Eternity III

We all each go through every day not knowing what it will bring. This is because we are each finite individuals with limited means of perception, unable to know what we can’t perceive with our five senses. Obviously, we have various means of technology that allow us to see the incredibly small or measure the most minute or grand of quantities. But we still cannot see within the minds of another individual, save perhaps CT scans and brain probes. Nor can we see into the future.

Not knowing is the supreme problem of our finite consciousnesses. Knowing all would be the supreme problem of an infinite consciousness.

Imagine creating a universe within your mind that is as real as all that you are perceiving now. How would you make it? Would you have all that you wanted – love, health, and wealth? You’ve probably had these such of dreams while sleeping.

What seems to be days (or even longer stretches of time) can pass in dreams. Its as if our brains are running faster than reality, creating their own bubble universes off of our waking one.

Imagine your brain were even more powerful than it currently is and could make those dreams reality. Days, weeks, months, years, and eons could pass by, and you’d have the power to fulfill all your wishes. You would have everything to the point of wanting nothing. They would cancel each other out, and a state that could be described as boredom might arise.

Ultimately, not knowing is the supreme problem of consciousness, but its also the primarily solution. If we knew exactly what were to happen in every way, having all power and ability to receive everything that we wanted, we would grow bored. Perhaps, if we had the ability to attain anything we wanted, we would divide ourselves into separate consciousnesses to deal with an eternal existence of knowing everything.

This is what I believe is the meaning of life. We are all one Consciousness, one Being (known to some as God) that are beyond any sort of duality in the ideal ultimate ‘Oneness’ that is beyond. Everything that we see is one with us and a part of the dream. It all began with the ‘Big Bang’ – the primordial, eternal Oneness ‘booting up’ an entire universal program in order to spend eternity ‘productively’.

This eternal, primordial oneness is ‘being and becoming’ – its cyclical with both beginning and end existing within every moment, in a timeless eternal present.

We tap into it when we see patterns, the same pattern states within every sentence or action. We perceive it when we find truth – not the entire truth, but small sections of it – within some sort of communication between two consciousnesses.

Children are perhaps closer to that primordial Oneness, in the sense that they lack concepts in language that divide their selves from the rest of existence. Children obviously are extremely curious, and as they develop, they acquire more and more symbols and connotations associated with things.

Essentially, a young human develops their ego by learning symbols and connotations associated with their perceptions that allow it to become a singular self. Theoretically, this singular self will succeed in life, passing on its genetic and cultural legacy. But the threat of loss and death is what drives human consciousness to find its oneness with reality.

With death, this arrangement of stardust animated by sunlight ceases to run, and the consciousness returns back to the oneness of dissipated molecules and simpler energetic processes.

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Eternity II

They say that nature is full of fractals.

Wikipedia defines a fractal as:

“…a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale.”

Make a few Google searches of ‘the fractal nature of the universe’ or any other description of this idea, and you will come across a variety of images comparing brain cells with a simulated image of the expansion of the universe. Look at images of rivers, lightning, nerves, or the branches and roots of a tree. Lines of descent in regards to family and evolution. Fractal patterns everywhere.

What if one contemplated all the actions originating from that primal first cause? It would be fractal, like the branches of a tree.

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What if each of these branches is a ‘conscious’ decision? Essentially the idea I’ve worked out in previous posts.

Possibly certain ‘consciousnesses’ lower than the supreme primordial/eternal consciousness are aware of whole lines of actions/reactions involving certain collections of molecules. These ‘consciousnesses’ could be called ‘gods’ or ‘angels’.

This fractal relationship of consciousness could be a fanciful way to explain the ties between family and friends, or those who meet each other and have intense connections. This would be the bond between people who are ‘branches of the same tree’, speaking the same language or remembering the same memories. Connections where communication is most clear.

