Friday, 7 December 2018

The Return of the the Gods

Over the last 50 years or so spiritual enthusiasts of various types have regularly talked about the return of the gods to human consciousness. The idea is that about 2,500 years ago contact with the numinous world of the divine gradually became closed off as a more rational, egocentric, individualised form of consciousness evolved, slowly at first but rapidly from, say, the Renaissance period onwards. This was a necessary thing from an evolutionary point of view. We had to become completely focused on the material plane in order to develop certain qualities, to do with mind principally, so that we might become more rounded, self-organised and integrated individuals. Essentially so that we might learn to think. That meant a degree of inner isolation. But now we are living in a world of complete separation from the gods and it is time to restore contact with them and their world of archetypal reality, though this time from the point of view of who we are today with our more autonomous and intellectual mental attitude.

I sympathise with this idea. We are certainly cut off from the inner worlds, much to our detriment. We desperately need to become more aware of the greater reality of the universe, and its spiritual aspects. But is a return to archaic ways the right thing to do, even with the always stressed strong proviso that this should be in the context of who we are now and not as passive as it used to be? Who or what were the gods anyway? Were they really divine or were they often beings who existed in the between worlds by which I mean the worlds between this physical one and the true spiritual worlds? No doubt some were divine, as in what Christians would think of as angels, and some were demons and there were others between the two, non-physical beings but not especially moral or benevolent. When we look at the old gods and goddesses, whether Egyptian or Greek or Indian or Norse or whatever, most of them are not particularly admirable in spiritual terms. This may reflect the limitations of the people who worshipped them but it may not. Please note that I am accepting the gods as real beings and do not just see them as objectifications of components within the human psyche though I am not disputing that they were that as well. However, in the past it was contact with the being that activated the corresponding area of the psyche. A return to the gods would mean opening the mind up to these otherworld beings.

I think the advent of Christ changed everything. To attempt to return to a pre-Christian spiritual attitude, as so many pagans and occultists and shamans and so on do, is spiritually atavistic. These people mostly explore the so-called astral plane, a psychic world in which thoughts and feelings are things. This is pretty much the world of the gods. I say pretty much because there are exceptions but these are rare. The gods are not God even though there is often an underlying belief that each one of them can potentially offer an opening to the Absolute of which they are something like manifested aspects. But I don't go along with this. If you approach the Absolute through the gods, you will not advance beyond the level of the gods which is the level of created beings, albeit an inner level. Since Christ came, the gods are spiritually redundant and they will remain so. Whatever numinous power they may once have had has been taken up by and refocused in him and they are mostly now psychic shells which can be reactivated by desire or thought or concentration but cannot be re-spiritualised to any high degree.

We most certainly do need to open our hearts and minds up to the higher worlds, and also learn to see creation as full of soul, a living thing shot through with spirit. But to do this through the old gods, or god forms as they might better be called, or even some modern equivalent is not the way. The old ways of approach to the divine have been superseded. They cannot be updated. For one thing, they belong to a completely different moral universe. For another, the forms they took reflect the archaic consciousness, especially when they are derived from the animal kingdom. Form is much more important than some spiritual people realise. Outer and inner cannot be disassociated as much as you might think. The sort of outer through which you seek to access the inner will largely determine the sort of inner world you encounter, its quality and spiritual height, depth and truth. It's not all one and the same thing, whatever popular spirituality might say today.

If by the return of the gods you mean a reacknowledgment of the spiritual plane by materialistic people, I have no quarrel with you. But if you say that this can be effected through the agency of archaic pagan religions and god forms, then I think you are mistaken. This is more the approach of occultism than genuine spirituality, the difference being that the former seeks power or knowledge or experience while the latter is driven by love. The occultist may very well acquire all those things for himself but he will not find God. The advent of Christ really did change everything, and for all time.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Advent

Advent has a special magical quality which exists even now when we are about as far removed from any real Christmas spirit as we could be. Some thoughts on that on Albion Awakening.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Meeting the Masters article

This is an article I recently wrote for a digital magazine called The Paranormal Chronicles. It concerns the story behind the book after which this blog is named. There's nothing new here for those who have read the book but if I compare page views on this blog with book sales then it seems likely that many visitors to this site haven't done that!

Do you believe there are spiritual beings who watch over and guide us? Not in the sense of guardian angels but human souls who have perfected themselves spiritually and realised their unity with God, and who now seek to help others do the same. If you hope this might be the case, perhaps my testimony here can offer some support for the idea.

My story goes back 40 years. At the time I was a young man dissatisfied with conventional life. I had a job that bored me, prospects of a sort but that didn't interest me and I was searching for something more to life than a mundane existence dedicated to material success. I had a limited knowledge of the spiritual movements that were beginning to coalesce into what became known as the New Age but found them fairly shallow. Religion, such as I knew it, seemed moribund and concerned with something far off. I wasn't particularly interested in what happened after death. I wanted life to have some real meaning now. 

