exploring life in all its variety

December 28, 2008

Love deserves our support, in whatever form it takes

I see most people’s negative reaction to same-sex marriage as steeped in their own fear, culture shock, and unconscious projections. I see people follow whatever their religion or culture has taught them instead of thinking this issue through for themselves.

Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?

This isn’t a question to give a knee-jerk, “ooh, I feel funny about that” response to. It’s bigger than that. Look at the anti-miscegenation laws that kept mixed race couples from marrying in the past. I’m sure a lot of non-racist people back then felt “funny” about mixed race couples, because it was new and different. It threatened the status quo.

But the real question, the important question is, how many people — adults and children — suffered because of that small-minded text written into the law books? This is people’s lives we’re talking about! Just because you or I privately don’t understand the attraction or start visualizing what goes on in someone’s bed and is none of our business, or just because our pastor or priest tells us it’s a sin, doesn’t give us the right to negatively affect others’ lives to that extent by telling them they can’t marry the person they love, when their love harms no one else. In fact, it’s really none of our business.

Would you want anyone telling you that you can’t marry the person you love? That’s the only question we need to ask ourselves in order to come to the right answer. “Do unto others …” The Golden Rule applies here, and I don’t understand when religious people can’t see that.

I’m a romantic, and I’ve seen friends and family members who wanted to find the right partner or struggled in relationships.

When two people find each other and make a relationship work, that’s something to be celebrated, not stymied. If we’re pro-family, why can we not be for every family? Every marriage.

We need to rise above our base emotions and our fears about this, and be more giving, more thoughtful, less judgmental, and ensure above all that we do no harm. In my heart I know it’s the right thing to do.

I urge every straight person who can begin to understand why a same-sex couple wants a lasting relationship to become an activist on their behalf. They are a minority, and that means they can’t get there alone. It takes votes, and writing to representatives. It takes changing people’s minds.

Love deserves our support, in whatever form it takes.

File: — Barbara @ 11:16 am PST, 12/28/08
March 22, 2008

On skepticism, religion, and metaphysics

Skepticism rears its head frequently on the Internet, in ways we may not think about very much in our day to day lives off line, and with good reason. There’s a lot of unreliable or questionable information on the Internet. There are no editorial guidelines, no filtering process. Anyone can post anything they want. This is both good and bad. But there are also a lot of people on the Internet that say they’re skeptical when, I think, they don’t really understand what skepticism is, especially when it comes to metaphysics.

I’ve nurtured a lifelong interest in “occult” subjects like astrology and psychic phenomena, as well as the afterlife. I’ve read about various forms of religion and spirituality. Some might say I’m one of those “New Agers” and dismiss me as gullible. By the way, I put “occult” in quotes because very little of this is secret these days, so I wonder why we still use the term so loosely.

While my interests lean in the same direction as the New Age community’s, I don’t use the label “New Age” for myself. First, because I tend to avoid labels. Second, because my interests were such long before I was aware of any identifiable New Age movement. In fact my parents first sparked my interest in metaphysics when I was a child in the sixties — and no, they weren’t hippies, or even close. My mom’s family had an interest in such things long before then. Her maternal grandparents were Spiritualists. Third, the New Age community is sometimes, in my opinion, too accepting and non judging, and has gained its reputation for being flaky in ratio to the number of such people it appears to take under its wings. I don’t mean by that to bash New Agers, not at all. There are many people in the New Age community that I consider my friends, favorite authors and artists, or simply people I like and admire for their tolerance and loving nature or remarkable insights. But I think more questioning is called for, and I find many New Age marketing strategies highly questionable.

I’m happy to have no religion, and no particular label for my spirituality. I’ve been happy with that for many years. I’m a seeker, but I’m not looking for a religion. I choose to seek everywhere, not just in one grouping of writings or beliefs. And while I am seeking, I’m also always finding, so I don’t feel lost at all.

