Saturday, December 26, 2009

Seeing the ALL in Everything

How to see the All in everything
When Ketu was twelve, he was sent to a teacher, with whom he studied
until he was twenty-four. When he had finished his apprenticeship, he
returned home, feeling very proud.
His father said to him:
'How can we know something that we cannot see? How can we know
that God, the Almighty, is everywhere?'
The young man began reciting the scriptures, but his father interrupted
'That's far too complicated. Isn't there a simpler way of learning about
the existence of God?'
'Not that I know of, father. I'm an educated man now and I have to apply
the education I was given in order to explain the mysteries of divine
'I wasted my money sending you to that monastery,' cried his father.
And grabbing Ketu by the hand, he dragged him into the kitchen.
There, he filled a basin with water and added a little salt. Then they went
out for a walk around the town.
When they got home, his father said to Ketu:
'Bring me the salt that I put in the basin of water.'
Ketu looked for the salt, but couldn't find it because it had already dissolved
in the water.
'So, you can't see the salt any more?' asked his father.
'No. The salt has become invisible.'
'Taste a bit of the water on the surface of the basin. What's it like?'
'Taste a bit of the water from the middle. What's that like?'
'As salty as the water on the surface.'
'Now try the water at the bottom of the basin and tell me what that
tastes like.'
Ketu tried it and it tasted exactly the same.
'You studied for all those years and yet you cannot explain in simple
terms how the Invisible God can be everywhere at once,' said his father.
'By using a basin of water and calling God "salt", I could make even a
peasant understand. My son, forget the kind of knowledge that separates
us from men and go in search of the kind of inspiration that brings us
closer.' from Warriors of the Light free internet books at Paulo Coelho's blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Nativity of the Divine Light

Christmas Eve, sometimes called Holy Night, celebrates the ageless story of the birth of Christ. As the divine light of Christ incarnates in a tiny babe in a lowly manger, to us this story represents the nativity of the divine light within the Gnostic soul, the coming of the royal light into the lowly frame and darkness of this world. When the outer world grows cold and dark it is even more necessary to keep the spark of divine light kindled and bright.
Though the light shines in the darkness, the darkness can not itself give birth to the light. The earth would be naught but cold damp clay without the life coming from the light of the Sun. Even so, the spirit which gives life comes from somewhere else, a mystical dimension beyond time and space. The alchemists assure us that “nature unaided always fails.” Without divine assistance in the Hermetic art the alchemist can not achieve the goal of the Great Work, the Philosopher’s Stone. In the same way, our human natures can not transform our ego personalities without the assistance of that spark of our Divine Self and the birth of that consciousness within us.
It is reported that during delivery, as a baby’s head just breaks through from the birth canal, that for a brief moment an otherworldly light fills the room, like the light of a golden dawn. That light is soon obscured in this world but serves to remind us of the glorious aeon from which we have come and the darkness into which each new life comes. Our task is not to bewail the existential facts of the matter but to aid those who come into this world to keep the memory of that light alive and kindled within them.
Christmas, coming as it does upon the winter solstice, is a time of paradoxes. We see the light shining in the darkest season, the fire blazing in the cold of winter, life stirring in the fallow of the year. We participate in the paradoxes of the season when we acknowledge the infant light at the darkest point of the year. As stated in one translation of the Gospel of John, “The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.” Just as the light of the sun is secretly rekindled and reborn, so are we given an opportunity for our divine spark to wax and grow in light. Christmas is a feast of the interior light, a rekindling of the spiritual spark within us, even as we see the fire blazing in the cold of winter.
Fire is the center of all Yule activity: the Christmas lights on trees and houses, the Yule log blazing on the hearth, and candles on the advent wreath. The fire signifies the flame of joy and charity in our hearts and the spiritual fire that has been sown into this earth. As stated in the Gospel of Thomas, “ I have cast fire upon the world, and behold, I guard it until the world is afire.” A line from the Chaldean Oracles echoes, “Behold the formless fire flashing through the hidden depths of the universe.” The life of our planet is a fire sown into the darkness of material creation. The light of Christ is a “fire born of water.” The fire born of water has been a mystery to all peoples from the beginning of time, and it is that light, with a renewed dispensation, which stirs in this season.
Christmas is also a time of sacrifice in that we often participate in the giving of gifts and contributing to charities at this time. The nativity and birth that we celebrate at Christmas Eve is a sacrifice as well. The Logos sacrifices the glory and light vesture of the celestial aeons in order to take on human form and dwell upon the earth. As Gnostics we recognize that the incarnation not the crucifixion was indeed the true sacrifice of the Logos. Certain Gnostics of the past claim that the Perfect One never took on a physical body, yet humbled himself to be born and live in the appearance of humanity all the same. Whether a physical or phantom body, or purely a literary tradition, the birth of the Christ child is a sublime and timeless mystery. There is no book, no scripture, no authority outside of one’s Self that is an authentic source regarding such a mystery. It is a mystery that can only be witnessed individually in each one’s own heart. Then one knows, one knows in a crack between the worlds, what the mystery of Christmas is all about.
Christmas is not about the celebration of an historical birth. Christmas is about becoming conscious of the renewing light that streams into the soul on Holy Night, that kindles into flame, the soul spark witihin us, the birth of the Christ-Light within us. “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, But not within thyself, thy soul shall be forlorn.” (Angelus Silesius) This consciousness is the heart of Gnosis, the Self-knowledge, the recognition of one’s true and royal Self, a magnanimous radiance of inexhaustible beneficence and compassion. As the Gospel of Thomas states, “If you know yourself, you will be known, and you will know that you are the sons of the Living Father.” This is a Gnosis of the Heart, a certainty beyond faith, as the Hermetic philosophers have said, “the wisdom that is essential for peace profound.” This is the peace of which the angels sang, “Peace on earth; goodwill to all mankind,” a universal blessing poured forth upon the earth.
Christmas belongs not only to a few who call themselves Christians but to the entire earth. The lowly animals, birds, plants and trees all participate in this nativity of the divine light at Christmas. An old French legend tells how all the animals were given the gift of speech on Holy Night; so that they were granted the ability to give outward expression to their consciousness and recognition of the light. Our compassion for our human brothers and sisters is increased when we realize that the animals and trees are also wondrous light-beings in even more humble, limited and unrecognizable form than ourselves.
Corrine Heline describes the universal blessing of Christmas Eve as a descent of the divine energy of the solar logos. The Christ energy shines down and reaches the heart of the planet where it concentrates in the form of a six-rayed star. This is also an inner process within each of us, an inner conjunction of the sun and the earth. As the Logos descends into the earth to bring Light to the world, so we can see in ourselves the light, life, and hope of the world descended into the darkness of matter to redeem the fragmented sparks of divinity scattered throughout the universe.
The ancient Roman festival celebrated near this date is the Saturnalia, involving the ceremonial marriage of Cybele (the earth Goddess) and Attis (the sun-God). The marriage consummated in a cave, even as the Christ child is sometimes said to have been born in a cave, again symbolizes the conjunction of the sun and the earth. The ceremonial emergence of the representatives of the God and Goddess from the cave sanctuary represents the new birth of the Mystae in the sacred bridechamber and the birth of the inner light. In the Egyptian mysteries, the Mystae emerge from the inner shrine chanting, “The Virgin has brought forth! The Light is waxing!”
In the Biblical story, the Christ child is born in a cave or stable used to shelter animals and is laid in a manger— a humble birth for the proclaimed King of kings. We also share that humble existence in this world. We also experience the sacrifice of the glorious light of the aeons and see our light power as a tiny spark of its original flame. The holy birth of Christmas represents the birth of the Christ-Sun within us, an awakening of our consciousness to who we are and the light from whence we came, an awakening from the sleep of forgetfulness.
The manger where the holy babe is laid is a place for keeping grain and fodder. Grain is a symbol of the seed of life that endures through the winter, a symbol also for the birth of the solar God in the Eleusinian mysteries. As the shaft of wheat was presented the Mystae would exclaim, “Brimo has given birth to Brimos!” That shaft of wheat might be represented as well in the host of the Eucharist, “the Heavenly Bread, the Life of the whole world, which is in all places and endureth all things.” The city where the holy child is born is called Bethlehem which means “House of Bread.”
The life represented in the bread and grain was a very important part of the Christmas celebrations of times past. The last sheaf of grain from the harvest represented the life spirit of the entire field. In earlier times the folk custom was to carefully save the last sheaf, both the grain and the straw. The grain was ground and made into Christmas cake, sweet porridge or pudding. The straw was woven into the figure of a tree, a man, a bird or a goat.
The straw goat, which some families still include in their Christmas celebrations, represents the seed of life that endures through the winter and signifies the holy light that still shines through the cold and dark of winter to appear to us on this Holy Night of Christmas Eve. There is a small rent in the veil before the Treasury of the Light. A magical light shines down into the heart of dark winter wherever there are gathered those who have prepared a vessel for it on earth. That vessel is the pure heart, a heart of compassion and forgiveness, a heart made ready after the pattern of our Holy Mother of Compassion and Mercy. Such a heart gives birth to the light of Christ. It shall always remain a virgin birth; for her love remains forever itself, pure, undefiled, unsullied and unadulterated, regardless of its myriad forms of expression on earth. Her love eternally sanctifies itself and all it touches. It is the mystic rose of her love in our hearts that is the immaculate vessel that gives birth to the Christ child within us. As expressed most beautifully in a poem by Gertrude Farwell.
“Soft candle stars the gloom
About a single rose:
Flower and bough of pine perfume
The twilight hour; in flame that throws
A nimbus round the evergreen.
Whilst fragrance breathes the Living Name
Of Love Incarnate yet unseen,
Rising from petal, pine and thorn.
Mary the pure is kneeling fair,
Of Gabriel’s “Ave!” now aware,
Wondering if aright she’s heard
“Blessed art thou”—unsought acclaim,
Immaculate vessel that the Word
Made flesh may shine on Christmas morn.”
-- Rev. Steven Marshall

