Thursday, May 22, 2014

We Are Made of the Substance of Stars

A Cosmic Star Cloud

There seems to be quite a kerfuffle in the past several decades, actually centuries over which world view is the most accurate. The world view of Science, (Materialistic Science that is,) versus Religion, or a Spiritually based orientation. For me personally, I have always understood that Science was articulating the Divine order in the Universe.

Super Nova the Explosion of a Star

The foundations of modern science that in many ways started in the 15th Century were all based on the work of highly reverent religious men seeking to understand the mechanisms of the Universe. Even Einstein admitted he wanted to know how God thinks. His universal equation e = mc2 or Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared is the basis for all modern understandings of physics.

An equation is an entity where items are equal with one another on opposite sides of the "equal" sign. If you move around the constants of Einstein's equation, mass can be understood as frozen light, mass is made  up of light.

Creation of the Sun Moon and Stars, St Issacks of Syria Skeet [ Source])

 Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 

So in the beginning there was darkness, and then there was light.

There are scientists working at the Imperial College in the United Kingdom to create matter out of light. This experiment is being hailed as an expansion of a 80 year old theory, the scientists say, and modern technology will allow this to happen.

I say, that is delightful, pun intended. But it actually has already been done, and our very bodies carry this so called 80 year old theory in every aspect of our cells.

We are told in the dictum of esoteric Christianity and Hermeticism, "As above, So Below," which is taken to mean what happens on the earth happens in the heavens. In the Lord's Prayer we say "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."

The Milky Way

Our night sky is teeming with a stellar community. Every cluster that the eye can see has a story and a name associated with it. New discoveries are allowing us to see millions of galaxies that occupy space, but what holds everything together is something called Dark Matter. Why is it that when you learn about stars, each one has a name and a story associated with it? For me it shows that the stars are living beings creating a spiral dance in the sky surrounding us in a community of love and harmony. Each star was uttered into existence by the Logos, or the divine Word of God. As we learn in Proverbs 8:22-23, one of the Wisdom Books of the Bible, “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago at the very beginning, when the world came to be." This verse tells us that the creation of Holy Wisdom, the Holy Sophia was the first creation that allowed for the matrix, the container of the universe. His Logos created the being that holds the universe together. Science calls this being Sophia "Dark Matter."


Astronomers have mapped the cosmic "scaffold" of dark matter upon which stars and galaxies are assembled.

A recent video narrated by Dr. Michelle Thaller from NASA shows that the elements that make up the chemistry of life, our bodies and all that surrounds us were originally the substance of the stars.

I only disagree with her words that we are made up of "dead" stars, for me the substance of the stars is living and pulsating within me, within all of us, all of life, and the stars are the essence of the original Logos of the Divine that said "let there be light."

The ancients had a living relationship with the Divine, and saw evidence of Spirit in all of nature, in every activity, breath and word of humans. We were seen as the great connectors between heaven and earth. Every bodily organ had a star or a planet associated with it. 

The Universal Human by Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179

The Cosmos by Hildegard of Bingen, 1098-1179
In Acupuncture there is a star associated with every acupuncture point in the body, twelve meridians for the twelve organs corresponding with the twelve months of the year, 365 points for the days in the year, and a star correspondence with every point. The points in a way can be seen as a portal for the heavens to enter the body.

The Virgin of Guadalupe

In the Madonna of the Apocalypse, we are told that she has 12 stars at her head, clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet. Most of the Black Madonnas are pictured with Stars on their heads or veils. The Virgin of Guadalupe has a mantle of stars, surrounded by a corona of sunbeams, pregnant with the saviour and the moon at her feet. The image is reminiscent of Revelations  12 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

The Virgin of the Apocalypse by Rudolf Steiner

The Madonna as art form is the aggregate representation of the universal human soul. The crown of 12 stars in Revelation represents cosmic forces, cosmic thinking as portals of the formative forces of the heavens coming into the soul of humanity. The Madonna is a picture of the future of the human soul, as how the Christ enters through purified thinking into the soul of humanity so we can birth him in our hearts and carry his will of universal love upon Earth.