One day I wandered into a metaphysical bookshop near where I worked in London and began to browse, looking for something that might provide answers to questions I hadn't even properly formulated yet . As I searched the shelves a man beside me spoke asking whether he might make a recommendation. He'd seen I didn't really know what I was looking for and wondered if I'd like some help. Overcoming my natural reticence in such circumstances, I agreed. We got talking and I was sufficiently interested to accept his offer of lunch during which we discussed such subjects as meditation, reincarnation and vegetarianism, none of which were quite as mainstream then as they are now.

Here is not the place to go into details but six months later the two of us were living together in Bath, running an antiques shop by day and meditating in the evening. Michael, my new spiritual accomplice, had been a Benedictine monk and also lived in India for long periods, and I had decided to throw in my lot with him, pursuing the spiritual path together. For a few weeks we led this life uneventfully but then something rather unusual happened.

We were sitting in meditation as normal when Michael began to sound the OM, the Hindu sacred sound that is supposed to symbolise ultimate truth. The sound went on and on, becoming ever louder in the process. When it eventually stopped the room had a totally different atmosphere as though it had been cleansed, its psychic state uplifted. Now the silence that replaced it seemed a real thing rather than the normal absence of noise. Then Michael began to speak. Except it was not him speaking.

The words were coming from his mouth but they were not in his voice. They were spoken without hesitation and with an authority that should have quelled doubt. But, of course, I did doubt. I was a fairly sceptical person. That was what put me off the New Age type teachers I mentioned earlier. At first I thought Michael might be putting on a show but the words, the sense of presence, never mind subsequent experiences, showed this to be impossible. Then I thought that maybe the voice was that of a genuine spirit but of the kind contacted in spiritualism, that's to say, not a very elevated being. But this wasn't possible either. The whole tone of the communication, the power, the deep sense of love and wisdom, all these showed it to be a spirit of real substance, an exemplar of deep truth.

From then on this being and others like him spoke to me through Michael on a regular basis. They would come during our period of meditation and speak for between 10 and 20 minutes. Their subject was mostly the lessons I was here to learn, and they were compassionate but exacting teachers. When I asked them who or what they were they told me to think of them as messengers from God but never gave a name though I did ask. I think this was because names would bring the experience down to a more personal level and so detract from the pure spiritual message. However, from certain things they said, I gathered that they were human beings who had progressed beyond the need for experience in the material world, and now lived in higher planes which they described in terms of light, beauty, colour and spiritual glory. They were what are known as Masters.

It is often said that Masters do not communicate through mediums, this being a practice restricted to spirits still functioning in the lower realms of non-physical reality. I agree with that statement. The goal of true teachers is to bring their pupils up to their level and so they teach through impression, on a spiritual rather than a mental level. Indeed, my instructors told me as much. But there are exceptions and this was one of them. Of course, such an assertion cannot be proved but I do think that anyone who reads their words should be able to sense something of their quality. When studying channelled messages it is important to know that spiritual teachings have two levels. The obvious one is the words and information conveyed. But there is an inner level too which is actually more important. It is the tone of the teaching, its feel. A teaching coming from a higher source will carry a deeper truth and be more potentially transformative than one from a lower, even if the words are the same. In fact, even if the words are simpler. Don't think that just because something appears profound it is true. Look behind the words to the spiritual quality of a communication.

The fact of the reality of these beings I have called Masters tells us something about the universe. It is a spiritual universe. The physical level in which we live is merely the lowest level or outermost crust of a multi-dimensional reality with the higher worlds being worlds of greater light, freedom, beauty and consciousness. We can attain these higher worlds through proper spiritual development, and we have help in this, let's be honest, difficult task. We may not be aware of this help in our conscious mind but if we seek to attune our hearts correctly, through humility, meditation and prayer, then we can render ourselves susceptible to divine influence which will prompt us along the right path. But note, this is not a passive thing. We are only ever guided. Our will is our own. The most important thing we can do is to make right choices.

The book I wrote about this experience I called Meeting the Masters. It describes the first year of the experience when the communications were at their most frequent. They actually lasted for 21 years and stopped, appropriately enough, just before the end of the last millennium. Since then I have had no outer contact with the Masters but strive to put into practice what they taught which is a constantly ongoing process. I have been fortunate enough to have had living proof of the reality of the spiritual world and would like to pass that on to anyone who might be interested.



Friday, 30 November 2018

What is the primary cause of the decline of Western civilisation?


That it is declining is obvious to anyone who looks at the question from a spiritual perspective even if, for those who think materialistically, it may seem to be riding high at the moment.

For some thoughts on the subject see Albion Awakening.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

What Does Christianity Have that Buddhism Doesn't?