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Orion - That Nutty Irishman

Planetary Systems Now Forming in Orion
Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (STScI/ESA), the HST Orion Treasury Project Team, & L. Ricci (ESO)

Explanation: How do planets form? To help find out, the Hubble Space Telescope was tasked to take a detailed look at one of the more interesting of all astronomical nebulae, the Great Nebula in Orion. The Orion nebula, visible with the unaided eye near the belt in the constellation of Orion, is an immense nearby starbirth region and probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Insets to the above mosaic show numerous proplyds, many of which are stellar nurseries likely harboring planetary systems in formation. Some proplyds glow as close disks surrounding bright stars light up, while other proplyds contain disks further from their host star, contain cooler dust, and hence appear as dark silhouettes against brighter gas. Studying this dust, in particular, is giving insight for how planets are forming. Many proplyd images also show arcs that are shock waves - fronts where fast moving material encounters slow moving gas. The Orion Nebula lies about 1,500 light years distant and is located in the same spiral arm of our Galaxy as our Sun.

The Heavens Rejoice

Dedicated to you, the universe
the universe in you.

A Knock at the Door

When was the last time you answered that knock at the door.

Open it, Open it wide.

Fill your heart with wonder.

My Wish for You

Peace on Earth
Goodwill to All
A Life filled with Imagination

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Rose Light

Visible light waves are the only electromagnetic waves we can see. We see these waves as the colors of the rainbow. Each color has a different wavelength. Red has the longest wavelength and violet has the shortest wavelength. When all the waves are seen together, they make white light.

When white light shines through a prism, the white light is broken apart into the colors of the visible light spectrum. Water vapor in the atmosphere can also break apart wavelengths creating a rainbow.

A Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent
by Rev. Steven Marshall

Recognition of the Messenger

In the tradition of the Church calendar, the 3rd Sunday in Advent is often called Rose Sunday, because it represents a lightening of the dark violet of the rest of the penitential season of Advent. This lightening has two points of significance. One is that of a greater light shining through the violet to reveal the rose tint signifying the coming of the Light, the other is a lightening of the mood, for which reason the Church has traditionally ascribed this Sunday to the quality of joy. The rose color expresses the joy of recognition, the recognition of the One who shines from beyond the veil of violet, who is the Messenger of the Light.

