., etc. I cannot deny the reality of feelings such as these, for in this human existence, they ARE a VERY real concern! However, relying on these feelings for the basis of our existence, In Essence, identifying with these feelings to the point that they become the Meaning of Life for us leads us to believe that without all these physical trappings, or attachments, we are nothing. In this human experience, we cannot escape these feelings. It is not even that we must endeavor to escape, or squelch them either, for there is nothing actually wrong with feelings; they are a necessary part of this human experience we call Life, but we must learn not to rely on our feelings ( I realize this goes against sayings like "go with your gut", etc. )! Feelings most often seem to flow as if with the wind, so anything based on feelings is likely to do the same!

Again though, Feelings are not necessarily a bad thing! If, for example, we get the feeling that the love ( energy ) we are sharing isn't being reciprocated ( returned in kind ), then we might make the choice to move on, to find somewhere ( someone? ) that we feel that love returned in kind, We may feel that our efforts aren't really appreciated, so we may choose to close that book & start a whole new chapter in our lives. Such feelings, even the choices we might make based on those feelings are not necessarily wrong, they just are ( "It is what it is" ). We must exercise extreme caution though, in basing our choices on our feelings, for more often than not, this leads to necessary heartache. Sometimes we must needs go through this experience, though it hurts like hell. Experience is usually the best teacher!

Our Feelings are an integral part of Us! Even as Divine Beings, our Feelings, that necessary aspect of our Humanity, ARE a manifestation of Who we are, not only as Human Beings, but as Divine Beings! One might say that we can't have one without the other ( let THAT sink in! ). Neither are Feelings 'a necessary evil'; again, for example, our 'gut feeling' may tell us to leave a toxic situation, but in the same vein, we might feel that, by staying, we can change, or heal the other person. In such a case, we must determine in ourselves whether these ( feelings ) are generated in our Higher ( spiritual ) or lower ( physical ) nature. By Higher, I refer to the Divine, The lower nature is that which is controlled by Lust, or the illusion of Want/Need! ( Remember, We HAVE everything we need, We ARE everything we really need! )

Being Human myself; I'll be the first to acknowledge that, "It ain't easy ( "bein' cheesy"; sorry, just HAD to throw that in there )". Having these Feelings really sucks sometimes! By denying those Feelings, for whatever reason, we may end up biting our own ass though, because, again, humanly speaking, when we disavow those feelings, thus allowing ourselves to 'bottle them up', sweeping them under the rug, so to speak, those Feelings WILL come back to haunt us, sooner or later & usually at the most inopportune moment! We ARE Mr. Murphy in that case, ie., our own worst enemy!

If, however, we can transmute/transform those Feelings/Energies through our Higher ( Divine ) Nature, we may begin to notice that it's not always about us! For instance, the love we give others not being reciprocated is not necessarily a reflection on us, ie., that they don't love us, but simply that they don't love themselves & thus don't really know HOW to love us. The other side of the coin is that we may feel unworthy because they & others have told us this all our lives: it doesn't mean that we ARE, just that we feel that way. ( This is why I don't rely on my feelings, humanly speaking ) On the other hand, again, we may come to trust our Feelings as they are transformed into what is often called that 'gut feeling', which is better known as 'Intuition'!

'Sure", you might be thinking, "Balance is a good thing, but It's also easier said than done!" Yes. Yes, It is! The Rewards however are worth it. Peace of Mind ( less Stress ), off the top of my head, is the foremost reason! Imagine living without the stress of "Why doesn't he/she love me?" "What can I do/not do to make him/her reciprocate my love?' ( nothing ) "What am I doing WRONG?" ( again, 'nothing', at least if you are acting from your Higher Nature ) Even, "What can I do ( to better myself, be a better lover, better wife/girlfriend, husband/boyfriend, etc. )?" Once we realize that we can only BE ourselves, we can only change our OWN actions, that WE are indeed responsible for OUR lives alone, than we WILL change our Course; our Lives will take on a more brilliant hue. We will be truly FREE!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!

Sage Charles

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The 'Dark Knight' of the Soul & the Sounds of Creation

I've often said, concerning other matters maybe, though integrally related, "It's taken this long to get to where we are: it's going to take at least that long to get back to where we should be!" While on a nationalistic ( political ) level, there may seem to be some truth there, even some wisdom; this statement really doesn't ring all that true, especially on a personal level. Of course, for many, or most, it may actually take longer to sort through all the muck to figure out where we went wrong, or even if we DID go wrong! So many have been taught that living for ourselves is simply selfish, manipulating us to the point that we feel guilty for feeling good while others suffer. This is not to say that being empathetic is a bad thing ( it's not: it's actually very natural & laudable ), but being empathetic doesn't mean that we should take care of others to our own detriment!

