Sunday 14 April 2024

What's the Solution to the Current Crisis?

 Everyone recognises that we live at a time of crisis, whether that be spiritual or material. We might call it by different names and have different degrees of insight into the reality of our present predicament but any thinking person knows we are in trouble. Talk about the massive amount of government and private debt, about societal breakdown or climate change (if you believe in that) or about the complete loss of direction of Western societies. All these, real or imagined, are indicative of some sort of crisis but they are just the froth on the surface. Everyone reading this blog will know that the true crisis is spiritual but even those who don't recognise that realise that something is amiss and badly so.

So, what's the solution.

There is no solution and those who look for one or, worse, try to enforce one will only increase the chaos and confusion. There is no solution because we live at the end of an age or cycle which means we are in a phase of universal decline and increasing disorder. To say this is not to be pessimistic or negative. It's just a plain fact. The world goes through cycles which follow the natural pattern of spring, summer, autumn or fall and winter. To recognise we are deep in winter is simply to see the truth. To seek a solution to that is like an old person pretending to be young and, not coincidentally, that is something we do often see nowadays. In the case of modern man there is a mass falling away from spiritual belief which leads to materialism and atheism to begin with and then in many cases to various false spiritualities. This is the way the world goes when the initial burst of spiritual energy behind the forces that set it in motion starts to fade away and humans make their own reality.

We are in the Kali Yuga or End Times which were predicted and were predictable because the tendencies to decline, loss and value inversion are typical of matter replacing spirit as the predominating force, that being a basic definition of the Kali Yuga. The beginning of a cycle sees the injection of spirit into the world system. This determines the path to be followed but over time its force decreases though the framework it has built remains and can even be developed. But eventually material conditions overwhelm that and then they begin to dominate. There is no solution to this other than to build an inner ark and that is the test of these times. To maintain faith in a world which has either lost it or corrupted it. But this is how the wheat is sorted out from the chaff which you may find an objectionable metaphor given its implications but take that up with John the Baptist.

The world is primarily designed to develop consciousness but at certain times it also has the function of testing the soul. This is one of those times. The test now is for the soul to acknowledge and turn to God as its Creator but also to recognise evil as that which opposes God and his purpose for creation. It is no good simply believing in God if you are not on his side. That simply means the God you choose to believe in is one of your own imagining which is the case for many. Humanity has reached a point at which it must make a conscious choice to align itself with God, and the nature of the world today is that this must take place on an individual level. In the past we operated collectively because the culture inclined us in a certain direction but now the culture is in the service of anti-God forces and we have to stand against that if we are to succeed spiritually.

Don't be deceived by people who say that a spiritual person has above all else to be a good person. Good by what criteria? First and foremost, we have to recognise what spiritual good is and consciously, completely, align ourselves with that. It is the full acknowledgement of God. No more and no less. Obviously, we should try to behave in the way that befits a disciple of Christ. Faith alone is not an excuse for bad behaviour or a justification for antinomianism. If you love me, keep my commandments. If you don't keep the commandments you surely do not love he who gave them.  Besides which, proper recognition of God will automatically incline a person to seek to be like him. But to be good as the world sees good is not the same thing. Moreover, we all fall short. That does not matter as long as we sincerely try at every moment of the day to "walk humbly with thy God" in the simple but profound words of the prophet Micah.

There is no outer solution but there is an inner solution. Know yourself to be a soul born in the world at this time to prove you are able to turn your spiritual compass to true north in a world in which all outer influences mitigate against that. Not south, materialism and atheism, not east or west, false forms of spirituality, and not even north east or north west. True north. You have to find the way to God within yourself and that is the case even if you follow an established form of religion which is no longer sufficient on its own and can often be a diversion from the true inner path. Now there has to be a real inner connection. And when you have attained that you simply follow where you are led, wherever that may be.

Sunday 7 April 2024

How to Save The West

Anyone can see that Western civilisation is on the way out. Let me rephrase that. Anyone should be able to see that Western civilisation is on the way out, but most people don't because they are too wedded to their own paltry pleasures or selfish resentments or greedy desires or shallow ambitions. The list continues but it basically encompasses all those who do not place the good, the beautiful and the true above their own egos, and that is the majority. If ever a civilisation deserved to collapse, it is ours because we are not worthy of those who established that civilisation. We, who place the temporal above the eternal, put ourselves at the mercy of the temporal and our time has passed.