What if this fractal, branching view of reality could be used to explain language, song, or stories? The ‘primordial’ and ‘eternal’ could be latent within all modes of symbolic thought. Archetypes within stories, sentences, and songs could possibly all be boiled down to one ‘word’ – the eternal, unknowable, and unspeakable word. It would be pure Being itself – a symbol that means all things and nothing, beyond the concepts of duality.  Because our minds are within existence,  we can’t perceive the meaning of anything higher than it.

Eternity I

A few months ago, I was asked to define ‘the eternal’ or ‘the primordial’. Of course, being in an almost overwhelming state of romantic feelings spurred quite the answer in me.

I feel that ‘the eternal’ and ‘the primordial’ are things that people get close to during certain sorts of mental states, chiefly the state of love. I would also say that it is often touched during other moments of intense feeling such as sexual union, strife, birth, and death and it ultimately is where the line between the ‘self’ and the ‘other’ is dissolved.

It seems as though all religions give the basic idea that humanity – being finite beings amidst a seemingly infinite state of Being – crave union with that omnipresent state. To be conscious is to chase infinity – to reunite with the One. Perhaps any equalization of pressures or forces, whether they be electrical, aqueous, gaseous, or even gravity itself – is merely a pull towards unified non-duality.
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I would say then that ‘the eternal’ or ‘the primordial’ is primarily the unification of consciousness. It is the self realizing it is one with the Other, the state of emotion where concepts such as fate are real. “I and this Other are one, and the path between I and It has been there since the beginning.”  It is the equalization of water pressures and gas concentrations, as well as the attraction of comets being pulled in towards stars – all being pulled into a singular Oneness.

This is why I think ‘the eternal’ or ‘the primordial’ is most present in ideal romantic love, particularly between two consciousnesses that feel a ‘soul mate’ connection. It is like an impermanent death – being in the arms of your beloved, gazing down into their eyes as if you’re staring into the eyes of God.

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Perhaps its feeling a brief union with that Consciousness that is aware of all other consciousness. Perhaps that spark of divine Being that is within us all knowingly chooses to forget its unity with the rest of creation. Perhaps when it realizes this – at the moment of death, or the final equalization of an energy exchange –  it feels an immense boredom.

Imagine existing as eternity as one omniscient and all-powerful consciousness that can see down every line of cause and effect. The one state of being before the beginning of Time, before the beginning of change – before that oneness turned into two.  Perhaps division was a destined action, and the desire for unity is present within all actions.

 

Oroboros

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Within one Word, there is all meaning, yet there is also none at all. That one Word is all and any Word – yet there exists one Unknowable Word that has these exact traits. One can hear it within any sentence and every song, for its all the one Word, the one Sentence, and the One Story. As it is known to me, it is what the ancient Northmen called Ginnungagap – the yawning void, an Oroboros of being and non-being.

Within that Unknowable Word, that Yawning Void, lies the shining shapes present within Mimirs Well. These are known to me, as what they were called by the ancients – Runes – each one separate and distinct but part of a single Whole. Each Rune having its own Essence and Meaning.

The great god Odin, (whose ravens are known as Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory) primordial shaman and ever present wanderer over the liminal boundary between this World (Dumnos) and the Other (Andumnos) as well as the Nine whole worlds that exist within the realm of Life and Death, was the first being to ever realize and grasp ahold of these Runes. Hanging upon the great World Tree, Yggdrasil, Odin had pierced his side with his Spear Gungnir, and while he suffered for nine days and nine icy nights, he finally died and realized the Runes.

Runes – in their limited number and limited meanings – divide existence into more comprehensible parts. The letters I now use to form words, the sounds they make when spoken; each sound having its own sense that to which we attach meaning. This dual nature of existence – that its both void and all – cannot be comprehended without symbols for our consciousness to grasp hold of, dividing the All into the Many. This is both the problem and solution to consciousness – we are all separate individual consciousnesses on one level but ultimately one entire consciousness on another. We need symbols to be able to bridge the gap between our consciousnesses and when two consciousnesses are on the ‘same page’ a micro-version of unity with the primordial is found.

