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Week of July 30th, 2020

You Are Loved, More than You Realize

UNCONDITIONAL, by Jennifer Welwood

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;

Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me.
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-­like essence.

I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is pure delight,
To honor its form -- true devotion.

- by psychotherapist Jennifer Welwood

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"Every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being."

—Robert Anton Wilson

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Last week I celebrated the feast day of my beloved heroine, Mary Magdalene. I wrote about her extensively in my book The Televisionary Oracle. Here's a passage from the book:

Mary Magdalene was the visionary consort of Jesus Christ. Not a penitent prostitute, as the Christian church later distorted her in an attempt to undermine the radical implications of their divine marriage. Not an obeisant groupie who mindlessly surrendered her will to the man-god.

On the contrary. Magdalene was Christ's partner, his equal. More than that, she was his joker, his wild card: his secret weapon. They worshiped the divine in each other. So say the ancient texts of our mystery school.

But you need not believe the secret texts to guess the truth. Even the manual of the Christian church itself, as scoured of the truth as it is, strongly hints at Magdalene's majesty.

While all the male disciples disappeared during the crucifixion, she was there with Christ. While the twelve male disciples were cowering in defeated chaos, she was the first to find the empty tomb. Jesus appeared to her first after his resurrection; she was the first to be called by him to the mission of apostle.

The Gnostic texts from Nag Hammadi, discovered in 1947, reveal even more of their relationship, which violated all the social norms of their time. She was a confidante, a lover, an Apostle above all the other Apostles.

Jesus called her the "Woman Who Knew the All," and said she would rule in the coming Kingdom of Light. Even an early Christian father, Origen, helped propagate these truths, calling her immortal, and maintaining that she had lived since the beginning of time.

From the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:

When you make the two one, and when you make
the inside like the outside and the outside
like the inside, and the above like the below
and the below like the above, and when you make
the male like the female and the female like the
male, then you will enter the Kingdom.

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Personal - by Tony Hoagland:

"Don’t take it personal," they said;
but I did, I took it all quite personal—

the breeze and the river and the color of the fields;
the price of grapefruit and stamps,

the wet hair of women in the rain—
And I cursed what hurt me

and I praised what gave me joy,
the most simple-minded of possible responses.

The government reminded me of my father,
with its deafness and its laws,

and the weather reminded me of my mom,
with her tropical squalls.

"Enjoy it while you can," they said of Happiness
"Think first," they said of Talk

"Get over it," they said
at the School of Broken Hearts

but I couldn’t and I didn’t and I don’t
believe in the clean break;

I believe in the compound fracture
served with a sauce of dirty regret,

I believe in saying it all
and taking it all back

and saying it again for good measure
while the air fills up with "I’m-Sorries"

like wheeling birds
and the trees look seasick in the wind.

Oh life! Can you blame me
for making a scene?

You were that yellow caboose, the moon
disappearing over a ridge of cloud.

I was the dog, chained in some fool’s backyard;
barking and barking:

trying to convince everything else
to take it personal too.

—Tony Hoagland

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I'm not a major fan of occultist Aleister Crowley, but I appreciate some of his ideas. His definition of magic is pure and true: "the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with will."

He wasn't simply referring to the esoteric transformations attempted by wizards and witches wielding spells and conjurations. He meant anyone who seeks to make practical shifts in his or her life.

Let's say you grew up conditioned to feel shame about behavior there's no good reason to feel shame about, and you resolve to do whatever it takes to dissolve that shame, and you succeed in doing it. That's magic.

Or maybe you no longer want to attract bad listeners and flaky collaborators into your sphere, and you promise yourself you will alter that pattern, and you ultimately achieve your goal. That's magic, too.

One other example: You decide you want to be a skilled songwriter, and spend years learning to play an instrument, analyzing the songs you love in order to understand how they're constructed, and cultivating your creativity. That's magic at work.

I invite you to offer an example or two of your own magic skills.

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I consulted my spirit guides to ask if i should give a f*#%. They said, "Hell, yes."


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On his recent TV show, John Oliver turned his attention to police brutality against protesters who oppose police brutality. He explained how white supremacy is baked into local law enforcement, whose roots involve returning runaways to slavery.

Today, police officers armed with billion-dollar budgets and military-grade weaponry are not only trained to believe that they are at war with the people they’re meant to protect, but they’re also tasked with what Oliver described as a “massive array of complicated duties that they aren’t equipped to handle, making them very much the Jared Kushners of local officials.”

He further described the obstacles to law enforcement reform, like qualified immunity and police unions.


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"Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds."
—George Santayana

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Fairy tale: A mass psychosis grips the land, as millions of broken souls channel their inner Mad King. They are inflamed by the actual Mad King, who regularly splatters toxic drivel and delivers delusional decrees that poison the dreams of his subjects.

Does the Mad King intend to spread literal death and destruction? Is it his conscious purpose to maim his victims' love of life? Only the trickster gods know.

The disintegration can't go on forever. Once upon a future time, it will collapse in a crash of chaos.