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions ( I know, I know, it's coming up soon...............AGAIN ), but at the beginning of this year I decided that I would endeavor to remove the word 'should' from my vocabulary, or at least not to use it nearly as often. "I SHOULD do this, I SHOULDN'T do that, etc, etc"! I can't blame others, either, for making me feel guilty; it's my own choice, though that is the way I was taught. Still, for the most part ( here's where 'empathy' comes into play ), they were only teaching me what they knew, having been taught much the same. As Sean Connery said when the book fell on his head, "I can only blame my shelf!"

'The Dark Night of the Soul" is a phrase referring to a period that everyone, at some point in their lives & to whatever extent, goes through. Whether it's brought on by the death of a loved one, a divorce ( of whatever sort ), or the realization that things just aren't working out & that we need to make some major changes; it is a period, of varying length ( some might argue that it's lifelong ) where one is pretty much forced to do some major soul-searching! "Why do I feel this way?" "Is this REALLY how I feel, or is it a societal/cultural projection?" "What can I do/what do I NEED to do to get back to where I want to be?" These are questions, among others, that we might ask ourselves during these 'dark' times.

"As Above, so Below', it is during these times that we are led by the Spirit, whether we acknowledge It or not, to embark on our own individual journey of self-examination & introspection. The Universe DOES work in mysterious way, so inspiration could come from anywhere. We might find these bits & pieces helpful to our own situation, we might even find ourselves garnering Strength from un-looked-for places, people or things, but ultimately, the Strength we're looking for, the Strength we NEED must come, indeed can ONLY come from Within! 

Of needs it must be that this 'dark night' looks different for different people: for some, it may involve physical trauma, trauma which they themselves have either experienced or engendered ( sometimes both ) & because misery most often ( not always ) loves company, unfortunately, sometimes those who have been abused themselves become abusers, since that is what they know. With the correct reaction to feelings of empathy & often outside help or inspiration, those abused are able to turn their situation into a learning experience where they can thus help or inspire others.

Yet another type of trauma is that alluded to earlier, trauma to the fragile psyche, brought on by religious training! This type of trauma can actually be more deadly & longer lasting, with even more far-reaching implications. Of course, this sort of trauma is often directly & inextricably linked with the more physical side, as well! This sort of trauma is really of a more insidious nature, for, while they may be purporting to be all about love & good will, the doctrine & dogma they're spreading are actually full of hate & ill will, teaching separation, rather than inclusion. It is only through the relaxation of the Mind that we can find our way out of the darkness, for it is only through openness that we become aware that those parts even exist!

Once we become aware of our darkness ( not necessarily a bad thing ), we must not only accept that darkness for what it is, an integral part of our humanity; we must learn to use that darkness to fight our way back into the light! In the yin & yang of things, we, as human beings anyway, are comprised of both Light & Dark, what is often called Good & Evil. This is not to say that Good can only be Light or that Dark must needs be Evil, for it is always our free will choice as to whether we will be controlled ( by either side ) or whether we will control our emotions to do what we KNOW to be right & just & good, whether Dark or Light.

The battle between Good & Evil is thus one that begins & ends Within! We must decide, not so much whether we will allow our Dark or Light side to win, but whether we will allow ourselves to be controlled by that former trauma, of whatever shape, or whether we will control our own narrative! This may sound a little petty, but "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!" Ultimately, we must live our OWN lives, make our OWN choices, etc, etc. WE & ONLY WE are in control of our Story. Sure, we can be influenced, we may even be inspired by outside influences, for good or ill, but again, ultimately we must make that choice, the same choice that the biblical figure Cain was faced with, to control our emotions or be controlled by them: we all know how that ended!

"As Above, so Below", then; when we learn to use our trauma, in essence taking it as a lesson ( a hard one, for sure), our former trauma, though it will inevitably leave its scars, to whatever extent, can not only be healed; it can be used to help others heal their own trauma, or perhaps even to avoid trauma altogether! The Universe DOES work in mysterious ways & we may end up being one of those 'mysterious ways'!