There is a solution but we will never take it. The solution is to return to tradition and the soul of Christianity. That would include a form of what is now dismissed as patriarchy since, by and large, it is only men who are willing to fight for truth and to preserve it in the face of the inevitable attacks on it, inevitable because Satan exists and wages an ongoing war against creation. This has become so apparent in our day, and especially over the last 25 years, that anyone who wishes to tread the spiritual path has to see that path in terms of the war of good and evil. If you refuse to recognise that and retreat to an 'everything is one' position you are simply being spiritually blind, not to mention irresponsible. The mask is almost completely off now and the face of evil beginning to be seen for what it is.

Satan has weakened the West with, among many other things, the debasement of culture, mass immigration and feminism. In a society that wished to preserve itself immigrants would not be given a say in how the country was run (in other words, a vote) for at least 2 generations, and their number would be restricted. The number of immigrants that flood (the word is fair) into Western countries now will inevitably change them utterly. This may have good or bad results in the long term (I'm being diplomatic), but clearly for the host nation to permit it is borderline insanity because it will destroy itself thereby. A basic instinct is self-preservation. To go against this instinct is to succumb to the unnatural and the anti-spiritual. The failure to reproduce and the desire to kill yourself are ungodly.

Feminism is the devil's secret weapon because, while ostensibly based on reason and justice, it actually seeks to reverse natural hierarchies and turn the two sexes, meant to be complementary, into rivals on the same ground. The promotion of women to previously male spheres damages society because establishing harmony and consensus becomes more important than the search for truth and excellence. This again is one of those things that its so obvious it shouldn't need saying but the ideologically committed will never acknowledge it. That having been said, feminism is not the cause of the collapse but a symptom of it though it does hurry it along as well.

I say the remedy would be a return to some sort of modified patriarchy, meaning one that takes into account the evolution of consciousness and agency of both men and women, but I am not recommending this even if it were possible which it isn't as things stand.  The West must die and that is right and proper. The energies that sustained it are now weak and feeble and it has come to the end of its life. It is becoming a corpse on which the parasites will feed as it dies. But in the greater scheme of things that is not a problem because everything in this world only exists to serve spiritual needs. As the West collapses there are great spiritual opportunities for those who know how to take advantage of them. We may lament the collapse because of past good but everything dies and the West has rejected God so become evil. There is no more to be said. It must go but since the primary function of this world is as a school for consciousness and sphere in which the soul may choose or reject God and be tested thereby that is no great loss. All that is good and true and right exists in the higher worlds eternally.

Wednesday 3 April 2024

The Fruit of Religion but not its Obligations

 The title comes from a quote by George Gallup Jr, son of the founder of the famous polling organisation, who wrote that "Americans want the fruit of religion but not its obligations".  Nowadays this pithy aphorism can be extended to include many spiritual seekers in the West who have transferred a basic consumerism from the material to the spiritual sphere. Such people would say they are no longer satisfied with an external religion but seek inner experience and that is undoubtedly true. They do seek answers to the existential questions life poses, but, at the same time, they can be spiritual pleasure seekers who are looking for spiritual possessions, whether that be in the fields of mind, power, consciousness or personality augmentation.

There is a stage in the development of the soul when one moves from acceptance of authority to the desire to experience something of the spiritual world for oneself. This is a good and necessary progression but it has its traps, chief of which is that it is the worldly ego that is seeking this for its own ends. It is as though the caterpillar wants to be able to fly but won't let go of its caterpillarness. The ego wants the gifts of God but wants them for itself. Theoretically, it may understand this is impossible because it is mysticism 101 to say that the ego is what bars the way to God, but still it is very difficult to separate egotistical desire from sincere aspiration and to be honest about what really motivates us. Is it love of God or desire for his gifts? 

It is precisely to separate the two that the lives of so many of the saints are filled with suffering and spiritual darkness when God withdraws completely from them. It is interesting to read that the writings of St Thérèse of Lisieux, in some respects the patron saint of Victorian sentimentality or the French version thereof, were altered before publication to reflect a more saccharine ideal of piety. In fact, she experienced many spiritual trials and even the loss of faith which are related in her Story of a Soul. She speaks of travelling through a dark tunnel from which she had not come out, and feeling that she lived in a country covered by a thick fog while longing for the beautiful land that was her true home. "When I sing of the happiness of heaven" she writes, "I feel no joy in this. I sing simply what I want to believe." But then she goes on to say with a wisdom that belies her youth that she understands why God did not send this trial until he knew she was capable of bearing it. She realises that her suffering is God's greatest gift to her because it is preparing her soul for heaven. She is renouncing the fruit of religion to accept its obligations.