I wrote this as a comment in reply to a question on the Free Will and Evil post. The image popped into my head as I was writing my reply and because I think it does illustrate something important about the difference between the two religions I have rescued it from its relative obscurity there and brought into the (relative!) light of day.

I wrote as follows:

"The Buddhist position is a well-established and coherent one and is worth taking very seriously even if, as I believe, it does fall at the final hurdle.

What I mean is that it approaches consciousness by going to its roots and seeing these as primal which they may be but then that ignores that roots grow and give form to branches, flowers and fruit etc, and these can't just be dismissed. They are part of the whole thing and maybe the reason for the whole thing. In terms of creation or manifestation anyway. So, I think that is what the position you mention does (Note: the Buddhist position of liberation from all aspects of the phenomenal world).  It's a valid position but I think it misses the purpose of our being here and having these pesky selves in the first place. It essentially misses out on the truth of relationship which, when all is said and done, might be at the heart of the reason for everything that is and why there is something rather than nothing."

This is what religions and philosophies that, in whatever way, reject the reality of the created world do.  They ignore purpose and they think that the relative (as one might call it) adds nothing to the absolute. But God is creative almost above all else and what he creates is not only good but always adds more to the whole. Christ came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Ultimately it is the life more abundant that distinguishes the Christian vision from the Buddhist.

What are the Signs of a Civilisation in Decline?

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Free Will and Evil

Does everything that happens do so in accordance with God's will?  Or, to put it another way, is evil part of the plan for the unfoldment of spiritual consciousness?

People have long struggled to make sense of why there is evil in the world if God is both loving and omnipotent. It seems to many that either he doesn't care about the evil or he is unable to stop it, neither of which is very reassuring. The traditional Christian response is that human beings fell at one point early on in their history, and evil came into the world through the misuse of free will. If you want to have a fully conscious and free good then you have to have the possibility of evil as well. I think this is correct as far as it goes but it doesn't answer the question completely for, after all, if we take the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden seriously (I don't mean literally), then we must ask what was the serpent doing there in the first place? Clearly evil was already up and running.

God creates a universe that is properly alive. What this means is that he creates beings who are free because only in this way can real love and real goodness be expressed. Only by doing this can God have a world which is created but also creates itself and so is more interesting to him. The free will of created beings is absolutely essential to this end. However, according to the scriptures, one of the greatest of created beings, a mighty angel, rebelled against God's plan for creation and dragged many other angels down with him. These demons constantly war against the Creator. They have corrupted the natural world and also humanity and they continue to do that. What is their aim? Why should any being rebel against God? The answer usually given is pride but I imagine it is more complicated than that. Love of power, the desire to be worshipped themselves, hatred of a goodness to which they cannot match up because of their wrong choices will all have played a part in their downfall and will continue to ensure a lack of repentance.

What all this amounts to is that this world is a damaged environment due to the activity of these fallen powers. Now, God could eradicate their influence by speaking a single word. He could banish all suffering and return to the world to a pristine innocence. But that would effectively mean destroying the world. Once God has given free will to his creation, he cannot withdraw it. If he could, it would not have been really given in the first place. A conditional free will, one dependent on making the right choices, is not free will at all. So, God is all loving and he is omnipotent but he has resigned some of his power and given it to his creatures in the form of free will. To get back that power, which he could do if he wanted, would mean returning his creation to the complete reflection of himself and he does not want that. He wants it to have its own individuality so that eventually (this is my notion, I'm not sure if it is orthodox) it may be his loving bride. That is what this whole process of creation and unfoldment through time is all about. 

There is, therefore, no contradiction between God being loving and omnipotent. His omnipotence is total but voluntarily and necessarily restricted so that we might have some power which is essential if we are to be real individuals.

Jesus ransomed the world from the devil who had usurped this earthly kingdom from its creator. Whether the devil had originally been assigned a vice-regent position which he abused or whether he, as it were, stole the world is not clear. What is clear is that he took it over, and it needed the Incarnation to put things right. Not that they are right yet because that depends on humanity's full acceptance of spiritual truth but the groundwork for the redemption and salvation of the world has been laid. Satan's power has been overturned and he is now, hard as it may be to believe, on the defensive. But, of course, as is obvious, he still has great power because we are still so recalcitrant to truth.

The conclusion here is that the evils of the world are mostly caused by the dark powers whom we aid and abet by responding to evil within ourselves. God can use evil to bring about good but this is not a justification for evil which is wholly bad and not part of God's original intention for his creation. Our suffering in this world is therefore not ordained by God. Some suffering is spiritually creative but it has to be recognised that some suffering is simply due to the power of the demons in the world and forms no part of God's will. It does not have some ulterior spiritual purpose even if it can be used to some ulterior spiritual purpose because God can bring good out of ill.