But first, we must heal ourselves; as the old adage goes, "you can't pour water from a broken vessel!" Actually, that's not quite true, for though it is broken, it may be pieced back together, so technically, it's still broken, though it has been healed, or made whole: 'Broken' or 'Whole'; if we choose to use our trauma, to accept our Darkness, the Light in us may help others to recognize their own Darkness & so doing, to learn to accept & heal their own personal trauma!

Again, being an Empath needn't mean that we help others heal to our own detriment. Being an Empath simply means that while we may feel the emotions of others, even experiencing their trauma to some extent, maybe; it is our personal choice that decides how their personal trauma affects us. Just like our own personal trauma, as only we can determine whether to view it as a lesson or to flounder in it; by showing them how we took control of that trauma, maybe. just maybe, we can inspire them to take the reins of their trauma & to heal themselves!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!

Sage Charles


Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Etymology of Witchcraft

'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' 
 Exodus 22:18 ( Authorized King James Version )
 
Witch trials were most frequent in England in the first half of the 17th-century. They reached their most intense phase during the English civil war of the 1640s and the Puritan era of the 1650s. This was a period of intense witch hunts, known for witch hunters such as Matthew Hopkins. - Wikipedia
 
Having fully now entered this Fall season, with its most popularly celebrated holiday, Halloween, looming on the horizon, what better time to rediscover what witches are & why they are not to be feared so much as they are worthy of a healthy respect, even [ 'gasp' ] our 'worship'! Now, before my readers remove my head from my shoulders, or burn me at the stake, I would remind you that, as I've noted previously, 'to worship' means 'to ascribe worth to'. ( In that sense, if that sense alone, it could be well said that we worship ourselves. ) You may ask why we should ascribe worth to 'witches'. Simply put, they are Guardians of the Earth & Her Creatures ( Mother Nature ). 'Hollywood Witches', as they're portrayed in movies & TV shows, on the other hand, are NOT so, but are simply the product of the imaginations of fearful & superstitious people. Fear, as is often the case, is a great motivator!

'Imagine, if you will, the world of 1611 Europe ( King James )'. The political fervor of the time, among other concerns, was a Europe embroiled in the infamous witch trials, AKA 'The Burning Times'. although, as this article maintains, witches may not have been the primary targets of these 'Dark' times. In today's understanding, witches & witchcraft bear the marks most notably. The purpose of this writing is to show how the modern ( religious? ) understanding, or 'misunderstanding', rather, of these two terms is based largely in the context of the times in which they were introduced in a negative light to society as a whole. 'Are witches necessarily wicked?' 'Is witchcraft necessarily evil?' The answer must be a resounding 'NO', although, admittedly, 'witches' CAN be what is often termed 'evil' & 'witchcraft' itself CAN be directed to selfish, or 'wicked' purposes!

What constitutes a 'witch' & what IS 'witchcraft'? Wiccans, though not every Wiccan is a witch & not every witch is a Wiccan, refer to witchcraft as 'The Craft of the Wise'. In this sense, then, Wiccans, in particular, those who actively practice witchcraft, could almost be described as Gnostics, as their 'Craft' is based in a sort of secret knowledge, or 'gnosis'. Interestingly, Strong's definition of a 'witch' is 'to whisper a spell, i.e. to inchant or practise magic:—sorcerer, (use) witch(-craft).' However, Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon, about the same word, says it means 'to pray, to offer prayers or worship'. For this reason, if this reason alone, it should be duly noted that it depends on the individual practitioner, the one casting spells/praying, as to whether the resulting deeds should be classified as 'good' or 'evil'!

'Witchcraft', then, can be most simply described as what a 'witch' practices. Simple as it might sound; it's really not a simple proposition! Like any religious study, the study of witchcraft, in particular, Wicca, involves much study. This is where the word 'gnosis' comes in. One must know ( understand/retain ) much of what has been forgotten, in order to truly practice the Craft. 'Forgotten' is a convenient way of putting it, really; this knowledge, as well as the Ancient Religion from which it came, was forbidden, as Christianity made its inroads into Pagan Europe in the mid- & late years of the 1st & 2nd centuries, through the latter part of the 1st millennium. 

For far too long, the words 'witch' & 'witchcraft' have unwillingly borne ( suffered ) the stigma of 'evil'.  'As Above, so below', of course, it depends upon the individual practitioner, as to whether she or he can rightly be said to be 'evil' or 'wicked'. Witches, contrary to popular opinion, are not inherently either 'wicked' or 'evil'. Witchcraft, though not so much a religion, as a way of life, is simply a way to live in conjunction with Nature, employing the aid of our Mother Earth & Her creatures in doing so. Although it has been & still is misused by some for their own gain, not for the betterment of humanity & the preservation of our Mother Earth, witchcraft is an ancient practice, one that has stood the test of Time.

