Sunday, December 28, 2008

Book Review: Deceptions and Myths of the Bible

Tonight I want to talk about Deceptions and Myths of the Bible by Lloyd M. Graham. I bought this book about 8 years ago, when I was still in my atheist phase. The title appeared to me, but I put the book away after reading a few pages and concluding that the author was a total crackpot. I'm not sure why I kept the book around all these years, but I picked it up again recently and was surprised to discover that the author was actually very knowledgeable about hermeticism. You wouldn't know this from the title, but the major theme of the book is the Bible as an allegorical creation story: not just the first part of Genesis, but most of the Old Testament, and major portions of the New Testament.

According to this book, Genesis is about involution, the descent of spirit into matter, and Exodus is about evolution, the development of the resulting combination. Involution was done by God; evolution is our responsibility, but we have help. If Graham harps on the deception and politics involved in writing the Bible, it's just because continuing to interpret the document literally gets in the way of our evolution.

This is all perfectly compatible with the model of religion given in Cloud upon the Sanctuary. At some point we're supposed to question things. We're supposed to ask why there are two conflicting stories of Noah's Ark. We're supposed to ask why the four Gospels don't agree about what happened on the first Easter Sunday. We're supposed to ask why it was so important to Yahweh that the Hebrews took no prisoners in their battles to claim the Promised Land. When we ask the questions, we're ready for the next level of interpretation. This book can help with understanding the next level.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What If? The Movie - Clip 4

Here's the 4th clip I received about the What If? movie:

This clip is about a group of people living in the Himalayas who reportedly are able to have children past age 70.

The movie should prove to be very interesting.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Put Down the Stone and Step Away

Blog of helios: Character-Assasinations-Ain't-Us
If anyone reading this found this from the link posted above, this blog isn't about Linux or anything computer-related at all. So I won't be making any arguments for or against open-source software. Just thought I'd make that clear up front.

I normally don't write about computer-related topics, but this story is really about a much more important topic: judging others. We all do it. I for one, have a hard time even driving to work without negatively judging most of the other drivers. But here's the thing: a judgment is a limit. It's a limit on your ability to see the reasons why a person may have done something. It's also a limit on your ability to see that the person may have changed in some way or learned something in the meantime.

Now stop to consider that most people also make judgments about their own actions (because judgment is a habit), and you can see that this is a big problem. It's even worse in this case because the judgment is telling you something about yourself, and you can't change without making the judgment untrue. And most people would rather be right than happy.

So, let's throw out the slogan "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Instead, just put down the stone and walk away. It will be O.K. Really. I promise.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What If? The Movie - Clip 3

Here's another clip from the upcoming What If? movie:

This clip talks about reports from other cultures about people with longer-than-normal life spans.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if one of the "What If?" questions turned out to be: What if aging was actually caused by what's in our minds?

Monday, December 15, 2008

"What If?" The Movie - Clip 1

I was recently sent a clip from a new movie called What If? The Movie. The clip shows Dr. Bruce Lipton explaining epigenetics:

What If? Epigenetics Description

I've read Dr. Lipton's book, The Biology of Belief. His part in the movie should be very interesting. My only complaint is that the clip is short (about 20 seconds).

I'm told there are 3 more clips coming. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book Review: Astrology, A Cosmic Science

I've been studying astrology for a couple of months, and I've looked through a few books on the subject. My favorite so far is Astrology: A Cosmic Science by Isabel Hickey. What makes this book different is its approach to astrology. Your chart does not so much describe your inherent nature as much as lay out a blueprint for your future evolution. Positive aspects and planetary placements are seen as things that come easy, or potentials to develop; negative aspects and placements are seen as lessons that must be learned.

An interesting idea in the book, which I've seen in a couple of other places, is that you don't get the characteristics of your sun sign by default. That is because most people are driven by their emotions, which are governed by the moon sign. The sun sign actually reflects your true inner nature, and it must be brought out. The ascendant determines how you appear to others. All twelve Zodiac signs have an influence on each of us because they appear in at least one of the twelve houses. Just to give you an example of the book's approach, here's how the Scorpio ascendant is described:
The hardest Ascendant of all. Battlefield where the soul and personality must come to mortal combat. They must come into alignment and the personality must die...No unevolved soul is born with a Scorpio Ascendant. The razor-edged path that can only be tread when there is strength and power enough to do so...
So the theme of this book suggests a good approach to astrology: use the chart to show what lessons have to be learned in this lifetime, and leave the fortune-telling to the newspaper crowd.

If you only buy one astrology book, this book would be a good choice.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tarot Court Cards

I'm still reading Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners by Joan Bunning. I understand the court cards a lot better now after reading this lesson.

The traditional attribution of the court cards is as follows: the Page represents earth, the Knight air, the Queen water, and the King fire. This didn't make much sense to me given that the four suits have similar attributions. But what makes more sense, and I think Ms. Bunning was trying to get at this, is that the Page, Knight, Queen and King actually correspond to the four worlds of qabalah. The four worlds are typically explained in terms of the manifestation of things and events, but in this case, they refer to evolution, specifically our evolution. In other words, recovery from materialism.

Under this interpretation, the page represents the starting point: the realization of the need for recovery and the initial efforts. The knight represents the initial exploration of the element given. The queen represents embodiment of the principles represented by the element, and the king represents mastery. The elements are as follows: pentacles represent the body and the material world, swords represent the intellect, cups represent the emotions and wands represent spirit and creativity.

If we can combine in ourselves the qualities of the king of each suit, we'll be well on the way to recovery. I don't know how to do this yet, but I have reason to believe that I'll find out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Book Review: Esoteric Christianity

I was raised as a Catholic. I was an altar boy for a brief period, and even went to a Catholic high school. When I went to college, I got away from it and went through an atheist period which only ended a few years ago. Now that I'm on the road to recovery, I've seen some things that indicate that I may have thrown the baby out with the bath water. That brings me to the subject of today's review: Esoteric Christianity by Annie Besant. This book talks about the hidden side of Christianity.

You see, Catholicism, which is the root of modern Christianity, was meant to be a religion for everyone. By everyone, I mean even the most ignorant and materialistic of us. As such, it needed to be lowest common denominator, at least on the surface. Where the Catholic Church went wrong, in my opinion, was refusing to admit publicly that there was anything beneath the surface. I'm still not sure about that, though. It may have been necessary from a credibility standpoint. Anyway, here's a quote from the book:
He (Origen) says that the Body of the Scriptures is made up of the outer words of the histories and the stories, and he does not hesitate to say that these are not literally true, but only stories for the instruction of the ignorant. He even goes so far as to remark that statements are made in those stories that are obviously untrue, in order that the glaring contradictions that lie on the surface may stir people up to inquire as to the real meaning of these impossible relations.
Well, there we have it, from an early Church father no less. Whenever we see something in the Bible that seems contradictory or absurd, we should look for a hidden meaning. The book spends a few chapters exploring this idea in the context of the story of Jesus. There are also chapters about the forgiveness of sins and sacraments. I recommend this book for any of you who, like me, come from a Christian background.