The Black Madonna of Cologne, Germany

Black Madonna of Antipolo

Black Madonna of Chipiona

For me, the concept of all the substances that make up the elements of Iron which pulses in our blood, Oxygen and Hydrogen in our water and air, and Carbon that is the backbone of all life forms that came from the original star that birthed forth our universe at the bidding of our Lord when he said, "Let there be light, " this concept is not comping from a "dead star." It is a living example that the Logos of the Divine giving life to all of matter, makes matter out of Light. It is the Logos, the Word that brought forth life out of the generative darkness of the universe. Modern Materialistic science is now showing that we are made up of the living force of creation, we come from the stuff that makes up the stars we see in the heavens, the stars that have names and stories and that dance about us. The scientists that are articulating this, making matter out of light are simply recreating what was already done.

At the beginning of John's Gospel, we are told, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

I see the parallels between what the Gospels and the Genesis narrative poetry reveals and what humans are discovering when they delve into the mysteries of existence with their telescopes and microscopes. I also see what the Black Madonna's are also telling us, that we are to open ourselves to the Cosmic Wisdom of the Logos, so we can birth the Christ within our hearts. 

The Black Madonna's, The Virgin of Guadalupe are telling us we are made up of star dust, and are to receive Cosmic Wisdom to purify our souls so that we may Birth The Christ Within. Blessings on your Journey into the heart of your soul which comes from the heart of the Universe!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Pieta

If you have ever been to the Vatican and entered St. Peter's Basilica, one of the most famous works of art in this unbearably ornate cathedral is Michelangelo's Pieta. I first saw this when I was 12 years old, during the days when you could actually get close to it and experience the elegant soulful mourning of a mother who watched her adult child's execution. Shortly after our family's visit, an insane man attacked the statue with a hammer, it was repaired but now sits behind bullet proof glass and a hefty distance from viewers. Actually it is hard to really experience the art in this new arrangement, but alas modern times dictate the safety precautions.

Pieta in Groom, Texas 1995

In Groom Texas, outside of Amarillo, a local gentleman was tired of all the advertising of the decadence in modern culture along the interstate. He commissioned a series of black metal sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross, and placed them on private land so as to not be subject to secular laws. To my knowledge, this is one of the few modern Black Pieta's in existence. It is also a very intimate as you can walk up and get close to the image, which goes along with the Black Madonna experience in general, more accessible.

Often when we think of The Madonna, it is of a Mother and young infant son. While the white Madonna's, particularly starting in the Renaissance, are depicted in very serene and joyful presentations.......... 

The Black Madonnas on the other hand are often somber.

 The Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Poland

The Black Madonna of Marsat, France

In the journey of faith, mysteries are continually revealed throughout the experience. As one ages, the understandings become deeper and more real with time. One of the purposes of Christ's Incarnation is to model the initiation of Humanity. Christ came to us to experience a human life and death so the Spiritual World could comprehend our task, but also to show the way to conscious free union with the Divine. "Ye shall be as Gods," does not mean power over the elements, it means to suffer so all illusions disappear and we can be free from what holds us back from full awareness of the truth. He endured all human weakness and folly, to show us what lies ahead for us, both the pain and the triumph.  The Christian Community calls The Christ; The Son of Man. This denomination also calls communion; The Act of Consecration of Man. There is a profound reason for this identification.

Mary the Mother of Jesus was one of the first humans to say yes to the Christ Event. 

The Annunciation by Henry Osswa Turner

In art, the archetype of The Madonna is that of the perfected human, the human soul. The obvious correlation is that humanity is to birth the Christ within. The tender depictions of Madonna and Child in a way belie the challenges that come with taking up the way of the Christ. The final outcome is a joyous, peaceful and enlivening experience, but the journey is anything but smooth.

The Black Madonna's, their color and narratives, resonate deeply with humanity. The devotion to these works of art is unrivaled in Europe. They depict the deep sufferings that earthly life encompasses but also give a message of endurance, and an example that conveys support, the Black Madonna's continually say "you can do this, because I have done it."