The word obligations is perhaps not the best as it implies duty borne for no particular reason. Actually, it is the so-called obligations which strip all egotism and even self-reliance from the soul and make it fit to receive divine grace. There is no real fruit without the obligations and those who look for spiritual gifts without being joyfully prepared to make spiritual sacrifices, the main one being the sacrifice of self, may encounter their own soul but they will not know God, and the two are not the same despite the popular esoteric fiction that maintains they are.

Friday 29 March 2024

Today is Good Friday but Easter is Coming

 I hope it's not sacrilegious to say that sometimes it feels as though the disciples of the world are going through a kind of Gethsemane experience at the moment. Most people will not feel this but those who are responsive to the spiritual level will be aware of the gathering darkness. The bad news is that Gethsemane precedes Good Friday. The good news is that Good Friday precedes Easter Sunday. There is undoubtedly more darkness to come but if we allow it this can be a cleansing, purifying darkness for our souls that prepares them for the light.

Many of the incidents in Jesus's life can be seen as experiences that come to the soul as it progresses on the spiritual path, and the most significant are those that come at the end of his life. Abandoned by friends and, seemingly, even God the soul is thrown back entirely on itself. Its spiritual gifts, if it had them, are withdrawn, its earthly renown, if it had it, is lost. It is no one and nothing with only faith and the intuitive sense of truth to support it. This is the final purification that strips the soul of any worldliness and self-regard that may still be clinging to it so that it becomes light enough to enter the spiritual world. For these are like heavy weights that hold the soul down and will prevent it rising until they are cast off.

This is on the individual level. But patterns repeat themselves at all stages of the path and in all spheres, both on the individual and the group level, and the whole world is experiencing something similar. There is a sorting out of that part of humanity that has the potential to rise and that part which may be held over for future development. We are being presented with a choice which in the simplest terms amounts to God or this world. But note that many people might think they are opting for God when in fact they are in the worldly camp. One of the tests of the present time is that it is no longer sufficient merely to give your allegiance to an earthly institution. All are corrupted and you have to see the reality behind the institution as far more important than the thing itself. Which, of course, means you have to be able to perceive something of this reality.

There is no getting around the fact that the spiritual life can only be known by those who undergo worldly death and this death must be undergone willingly. Before the soul can become united with God it must die to the world and be stripped of itself. Look at the times to come as part of that process for we all, however spiritual or religious we may consider ourselves to be, are sinners and what that means is our centre is our self. We may have relatively good selves or relatively bad selves but until we know, really know, that "we are as nothing and all we are comes from the Creator" the tendency to sin, which means act from the centre of self, remains. The whole of the spiritual life is about replacing self with God at the centre of our being. Good Friday is the start of that process and Easter Sunday the glorious conclusion.

Monday 25 March 2024

Eclipses

I have been interested in the astrological effects of eclipses since 1999 when I witnessed the solar eclipse in August of that year and a few days later a friend of mine, whose natal Jupiter was practically bang on the degree of the eclipse, had a heart attack. A few days after that he died. It seemed too significant to ignore. Now there are two more eclipses to consider, a lunar one that took place today (March 25th) and a solar one coming up on 8th April. These two eclipses both connect with the horoscope of someone else I know. The lunar eclipse was directly on the degree of her ascendant at 5° Libra and the solar eclipse, which will be on 19° Aries, makes a very close contact with her natal Sun, North Node and, slightly more distantly, Saturn, these three being conjunct in her chart. I don't know what this might indicate though my suspicion is nothing good, especially with regard to the solar eclipse. 

At any rate, the close contacts warrant study and I shall observe their outcome with interest tinged with a little concern on her behalf. For it seems to me that if the traditional view of the effects of eclipses is correct then this person might be in for some turbulent times. As always, how the symbolism works out in real life terms depends on how much the subject is able to process and integrate the psychic energies brought into play, how conscious she is of herself. Someone who is aware of her personality strengths and weaknesses and who does not deny, suppress or ignore her shortcomings might be able to deal with the forces at play on a psychological level and even channel the energy creatively. Someone in denial might find that the forces manifest externally in life events. But then again there are certain times when the universe will have its way with us regardless for though we have freedom there are what you might call cosmic currents and tides which will take us with them however well we can swim.