Those who aren't under his berserk spell—and there are many—are already rebuilding amidst the ever-growing ruins.

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Song lyrics by Mary Gauthier:

We all could use a little mercy now
I know we don't deserve it but we need it anyhow
We hang in the balance dangled
between hell and hallowed ground

And every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now
Every single one of us could use some mercy now

Hear the whole song

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"Aren't we privileged to live in a time when everything is at stake, and when our efforts make a difference in the eternal contest between the forces of light and shadow, between togetherness and division, between justice and exploitation? Oh, be joyful that you are a warrior in this great time!

"Will we rise to this battle? If so, we cannot lose, for rising up to it is our victory. If we represent love in the world, you see, we have already won."

—Doris "Granny D" Haddock, political activist

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Looks like we'll be needing to take precautions for a while. So I decided to spice up my sacred duty with some accessories. See the photo here.

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Lindsay Kolasa writes: "Let's not forget that people are crossing over right now. Some of them are scared. Some of them are lonely. Some of them have had a really hard life. Some of them have been the recipient of a lot of cultural/environmental toxicity. Even in their final moments, some were not even treated or cared for properly.

"Center yourself. Light a candle. Ask for their guides, their angels, their benevolent beings, and their ancestors to be with them and protect them as they cross over. May they cross over safely. May their souls not become stuck in this world. Envision them in a safe place, full of light.

"When you are done, thank their guides and all you called in and say that you are complete. Then, blow out your candle.

"Then, as the smoke rises from the wick of the blown out candle, dream of the world you want to see. Just start with a few things...and imagine what it looks like...what it feels like.... Imagine yourself standing in that world.

"This is something we all can do."

The author of this ritual, Lindsay Kolasa, is here.

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In Joseph Campbell's vision of myth, the hero is typically a solitary adventurer, usually a man, who renounces intimate companionship to pursue his glorious, arduous quest. Along the way, sporadic assistance may arrive from an ineffable muse or deity.

There are alternative scenarios for the hero's journey, although Campbell underplayed them. In the Tantric tradition, for instance, a seeker's connection with a beloved human companion is essential to his or her spiritual inquiry. Some practitioners of Taoist alchemy take a similar approach.

Among early Gnostic Christians, a few proposed that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were equal collaborators in the mission to manifest heaven on earth. Sufi mystic poet Rumi may not have actually made love with his teacher Shams (then again, he might have), but it's clear the two men sought divine communion together, not through lonely solo work.

Under the influence of Westernized Buddhism, some modern psychotherapists have also departed from Campbell's perspective. The quest for illumination, they say, can thrive on the daily challenges of loving and living with an actual person. In John Welwood's book Love and Awakening: Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship, he re­imagines a close bond as potentially an "alliance of warriors" devoted to awakening each other's "holy longing."

What a revolutionary proposal! That the heroic power to accomplish miracles and attract epiphanies might stem not only from a rugged individual drawing from his or her independent strength, but also from a synergistic duo whose interdependence generates transcendent transformation.

In the view of Zen teacher Joshu Sasaki, a solitary contemplative life may not be the most promising discipline for those seeking enlightenment. He writes, "The best monastery for Americans might in fact be marriage."

The scholar Megan Rose Woolever provides a further nuance. Drawing on extensive historical research from various cultures, she suggests that the heroic journey has been and can be the collaborative adventure of a human and an otherworldly being who are joined together in a "spirit marriage." Together, they draw on the power of both the physical realm and astral realm as they navigate the challenges of the Great Mystery.

In Wiccan practice, a witch's "familiar," or supernatural guide, might take the form of a cat or other animal. The help provided by the creature might be indispensable to the witch's magical experiments.

The television show Sense8 extends the concept of the hero's journey even beyond all the above modes. Although its story is technically science fiction, it offers an intriguing possibility: that as many as eight people might be so telepathically bonded, so overlapping in their identities, that they in effect constitute a group soul working together to master the art of love—which is, of course, the righteous agenda behind all striving for peace and understanding.

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The language we use shapes our lives. Here are some words I use to help to reconfigure mine:

vorfreude: (n.) the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures

numinous: (adj.) describing an experience that makes you overwhelmed yet fascinated, awed yet attracted -- the powerful, personal feeling of being viscerally inspired

ostranenie: (n.) encouraging people to see common things as strange, wild, or unfamiliar; defamiliarizing what is known in order to know it differently or more deeply

smultronställe: (n.) lit. "place of wild strawberries"; a special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress or sadness

rasasvada: (n.) the taste of bliss in the absence of all thoughts

firgun: (n.) the act of sharing in or even contributing to someone else's pleasure or fortune, with a purely generous heart and without jealousy

namascray: (n.) The crazy in me recognizes and honors the crazy in you.

"Vorfreude" is a German word.
"Numinous" is English.
"Ostranenie" is Russian.
"Smultronställe" is Swedish.
"Rasasvada" is Sanskrit.
"Firgun" is Hebrew.

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