A Witch, again, contrary to popular opinion,  should not be epitomized by the Hollywood version that most of us are familiar with ( although the T.V. series, 'The Good Witch' comes closer than most ). Being One that has learned to work with the Forces of Nature, rather than against them, there are actually many more Witches out there than one realizes, most of whom would not acknowledge this fact & would likely vehemently deny it! 

Part of the stigma afforded Witches & Witchcraft is the notion that because they are Pagan, i.e, do not worship ( again, 'ascribe worth to' ) the Christian God, they somehow are in league with & in fact, worship the Devil, or 'Satan'. This could not be further from the truth, as, to my knowledge, no Pagan believes in 'Satan'! I acknowledge that there are 'Satanist' churches out there, but for the most part, that is neither here nor there, because, while they might practice rituals which would scare the hell out of most people, just like anyone else in this wide world, it is their actions which prove them either 'good', or 'evil'!

Much of our 'problem' here in the West, in particular the Christian West, is our misinterpretation, our misunderstanding of the Ancient Near Eastern text on which the Bible, in its many & varied versions, is based! Not to completely rehash what I have previously written, but when the text of the Greek & Hebrew Scriptures was written, the intended audience, the original audience would have been more familiar with the use of, among other things, the hyperbole & metaphor which is prevalent throughout. This is not to say, of course, that it is NOT true, just that our Western understanding is slightly different, in this respect at least, than what they would have understood in the Time & Culture to which it was originally delivered.

Witches should not be feared, though they should be respected! There are those who may call themselves witches, but practice their craft for merely selfish ends; even these command respect, for whether we agree or not, like it or not, there IS a kind of power in them, just as there is in all creatures. Knowledge is a funny thing; it can be used for 'good' or 'evil': again, it depends upon the practitioner. Again too, knowledge may be acquired for selfish reasons, merely for one's own benefit, or the scholar might intend for the whole of humanity to benefit from his or her knowledge. Knowledge is Power, if in that sense alone & therefore is inextricably linked to the Power which is inherent in us all. Knowing ourselves is simply the first step in the Craft of learning to work with the Forces of Nature rather than against them!

Most infamous, probably, in the American mindset, are the witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts. While there might have been some witches who received the punishment they were due, others were guilty of nothing more than using what Mother Nature provides for our several ailments; that & maybe spurning a certain brand of 'Christianity' that was being foisted upon them.  Some poor women might have even made the mistake of taking upon themselves what had been accepted as a man's role, 'God forbid'!

In benediction, as I close this short, but hopefully enlightening & thought-provoking post; I do not intend to sway my readers towards or away from any certain religion ( or lack thereof ); I simply intend to apprise you of the fact that Witches are not all that they have been made out to be. Just because one practices a different religion than you does not mean they are wrong; they are just different. Just because one knows how to work with the Forces of Nature does not mean they or 'evil' or wicked'; they are simply doing what should come naturally to all of us! They should not be feared as if they were doing something 'unnatural' or even 'supernatural!

Unfortunately, in this day & age, we have been taught to fear what we do not understand: I & others like me write that people may learn, through understanding, to respect those things we were taught to fear. May we learn this lesson well, not only for our own sakes, but for the good health of our long-suffering Mother Earth, who has been languishing at our hand for far too long!

Namaste' & Blessed Be

Sage Charles

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Dark Energy; the Shadow Side of Life

In this day & age, you might have noticed that certain words have evolved, with the times, so to speak. Take the word 'gay' for instance; back in the day, a 'gay' person was happy & carefree: nowadays, it can mean anything from 'stupid' to being a homosexual reference. Somewhat on the other end of the spectrum is the word 'judgement'. Mention being judged to most Christians, even many 'non-religious' people & almost immediately you'll send visions of 'hell-fire & brimstone' dancing through their heads. The word itself, of course, does not necessarily imply anything bad, or wrong; it simply means that a decision, or choice, has been made, for good or ill. 'Judgement', or 'judgment' has come to have a negative connotation! So we come to the word 'dark': thanks in large part to Christianity ( an umbrella term ), most people tend to think of 'evil' or 'nefarious' when this word is used. As the case may be though, the truth is that darkness is simply an area where the light is absent. As when one side of the Earth is in darkness while the other side enjoys the light, it is completely natural; 'cyclical'. Speaking of 'natural'; here is another word that has received 'bad press'! Thanks to the large-scale departure from so-called 'Christian ( puritanistic ) Values', this word is enjoying the positive vibes it has always generated! Anyway; returning to the Dark Side............

