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Understanding

Introduction | Deities | Spiritual Technologies

Introduction


I've been obsessed with ontology and philosophy since I started talking. Questions like "what is reality" and "what is the meaning of life" have overshadowed anything I've ever done or thought. I've tried a lot of avenues to explore these questions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Discordianism, Agnosticism, hedonism, meditation, ceremonial magick, even Satanism; the only consistent thing I've discovered is that life is what you make it - it's all D.I.Y. Meaning is a creative act, you are the artist. Some people take this premise (a cliché of paganism and the occult is 'you create your own reality') too literally, thinking that they personally are God and that everything that exists does so because of their thoughts and beliefs. This is a tricky premise, in that it's simultaneously true and not true (paradox also seems to be an earmark of cosmic insights). You are god, because everything you experience comes through the elaborate filter that is your brain. You essentially live in a universe of your own design… everything you see is really just part of your brain mimicking part of the outside world. There is far too much raw data out there for you to notice all of it, so your brain selects which information to retain, and which to filter out. It's criteria for filtration are compiled slowly, over the course of your life, based on your genetics, your culture, your education, and your experiences. A spiritual path is essentially a technology to recognize, enhance, further refine and/or change your filter. All spiritualities and religions are effective and useful to the extent that they allow you to understand, catalog and/or modify your filter - your "paradigm."

The difference between personal spirituality and organized religion is, I think, that spirituality remains focused on examining, changing, or enforcing your filter, regardless of social or political pressures… in short, spirituality is about exploring and changing consciousness. Organized religion is focused on social and political pressures. I feel that organized religion is useful (or useless) inasmuch as it strives to explore and alter consciousness (or lacks to strive).

Therefore I advocate creating your own religion. I look on the myriad paths and traditions of the world as a grand philosophical buffet, from which you glean that which is useful and attractive to incorporate into your personal system, leaving behind (as Uncle Walt said) "anything that is offensive to your soul."

Deities


"There is nothing in the world which is not god."
-The Upanishads

Unfortunately, the word god is so loaded and variegated of use as to be almost meaningless. I will discuss two concepts which can fall under the vague heading of "god."

The Force: There is no force but the force and George Lucas is its prophet. Seriously, "the force" is my favorite description of god, mostly because it facilly avoids the mistake of personification. God is best described as "it" rather than "he", "she" , or "they." It is so huge and incomprehensible that to personify it is to at once unfairly limit it and unfairly fool us into thinking that we can conceptualize it. Did you follow that?

Here's what some demigods have to say about the force:
"It's an energy field, created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together." - Obi-Wan Kenobi
"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter! There is no death, there is the Force!" - Yoda

The Eternals: Personified deities, demigods, demons, beasts, and so on are very useful in conceptualizing or working with PARTS of the force. I call them "eternals" because they are eternal in the minds of people. C.G. Jung best described them as the "Archetypes."

Jesus
Jesus was way cool. Everybody loved Jesus. He would tell these stories, and people would listen. He was really cool. He Walked on the water, and swam on the land. Jesus turned water into wine, and if he wanted to, he could have turned weeds into marijuana. That's so cool. But then some people got jealous of how cool he was, and so they killed him. But he rose from the dead! He rose from the dead, danced around, and went up to heaven. That's so cool! Jesus was way cool!

-paraphrased from 'Jesus was way cool,' a song by King Missile.

Isis/Ishtar/Astarte/Ashtoreth
Isis is the great mother, in probably her oldest guise. She traveled around mesopotamia a lot, frequently altering her name. Whether she was simply accomodating the tongues of different languages or whether she was fleeing from her past is lost in the annals of time. When she was still in Egypt, her brother-in-law hacked apart her lover. She diligently sailed her barque up and down the nile, gathering the pieces so he could have a proper funeral. She found 13 pieces of him and reassembled them. She couldn't find his phallus, though. Some stories say a crocodile ate it. Other stories say she found it, attached it, and blew him, which had the effect of resurrecting him. In any case, her son went after the murderous uncle (Set) and ripped his nuts off.

Osiris/Dionysus/Tammuz
Different early versions of the dead and resurrected god, these guys typically represent the solar year, passage of seasons, and crop cycles. They are kind of like Jim Morrison, in that they generally like to get fucked up and screw hot chicks.

Set
Just a guy with an aardvark's head. Or maybe it's a tapir. Hell, nobody knows what it is. He's a freak. He was originally a farm hand, but he said "screw this" and invoked the spiral force of Ra to become a star, or a god, or both. He lives in the northern constellations, outside of the zodiac belt/season cycle. Seen as a troublemaker because he always has to be different, this guy isn't really evil, he just doesn't want to have to deal with people's shit. He got tired of his brother being authoritative all the time, so he killed him. His nephew came to kick his ass, and managed to rip off his nuts. He ripped out the little brat's eye.

Zeus
A Greek god, king of Mount Olympus, famous for screwing things up on earth and philandering with any female, divine or mortal, that he could hook up with. His wife was a bitch. He is the ancient template for Bill Clinton (sorry, I couldn't resist).

...More to come!

Spiritual Technologies


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