My metaphysical and spiritual leanings, even if kept entirely to myself and not shared within a religious or spiritual community, have continued to remain strong, introducing me to various religious writings, encouraging my interest in astrology, Tarot, intuition, meditation, and the afterlife. I attended lectures at the local astrological society for months, years ago. I read books on religious, mythological, spiritual, and metaphysical subjects, including several by Alice Bailey, the Bible, and a portion of the Nag Hammadi Library. I’ve studied the Tarot, both as an aid to plumbing my own psychological and spiritual depths and as a personal oracle of sorts, for a little over 20 years. I’ve kept a dream journal almost all my adult life, and that led me to discover that, just as Edgar Cayce said of everyone’s dreams, some of my dreams are precognitive.

I suspect everyone is at least a little psychic.

Other dreams simply give me deeper insight into my own psyche and how I’m responding at every level to changes around me and in my life. Soon after retiring from my former career, as a technical writer-editor, and later a technical manuals distribution manager, I had a dream one night in which I always wore beige pants, and I had to crawl through a narrow transom to get where I needed to go each day. I was tired of doing that, in the dream, and on my last day I felt great relief. As I crawled through for the last time, my beige pants split at the seam to reveal that I wore paisley tights underneath.

I think of that dream as my unconscious letting go of a my old technical, cut and dried line of work and my feeling of needing to fit in there. I think that dream initiated me into my new creative path, with the freedom to pursue my more Bohemian interests without any risk of being seen by coworkers or superiors as a “kooky New Ager”. Not that they would’ve been so judgmental, but I’d always been shy of sharing my interests in metaphysics with people in that technical world. I’ve been shy in general about sharing these interests with many people at all, not just there. Nowadays, when I reveal some of my interests that I’ve kept to myself for so long, I sometimes joke to myself that my paisley tights are showing.

I believe in intuition, not as a distinct, reliable source of data, but as a whisper full of potential and possibility, because I’ve experienced it. Is that dangerous? If I believe, based on my intuition, that something is worth looking into or reading about, what is the harm in doing so? If synchronous events seem to lead me in a particular line of study, why not follow for a while?

I don’t rely solely on intuition to tell me whether it’s safe to cross the street. That would be foolish and dangerous. I rely on my sight, hearing, and on the traffic signal if there is one. But if those things all tell me it’s safe to cross and my intuition still says it isn’t, I pause and make sure. When I’m driving, if my intuition nudges me to pay attention to a particular car, and it’s safe to do so, I fall back and keep an eye on it from a safe distance. My intuition has alerted me to dangers I needed to avoid enough times that it’s a part of my safe driver’s tool bag. I’ve had unexplainable things happen that I think saved my life, things that I can’t explain other than through some combination of intuition and, possibly, cosmic intervention — a guardian angel perhaps? Who knows. Such incidents don’t seem likely to be mere coincidences or accidents. For instance, a fleeting dust devil that my mother spotted at the side of the road once saved me from certain injury in a fire. A little voice, not physical and not mental, sometimes whispers a warning, and if I don’t heed it in my rush to get something done, invariably things go wrong and I wind up kicking myself for not listening. Listening to whom? I’m not sure. A Christian might call it the Holy Spirit. Another might call it an Angel or Spirit Guide, or the Higher Self. Perhaps it’s simply an extended sense that science isn’t yet aware of, something like what is accessed in remote viewing.

I believe there are aspects to life and reality that science can’t yet explain, but which are very likely real nonetheless.

I’m still skeptical.

How, you say? How can I call myself skeptical if I fall for that sort of thing — Tarot, astrology, and psychic phenomena?

That depends on what you understand skepticism to be.

What is skepticism? It’s not disbelief. It’s not belief. It’s not bashing every new idea that presents itself, as unproven, unfounded, or as a hoax, just because some accepted authority says so, such as the school system, the media, a leading business, a church leader, an academic, a government official, or a scientist. It’s not rejecting an idea because it doesn’t fit with one’s entrenched worldview. It’s not telling people they’re fools or gullible because their beliefs differ from one’s own. It’s not making up one’s mind about something before one has bothered to consider at least some of the evidence for and against, or considered that although the notion may not be in one’s own experience, it could very well still be true.