To lose a child is one of life's greatest sorrows. No matter the age of the child, stage or method, it is the most devastating of all pains from which the parent never recovers. But Mary the Madonna, knows this pain, this searing tearing of the heart. For her, she witnessed the unjust execution of her child. After all she had experienced, all that she had "pondered" in her heart, the heavenly revelations as to the being she was guiding through his life as only a mother can, her bewilderment over what she was witnessing must have been multifold.

When we lose anyone, particularly a child, we often question, "how could God do this, how could he let this happen?" Can you imagine the questions Mary had watching her child on the cross? What went through her mind as he lay lifeless on her lap? For me this is the deep significance of the Pieta. We in the West often overlook the suffering involved in Christianity, we focus on the joyous birth of Jesus, and skip right on to the Ressurection, with our Easter egg hunts and pastel flowers on the Altar. Obviously the focus should be on the Joy, the empty tomb, but quite a bit happened to get to that point. This is why I think the term "Son of Man" is so poignant, because in essence he is our Son, and we will all go through a similar journey.

So many mother's mourn their children, many lost to senseless violence of unjust laws or wars.

To carry a child in your body, all the effort, sacrifice, love and care that goes into raising that child, no other earthly love can compare. To lose a child due to violence adds an extra layer of horror to the grief.

God understands this grief, Mary lived it, the Spiritual World witnesses this pain, and yet there is transformation. The refinement of suffering brings a wisdom and an openness no other worldly lesson can bring. The searing pain was experienced by one of humanities greatest daughters, and in a way is endured by the Divine as he witnesses his children destroying themselves and the very planet they were gifted to live upon.

For me as I go along my sojourn, with so many losses and enduring griefs, as I witness and offer support to my friends who are going through the fire of the death of their children, I look to the somber Black Madonna's who bring a message of comfort. They speak to me of the refinement that comes with suffering, that endurance is possible, and that triumph is the outcome. The Black Madonna's seem more prophetic of the journey the Madonna was about to embark. Some even show a glimmer of a smile which for me is a knowing look conveying what lies ahead for us, the treasures in heaven and of the riches hidden in dark places.

Monday, January 20, 2014

America's Greatest Son

The United States Celebrates the Birth of one of her greatest sons this weekend. What citizens of the USA tend to forget is that the nation was born out of the imagination of men, and is a work in progress. When you truly learn the history, read the debates and examine what inspired people to break a governing tradition that had been in existence since the dawn of civilization, it is quite inspiring.

Americans have a sound belief in their exeptionalism. Often the exceptionalism is expressed as not having to abide by laws and traditions of other cultures. Somehow, we are above the common tedium and restrictions that dominate other nations. What ever holds us back, we have almost a religious conviction, sometimes it can be irrational, that we can change things for the better individually and collectively.

Our nation has been referred to as the New Jerusalem, the City on the Hill, and patriotism for many can have a religious fervor. We are a nation of ideas, beliefs, adherence to principles, with the current of Justice holding everything together. Each one of the groups that makes up our collective culture brings a different gift.

I have often considered the Africans of our nation to be the truest of all Americans.  They originally came here against their will but used ingenuity and resilience against terrible odds to help forge our nation. Throughout our great history, it was the African Americans that continued to inspire us to live up to our ideals of Equality, Freedom and Fraternity. Because they have not experienced freedom and equality as much as other groups have, their commitment to Justice often surpasses other communities. From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, it is the Africans that invite us to see our shortcomings and help forge new territory in community.

In essence, the American Experience is the experience of what it means to be truly human within the Christian context of those three ideals. Christ came for all, we are free, equal people living within the community of the Christ. Our execeptionalism as a nation is that the system of government was conceived on these values, and we the people consistently strive to meet those principles.

One of our greatest sons, who embodied with dignity and grace these American, these Christian principles, his birth is being celebrated this day. The national holiday was not soundly embraced by all of our states. Arguments against the holiday ranged from; we had enough holidays, we could not afford another holiday, he was a communist agitator. The old states rights versus federalism justification for oppression was also used as an excuse not to federalize the holiday. Boycotts ensued and finally, the third Monday of January was set aside as a national day for celebrating the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King is remembered and celebrated for many reasons. One of the more striking aspects of his ministry was his dedication to the Beloved Community. The Beloved Community is the ultimate goal, the ultimate expression of the human experience within the Christ. For us to be free and equal humans with in a community, we must have love for one another. Dr. King's steadfast belief in the dignity of all people, the equality of all people was the true sign of his Christian orientation, his Christian American exceptionalism.