Most famously perhaps, quotes from the late-seventies movie 'Star Wars; A New Hope', like "Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you." have only served, to the religious mind anyway, the notion that dark=bad, or evil. This is not to say that those who open up to their dark side never do what others might call 'evil'; just that the dark, like the light, is part & parcel with our humanity. As the Ego, which is neither good nor bad, Light & Dark, Yin & Yang just ARE & based on our circumstantial choices, prove a necessary constituent to our survival. Our 'Dark Side' is that part of us that might go against what the religious establishment has taught us to stifle. It is often necessary, for our own good, or that of the Collective, to revert to the darker part of our humanity, to do something which institutional religion condemns, which might even go against the grain, personally speaking.

When, therefore, it comes to concepts such as 'Dark Energy'; we should note that this notion is based on, among others, the negative connotations outlined earlier. Energy is simply 'the ability to do'. It is also the building block of the Universe, both micro- & macro-cosmically; if the stars, moons & planets did not have their own energy; Life, especially as we know it, would not exist! If they did not revolve on their axis, if indeed they did not pursue a set course through the heavens, nothing would be as it is, if at all! Along the same lines, 'Dark Matter' is 'a hypothetical form of matter thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe.' In other words, it is dark simply because the light has not reached it. This could open a can of worms, but the dark side of the moon is dark only because it is in the shadows, much like the Earth in its rotation & orbit is dark on one side, while the other side is flooded with light. Balance of the two, Light & Dark, is necessary to our survival as a race.

The term 'Dark Energy' does indeed imply an imbalance, not only in the observed, but in the observer! In that sense, It is like a mirror. One of my favorite sayings of late is, "We see best in others what we despise in ourselves"! Not only is this true on the other end of the spectrum, it is something I continually remind myself of! 'Dark Energy', then, is not necessarily bad or evil; indeed, we needn't even perceive it as positive or negative, except maybe as a balancing agent. 

According to Google's Oxford Languages dictionary, Dark Energy is 'a theoretical repulsive force that counteracts gravity and causes the universe to expand at an accelerating rate.' In this sense ( macro-cosmic ), that would mean that it is a force that pushes, in human terms, against what constrains or confines us, helping us to reach our full potential. I personally do not believe the Universe is expanding, just that our understanding of It is. So, back to the microcosm ( Us ), our potential to BE is neither greater nor lesser than it ever has been; it's simply our understanding, or realization of it that is/has!

"Balance is Key!" This almost goes without saying ( my 'Dark Side' said I should say it anyway ), but balance is necessary to the survival of Life, not just on Earth, but in the Universe! Without the proper Balance, Life would cease to exist. From a previous post, "Too hot, we burn up; too cold, we freeze to death", etc. ( in other words) This could well open another proverbial 'can', but no Darkness, no Light: though it must be noted that Light can exist without Dark, it also must be noted that without the Dark, we would not recognize the Light! 

Not to get too scientific about it; Light, put very simply, is Energy that is traveling at such a speed ( vibration? ) that it becomes visible to the senses. On the other side of the coin, when Energy vibrates at a lesser frequency, It becomes Dark. When it is blocked by a certain object, such as the Earth or the Moon, it also becomes Dark, being stopped in Its tracks, so to speak; this is also called 'Shadow'.  Perception, in this sense, is Key as well, for a person in Asia is in the dark at the same time that a person in America is blinded by the light. In fact, two people in the same geographical area could be in either Dark or Light, depending on their situation. 

"Does Light exist without Dark?" Surely! "Does Dark exist without Light?" Just as surely. Speaking of a 'can of worms'; this kind of reasoning could lead to questions like, "Why are we ( humans ) here?" "If Light equals Divinity & Dark equals Humanity; why even evolve into ( create? ) Humanity?" Why indeed bring Humanity into the picture if all it does is block the Divine & create Shadows ( Dark )? 'As above, so below'; Balance is Key & the Key to Balance is Realization!

To reiterate; Realization that Imbalance is simply a Perception, strange as it may sound, is the Key to understanding Life! This is not to say, however, that Balance or Imbalance is simply a Perception; like many things, "It is what It is!" We ARE balanced; we are both Dark & Light, though, depending on our choices ( which is what it all comes down to ) we shine like the Sun, or we may end up hiding in the Shadows, like the Dark Side of the Moon. Either way, we should realize that we are Perfect! We might work on our Shadows & endeavor to shine brighter, but even in that, we are only moving in our personal orbit. We are not actually shining brighter; it is only that the other's perception of us has altered so that they receive the Light we've been shining all along!