To put it in my own simplistic terms, I see skepticism as reserving judgment until all the facts are in. It’s acknowledging that with some ideas the facts are never all in. Skepticism is saying, “I don’t know,” and not committing oneself until one knows. It’s the ability to accept that one may never know the answers, that not all questions require a definite answer. In fact, some of the most worthwhile questions don’t have answers, at least in this lifetime.

For me skepticism means that I believe what I know to be true, as the Buddha, and by some gnostic accounts the Christ, taught. It means I know something is real, or true, either because there’s solid scientific evidence that’s known to me, or because I’ve experienced it for myself and have good reason to know it wasn’t just my imagination. I also merely believe some things without knowing, because they make sense to me, intellectually or emotionally or both, or which I hope are true, such as experiences relayed to me by people I trust. I allow myself to believe some things for now, with full knowledge and comfort that I may not believe them the same way later in life. I believe that my beliefs should change as I learn and grow, not stay stuck in one configuration for life.

While pondering my own take on skepticism and beliefs recently, I came across a collection of articles on the subject at a site called The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

I haven’t read them in their entirety yet. They’re actually rather plodding and academic for my taste; but if, like me, you’re interested in how skepticism differs from belief or disbelief, from cognitive dissonance or outright rejection of new ideas, these articles may interest you as well:

Ethics and Self-Deception

Contemporary Skepticism

Ancient Greek Skepticism

File: — Barbara @ 6:37 pm PST, 03/22/08
March 14, 2008

Prayer beads II

When I wrote my first post about prayer beads, almost three years ago, I considered buying a ready-made strand or a kit. I started out wanting sandalwood beads, but my budget was constrained, and it wasn’t as if my prayer beads were a necessity.

Then I remembered a string of beads that were once my grandmother’s and had passed through a few family members’ hands before they came to me. Their string was literally on its last thread, so restringing them into a new form made sense. There were about 92 beads, and with the addition of some crystal beads that had been my mother’s as quarter markers, and a larger wooden bead I had on hand as the summit bead, they made a full mala of 108 beads. I added a crystal elephant I’d had for years, along with more crystal beads as counters.

JobsTears (more…)

File: — Barbara @ 10:08 am PST, 03/14/08
December 31, 2007

Black holes, Yin-Yang, the Big Dipper, and the Wheel of the Year

A simulation called Step By Step Into A Black Hole depicts a theoretical descent into a black hole and the subsequent view of the outer universe from inside the black hole. In the first pictures we see the black hole as a bubble of darkness (scroll down) in an otherwise starlit universe. From inside, we see mostly darkness with a bubble of starlight. The two opposing views remind me of the Yin-Yang or Tai-Chi symbol, with its two sides of light and darkness, contrasted by bubbles of their opposites contained within each half (in the eye of the fish). This led me to question — and research a little more — the origins of the symbol.

I’ve always thought of Yin-Yang as a purely philosophical or even spiritual concept, one of integration, interdependence, and balance. I never thought of it having any connection to our physical universe as conceived by scientists. But according to two sites I came across today, here and here, it may originate from prehistoric observations of the Big Dipper — or the Plough, as the constellation is known in China — as it changes apparent position in the night sky through the course of a year.

If true that the symbol originated from celestial observations, then its origin is the same, an observation of the changing seasons, that we find in the western, European pagan precursors to the Neopagan Wheel of the Year, only instead of the seasonal changes observed in daylight hours or the points on the horizon where the sun or moon rises, it measures the concurrent changes in the predominant feature (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) of the night sky. Please note that what I refer to as the Wheel of the Year, as we know it today, is a fairly recent invention used in Wicca and Neopaganism, but is based for the most part on ancient European celebrations of the seasons, including the solstices and equinoxes — which no doubt hold some connection to ancient astronomical markers such as Stonehenge and Newgrange. There are also possibly similarities in the origins and symbolism of the Native American Medicine Wheels, which would take another in-depth post to explore, though this appears to be a good resource to start with.