The joy of the recognition of the Messenger is described in one of the traditional scriptures for this Sunday in Advent:

"And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zachariah, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a fulfillment of all those things which were told her from the Lord." (The Gospel of Luke)

This joy of recognition, the recognition of the holy messenger has in so many ways been trivialized or minimized by mainstream religion and new age thinking that it is difficult, without direct experience, to appreciate the great mystery that it represents to the Gnostic. Understanding the Gnostic experience of the recognition of the messenger and the joy that it brings hinges upon two Gnostic insights. One is that there is an alternative, spiritual reality transcendent to the material world, and second that this reality manifests itself on myriad levels of being which are metaphorically connected but not identical in breadth or depth. For our present purpose we need only concern ourselves with two of these levels of being. The first is the microcosmic, interior, mystical, more individual level, the second is the macrocosmic, more universal level of manifestation. Neither of these levels manifest as merely subjective fantasies of the alternative reality, as both can be objectively perceived by what Jung called the "objective psyche" and have both psychological and metaphysical reality. This objective psyche is closely related to Jung's "collective unconscious," as it might be thought of as the psyche that accesses the "collective unconscious" through what Jung called the "transcendent function." To make a long theory short, when people have an authentic experience of this alternative reality both the individual and universal levels of manifestation are objectively perceived in the language of poetic myth and metaphor; there exists a common "eye of perception." The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, expressed this in one of my favorite of his verses.

"The waking have one world in common, whereas each sleeper turns away to a private world of his own."

In this verse the waking refer to those awakened to the alternative reality of myth and metaphor, the sleeping to those in the ordinary state of consciousness and the perception of the everyday. It is through such an awakened and common "eye of perception" that we may recognize the Messenger of the Light on both the individual and the universal levels of manifestation.

One way by which the Messenger is recognized is by the message. The Messengers of Light have always been known by their message, a message of liberation and freedom, the revelation of a way out, the existence of an alternative reality beyond the everyday, something more real and more authentic than the shadows of our mundane lives. Like Plato's allegory of the people imprisoned in the cave, whose only reality was the puppet-show of shadows thrown against the walls by the torchlight, who had never seen the upper world illumined by the light of the sun, so the recognition of the messenger and the message of another reality is taken by many for only the shadows of things that are real and belief in things that have never been experienced in truth. Some never even believe in an existence beyond the shadows of what they see in the everyday world. Yet the revelations of the Messenger do not lead us into some playground of pseudo-archetypes of our own fanciful imaginings, as such authentic experiences of the numinous, archetypal and interior realities come with an awesome, ego-shattering power, troubling and frightening in their importance and numinosity, and never what might be expected from the shadow-realities with which we are familiar.

This role is that of the Messenger on the universal level of manifestation. In this fashion the Messenger has the role of the Liberator and Saviour, as the Holy Prophet Mani describes in his sacred writings:

"The Messenger of Light, who comes at the right time and assumes the form of the true church and human flesh, and acts as leader within righteousness, chooses the personalities of his disciples and then frees them, both those of the Elect and those of the Hearers; he dives down into the deep oceans of the waters of the world, and draws them out from the jaws of the deep. And they do not stray again, but after other rebirths and toil for the Light, they come to the hands of the Angels; and the Angels carry them to the places where they shall be re?ned as pure gold."

An extract from The Avatars by A.E. describes in similarly potent imagery this same role of the Saviour:

"In fancy this tireless child thought of leaping from crest to crest of the long blue waves of hills. Why could he not do it? He imagined the run and the mad gathering of power for the leap, and in the very act of imagining he had left the body behind. What had happened? The air in which he floated was vibrant with timeless melody, a sound as beautiful and universal as the light. Where was he? The earth was vanishing, swallowed up in a brightness as fiery as the ecstasy of the fire. A moment more and he would have passed from the illusion of boyhood. He was reaching up to some immeasurable power which was himself when consciousness faded.

'It is time to waken him. The seer cannot be held to the eyes, the being cannot be held to the body.'

He looked up. He saw a figure thrice the height of mortals, a body gleaming as if made of gold and silver air. It was winged with flame above the brows. The eyes which looked upon him were still as if they had gazed upon eternities. The boy cried, and knew not why he uttered the words: 'I know you Shepherd of the Starry Flocks. What soul do you now draw from the Abyss?'"

When compared to the Gnostic conception of the Saviour, the popular views comfortable to the many, take on two extremes both of which prevent our recognition of the Messenger and the Message. The first may be called the "bootstrap" or "do it yourself" approach, which declares that we do not need a saviour or a redeemer outside of the ego personality of our everyday awareness of who we are. This is a very ego-centered approach, likened to the exclamation of the Old Testament Demiurge, "I am the only God, and there are no other gods besides me." Lifting ourselves out of ignorance by our own bootstraps never seems to work very well. It results in our being limited to a horizontal plane of being, climbing over others to get to the top of the heap. Cut off from our source of divine glory and power, we become enslaved to the ego-personality, its grandiose hopes and its controlling fears.

The second popular view of salvation is the familiar "Sunday school" approach, which assumes that we are all wretched sinners with nothing of divinity within ourselves, wholly dependent on belief in an external and historical saviour for our redemption. This works even less. Again we are limited to a very horizontal plane of being, without a vertical dimension transcendent to everyday society. We end up believing that we must follow the commandments of mainstream religion to merit redemption and find ourselves enslaved to the tyrant super-ego of our psyches.

A third, Gnostic view proposes a conjunction of these two opposites. There is a divine and redeeming power within us, yet it is transcendent to the ego-personality of our usual awareness. It most often manifests as a mysterious, yet personal other within our psyches. This more individual manifestation of the Messenger is called by the Holy Prophet Mani the Light-Twin or Twin-Angel; Jung called it the "Self."

The Gnostic also recognizes that we are in need of liberation and salvation, not from ourselves or our sins, but from the predicament of worldly existence in which we find ourselves. The predicament, however, is both external in the world and interior in our psyches. Just as the Gnostic psychologist, C.G. Jung, proposed the need for a third function transcendent to the level of psychological conflict, so we require a redeeming and liberating power and consciousness that is transcendent to the predicament that exists within us. It is as if we are all sunk in quicksand; we are no less human for having fallen into the quagmire, yet we cannot lift ourselves out or the others who are caught in it with us; we require someone outside of the quicksand to lift us out. Also, in our predicament of ignorance and forgetfulness, we require one who knows us from our divine origin to remind us of who we are.

The role of the Gnostic saviour is also that of the Messenger who brings the message of remembrance, reminding us of who we are and the heavenly light-world from which we have originated. On the more individual level of manifestation the Messenger comes to remind us of the message to "know thyself." On this level of manifestation the Messenger and the Self that we are bidden to know are the same. Yet we come to this recognition not by seeking who the mysterious other, this messenger of another reality, is but by seeking the Self who we truly are in the inmost core of our being, the inmost of the inmosts. As Jesus explains to his disciples in the Secret Sayings of Jesus:

"Jesus said: Pay no heed to the multitude; and think little on those outside of the mystery; for know that I am wholly with the Father, and the Father with me. Therefore I have suffered nothing of what they are going to say about me. For what thou seest, this I have shown thee; but what I am, this alone I know, no other. Let me then keep what is mine, and see what is thine through me. But see me truly, not what I said I am, but what thou being akin to me, canst fully realize, and wilt know in the fullness of thy time."