The Conclusion of the Matter, then, is that we are here to Live! Yes, just as Light & Dark are two sides of the same coin, so Death is a part of Life. In the Great Circle of Life, we are born, we live for a time, then we die. Depending on the circumstances; we may be reborn, but then, after we live for a time, we die again. "Why?", you may ask; That, in a sense, may be called The Great Mystery! Are we here to glorify God, as the Christian would say, or are we here to embody the Love that we are? Whether one believes that we need to bring glory to some Creator or that we are the Masters of our own Destinies, the very Best we can do is to let our let Shine in the Dark!

Namaste' & Blessed Be

Sage Charles



Thursday, October 06, 2022

The Stars In Their Courses

From the moment, these many years ago, that I emerged from the Womb of my Thrice-Blessed Mother, I KNEW that I was Special, that I was meant for something More! Now, when I say, 'meant', I'm not being deterministic or fatalistic: I just knew that I wasn't your normal, average, everyday 'Joe'. At the time I was born, of course, the Roman Horde still occupied the land of my Nativity, although maybe not to the extent they did in my Grandfather's time  & of course, 20-odd years before my own parousia. As the case may be, My exalted Mother, who was not actually native to these shores, though she WAS Hebrew through & through, had herself returned to Israel about 8 years after the sack of Jerusalem. After her return from across the Sea, My Mother, Sarah, had tried to settle into life in little Nazareth & had succeeded for quite a few years. However, being who she was & bearing, to some extent, the continuing stigma that brought, She never quite made it past the fringes of Society. ( which was actually quite fine with her; she was never one for 'fitting in' anyway ) However, as tends to happen; when Sarah, much like Her Great-grandmother before Her, turned up with child, with no father in sight ( not even a suitor ), She was forced to flee to the mountains, living in caves for the first year or so, even after I was born. After several laborious & meagre years of living in caves, My Mother & I finally came upon a lonely house in need of occupation. It was little more than a hut really, but a it was a veritable palace for us, after living in caves for all those years. So now you know a little of My Genesis; when My exalted Mother passed from this Life, I had just reached my seventeenth year & so began My Story in earnest!

My name is Joseph. My Father, though He is not known as such, has been Present with Me all along! My Mother's Father, however, was Jesus of Nazareth, the same who was the Christ to the Jews, or more correctly, to the Hebrew people. Apparently, there is some discord pertaining to the fact that Jesus, in all His 33 or so years, had ever married, but I KNOW the Truth: I AM Living Proof!

When I embarked upon My Ministry in the hill country surrounding Nazareth, I was barely half past the accepted age for the priesthood ( not that I cared, or even WANTED to be a priest, anyway ), but even so, the overwhelming majority of those to whom I ministered accepted Me as that & More! As I traveled the vast desert regions, bringing the healing Message of Love to those who desperately needed it, I would retreat, every so often to my little hut that Grandfather built to rest My weary bones & renew My Spirit. As My humble abode was perched high in the mountains, in the clouds, so to speak; I would, before I retired to my bed, spend countless hours studying the Heavens. During the day, of course, I had My little garden to attend, which did very well, thanks to My Grandfather, Who in His Wisdom had built Our Hut very near a natural spring of water. At night though, the Mysteries of the Heavens opened their Pages to me & showed Me that, 'As Above, so Below'. I felt the Power of the Moon & Stars as I basked in their countless light! The Water, even, had a most profound effect on Me, for though My Ministry down Below taxed my Energies, almost it seemed to the breaking point sometimes, when I came to my My Mountain retreat, Above it All, so to speak, I found My Energies renewed & ready to burst forth again!

I had heard, countless times, from My Mother, the Story of My Grandfather's Nativity. In modern times, the Story has been recorded as three wise men, or Magi from the East ( although, as I heard it, there were MORE ) who followed a certain Star to the place where He lived. I learned, from My own time in study on the Mountain, that stars do indeed orbit the heavens. The Story that I had heard now came to Life for me, as I learned the Truth of the matter from the Heavens themselves!