I only found two sites that mention the possible origin of the Yin-Yang symbol with the Big Dipper’s path, though other sites certainly hint at the possibility, and according to one Chinese Mathematical Astrology site, “The most important constellation in the heavens to the Daoist is the Plough (or Dipper).” The eight trigrams of the I-Ching Ba Gua, with their broken and unbroken lines could be perceived as gradations of light and darkness pertaining to the seasons of the year, and might be seen to correspond with the eight quarters and cross-quarters of the Wheel of the Year. They are often depicted or written of as corresponding to the elements, the four directions, or the seasons. Most sites I found have more to say about the meaning of the Yin-Yang symbol than its origin, but nearly all say it’s based on “precise observation.” Most also associate its meanings with the sun and moon as well as to the seasons. I’ve included more links below.

Where does the Yin Yang Symbol come from? (also linked above)

The Sacred Wheel of the Year as revealed through the I Ching (also linked above)

Tai Chi Symbol, Yin-Yang Emblem, Taiji Tun by Michael P. Garofalo

Tai Chi & Taoism (lists movements of the Tai Chi form that take their names from the Big Dipper or its seven stars)

Taoist Nine Star Astrology (also linked above)

Tai Chi Symbol (Gin Soon Tai Chi Chuan Federation site)

Chinese Philosophy: Yin and Yang

I-Ching (Wikipedia article)

And if you’re ready to jump traditions and do even more exploring, check out this page of a much larger resource site:

ABORIGINAL STAR KNOWLEDGE: Native American Astronomy (also linked above)

Main site: NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN RESOURCES

Certainly the symbol is more likely to have originated from a simple observation of the heavens, without the aid of a telescope, than from anyone way back when conceptualizing a black hole. But I still like my observation that a theoretical journey into a black hole resembles this ancient symbol in some regards. The universe seems to repeat its basic patterns, and the spirals of galaxies we observe at great distance with sophisticated technology find their counterparts depicted on stone walls our ancestors decorated eons ago. Even though our cultures and philosophies took many different turns through the course of time, prehistoric humans everywhere started out with similar reverence for the natural world, and based our traditions on observations of the world and heavens around us.

Happy New Year!

File: — Barbara @ 3:58 pm PST, 12/31/07
August 19, 2007

Growth

“Be the change that you want to see in the world.”
— Mahatma Ghandi

Growth
Growth
9 x 12 watercolor collage (click on image for larger view)

This painting’s background sat in my file cabinet for over a year, a cast aside experiment. I reworked it a little, adding bits of blue, and I nearly threw it away. But I have trouble throwing anything away. This summer I found a fallen avocado leaf I’d saved from a young tree. Its stem, when dried, curled into a spiral on its own. At first the actual leaf was part of the collage, but it proved too fragile, so I settled on a painted one. The abstract leaves were also scraps I’d painted, thought I’d never use for anything, and almost threw away.

I’m such a packrat, I’m not sure it’s good for me to get so much satisfaction from using my discards this way. Maybe it would be better not to encourage my hoarding. But I can’t argue with the sense of effervescence and growth this gives me personally. Some clutter is worth saving.

In this world, growth begins in shadow. Incubation, gestation, germination, all take place out of sight. We shelter and protect our young. As we grow, it’s a relief to duck back into familiar shadows now and then, or to at least be aware of them still behind us, to honor their place in our lives, the impetus they provided for growth, as well as a resting place at each stage of growth. Our shadows are part of our whole, they add perspective and depth to our existence. They’re a refuge when sunlight blazes too brightly and radiates summer’s heat. It’s easy to burn out under too constant, too bright a light. The cool, darker reaches sustain us and remind us that night time will come again, that winter will roll around. Everything lives and dies according to its cycle. In growth, that cycle is a trailing spiral, ever working it’s way both outward and inward, branching out, taking root, opening, closing, curling, unfurling, expanding, contracting. We come to know ourselves by incrementally opening, coming to know every self in existence, and recognizing our tiny niche in the greater whole, by seeing how the whole constantly shifts and changes, and by constantly shifting and changing ourselves as integral parts of that whole.