We cannot rely on the multitude for knowledge of the Messenger. We can only know and recognize the Messenger when we awaken to and know our true and royal Self, the truly real and divine being within, neither flattering nor condemning but voicing the truth, the author of all that is truly good in us. In the Hymn of the Robe of Glory, the Messenger as an eagle and a letter brings to the wayfarer in the world the following message:

"Up and arise from thy sleep and hear the words of our letter! Remember thou art the son of kings; see the slavery and whom thou servest! Recollect the pearl for which thou didst hasten to Egypt! Think of thy brightness, and recall thy glorious mantle, which thou shalt wear as adornment and thy name be read in the list of Heroes; then with thy brother, our viceroy, thou shalt be in our kingdom!"

The call to remembrance reminds us that we are kin to great ones and that we have been enslaved, put to sleep, and have forgotten who we are in our likeness. In the Acts of John, Jesus says "I am a mirror to thee who understandeth me." We cannot know who the Messenger is on a universal level of manifestation, for that is known alone by that Holy One, but we can perceive that Messenger as a likeness in a mirror, as a reflection of that Self within us that is the perfect reflection of the Holy One. The word Gnosis has been translated by Bentley Layton in The Gnostic Scriptures as "acquaintance", an intimate acquaintance, likened to knowing in the Biblical sense, a knowing on a deeply interior level akin to the physical intimacy of sexual knowing, yet spiritually transcending it in both closeness and bliss. In the prayers written by the Holy Prophet Mani, he calls unto the Messenger of Light, the Christ, as "our celestial Spouse."

"O Christ, our Light, come to us and take us unto Thee! We have trusted to the knowledge of Thy hope which called us unto Thee; take us up to Thine abode, O our celestial Spouse! We are trees in the orchard of Thy Light; our Light shines like the sun; for we have lit it with Thy fire, and nourished it with the good oil of purity."

Such is the intimacy and joy of the acquaintance with the Messenger expressed by the Holy Prophet Mani. The Logos, the Word, the Messenger is already known of himself, and we must let him keep what is his and see what is ours through him; only when we know who we are as akin to him will we know what and who he is. Then shall we recognize the Messenger both individually and universally.

The Message is a call to remembrance. As described in the Hymn of the Robe of Glory, it reminds us not only of who we are and from whence we have come but of the promise made to us and the promise that we made in descending to this world. Our promise is to liberate the pearl from the coils of the world-dragon. That pearl for which we are sent by the command of those who sent us, is no less than our own divine Self. Through recognition of the Messenger we liberate the light which is within us: through the liberation of that light which is within us, we assist in the liberation of the light that has been scattered throughout all creation.

There is a redeeming and liberating power within us, yet it is in the likeness of the universal liberator of all beings. It is not circumscribed by the perceptions of our ego nor limited by cultural stereotypes or the material world in which we live. The Gnosis of the Self, the recognition of the Messenger, the intimate acquaintance with transcendent being is more powerful, liberating, and redeeming than anything offered by this world. The message of the Redeemer awakens us from slumber, clears away our ignorance, and reminds that we are akin to the image of the Holy One, not a redeemer of history and culturally defined form but the Living One who truly is. So shall we recognize the Messenger and see truly, as the Logos said, "But see me truly, not what I said I am, but what thou being akin to me, canst fully realize, and wilt know in the fullness of thy time."

-- Rev. Steven Marshall

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Karen Armstrong: 2008 TED Prize wish: Charter for Compassio As she accepts her 2008 TED Prize, author and scholar Karen Armstrong talks about how the Abrahamic religions -- Islam, Judaism, Christianity -- have been diverted from the moral purpose they share to foster compassion. But Armstrong has seen a yearning to change this fact. People want to be religious, she says; we should act to help make religion a force for harmony. She asks the TED community to help her build a Charter for Compassion -- to help restore the Golden Rule as the central global religious doctrine.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Opening the Door to Freedom

The Grail Catechism

Q: What is the Quest?
A: To seek the Grail.
Q: What is the Grail?
A: It has many forms.
Q: How can I seek the Unknown?
A: By following the path which will reveal Itself to you.
Q: Where does such a path begin?
A: Here, at your very doorstep.
Q: If I shall accomplish my Quest, what shall I do?
A: You will return and create a Garden.
Q: But what if the Grail has no physical form?
A: You will awaken the hearts of those around you.
Q: Will you come with me?
A: You will travel alone, but the Keeper of the Grail will be near you.
Q: Is the Quest easy?
A: Yes, but the path is long and the task heavy.
Q: Shall I accomplish this task?
A: All who go forth upon the Quest achieve their true aim, but not all have the wisdom to know this.
Q: Can you give me something to aid me?
A: I will give you my blessing.
Q: What should I take with me?
A: Your Courage, your Love, and your Dedication.
Q: What shall I tell those I meet?
A: That you seek the key to Paradise, that all people may return there.
Q: And if they mock me?
A: Their laughter shall bear you up.
Q: And if they scorn and shun me?
A: Their sadness shall be a spur unto you.
Q: In what place is the Grail hidden?
A: In the maze at the heart of the Castle.
Q: Where does that Castle stand?
A: Deep in the Forest of Forgetting.
Q: How shall I recognize the Castle?
A: By the voice of the Ever Running River.
Q: How shall I cross such a river?
A: On a boat of your dreams.
Q: What is the key to the Maze?
A: The song that is in your Heart.
Q: How shall I enter the Castle?
A: The GateKeeper will direct you.
Q: With what shall I pay him?
A: With your memories of the outer world.
Q: How then shall I return?
A: Upon the path of Moonbeams and forgotten Dreams.

Q: Can you not speak to me more plainly?
A: I cannot explain to you things that are not of This world.
Q: It is my will to take up this quest. Will you give me your blessing?
A: Gladly.

"Blessed are they who set out upon the Endless Quest,
Blessed are they who walk through the Darkness, seeking the Light,
Blessed are they who, abandoning all worldly pursuits, seek the Gates of Paradise,
Blessed are they who, upon attaining the Gates of Paradise, turn back,
That they may lead all their Brethren to their Rightful Home,
Be Thy Ways Ever Blessed."

What is the key to the Maze? The Song that is in your heart. And the word, heart, I discovered one day is an anachronism for the word earth. Awaking to the fact that you are on a spiritual journey is the first key. But like all good stories there is much to discover.