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We – as consciousness – are Time. A single point in the universe can only perceive itself. A line can perceive itself, and the single points below it.

A sphere can perceive the lines and points that make it – yet none of these points, lines, or spheres can perceive change. They exist in the stagnant, ever present – Ginnungagap – the Yawning Void.

The initial blast that caused the universe to form – the exact beginning of Change – was the dawning of consciousness. Without one to perceive change, there can be no change. Without change, there is no Time. We – as consciousness – are Time?

Ecce Homo

It has been a long while since I last posted onto this blog, and that is something I intend to reverse. I’ve gone through many changes over the period of time since my last posting, and although my worldview may be different, the overall guiding virtues are the same.

Over the past twelve years, I’ve been somewhat of a seeker of truth. I’ve follow a path through the forest of this life, encountering many twists and turns that have brought me to my current point. Every day we each takes steps that bring us from who we once were to who we will become, yet those steps are often infinitesimally small and unperceivable in the perpetual present we seem to inhabit.  Its been called the ‘end of history’ illusion – we each believe we’ve achieved significant growth up to our current state, but can’t imagine our present perceptions or thoughts evolving much more in the future.

This ‘end of history’ illusion is something that seems to have enveloped my mind in the time since I finally acquired my bachelors degree. Due to my failures in a relationship I had held very dear, a combination of this illusion and depression clouded my mind to the hope that I and my life would change in any positive way. I was thoroughly set in my ways – I was an anarchic neo-pagan, clouded with disillusionment and the gloom-and-doom that seemed to permeate every thought I had. It was me against the world, and the world seemed to have already won.

Over time I began to spiral in onto myself in my thoughts. Having been raised and educated to question every piece of information I come across, I found myself questioning the very basis of my long held beliefs. ‘Why do I feel that neo-paganism was correct?’ and ‘Why do I advocate anarchism, or revolutionary thinking?’ were my primary questions. I had questioned authority for so long – but with the job I have worked in for the past year, I am authority. I finally realized how hard it is to control people, despite it being in their own best interest.

What I ultimately arrived at was that I had felt wronged by society, that I was a victim and an ‘other’. Throughout my formative years I had been bullied, and throughout my relationships I had been taken advantaged of. In hindsight I would call it a victim complex. I had blamed Western civilization, Christianity, and my own recent (as in the past 2000 years) ancestors for the problems I dealt with. “If only they hadn’t won…” I always thought.

But it started to change on me when I finally realized that my problem had always been with modern culture. I had always looked back through history and had wished I live in those times rather in these. What are my problems with modern culture? Its baselessness, its lack of ‘objective truth’ other than in a skewed sense of equality. I don’t deny science or the equal God-given rights to ever human, in any way – but I felt that religions, traditions, and cultural institutions of the past gave people more guidance for their everyday lives despite the fact those lives were much more rigid in freedom.

In my attempt to fight back at modern culture, I had always clung tightly to neo-paganism and a fantasy aesthetic, combined with a love of all things post-apocalyptic. I still feel as though climate change, dwindling resources, financial crises, and various  threats of violence may bring about a collapse of society, but my hope has been renewed in what I would consider the sphere of Western civilization. both within and outside it. Perhaps we are on the cusp of a new dark age –  instead of joining the barbarians at the gates, I would much rather be one of the men-at-arms defending it. This is why I have finally renounced the pagan gods for good, and accepted Christ and the Triune God.

 

 

 

One World, Many Myths

Indigenous peoples, or those human populations whose identity, sustenance, and well being often are directly derived from their surrounding environment, often maintain a close and intricate relationship with the natural world that is vastly different than the views and perceptions held by members of industrial, modern societies. Through various spiritual practices and beliefs, cultures such as the pre-Christian Scandinavians, the Australian Aborigines, and the natives of the North American Pacific Northwest hold world-views in which humanity is closely linked with the natural world. Through an analysis of various indigenous culture’s spiritual beliefs and how they relate to a cultures natural environment, we can gain insight and appreciation for aspects of the human condition that directly relate to the natural world.

