I felt compelled to drag myself to mass today. Not that unusual – I go fairly frequently. I called Mum on the way (a 20 minute drive across town) going to the church where we had been together because the priest delivers such great sermons….
I was at home this time last week, chatting with Mum and Dad, discussing the Skinny Buddha Yoga Retreat I had recently been on, telling them about the meditations.
My Dad (and I) could be described as eccentric, blunt, wild, reckless and paradoxical; or hypocritical! Dad has a big interest in miracles, apparitions and spiritual phenomena related to the church. My particular madness is more astrological.
His latest article that we “must read” was about a neurosurgeon who had a near death experience and now lectures on the afterlife, he’s written a book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Proof-Heaven-Neurosurgeons-Journey-Afterlife/dp/0749958790 This lead to a discussion of the soul, heaven and hell… usual light-hearted Sunday evening conversations! This related to the meditation workshop because my understanding of the soul comes from a Christian position and so I had trouble letting go of the concept of a unique soul.
The mediation workshop (courtesy of www.henckled.com) explained our existence… anything we are aware of, is not ‘us’ we are not our body, or mind, or character or all the things we want to me… If you are STILL and meditate, we are just consciousness. Here. Now. Peace. Always been the same, always will be the same. This can be called our bliss… or the “I AM.”
We were taught that our consciousness is the same, that we are all the same, identical, The ‘I am’ is the universe within us, and we are all one. I struggled with that as a concept, because I believe in unique souls. Some people in the group tried to explain to me that we are all made of the same things, so it may not be identical, but the ingredients are the same because we are all energy.
Anyway, I was pondering how evil comes to be and Mum said the devil exists. Something I never really think about. Ironically, today, 7 days later, the sermon was about the devil, evil and about Mark’s Gospel opening with an exorcism.
WHAT ON EARTH ARE BAD SPIRITS? Where do they come from? Why are they here? This is all quite topical with what Stephen Fry has been ranting about today.
The clairvoyant I met last year said spirits are souls that for whatever reason haven’t moved through to ‘the light.’ She told me that we have spirit guides assigned to us and our soul in on a journey. Why they knock about down here….? Don’t know.
ANYWAY – I DIGRESS.
The priest went on to say that we are all open to evil, lots of people, “even some Catholics” are interested in the occult and open themselves up to the devil. Then he went on to criticise and attack astrology saying, how can “a ball of fire, an infinite amount of space away have an effect on life on earth? Yes the constellations may look like shapes in the sky and we can pretend that they influence our lives however, they are just constellations.”
He carried on.
“People ask me what my star sign is and I tell them, it is the cross, because I live my life in Christ. To think that people can predict the future with Tarot, or astrology or whatnot is to undermine God. We Christians must live by the Gospel and it is for this reason that Christians have never associated themselves with astrology.” Hang on a minute! Are you familiar with the nativity story?
This was all very strange as I was; right at the front of the church (am usually late and at the back), I thought that I deeply respected the power and authority with which this man spoke but I remained in firm disagreement with what he was saying. His words felt wrong and did not sit well with me. I wanted to formulate an argument and demonstrate why his dogmatic approach was flawed.
I don’t want to be considered atheist because I’m an astrologer.
I am a believer, I am an astrologer. I am a scientist and a theist. I believe in evolution. I believe in God. I believe that astrology offers truth about life on earth; I do not see why this is contrary to Christian belief. I understand that certain dog breeds are more aggressive than others so it is wise to keep them on the lead and approach with caution. This is not playing God, it is using experience, assessment and an obvious pattern to make a good decision. I know that a Gemini will talk and share for hours and that I should think twice about calling them if I don’t want to be on the phone for long. This is not the devil at work, it is science and the complex order of nature.
I have lots of points to make here; I may start with a list.
- Christianity celebrates the birth, life and death of Christ. The birth of Christ is acted out by children all over the world in nativity plays. The three wise men FOLLOWED A STAR to Bethlehem, they were astrologers. So please do not tell me that the church has never been interested in astrology, it starts with it. Cardinal Ratzinger claims that the moment of Christ’s birth marked the end of Astrology… sounds like idealistic, simplistic, and fudging of the facts.
- Many Christians have been involved with astrology. Just some Popes who taught, published and practiced astrology were; Sylvester II, Sixtus IV, Urban VIII, Julius II, Leo X and Paul III. So I find it odd that my priest can claim that Christians have never involved themselves with astrology.
- As the priest sat there so FULL of self-righteous opinion and food I thought you are a Leo, or an Aquarius not following your destiny. Not sure how I’ll get an answer.
- Religion: Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism. I respect them all and it is INCONCIEVABLE to me that one of these religions is correct and the others are wrong. All the doctrine and human aspect of religion is endlessly flawed. I respect religion; I love the ritual, the guidelines, the wisdom and the insight. However, listening to a priest I admire and respect… but who clearly has decided that astrology is nonsense without looking at the patterns demonstrated the flaws in religion very clearly. He was angry and it’s this self-righteous, opinionated and ill-informed position within religious settings that create problems. I was moved by the potential for disaster when someone in a position of influence maintains a position of ignorance. It was archaic, or at least that’s what I had thought.
- Free Will and Determinism. The great debate.
- For God to be God he has to be omnipotent (all powerful)
- For God to be God be must be omniscient (all knowing)
- We must be free to love God, without freedom we cannot love (we must be free if we are to love)
- We are free, so God is not omnipotent or omniscient… and if we are evil, he allows it?
- I always liked the idea that we are free, BUT that there is some form of destiny mapped into us. I like the idea of purpose and I don’t see why an omniscient and omnipotent deity cannot know what we will freely do.
- I liked the idea that destiny and freedom are entwined in a way that we cannot conceive. None of us know where or why we are going, however we do have a potential to aspire to. I believe that we all have the potential to grow and push ourselves to be everything that we can be. I believe that astrology offers clues as to who we are and all that we can be, it also gives us clues to our weaknesses and enables us to improve, grow and meet challenges.
So here’s the thing. I know that scores of people reject God and Astrology and sit proudly in their scientific seat. I know that there are those who reject God and religion but are spiritually inclined and love Astrology, Tarot, Clairvoyance etc…. There are of course theists, religious people who are fearful and closed to any spirituality as this is the work of evil.
Then there are open minded people of faith.
I think culture has a lot to answer for in shaping religion. Humanity and it’s endless flaws mean that the wisdom of religion has been diluted and distorted.
The wisdom of astrology is accepted and rejected by cultures overtime. I am a BIG fan of the ancients having studied Aristotle to degree level and yet never realising that he was also an astrologer. However, I LOVED the philosophy and the truth and wisdom it offered. It makes perfect sense that the Ancient Greeks had their eyes open to astrology because they seem to have had their eyes open to so many truths… that were subsequently washed away. The Renaissance, another period of time that was full of artistic glory, intellectual successes and progress was a time full of astrology.
Today – there is a preoccupation with material wealth and activity. However, in the past few years there has been a move towards yoga, energy, spirituality and the other. I hope we can use the wisdom of the universe that is available to us. I hope that people become unafraid and willing to accept that the energy of our solar system has repercussions for life on earth. It is not determinism, it is not witchcraft. it’s just symbiosis of nature that unfolds as our lives unfold.
We do not have the answers, we don’t know why we are here or what the big picture is but there is abundant wisdom out there to help guide our journey… and I don’t think we have to pick one. The world is ours to learn from and grow.