One of the hardest things to discover is the fact that we are adrift and wandering endlessly on a plain of forgetfulness.

" But the real question is -- are you 'The gate-keeper or the Key holder' ? "

"the reason i think the whole idea of the warriors of the light thing exists is because of the belief system of the gnostics, which always draws me in. because of this. the feeling that there is a mission and yet being detached. as in being a gatekeeper or being a key holder. thats a fun mission wrought with danger. it is dangerous to be born says Yada (mark probert). being a warrior of the light as a stranger in a strange land. getting more and more strange all the time. not feeling like from here, wizard of oz dorothy trying to get home. " quoting my very dear fellow traveler, zenden.
The Gnostics by Jacques La Carriere and being smacked in the face with this:

The fundamental difference that separates the Gnostics from their contemporaries is that, for them, their native `soil' is not the earth, but that lost heaven which they keep vividly alive in their memories: they are the autochthons of another world.

Hence their feeling of having fallen onto our earth like inhabitants from a distant planet, of having strayed into the wrong galaxy, and their longing to regain their true cosmic homeland, the luminous hyper-world that shimmers beyond the great nocturnal barrier. Their uprooting is not merely geographical but planetary. And to treat them as aliens in the political or civic sense - which is what happened - could be nothing but an absurd misunderstanding, like giving a Martian a temporary residence visa.

For the Gnostics, all men were in the same condition, although they were the only ones who knew it, and the human community as a whole is implicated in this universal exile, this galactic diversion that has caused us to be dumped on the mud of planet earth.

The Gnostics must have felt this exile even more acutely in that they themselves constituted marginal communities, strangers or ‘foreigners' in the narrow sense of the term, in the heart of a whole humanity of foreigners. ...Here there was an historical humus which justified the Gnostic feeling of exile, of being a planetary foreigner: `I am in the world but not of the world' is the most basic Gnostic formula.

So the problem is simple, and one begins to understand how the Gnostics saw it: man, then, is a lifelong exile on a planet which is a prison for all mankind; he lives in a body which is a prison for the soul; he is the autochthon of a lost and invisible world.
And the way to escape and open the door, the "golden key" is found within one's own castle. One's very own heart.

Project Camelot Interviews James from

Six Heart Virtues.pdf
(right-click Save As…)
Living from the Heart

I ask my peers, do I not try and exemplify these things?

The six heart virtues are:

Your behavior… your actions… the local and global effects of
your mental state on neighboring consciousnesses,

these are gifts you can give the rest of humanity,
not because you are some sort of benefactor,
but because you are showing your appreciation.

We can raise the vibrational level of thought
Or we can be a well of negativity that draws others down.
Choose wisely.
Living from the Heart from Wingmakers

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Elbow - One Day Like This

The perfect feel good Thanksgiving Day video and song. I love it.

Happy Thanksgiving

I am so thankful for this wonderful year and my family and friends. Life is vibrating with love. I have so many things to express, has been a wonderful year filled with adventures. I am so happy to be right here, right now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to meditate

The History of the Rosicrucians

The Rosicrucians is an extensively researched historical film based on rare manuscripts found at Rosicrucian headquarters in California and France. This video describes the intriguing story of this enigmatic Order, from its distant past to the exciting present. Learn how Rosicrucian ideas about education, democracy, free inquiry, human rights, and expansion of consciousness have exercised vital imprints on today's society. The narrative also includes quotations from important contributors to civilization throughout the centuries - philosophers, scientists, scholars, writers, artist - all of whom have been associated with the Rosicrucians.«

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Enchanted New York

Solar Alignments Cause 'Manhattanhenge' This Weekend Live Science - May 29, 2009

    For 15 minutes around sunset on two days this summer, the sun will set in exact alignment with the cross streets of Manhattan's street grid, making the city's towering buildings function something like a modern-day Stonehenge. They call it Manhattanhenge (Wikipedia)

    The first Manhattanhenge opportunity comes this weekend: On Saturday (May 30) at 8:17 p.m. EDT the ball of the sun will be half above the horizon, half below if you look west down a major cross-street (34th Street and 42nd Street are good viewing locations). On Sunday, May 31, the entire solar sphere will be visible just above the horizon at 8:17 p.m. EDT.

    The second opportunity comes later in the summer, with another half-sphere sunset on Sunday, July 12, at 8:25 p.m. EDT and a whole-sphere viewing on Saturday, July 11, at 8:25 p.m. EDT. These times are calculated every year by the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, who coined the term "Manhattanhenge."

    The "henge" comes of course from Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in the Salisbury plains of England. The large structure of stones and earthen mounds is thought to be a burial ground that was oriented to face the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

    Manhattan's street grid doesn't run geographically north to south, but instead aligns itself with the direction of the island. If the grid did run north-south, Manhattanhenge would fall on the spring and autumn equinoxes, the only two days during the year when the Sun rises due-east and sets due-west. (The equinoxes occur when the sun sits directly over the Earth's equator and the length of day and night are roughly equal.)

    Because Manhattan's grid is rotated 28.9 degrees east from geographic north, the days of alignment with the cross streets are also shifted. Manhattan's street grid was laid down by the Commissioners' Plan of 1811, which was adopted by the New York State Legislature. New York isn't the only city that can have its own "henge" events: Any city crossed by a rectangular grid has days where the setting Sun aligns with the streets. But a clear view of the horizon and straight streets are needed, and New York might be the only city that fits the bill.

New York

Blue Whale Discovered Singing In New York Coastal Waters
Science Daily - May 30, 2009

For the very first time in New York coastal waters, the voices of singing blue whales have been positively identified - the voice of a singing blue whale was tracked about 70 miles off of Long Island and New York City as the whale swam slowly from east to west. At the same time, a second blue whale was heard singing offshore in the far distance. "These endangered blue whales are the largest animals ever to have lived on this planet, and their voices can travel across an ocean. It's just amazing to hear one singing out there on New York¹s ocean stage only tens of miles from Carnegie Hall and Broadway!"

Blue Whale Wikipedia

May 20-24

Statue of Liberty

Secrets codes left by the Freemasons and Knights Templar remain in specific areas of the planet awakening souls through the passages of time. As if an initiation, souls are drawn to these areas to decipher clues allowing them to remember the blueprint of the program of our reality and where it is all going. They quest until they 'get it'. Along the way ... their frequencies accelerates ... their consciousness detaching from physical reality.