At the heart of the Beloved Community is a notion and recognition that the Christ is within us all. His act on Golgotha was the great equalizer, his deed transformed all of matter and made all of humanity capable of containing the Christ, of knowing the Divine. When we recognize that we all contain the Christ within, how will we behave towards one another?

In Astrosophy, the number 33 has a profound meaning. It is the number of years that Jesus walked the Earth, it is called the Christ Rhythm. When an event or a concept occurs, it plants a seed that can come to fruition 33 years later. Christ began his descent in the Etheric in 1900, and significant occurrences have happened on earth in the 33 year cycles since then. 

In 1966, Dr King began to connect the issues of war, poverty and racism. 33 years later, the WTO protests occurred in Seattle, where for the first time the wealthy, the poor and labor unions collaborated to successfully thwart the corporate take over of the global economy. A few years later, for the first time in human history the entire globe was protesting a war that had not yet begun, the American led invasion of Iraq. The biggest of all the marches with literally millions of people across the entire earth simultaneously marching for peace, happened on Martin Luther King's birthday. While so much seems hopeless in terms of resisting war, violence, racism and poverty, the seeds have been planted, and the fruit will bear out in the future. At the core of the WTO and anti-war protests was a recognition of the beloved community that King advocated. How can we have an economy based on war, aggression and racism if we recognize the Christ in all of life?

Across the nation on Martin Luther King Jr day, many communities have a call to service day, where people are encouraged to give a day of service to their local places of residence. This invitation to serve one another is the essence of the Beloved Community Dr King worked and sacrificed his life to achieve.

May we live up to this challenge, to see the Christ in one another, to serve one another on this most American of National Holidays.Thank you Dr. King for your great service to our nation. May your words continue to inspire us all to greater heights, that our American exceptionalism will be defined in terms of how we embody the Beloved Community.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Greatest Sin of Materialism

Our Lady of Peace, Our Lady of Peach Parish in Vacherie Louisiana

When one goes to the various Black Madonna Shrines throughout Europe, it is striking to see the adoration of the pilgrims. When I was sitting in Chartres Cathedral in the chapel dedicated to the Black Madonna of the Pillar, I noticed the difference between the people who were paying attention to the rest of the Cathedral and those who came directly towards the Black Madonna. The big difference was mainly the race. Those who were of non European origin came to the Black Madonna first, those who were of European origin tended to come to the shrine if it was on their pathway through the Cathedral.

What I was seeing was a deep resonance from the non European people, as if they were visiting a friend or relative. For those of us who do have European roots, we do not understand the wounds inflicted on our dark skinned brothers and sisters by presenting divinity as Caucasian. In one aspect I can empathize as I was exposed to traditions that forbade females over the age of 18 to preach the Gospel to adults, and have experienced the extreme pain of having the sacraments withheld from me due to my "paperwork," or what I like to call church affiliation. I have always been painfully amused when attending a service when communion was presented, and either the officiating clergy or sternly worded pamphlets requested that those of us who were not (fill in the blanks with a certain Christian sect, protestant or otherwise) were asked to refrain from the salvation offered by the sacrament. I always wondered why anyone thought this was an effective recruiting tool, who in their right mind would want to join something that was so exclusionary and elitist? Did the deed of the Christ only count for certain groups? Was entry into heaven dependent on having the proper identification papers, genitals and racial presentation? I was raised in an ecumenical home, as well as in the Methodist Church, where the "table" was open to all. I was shocked and deeply hurt when I found this was not how things are done in many houses of worship. 

There was a lovely segment on Weekend Edition this morning. As I drove out to the canyons to hike, I was deeply moved by what is going on in a small Parish Catholic Church in Vacherie, Louisiana. Vacherie is a small town about 50 miles west of New Orleans, made famous by the various now historic plantations in the area. Often in the path of the Hurricane's of the area, Vacherie is home to Our Lady of Peace Church. 