The spiritual beliefs of indigenous cultures often hold cosmologies, or views of reality, that perceive the concept of nature as a whole with various interconnected parts. Specifically, indigenous populations of the Arctic regions view the world as divided into three parts; the upper, middle, and lower worlds. The upper world is seen to be in the sky, the middle world is the earthly realm, and the lower world is below the surface of the soil and sea. The spirits and dead are said to reside in the upper and lower worlds, and life there is quite similar to that of the middle world. These realms are said to be utilized in shamanistic practice, and that a shaman can make contact with the different worlds, (Helskog 1999). This belief places humans on a nexus between the different aspects of the natural world, and blends the spiritual world with the physical.

The aboriginal populations of Australia have a cosmology concept that is quite different than this three-world system of the Arctic peoples, but essentially performs the same service. Their way of viewing reality is called ‘the Dreaming’, a concept in which nature, time, or history does not exist. People are not separate from the whole of creation, nor is their separation amongst anything in existence. In effect, The Dreaming unites the self, the clan, the totem, the physical surroundings – all are indissolubly one,“ (Mol 1979). This is a world-view that unites humanity with the natural world, completely dismantling the borders between human and non-human life, uniting the spiritual world with the physical.

Besides maintaining cosmological frames as a way to relate to the natural world, natural forces are personified and revered. Amongst the indigenous Pacific North-west coast of North America, the natural world was compromised of spirits, and that every natural force had life, whether it was “the earth, rocks, trees, ferns, as well as birds and animals-even the hail which fell from the sky”, (Clark 1953). This concept, called animism, is one that was entrenched in the lives of the people of this region (as well as many other indigenous cultures), influencing the way they acted in reference to natural forces and places. For example, the Tlingit people of the pacific northwest call various spirits of the sun and sky the ‘Children of the Sun’, giving them anthropomorphic qualities and shaping masks in their image, (de Laguna 1987). Klamath Indians believed that the lake known as ‘Crater Lake’ was the result of a magnificent battle between the forces of the earth and sky, causing the mountain that was there to collapse and fill with water. The lake that was a result of this battle was shunned by the Klamath; only the spiritual leaders were allowed to see it, and any others who saw it risked death and disease, (Clark 1953).

The forces that were seen to pervade the natural world were used as a source of power for the populations of indigenous cultures, who used shamanistic and magical practices to communicate with these forces to provide aid for their people. A common way to communicate with the spiritual world is through the use of sacred areas, where spiritual forces were seen as most able to be contacted. “Spirits in other dimensions are ‘contacted’ by people in order to gain control over animals, resources, diseases, people, spirits, life or the spirits themselves initiate the contact,” (Helskog 1999). The Sami people of northern Scandinavia identified these sorts of areas with ‘seide stones’ – stones with unusual shapes, representing spirits, while the aboriginal Australians identified these sacred areas through the use of rock art, (Helskog 1999). Specifically, among the aboriginal Australians, the symbol known as the ‘Rainbow Serpent is depicted at natural sites where water is found. These areas were seen as places ‘liminal places’ in which the threshold between the physical and metaphysical worlds was found, (Helskog 1999).

Besides specific places having spiritual power, various animals and other life-forms are held to have significance among indigenous peoples. Among the Tlingit of the Pacific Northwest coast, creatures such as the bear, mosquito, otter, and devil-fish, are revered as shamanic spirits, and various masks are constructed to bestow their respective powers upon the wearer, (de Laguna 1987). Various other Pacific Northwest tribes say that either Raven or Coyote gave the gift of fire to humanity, and that twelve tribes were created out of a large beaver that was killed by the youngest of four wolf brothers. They also believe that “…the primeval beings are “animal people.” In a sacred myth of the Skagit Indians, Raven, Mink, and Coyote “planned everything with the Transformer, were in on all the arguments” they decided that there should be male and female in everything on the earth, that people should not live forever, that at death the body should go to the earth and the spirit to the spirit world,” (Clark 1953).

