November 28, 2010 by Bill
We are buried this time of year in mythology, legend, folklore and “old wives tales.” We are overwhelmed with the so-called “miracles” of a virgin giving birth… stars in the East… three “wise” men… stables with donkeys… and many other mythological “formulas” that the religiously illiterate know nothing about.
How many hundreds of times have we been told that Christmas celebrates the origin of Christianity. This, of course, is false. Christmas was around for thousands of years before Jesus was ever born. The Winter Solstice (December 22 to 25) has been the most special time of the year and the most important date in human celebration. The sun has started its long journey home bringing with it Springtime.
No wonder that the birth of the gods in almost all religious traditions were said to have taken place during the winter solstice. In 350 A.D., Pope Julius I decreed that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the same date as all the other solstice sun gods, December 25. Other major birthdays celebrated on December 25 included those of the gods Marduk… Osiris… Horus… Isis… Mithra… Saturn… Sol… Apollo… Serapis… and Hutzilopochli, among many others.
Christmas started at the formation of our solar system with our little planet, the third one out from a minor star named Sol, spinning on an axis that is tilted at a slight angle to its orbital path around the sun.
So, these so-called “miracles” as they are called by the devout and naïve are common universal mythological themes.
But there ARE “miracles” that are grounded in reality, “miracles” that surround us and move us to joy in our everyday life… miracles that are greater and more profound than any so-called “miracle” found in mythology, legend, and folklore.
Miracles that have never been written in such eloquent language as those found in Walt Whitman’s classic Leaves of Grass. I have lost count of the times I have read this to groups and organizations. Read more
November 21, 2010 by Bill
Traditional, orthodox and institutional religion is coming to the end of a 2,000-year cycle. There is a resurrection taking place: a resurrection of spirit (spirituality) from the tomb of this monopolistic and monomaniacal structure.
It is important to note here that Christianity, when compared to the historical lineage of religious beliefs, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Anthropologists and religious historians estimate that in the last 150,000 years, since Neanderthal times, there have been at least 100,000 distinctly different religious traditions. Religions do not just pop into existence, but are a spin-off from preceding cultures and they borrow, steal and plagiarize from the preceding cultures and reuse the material to suit their own purposes. Scholars know today that nothing in modern Christianity is historical or biographical, but is legend and folklore based on religions that were here 1,000 years or more before Jesus.
For 2,000 years, the authoritative and dogmatic Christian church has supported conquest, materialism, exploitation, the rape of the Earth, hierarchy, political tyrannies, the demeaning of the sacred rituals and beliefs of primal peoples and our Native Americans, and the degradation of women. This “phallic imperialism” of the past 2,000 years is coming to an end. The institutional church has been, and is, a human political construction that is now in the throes of its own Ghost Dance. The resurrection of the “spirit” from this dying monolith will turn out to be one of the most significant events in the history of civilization. Millions are moving away from the dead forms and defunct symbols of the dogmas and doctrines of orthodoxy to the beauty of direct experience.
Leading this resurrection of spirituality out of the tombs of this establishment are the women and men who are rediscovering their orientation to the divine principle of the Goddess, this divine Goddess that we call Earth. This resurrection movement begins with a reaffirmation of the Earth as a living, breathing entity: Gaia, mother Earth, the Sacred Goddess, as the Greeks called her; Maka Wakan, the Sacred Earth, as the Native American Sioux thought of her. From the soil of this basic premise will flower the birth of spirit, a new consciousness, that includes, combines and makes whole as ONE, everything that is a part of this sacred Goddess; every four-legged and two-legged animal; every winged one of the sky and fish of the sea; every grass of a showery summer and flower of a rainy spring; every grain of sand and drop of water, every rock, mineral and crystal; every leaf, bud and snowflake. All is ONE and all is divine and all offer thanksgiving to our great Mother Goddess, Earth, for her support and sustenance. A new consciousness, not any theological “belief,” is at the heart of this resurrection of spirituality. Read more
November 14, 2010 by Bill
From the Battle of the Bulge to Iwo Jima, the gift they gave to us and to our nation, has never been more eloquently expressed than by the poet Stephen Vincent Benet:
“There are certain words, our own and others we’re used to; words we’ve used…heard…had to recite…forgotten…rubbed shiny in the pocket, left home for keepsakes…inherited…stuck away in a back drawer…in the locked trunk…at the back of a quiet mind. Liberty…Equality…Freedom. To none will we sell, refuse, or deny right or justice. We hold these truths to be self-evident. I am merely saying, what if these words pass? What if they pass and are gone and are no more? It took a long time to buy these words. It took a long time to buy them and much blood and much pain.”
There is not a privilege, nor an opportunity that modern society offers that has not been paid for by another person’s blood. We live by liberties that others won and died for. We are protected by a Constitution and Bill of Rights that others wrote and created and others died to protect. We live daily, in every area of our lives, on the interest of the principle that has been paid.
LIBERTY. EQUALITY. FREEDOM. It took much blood, and much pain, to protect these words, and last week we celebrated the lives of those who put their blood and pain on the line to make sure that those words and ideas survived in these United States. There were gala celebrations all across this nation on Veteran’s day and the Marine Corps birthday.
On my computer, I printed out 18 pages of gift offers to veterans, from department stores to plush and prime eating restaurants, to bistros and entertainment parks for Veteran’s Day on Thursday.
The genius of Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks has made it possible for the public to taste the “blood and pain” of those who gave us the gift of freedom. The movie is The Pacific. It is a masterpiece, in 6 DVD disks, available at Amazon and Costco. The New York Times called it a “monumental work of film and history.” It follows the Marines through the Pacific, from bloody island to bloody island, with 25,000 being killed on Iwo Jima. Peleliu, as one general said, was one of the most vicious battles in the history of the Marine Corps, making Iraq and Afghanistan pale by comparison. Read more