After I had renewed Myself, Body & Soul, tended to My little Garden & set My House in order, I would return with My acquired knowledge & Rejuvenated Spirit to the wondering souls below, sharing My Knowledge & spreading Healing everywhere I went. A typical day for me involved much walking, for no donkey would bear me, as of yet; I would eat such food as came to My Hand, whether I was able to purchase it from the meagre offerings I received or from the kindness & generosity of those who benefited from My Ministry. For the length of time between My Retreats. I slept or rested wherever I could find a place to lay My Head. Most nights this was under the Moon & Stars, but when the weather was not conducive, I was forced, sometimes, to find shelter with the animals, although I usually had the choice presented to me of a bed, of straw, at least.  Depending on the season, of course, I would sometimes take advantage of these generous offers. Always, though, I would work to repay such kindness, rising with the break of day & helping with whatever chores needed done. Such was the Life I had chosen to honor My Mother & Grandfather!

In all My Wandering & Star-gazing; I had learned One important Truth: all are connected to, even dependent on the Other! 'As Above, so Below'; while each Star has its own course, its own Energy, It relies upon the Gravity engendered by the surrounding Stars, though they be light-years away, to stay in their courses. The Moon thusly affects the Earth & humanity itself, for while each of us has our own Energy, our own Orbit, so to speak, we are all affected, to whatever extent, by the Orbits, the Energies of those who surround us!

I had also learned that, to whatever extent, the Moon & Stars, although they do have have an effect on our lives here on Earth, do not determine our Destiny; WE do! By the choices we make, I preached, we determine the course our lives will take. Just as the Stars above & the Planets have their courses, they, through the influence of other heavenly bodies, may change their course, however slightly, so we too, even moreso in fact, have the Power to change our own courses!

Formerly,

Sage Charles

Friday, September 30, 2022

The Matter of Spirit, or, 'The Spirit of the Matter'

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin  

In the spirit of things, does matter really matter, or is it, after all, JUST a 'skinsuit', as some have termed it, 'a prison for the soul'? The author of the quote above assured us, along with what can be called Celtic Christianity, that Matter does indeed matter! Matter is intertwined with Spirit in this Journey we call Life; to say otherwise is to agree with 'escapism' which says, in other words, that we must strive to break free of the natural bonds that have ensnared us on this earthly plane of existence.  Underlying this escapist theology is the ridiculous notion that Nature Herself has been corrupted. Our only real Hope, according to this paradigm, is the salvation of our souls, which ensures that we'll receive a new body in the so-called 'Resurrection', an incorruptible body. In a purely scientific sense, "yes", Matter CAN be corrupted, for instance, certain elements can be added to an otherwise strong metal, such as steel, that make it brittle, more susceptible to corruption. In the same vein, when we ingest certain foods/drinks, our bodies tend to become more susceptible to corruption. It should not be said, however, that just because it is corruptible, it is something to be shunned, to escape from. It is, after all a necessary part of the human experience!

In the Eastern paradigm, at least in our Western understanding of it, the focus seems to be largely on transcending Matter. If we can simply ignore ( for lack of a better term ) the needs of our physical body, we can attain a greater spirituality. By then becoming more spiritual, we may achieve nirvana ( as the Buddhists term it ), thus negating human emotions or feelings such as suffering & desire. My Christian mother used to employ the phrase, "so heavenly minded, they're of no earthly good", in relation to her experience with certain Christians who seemed to be more concerned with saving souls then with redeeming matter. There is a kind of wisdom to be sought in leaving such thoughts & emotions as suffering & desire behind ( attachment is the issue here ) & though we should not ignore these feelings, neither should we allow ourselves to be captivated by them. Again, in the same vein, we need to exercise greater care in releasing these sort of toxic attachments, lest we are found to have 'thrown out the baby with the bathwater'!

"Balance", as in all of Life, "is key here!" The Western, Christian in particular, mindset that has underscored this debate leans most heavily, as we have noted, toward escaping this world of Matter, admittedly corruptible as it is. I say 'corruptible', not 'corrupted', for though it has, in some sense become corrupted; it is a corruption that is not so much in need of salvation as transmutation; in other words, we need to ( re ) turn it to good, redeeming its purpose, not flee from it, as if to escape it. If we can learn to use our body, as was intended, in the service of Matter, including all living things, from the lowest mineral to the highest sentient being, then we will have learned to balance our divine & human natures. Then we can begin to fulfill our Purpose, to show others the Way, that neither the spiritual or the natural is more important than the other, but both are necessary as constituent elements in this thing we call 'Life'!