Amongst the Australian aborigines, the Rainbow Snake is whom healers and medicine-men receive their powers from. According to the aboriginal myths, quartz crystals, which are often used by these healers, were once vomited from the Rainbow Snake long ago, (Eliade 1967). In the belief of the indigenous northern Scandinavians, reindeer/elk, fish, and bird were seen as symbols for three parts of nature, those parts being land, sea, and sky, (Helskog 1999).

Indigenous peoples are also very connected to the seasons and weather. In Arctic societies, rituals involving the transition from winter to summer were performed when various signals of the coming of summer were observed, such as the awakening of bears from hibernation among the Sami, (Helskog 1999). Among several tribes of the Pacific Northwest, it was Coyote who arranged the seasons, and a being known as Thunder controlled the weather and had the ability to call forth lightning. Amongst other tribes, a being known as Thunderbird was known to bring storms. “The flapping of his wings caused the thunder; the pieces of flint which he threw or the flash of his eyes was the lightning,” (Clark 1953). Among the Tlingit, weather itself was something that the shaman was seen to have control over, being a mediator between the forces of nature and the tribe, (de Laguna 1987). Among indigenous cultures, weather and climate is something unavoidable, and various spiritual beliefs such as these allowed for adaptability and validation of its power.

Often, the spiritual beliefs of an indigenous culture allow for the moderated and respectful use of natural resources. Among the Chinook of the Pacific northwest, salmon were believed to be guided by spirits, who needed to be appeased in order to ensure the existence of the salmon run. Besides having myths to limit the amount of a salmon catch, at the beginning of each salmon season, the first salmon caught were placed back in the water with a specific sort of berry in its mouth, (Clark 1953). One might assume that this helped prevent the over-fishing of salmon, as well as allowing for a sustainable amount of fish for the next year.

This reverence for nature also manifested itself in the form totems, and other various animal symbols that were held by specific groups of people, or single individuals. Among various tribes of the Pacific Northwest, young people would fast and mediate in order to experience a spirit (often in the form of an animal) that told them their abilities that they would be gifted in their adult lives, often doing this at a places considered spiritually powerful, such as mountains.. Those who experienced this would often carry a symbol of their power animal with them throughout their life, (Clark 1953). Among the Australian aborigines, a similar system of animal totemism permeated the culture, with each individual, each tribe, and each group of ancestral descent having an animal symbol, (Mol 1979). These totemic symbols show that indigenous cultures held a respect for the life that existed around them.

I feel cultures native to a region develop spiritual systems and cultural practices that are environment oriented because of the close, consistent contact the people maintain with the natural world. These are peoples whose sustenance and resources are derived directly from the surrounding landscape, rather than a store or a distant faraway place. Just as those in our modern Western lifestyle derive their values and beliefs from a constant, steady source of information such as the media, it only makes sense that people would derive ideas from the things that they perceive nearly everyday.

Whether a people lived in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the icy realm of northern Scandinavia, or the arid bush of western Australia, they developed practices and views that allowed them to relate their human identities with the landbases on which they depended. The reverence and power indigenous peoples assign to the natural world is a direct result of the close contact that they maintain with the environment. By developing knowledge of an indigenous cultures views of nature, we can learn to hold the same respect for the environment as our own indigenous ancestors, and through this practice we can maintain a stronger contact with the planet that we developed with.

References

Clark, Ella E. “The Mythology of the Indians in the Pacific Northwest.” Oregon Historical

Quarterly. 54.3 (1953): 163-189. Print.

de Laguna, Frederica. “Atna and Tlingit Shamanism: Witchcraft on the Northwest Coast.” Arctic

Anthropology. 24.1 (1987): 84-100. Print.