Fear resists change, holds it back, cutting some parts off from the whole until they wither and die. Love — loving unconditionally, embracing the whole in all its diverse elements and forms, both light and shadow — is the key to unlocking resistance and letting growth happen. Love is water dripping or condensing on leaves, trickling down stems or falling in drops to penetrate to roots. Love is water rising in vapor and mist, transpiring, evaporating to moisten other life. Love is movement, pushing its way up and out, toward the sun, stretching toward nutrients, nurturing the self, flowering, fruiting, and nourishing others, leaving seed behind to repeat the cycle.

File: — Barbara @ 10:04 am PST, 08/19/07
April 3, 2007

Some thoughts on The Universe in a Single Atom

Just some thoughts I’ve had while in the middle of reading a book titled, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. It was written by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteeenth Dalai Lama, recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize and religious and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. It’s not the first book of his that I’ve read, but it may be the most difficult.

In this book the Dalai Lama explores parallels (and differences) between science and his religion, Buddhism. I particularly like how this religious leader is willing to adjust his beliefs according to what science has proven, rather than trying to twist science to fit his beliefs. At the same time he recognizes that science can’t tell us everything, and that one’s personal experience, observation, and intelligence are valid to take into account when determining what to believe. This book is deep, abstract, conceptual, and difficult reading for me because I have trouble wrapping my mind around concepts like relativity and superstring theory. Give me good old gravity. That I understand. Sort of.

It’s good reading, though, and especially good for me, in my non-scientific but more creative and spiritual nature. It gives me more of a handle on what science and belief have in common, as well as that overlapping territory in between and beyond, which we’re sometimes reluctant to face if we let our minds get too set in one pattern of thinking. I refer to the unknown, and our ability or inability to find peace with the fact that so much is still unknown. As knowledge changes, we must in all honesty be willing to take on the new known, adjust the old known, and change our view of possibility, just the way we change clothes with the seasons. It does no more good to believe faithfully in something disproved than to believe that because my coat kept me safe and warm in winter it’s a good idea to wear it on the hottest day of the year. This book is also careful to point out that just because something isn’t proven, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Disproof and lack of proof are two different things.

I’m also reminded by the implications of this book, of a documentary about Alaskan fisheries that was part of the Nature series on PBS. The closure of pollock fisheries several years ago was intended to protect the environment. Later, scientists came to realize that the herring declined even more rapidly once pollock was protected. Herring was found to be a more important source of critical nutrients for marine life than was previously known — a better source than pollock, which constituted a veritable junk food in comparison. Endangered Steller sea lions were forced to fall back even more on pollock once it began to repopulate, while still hungering for their necessary herring.

Even well intentioned science can be a kind of religion, where people (not scientists perhaps, but people) hold too fast to discoveries and continue to defend them, when a wider-angle view is needed, or it’s time to move forward because more is known. When we combine with that the intransigence of government that causes regulations to lag behind each new discovery, we can see that clinging to any beliefs, scientific or religious, can have disastrous effects. One must wonder, for instance, about future effects of genetically modified crops, and the fact that there may soon be only one company supplying most farmers in the world with their seed — much of that genetically modified. How many people’s quality of life could be salvaged by stem-cell research? By more research into natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs or surgery? If we can be wrong about sea lions, pollock, and herring, what else might science be wrong about, or simply not yet know? What might religion be wrong about that’s holding its followers, and possibly whole cultures and governments, back? Are bio-fuels better for the environment than fossil fuels, or do they harm the environment just as much in their production, and at the same time threaten world food supplies and distract us from finding or developing more viable energy solutions? What good is knowing how to do something if one doesn’t also know when or if it should be done?