The Statue of Liberty - SOL - Sun Gods - Leo - Lion -- The general appearance of the Statue of Liberty's head approximates the Roman Sun-god Apollo or the Greek Sun-god Helios as preserved on an ancient marble tablet (today in the Archaeological Museum in Corinth, Greece). Apollo was represented as a solar deity, dressed in a similar robe and having on its head a "radiate crown" with the seven spiked rays of the Helios-Apollo's sun rays, like the Statue's nimbus or halo.

May 20, 2009

What most impressed me with this news article is the first paragraph describing the double helix (twin towers) - a DNA trigger of consciousness linked to the Masonic Program and July 4th, a key date in my book 2012 Sarah and Alexander. To climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty would be to replicate the ascension process of consciousness (crown, crown chakra, consciousness, stargate, SG or Sacred Geometry) back to the spiraling creational flame held by a female creator. I never realized the Statue of Liberty faces Brooklyn and my home until I read the article.

    The twin sets of steps entwine into a double helix. To climb toward Lady Liberty's crown is to feel like you are ascending a huge strand of freedom's DNA. In much the same way freedom is achieved, the climb is arduous and requires individual effort and attention even when you are part of a group - the group Wednesday being media who were offered a preview of the July 4 reopening.

    Up, up, up you go, as visitors did for decades before 9/11, as no member of the public has for eight long years. No fire inspector would ever approve a setup where the sole entrance and egress is by one up stairway and one down, the steps just 19 inches across and only 6 inches deep at the central pole around which they twist. The structure itself is so delicate that the copper skin is the thickness of only two pennies and pierced in places so you can see pinholes of sunlight. But the ascent to the inside of the crown was deemed safe enough for visitors before 9/11. Closing it since then felt too much like giving in to the terror the terrorists sought to instill.

    Some who are more rotund than robust may find reason to grumble about the reopening as they pass step 100. One good way to keep going is to think of the firefighters who climbed the stricken twin towers burdened with gear.

    Then, at step 140, you are bathed in sunlight. Another half- dozen steps and you finally arrive at a 10-by-5-foot steel platform corrugated like a shop's sidewalk cellar board. On this supremely democratic footing, you stand before the 25 small windows set in the crown. The biggest is at the center, and to peer through it is to gaze along Lady Liberty's line of sight.

    "I hate to bust your bubble, the statue isn't facing Manhattan," U.S. Park Ranger Kenya Finley said Wednesday. "It's facing France, but you see Brooklyn first." The Manhattan skyline is visible through the windows to the left. "The big difference is the twin towers aren't there anymore," Finley observed. Finley began work here on Sept. 11, 2000. Her first visit to the crown was a call for assistance. "Unfortunately, I had to help somebody who decided they were scared of heights," she said. Exactly a year later, she watched from Liberty Island as the planes flew into the World Trade Center. The island was evacuated, and even the pedestal remained closed for three years, as if the whole nation had become afraid of heights.

    The crown will finally be reopened on July 4. The heart will sink on seeing the absence in the skyline. "You still get to see the harbor," Finley noted. "You still get to see the ships going by." And the heart soars as you gaze out at the harbor and ships, feeling like you are meeting the hopeful gaze of the millions of immigrants who peered up at the figure with the upraised torch. You are quite literally in Lady Liberty's head, and you can raise your own hand to touch ripples in the copper overhead. "That is the ripple of her hair," Finley confirmed.

    The skin had been warmed by the sun, copper making great cooking pans as well as statues. Let's hope for a cool July 4, because the interior can be 20 degrees hotter than the outdoors, and the rule is to close the statue if the temperature outside tops 90. High winds can sway the crown as much as 5 inches, and this can combine with the heat and the climb to make for a daunting visit. That is only appropriate. Liberty has always required a struggle.

    A reminder came at midmorning as Fleet Week brought the guided missile cruiser Vella Gulf into the harbor. The ship recently captured two bands of Somali pirates. She now powered past Lady Liberty, and the crown whose jewels will again be windows filled with faces of every kind, which together are the face of freedom.

    Images: Fleet Week 2009
    NY Daily News - May 21, 2009
    The guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt sailed under the Verranzo Bridge
    during the Parade of Ships, on May 20, 2009, to kick off the annual event.

Samantha Stone

The Statue of Liberty and Related Adventures

Fightin' the New World Order

From The Prophet Bruce Springsteen, peace & blessings upon him:

Men walkin' 'long the railroad tracks
Goin' someplace there's no goin' back
Highway patrol choppers comin' up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretchin' 'round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleepin' in their cars in the Southwest
No home no job no peace no rest

The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waitin' for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
Got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathin' in the city aqueduct

The highway is alive tonight
Where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Waitin' on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom said "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me."

Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad

"In the end, the people are powerless to effect change - as more and more costs are put upon them..."

Not really. Unless they are really too physically feeble to kick the tires, light the fires. (to steal a phrase from the Air Force).

They should watch Hey Arnold!-The Movie for inspiration.
Arnold (Spencer Klein) and his friends live in a seemingly idyllic old inner city neighborhood where various ethnic groups happily co-exist and the streets are safe for kids even at 2 a.m. But all that changes when Mr. Scheck (Paul Sorvino), a money hungry developer, and his unscrupulous employee (Dan Castellaneta) make plans to knock down the community and erect a shiny new "mall-plex", a proposal that city hall appears to have approved without any input from the local residents.

While the adults wring their hands and bemoan the situation, Arnold and Gerald (Jamil Walker Smith) along with the help of a mysterious, cloaked character (Francesca Smith) decide to take matters into their own hands. But when their petitions and street concert fail to get the mayor's attention, they resort to less conventional methods. Outfitted with some high tech gadgets, the fourth graders board a city bus and head for Scheck's skyscraper office while Grandpa and his gang pack a stash of stolen explosives in the underground sewer to stop the bulldozers. With the minutes on Scheck's giant clock ticking down, Arnold and Gerald search for a historical document that will halt the demolition crew and save their homes from being razed.

The MPAA rated Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002) PG for some thematic elements.

Back to full review

Overall: C+
Arnold and his pals take on a big businessman who wants to demolish their neighborhood and build a mall in its place. Although most of their methods are illegal and unfeasible for young civic- minded citizens, this film may generate a chance to discuss real techniques for community change.