Our Lady of Peach Catholic Church was founded in 1864, and suffered many a devastating hurricane. In the late 40's a building campaign to restore the old Church started, and in 1954 a statue of Our Lady of Peace was donated to the congregation.

In 1959 another structure was completed, but with a purpose and effect in great contrast to the essential impulse of the Christ. A bathroom was constructed, but with two entrances. One set of doors was painted white, and the other was brown. While there was no specific signage, all parishioners knew what the colors meant, and ushers would follow African American congregants to make sure they used the proper rest room. 

In 2005 Hurricane Rita almost demolished the building that housed these segregated rooms, and this last October bulldozers were brought in to finish the job. Life long parishioners had always felt left out of the parish by this symbol of racial hatred, and were relieved when it was finally destroyed.

What was and is so unique about this instance is that before and after the destruction of the building, there was a group that formed to talk about racial pain. The service was called, "Healing of Racial Hurts" and  preceded the demolition of the building. The resident Priest, Father Michael Miceli said in his prayer during the Mass, 

"Let us acknowledge the mistakes, the decisions, the policies, the rules, the evil, the sins we committed that unfairly separated us, especially our African-American brothers and sisters, both living and deceased," He set fire to pieces of the old bathroom building. And from the pulpit, the priest apologized. "Please, forgive us," he said.

Racism is the ultimate expression of materialism. To judge the worth and character of a person by something as arbitrary as the color of their skin is a feature of our current age. It started when the Europeans ventured across lands and oceans, with profound consequences. During the early days of the Spanish occupation of the Americas, the treatment of the Natives was so vicious that many of the clergy spoke out against the oppression. A great council ensued where the humanity of the Natives was argued in a  papal court. The resulting document was called Sublimus Dei, released in 1537. This document recognized the soul and humanity of the Natives, and forbade the enslavement of them. It did not however, recognized the humanity of the Africans, and we all know the horrors that ensued up to the Civil War, and the echos America endured in the Segregation of the South.

There are those who complained that the "Healing of Racial Hurts" Mass was unnecessary and served only to stir things up. But there were others who felt a great burden lifted, and finally welcomed in their home church. 

We are one in the Christ, we are one in the family of Humanity, as part of the Cosmos that birthed us. The magnificence of creation is that there are so many varied ways that Divinity expresses itself, both in nature and in the human community. Racism breaks this bond, this deep connection. When Divinity is expressed to the exclusion of others, it is a pain greater than any other. I think this is why racial and religious strife is so destructive, wounds so greatly, because it is basically telling the other that they do not exist. To experience this in a sacred place such as a church, even in the bathroom, is the ultimate triumph of evil.

There is much strife in the world these days, between different groups. In some ways, I think it is a sort of working out of the evils of materialism, for our task in this age, particularly on the American continent is to face materialism in a moral way, to transform and spiritualize the material.

In the landmark book Race and the Cosmos, author Dr. Barbara Holmes talks about the heady days of the Civil Rights movement. She speaks about how the African American community thought if they could have legal and economic parity with whites, then all would be well. What she and others have experienced has been the opposite. There is a great grief over the centuries of abuse and oppression of slavery, and a deep feeling of alienation from culture and origins because many families do not know from where their ancestors came. Dr. Holmes then goes on to talk about the cosmic nature of Black, and that we all come from the great galaxy, that our true home is within the vastness of the Universe, with the Divine as parent of us all.

A wonderful tactic of resistance is being used in the Ukraine these days, that of holding mirrors to the police.

What I love about this is that it is the essence of being human. The essence of being a Christian is recognizing the humanity, the Christ in the other. How can we harm and reject the other, when in reality the other is us? 

True healing comes from going deep into wounds so they can heal. If you cover up a wound without allowing for the dirt to be cleaned, it will fester and cause great damage. Recognizing another's pain, asking for forgiveness is one of the greatest things we can do to create harmony in our personal and communal relationships.

The scarred, somber dark faces of the Black Madonna's I think are profound reminders that Divinity has many faces. The Black Madonna's are essential to help us acknowledge our diversity, that Divinity is in us all. Let us reach out to one another, in the spirit of the universalism of the Christ. Only then, can we truly have what the Church in Vacherie promotes, deep, lasting, rich and rewarding peace.