I’ve rambled on. The main lesson I’ve gotten so far from this book is that no source of knowledge or wisdom is sacrosanct, that there are few known absolute truths, and that flexibility and a healthy skepticism are necessary in all areas of study. It’s important to believe that we can do better, that we can know more, that we can think for ourselves, that we can take better care of the planet and each other. It’s also important along the way to acknowledge our limits and exercise humility regarding what we don’t know. What we don’t know may be the biggest vacuum in the universe.

File: — Barbara @ 7:48 pm PST, 04/03/07
January 4, 2007

Journals, past present future

Turtleheart asked in “Journaling Stuff” (link no longer active):

“Do you regularly keep any kind of personal journal, online or off? What works best for you?”

I started out journaling on looseleaf notebook paper, as a girl. Sometimes I bought colored paper or a spiral notebook for a change. Later I collected bound blank books to journal in, but I feel freer handwriting on plain lined yellow pads, because I don’t care if I scratch out or mess them up. (more…)

File: — Barbara @ 3:59 pm PST, 01/04/07
October 22, 2006

Need and greed

I’ve been keeping an eye on my greed recently, my attachment to the material world that pulls me in and makes me desire something.

We live in a world where one is considered just a little insane if one doesn’t value the material, the necessity for money that we call practicality. There are degrees of practicality, though. There’s survival. We do need to ensure we have what we need, and if we love our family and friends, we want to see their needs met as well. We value responsibility, honesty, the abililty to take on debt responsibly and pay what we owe.

But there’s a point beyond survival, making ends meet, and responsibility — even beyond having a pleasant, reasonably comfortable existence. There’s a point at which what one person desires and thinks he’s entitled to is more important to him than what others need. That’s the greed zone. It’s alarmingly easy to slide into.

I’ve always been one of those impractical types, an artsy, dreamy, non-money-oriented kind of person. Adult necessity forced me to seek money. It was simply a gross requirement forced on me by growing up. I never saw myself as greedy. Thrifty, perhaps, because my mom tended to consider waste of food or things or money a near-capital offense.

But I have other forms of greed besides a desire for money. I still want the things money can buy. A larger house, nicer clothes, a new car, a vacation, a new sofa, and so on and so forth. It’s just that the business world never appealed to me that much, even when I was part of it, so I tended to reject the notion of money. But things, oh how I love my things, and those things I don’t have that I’d like to have. This easily becomes an obsession, wanting things I don’t have and, once I have them, a kind of ennui or boredom sets in that leads to wanting the next things on my list. It’s a kind of hunger, never satisfied, and the more I feed it the more it grows.

But I’ve been recently working on distancing myself a little so I can look at this more objectively. I’m attempting to be more aware of my greed quotient these days, to find a balance between need and greed, and to turn those more lustful greedy desires into self-love, compassion, and creative action.

In this I feel like an infant. I have a long ways to go.

But think about it. Where do you draw the line between your need and your greed? And when you think you must have some thing, what is it you really long for? Will that thing really provide it? Do you need it, or do you want it, or is your desire for it a sign of a deeper hunger, maybe even a deeper boredom? Once you have it, will you grow tired of it and set it aside, or wish you hadn’t wasted hard-earned money or effort on obtaining it? Will it disappoint you with its unfulfilled promise? This applies to food, too, I’ve found. Will I wish I hadn’t eaten it?

My new, yet ancient, watch words: Be careful what you wish for.