Violence: C
Construction machinery breaks down wall of house with household contents still inside. Old woman hits boy with bouquet of flowers. Character shot in head with dart gun. Man hit with broom. Man stands on sharp object. Law enforcement unit raids community with high tech weapons. Woman sent to jail for protesting. Citizens rebel against government and engage in skirmish. Man hits himself with a book. Characters visit a mortuary during a thunderstorm; see the feet of a dead body. Characters illegally enter building and make plans to steal items. Scenes of cartoon violence include characters attempting to break out of jail, being chased by thugs, and fighting including punching, choking and the use of kitchen utensils as weapons (some injuries shown). Character admits to stealing from his employer. Men set up explosives in the middle of the community. Characters fight with swords--some hit in the foot and crotch. Driver is knocked unconscious while driving a moving bus. Characters blow up bridge intending to harm people on an approaching bus. Bus crashes into other vehicles and overturns. Men threaten to destroy buildings. Large explosion causes damage to homes and businesses.

Sexual Content: A-
Young girl kisses boy.

Language: B+
Includes name-calling, some rude comments and at least 3 partial phrases that come short of profanities.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A-
One scene is shown in bar setting.

Businessmen are portrayed as thugs. Father attempts to bribe child with money. Man stands precariously on boxes. Signs of graffiti are seen in neighborhood. Butcher blows his nose on his apron. Candles are left burning unattended in attic. Child builds an idol of the boy she adores. Girl is hit in face with bird droppings. Authority figures are portrayed as unwilling or unable to help. Characters seek assistance from underground commando-like group. Characters disobey bus rules. Nine-year-old child is portrayed as driving a speeding, runaway bus. Character admits to stealing explosives and hiding them in his house. Children are portrayed as being alone on the streets in the early morning. Man is knocked unconscious and falls. Character exhibits rude behavior to another including name-calling and gestures. Character makes comments on flatulence. Child mistakenly sets off explosives.

Dust - Particles of the Divine

Dust in Philip Pullman's trilogy of novels His Dark Materials is a fictional form of dark matter, an elementary particle that is of fundamental importance to the novels. Dust is invisible to the human eye and cannot be seen without the use of special instruments such as the amber spyglass or a special film. However, while humans cannot see dust without the use of outside devices, creatures such as the mulefa are able to see dust with their own eyes.

Unlike ordinary particles, Dust is conscious. It falls from the sky and is attracted to people (especially adults) and objects made by people. This makes it of great interest to the Church, which believes that it may be the physical manifestation of Original Sin. It is later learnt that Dust actually confers consciousness, knowledge and wisdom, and that Dust is formed when matter becomes conscious. This allows creatures who have the ability to see dust to identify other sentient and intelligent creatures. An example of this is when the mulefa are able to distinguish Mary Malone as an intelligent being, because of the dust surrounding her, when compared to the other animals in the mulefa's world.

Dust is also the thing that allows all "magic" to be done in the worlds. Those beings that can understand Dust by looking at it can also see the truth in things and are able to change things by getting into a certain state of consciousness. An example would be the panserbjørne, who are able to see the truth in all things and therefore cannot be tricked unless they become like humans. There are also the witches who understand Dust on such a level that they can use it to make them fly, cast "spells", make themselves unnoticed, and many other things.

Dust is also the thing that connects humans to their dæmons. This being is actually somewhat of a soul that can talk and is in the form of an animal. It sends the Dust to the human to allow the human consciousness. Even in worlds that don't have apparent dæmons, they still exist, though they typically do not take the form of animals. In some other worlds one's dæmon is one's silent consciousness in the back of one's head, that other voice that confers intuition. If the bond between a child and their dæmon is severed (as through Intercision), both the child and the dæmon typically die, though not always, and rarely immediately. If the separation occurs after Dust has settled on the person (that is, after he or she has reached adolescence), the person simply becomes a lifeless shell.

It is Dust that provides the answers given by the alethiometer, the I Ching system of divination and also the computer that Dr Mary Malone creates in order to communicate directly with these particles by using one's consciousness.

Dust has various names among the various different worlds within the trilogy. Dust was previously known (in Lyra Belacqua's universe) as Rusakov particles after their discoverer, Boris Mikhailovitch Rusakov. It is known also as Shadows in our world (Pullman relates Dust to Dark Matter), and the mulefa's word sraf accompanied by a leftward flick of the trunk (or arm for humans).

Angels are formed when Dust condenses. Even The Authority came into being this way. However, Angels are not in reality the human-like figures they appear to be. They are the physical manifestation of spirit making something 'be'. Dust is discovered, by Dr. Malone, to actually be Angels and consciousness. Because consciousness is the thing that makes us "sin", it can (in theory) be seen as original sin. This is the point of view seen by the Magisterium, and therefore they seek to destroy it. However, they fail to see what the full repercussions of this would be, as they are ignorant to the true nature of Dust. Eliminating it would mark the end consciousness, and would most certainly lead to the quick destruction of all worlds with conscious life in the multiverse.

There is a story in Genesis in which God creates Adam and Eve from dust, and in the first book of this series, Northern Lights, Lord Asriel shows the Bible to Lyra: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return". Asriel also says that some Church societies argue that it should not be "'and unto dust shalt thou return,'" but, "'and thou shalt be subject to dust.'" In chapter 12 verse 1, the letter to the Hebrews says, "“let us throw off everything that hinders us, and the sin that clings (entangles us) so closely”. It may also be interesting to note that in the Paradiso by Dante Alighieri, pp.11-12 'Dust' is used in reference to the Human Body: "And even as the soul within your dust..." Beatrice tells Dante that just as the soul distributes its power throughout the physical body, where it is differentiated according to the part that receives it, so too is the power of God distributed throughout the Heavenly Spheres and the undifferentiated power of God becomes differentiated when it combines with the qualities associated to the Spheres,(Theologians for the Sun, Contemplatives for Saturn, etc.) creating a "mingled virtue".

In Buddhism the term "dust" is almost universally used to refer to the sensation, knowledge and entanglement with the world that inhibits enlightenment.

Animal Killers

by Michael Goodspeed

"There is no anti-depressant that will cure a depression that's spiritually based, for the malaise doesn't originate from brain dysfunction, but from an accurate response to the desecration of life."

-- Dr. David R. Hawkins, Power Vs. Force

What I am about to tell you is horrific, or worse. Not tantalizingly scary like a "haunted house," not distasteful like a rude joke emphasizing the lower bodily functions, not even "shocking" or "sickening" (descriptives best reserved for Rob Zombie movies and the menu at Taco Bell). The author Isak Dinesen commented, "I don't believe in evil, I believe only in horror. In nature there is no evil, only an abundance of horror: the plagues and the blights and the ants and the maggots." Of course, horror exists in (and virtually defines) nature, but the deliberate, unnecessary, brutal theft of a life -- ANY life -- moves beyond the impersonal horror of biologic decay and death, to the realm of DESECRATION, a strictly human behaviour that cannot reasonably be characterized as "natural."