Life, as we have explored before in these pages, means Balance! No Balance, no Life! The requirements for Life to exist can be very intricate, from microcosmic to macro-cosmic & vice versa; as it is said, "as above, so below", "as within, so without", etc. The perfect balance, for instance of light & dark; if the Earth, for example, was any closer to the Sun; we would simply burn to a crisp: on the other hand, if we were any farther away from Its warmth, Life would eventually cease to exist; it would be too cold. In the same vein, if the Earth did not rotate perfectly as it does, we would not have periods of light & dark; therefore we would not get the rest that is necessary to existence. There are many other such examples of the intricate balance necessary to life, but these will suffice for the purpose of this post!

"Matter matters!" To be quite succinct, "if It didn't, It wouldn't ( BE)!" Matter, as one can easily ascertain, is simply Energy. The Universe is made up of Energy that vibrates at certain frequencies, doing everything from giving mass to certain particles to enabling the planets & other heavenly bodies to defy Gravity! Again, we run into the property of Balance, because, speaking of Gravity; too much or too little causes issues & without the correct Balance, the planets would not be able to remain in their assigned orbits & the stars would fall from the skies! In the same vein, here on on Earth, we run into similar problems when it comes to Gravity. Too much or too little & we tend to fall apart! We might call this 'Vibrational Frequency',

"Love is what holds us together!" In some sense, it could be said that Love is that intangible force, like Gravity, that binds the Universe together! To bring It down to Earth, it is the choices we make, as individuals, whether of self-love or self-loathing that determine how well our physical bodies hold together: the same is true in a collective sense as well; that's why we see a world on the brink, it seems, of falling apart, or in colloquial terms, 'going to hell in a hand-basket'.

It is without doubt that there is Intelligence in the design of the Universe! Both micro-cosmically & macro-cosmically speaking, It is too perfectly ordered to simply have happened, by chance, so to speak. 'Chance' is a purely human convention! As part & parcel of this Intelligence, call it 'Energy' or what you will, we have the Power, indeed the Responsibility, to return Matter to the forefront of the Great Debate! We must use both the Spirit & Matter if we are to turn this world back around! If we, individually & collectively, are to survive this experience that we call Life, if we are to bring the Earth back from the Brink of Disaster, we must employ the Greatest Force humankind has ever known; Love of each other & love of the Earth! Both of these, by the way, stem from love of oneself.

"Are you saying that Gravity is Love?!! one might well ask. Well, yes; put simply, I guess that IS what I'm saying. From an article I wrote several years ago, I proffer this quote concerning Gravity; "Einstein, many years later, with his theory of General Relativity, figured that gravity, rather than being a Force of Nature, was instead a curvature of space-time! According to this very interesting ( mind-blowing ) article, 'it occurred to Einstein that the sensation of riding in an ascending elevator is similar to the sensation of gravity.' Shortly after, He came to understand that Gravity & acceleration were not just similar; they were the same!" According to this surprising, but natural conclusion; if, as I have posited, Love is Gravity & we are indeed Love in motion, or 'Energy in Motion', as a dear friend likes to put it, when we operate at a low frequency, the gravitational force holding us together falls apart! As we've seen, 'as goes the individual, so goes the collective', or, 'as above, so below'!

"Love matters!" In the same vein, then, "Matter is Love"! Love is what makes Matter what It is, for without Love, Matter would not exist. "Wow", you might be thinking, "That's a strong statement!" Yes, yes it is! The Intelligence that knitted these 'skinsuits' together is the same undeniable Force that holds the heavenly bodies in their particular & peculiar orbits. "What makes a heavenly body fall from the sky?" "Gravity", obviously, is the answer. Why would Gravity cause something to fall from the Sky, since Gravity is what keeps it up there in the first place? Well, just like when we were kids swinging a bucket of water around, as long as we kept up the motion, the water remained in the bucket, but as soon as we stopped, or even slowed the motion, depending on the position of the bucket, the water didn't stay where we wanted it very long! So it is with those heavenly bodies; when they stop moving in their assigned orbit, Gravity takes an adverse effect & they tend to come crashing down. So it is with our physical bodies; when our vibrational frequencies are lowered, our physicality is affected accordingly.

As "spiritual beings having a human experience", then we should know, that if we are to enjoy & fulfill whatever Purpose we might have incarnated on this Earth for, we must take especial care of these "skinsuits". More than that & contingent on that as well; we must take especial care of our Mother Earth! If only for this reason, "Matter", as  Chardin put it so eloquently & simply, "matters!" "Why?" you may ask. Because Life is Sacred!

Namaste' & Blessed Be!

Sage Charles