File: — Barbara @ 11:53 am PST, 10/22/06
October 13, 2006

Coping

I think there is a certain amount of unavoidable grief in every life that we simply have to learn to find ways to live with and still function. Not every illness is treatable, some of us have to put up with pain, and we inevitably lose some people we love. The older we get the more of this we endure. For me, a certain amount of spiritual and philosophical focus is the answer. A faith and surrender that allows me to see that this is simply how things are, and to make the best of it. I’m much more selective, as I near 50, about what I allow myself to dwell on. If I can’t change it, I refuse to worry about it. If I can do something, but not enough, I do what I can and leave the rest to a higher power. If I can do so intelligently, I write or talk about the things we can change and encourage others to do something. That communication increases my range as far as ability to do something. But it’s important to let go of the outcome, leave it to God/dess, and not be arrogrant enough to think that I can ever change everything, or even that I should be allowed to if I could.

File: — Barbara @ 3:53 pm PST, 10/13/06
July 27, 2006

Barack Obama: religious divide or a great manipulation?

I’m finally sorting out my thoughts about the speech Senator Barack Obama gave, weeks ago, in which he talked about religion and politics. First I think it’s important to put the speech in context. That’s where some people seem to have a disconnect in their criticism of what he said. I did, too, when I first read about it, and I declined to read it. I’ve only since learned where he gave his speech. The occasion was Call to Renewal’s (whose stated purpose is, “A faith-based movement to overcome poverty”) Pentecost 2006: Building a Covenant for a New America. Senator Obama gave the a keynote address at the conference held in Washington, D. C., on Wednesday, June 28th, 2006. (more…)

File: — Barbara @ 6:07 pm PST, 07/27/06
December 27, 2005

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, by Jean-Yves Leloup

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is a translation of the Gospel of Mary from Coptic, with commentary, by Jean-Yves Leloup (English translation and notes by Joseph Rowe).

The existence of the Gospel of Mary was brought to light in Cairo in 1896. Some fifty years later, what are now known as the gnostic gospels were discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Jean-Yves Leloup provides here a fascinating interpretation and commentary of the Gospel of Mary, with a few rewarding diversions into other texts, including some surprising revelations, and his alternate translation of excerpts from other gospels. At the heart of this work is what amounts to a map of human spiritual potential, the essence of Jesus’s goal as found in the Gospel of Mary, presented as a way of guiding those who would follow, to become fully human. (more…)

File: — Barbara @ 11:16 am PST, 12/27/05
June 5, 2005

New moon

I haven’t been paying as much attention to the moon as I usually do. Then today I found myself having a bit of a down day, quiet, introspective, but with a very busy mind. I realized the moon is turning today—rather tomorrow—ending its waning and getting ready to grow in the sky. No wonder I’ve been in my own darker corners, cogitating and gestating ideas but not getting a whole lot done.

Do you track the moon through its phases and the signs of the zodiac? Do you celebrate the new or full moon, or both? How does the moon affect you? Are you aware of your inner tides?

File: — Barbara @ 4:29 pm PST, 06/05/05
May 7, 2005

Prayer beads

I was reminded of the following quote by Mohandas Ghandi, during an online discussion of the use of prayer beads–a discussion prompted by someone who wasn’t Catholic but decided to use a rosary after reading John Edward’s Practical Praying: Using The Rosary To Enhance Your Life. Not only can one conversation lead to another, one person’s practice can lead to another’s. The use of prayer beads spans many religious faiths. (more…)

File: — Barbara @ 6:47 pm PST, 05/07/05
April 30, 2005

What I believe

Or at least what Belief-O-Matic says about what I believe:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (92%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (92%)
4. Mahayana Buddhism (89%)
5. Neo-Pagan (87%) (more…)

File: — Barbara @ 5:10 pm PST, 04/30/05
March 27, 2005

Easter

I like the colors, symbols, and all the religious and spiritual connections. I think rabbits must be a personal totem of mine, because although I’m allergic to them, they fascinate and attract me. I’m like Alice wanting to follow the white rabbit down the hole (a shamanic idea if ever there was one).

Easter by any name truly is a celebration of life and continuation, and it feeds my Spring Fever. I wish people wouldn’t care so much about which religion “owns” any holiday. I think we all own them all.

File: — Barbara @ 4:01 pm PST, 03/27/05

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