According to the ABC news affiliate KATU (Portland, OR), police recently booked two teenage boys on charges of aggravated animal abuse, after they allegedly scalded a kitten with hot water, then cut off its head with a hatchet. The website reports: "The cat, a black and white named White Socks, belonged to 19-year-old Shaina Nelson. She told KATU News that she came back to her southeast Portland apartment Thursday night and faced the alleged killer.

"'He jumps over the fence...and he goes, 'The cat's dead,'' Nelson said. 'And he had no emotion on is face. No. Nothing. He had no emotion at all.'" (Full story: LINK .

Ironically, the young woman had reportedly been helping out the two suspects, offering them a place to stay in her home. The suspects (allegedly) responded to her kind gesture by inflicting unimaginable pain on her cat and then decapitating it. also reports, "The suspects reportedly told police they wanted to put the cat out of its misery after they burned it."

Above, you can see the mug shots of the two suspects, aged 19 and 18. Just as described by Ms. Nelson, the vacant eyes and slack expressions reveal... precisely nothing. No intelligence, no warmth, no personality, not even a spark of angry defiance. Nothing. Nothing.

I'm not so arrogant as to presume what kind of lives these alleged torturers and killers have led. Maybe they are both victims of unimaginable abuse and thus feel compelled to re-enact their sufferings on others. Perhaps they, like countless millions of American youngsters, have been neurologically, emotionally, and spiritually impaired by rancid cultural agents, including pervasive media violence, psychotropic medications, chemical-laden fast foods, aspartame, fluoride, cell-phones, a collapsed education system, shopping malls, Hannah Montana, etc., ad nauseam. The Internet is an astounding database for evidence of this cultural apocalypse, and I don't feel the need to elaborate on it here.

Instead, I would like to encourage the reader to join me in a moment of honest self-inquiry. Please ask yourself, how does it make you feel to learn of the torture and death inflicted on this animal?

Do you feel angry? Disgusted? Sad? If you are of sound mind and possess even the vaguest respect for non-human life, I'm going to assume that you feel all of the above. (Let me say parenthetically, what constitutes "respect for life" may be a matter of some debate, but it is a clinical FACT that the torture of animals indicates deep-seeded mental illness, and is a reliable indicator of future violence against HUMANS.) So if we can agree that anger, disgust, and sadness are healthy and appropriate reactions to the desecration of animal life, let us go a step further and wonder, why?

Here is a fact that is curious (at least to me): While a domestic animal like a kitten can be a source of great joy and satisfaction for its owner, it does not serve any utilitarian function in human life. In fact, cats as pets tend to create significant burdens -- scratching up furniture, peeing on rugs, killing frogs and mice and birds and leaving shredded torsos on their owners' doorsteps, meowing at all hours, getting pregnant and birthing massive litters, not to mention the vet and food bills that will soar into the tens of thousands before Chester or Abby finally expires.

From a neo-Darwinian materialistic perspective, the human instinct to love and nurture a weak, defenceless animal makes little if any sense. Animals only serve our brute survival by providing food, transportation, protection of home and body, and a few other utilitarian chores (none of which are provided by cats and many other common house pets). How did this joyous, irrepressible affection for essentially "useless" animals "evolve" in a world supposedly dominated by Survival of the Fittest?

Some might argue that the adoration most humans feel for "cute" and "fuzzy" creatures is just a sloppy quirk of the mammalian brain, nothing of any significance. They might also suggest that we are allowed such "indulgences" as affection for pets because we are long removed from the jungle and its relentlessly savage laws. But these notions are totally spurious. Number one, Survival of the Fittest as "understood" by the caveman is understood at least equally by the CEO. The guiding principles of our capitalist society are "kill or be killed" and "screw everyone but me." So from a neo-Darwinian perspective, altruistic behaviours are as anomalous today as they were in the Cro-Magnon era. Consider also that a lot of people love their pets like they do their own children. Some would unhesitatingly risk their own lives to save the life of an animal -- ANY animal. A human being who feeds a starving kitten is not serving the interests of his own body or the interests of his "tribe." And yet for most, the choice to aid a helpless animal isn't a "choice" at all, but simply the very obvious Right Thing to Do. Because it FEELS right. And the alternative feels terrible.

If you meet a friendly dog while you're walking through a park, you don't bother with inane formalities like introductions and handshakes. You just say "Hi there!" and treat him with a touch of affection, as if he were a lifelong friend. We love animals so fiercely because we share with them an easy communion that is almost impossible to achieve with other humans. People have egos, and egos are ugly, defensive, fearful, and more dangerous than the most rabid dog or feral cat. My ego is offended by your ego, and vice versa. I'm not saying that animals are "superior" to humans in any way. I'm saying that the guileless stare of a kitten or a puppy is a perfect mirror reflecting back one's own true essence.

This essence is more than a body, more than humanness, more than animalness, more than instinct and desire and survival and death. It is lovingness, and it is sacred. For a sane person, the act of loving and nurturing an animal is wholly selfish, because of the fullness it provides in one's own heart. Because like attracts like. And that likeness is love.

Except of, course, for those who live in abject denial of their true, loving essence. I dare say that the hollowed-eyed suspects above (if they are guilty) are worthy of pity. C. S. Lewis commented to the effect that evil is not the opposite of good, but the complete absence of it. Anyone who deliberately inflicts pain on an animal has no awareness of love, never tasted it, never extended it, and almost certainly never received it. You might feel compelled to wish these young men to hell, but rest assured, they are already there.

The above story is just another one of those stories that I saved for some reason unknown to me at the time. Lately I see more and more that whatever strangeness that has taken hold of so many of us appears in many ways to be some sort of cleansing and airing of the darkest corners of our psyches. When I was around six years old I found a kitten one day in our back yard. It was a sunny hot summer morning. I wanted to keep that kitten so badly and was afraid to ask my Mother, so I found an old bucket and stuck the kitten under the bucket. It was Sunday and we had to go to church. I planned to ask my Mother to let me keep it and then bring it in the house. I remember running to the backyard home from church, running to that bucket, and turning it over and horror of horrors - that poor little kitten had suffocated to death. It was horrible. I have never forgotten the horror that I had caused it's death. I had only wanted to keep it and love it. I pray that I have been forgiven and I pray that I have forgiven myself.