Eliade, Mircea. “Australian Religions. Part IV: The Medicine Men and Their Supernatural

Models.”History of Religions. 7.2 (1967): 159-183. Print.

Helskog, Knut. “The Shore Connection. Cognitive Landscape and Communication with Rock

Carvings in Northernmost Europe.” Norwegian Archaeological Review,. 32.2 (1999):

73-94. Print.

Mol, Hans. “The Origin and Function of Religion: A Critique of, and Alternative to, Durkheim’s

Interpretation of the Religion of Australian Aborigines.” Journal for the Scientific

Study of Religion. 18.4 (1979): 379-389. Print.

Meaning

Goddess

Anyone who has been exposed to the knowledge of what is going on in the world and really cares has probably found ourselves in a frame of mind where nearly everything we see invokes thoughts and knowledge of what is wrong with it.

 When driving between school, work, and home I couldn’t help but notice the pointless hurry that everyone seems to be in. Pick-up trucks with ‘Nobama’ bumper stickers swerving into my lane without signaling. Massive tractor trailers flying past. Headlights ‘riding my ass’ because five miles over the speed limit is not fast enough. Every one of these people is rushing for some reason – and risking their life and everything they know – but for what?
 I turn on the radio. Yet another ‘hit’ about living life ‘big’,  how love was lost, something about meaningless sex or how much better the singers life is than anyone else. The song stops and an obnoxious ad comes on about how the latest thing at McDonalds is amazing. I turn it off, or turn it to one of the cds of my favorite band – a Celtic folk death metal band from Switzerland that sings songs about natures beauty, or the ancient Gauls resistance against Rome.
 When I walk through parking lots (which in itself should be seen as a curse), I notice oil droplets in puddles and think of petroleum’s ubiquitous presence in nearly every nook and cranny of this world. I think of it polluting soils, streams, and oceans. I think of its burning polluting the air, causing shifts in climate regimes, affecting countless species. I think of it being made into plastic that floats in the streams and oceans of our mother Earth, as well as in the blood streams of every human I know. I think of how tainted and unhallowed everything has become.
 The readings hit to the heart of the lack of holiness for natural existence in modern society. Everything has become a means for acquisition and endless consumption, whether it be places, objects, or living things. It is the sole point of modern life and there is absolutely no questioning of it nor is there any hiding it. Why is this the case? How is it okay that we can’t even escape plastic, chemicals, or human technology? Why is it that our lives are completely the antithesis of how we evolved to live (if the horrible amounts of mental illness show)? How is it that I (and perhaps all of you) are the only ones that sometimes can’t sleep because we are too busy thinking of how crazy this all is?
 Take the book ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. Its an incredible novel that asks what a ‘god’ truly is. In the book, gods from various mythologies have been brought to America by immigration in various forms and are living as real, living breathing beings. Its shown that they need worship to have power, and the old polytheistic gods have waned in power due to the coming of ‘new gods’ – the gods of Media, Corporations, the Economy, the Internet, and so forth. Mr. Wednesday, the Americanized version of Odin of Norse mythology, decides to round up the main character and various other mythological entities to combat these new gods. Its pretty amazing.
 It got me thinking of the idea of corporations and the ‘invisible hand’ of the market as being very much like gods that our society has bent their lives to. We worship them through rituals of watching media and purchasing things, and it only makes them stronger. These gods are only bringing on the destruction of the world and of our lives, because we have all become their slaves – their ‘high priests’ being manipulative CEO’s, politicians, and scientists.
 Do we want nature – who has always shown to bring forth life from death, benefiting both herself and us, cycling through time immemorial – to rule us?  Or do we want the controllers and concentrations of power that are just as ignorant and flawed as ourselves to move us recklessly for their own benefit? Do we want meaning now or the endless pursuit of finding meaning in emptiness?