It is worth remembering though that even if a cosmic event has what in worldly terms is a negative effect on us it is usually all for the spiritual good. The powers that be do not judge as we do. The heart attack suffered by my friend 25 years ago might have been a spiritual blessing in that it paved the way for his release from corporeal imprisonment and took him home. I'm not saying that all suffering is sent by God. That would be both stupid and unfeeling. But in the larger sense much of it does contain lessons for the soul and if we are the one suffering it is always worth looking for these lessons. It is only spiritual children who expect God to hand out sweets and candy all the time. If an eclipse touches our natal chart there is an element of providence about it, a significant spiritual lesson. 

Added note: I should say that the dramatic effect noted in the example from 1999 does not mean that anytime an eclipse touches a sensitive part of the horoscope disaster strikes. What it probably does do is bring out what is already there so in this case an already weak heart may have been triggered though again I am not saying it is a matter of cause and effect. The truth is how astrology works remains a mystery. We can talk about influences or moments in time having the same quality or the interconnectedness of everything in the universe but really no one knows how astrology works. The fact is it just does.

Friday 22 March 2024

The Illusion of Equality

This is an excerpt from the last chapter of my recent book By No Means Equal (see right). As the whole Western world is in thrall to the foolish lie of equality it's worth pointing out that equality is not a consequence of the spiritual law of love, as many people seem to assume, but a materialistic distortion of it and, as such, it is an obstruction to real love.

"The idea of equality might seem reasonable to someone who has no awareness of spiritual purpose or destiny and who does not appreciate that there is a world of greater reality behind this material world which gives our outer world whatever meaning it may have. But really it is an attempt to substitute a false and artificial good for truth. This may just seem a question of well-meaning people with good intentions making a mistake, but the fact is the equality idea has been used for several decades as a tool to chip away at spiritual truth and reduce the higher to the level of the lower, creating a kind of inverted hierarchy in the process. And the well-meaning people cannot be exonerated either because they are guilty of a lack of orientation to spiritual truth. Some may even wish to supplant that with their own version of reality. 

Equality exists nowhere in nature. Creation itself could only happen when the darkness of non-manifestation was shattered by light resulting in the first and fundamental inequality which then became the ground on which cosmic order was built. Creation depends on separation and difference. An unqualified equality would have kept the universe in darkness.

 

And darkness is what those who promote equality would have us return to for equality can only truly exist at ground level, when everything has been brought down to nothing. If anything is to be it must be something and no one thing is like any other thing. Light has an infinite range of shades. Darkness is just darkness. There is true equality only in darkness.

 

But if nature and the universe are both formed on the principle of inequality could equality still be something that human beings should aspire to and work towards while recognising that it may never be actually possible to achieve? First of all, why would you wish to pattern human evolution on something that does not exist in spiritual or natural terms? Are you not thereby working against the flow of life, setting yourself up against reality? But secondly, there is no need for this. For with the principle of inequality goes that of responsible hierarchy which means that everything has its proper place in what used to be known as the Great Chain of Existence which is the basis of cosmic order. Allowing and enabling all human beings to develop themselves in the context of what they are is absolutely what we should be doing but this has nothing to do with equality which is a chimera, the pursuit of which will only disrupt the order and harmony on which the universe is based. This is not the same as saying everyone should know and keep to their place because another principle of life is growth. But again, this has nothing to do with equality. This idea simply introduces a false perspective. 

 

Look at history and you will see that the notion of equality only appears in civilisations when their creative energies are burning out. That does not in itself make it bad or wrong but it does indicate that it is part of the decadent phase of any particular culture which arises when that culture has lost connection to deeper realities and contents itself with wholly secular concerns. It comes about in a declining phase not a developing one.

 

Western civilisation is dying. At its peak it scaled great heights but it has fallen a long way down since then because of its denial of spirit. Unfortunately, most people think of this as an advance and a liberation from superstition because this denial freed us to explore and exploit the material world to a greater degree, but the initial burst of energy that came from that is rapidly dissipating. Actual progress is starting to slow down and a lot of what we thought of as progress turns out to be not without problems. Even our increased recognition of the horrors of violence and war can be understood as a greater fixation on the physical self and material well-being.


How can anyone live without acknowledging God? Within each human soul there is the divine stamp that is our life and the core of our being. How can we ignore this? But it seems millions of people do. What is going on inside these people that they have closed themselves off so much from reality and all that makes life worthwhile? There is no doubt that the material world has solidified so that the connection to spirit is much harder to make but still it is there. There is also no doubt that demonic powers have attacked on numerous fronts to make us believe the material world is all there is but we don't have to succumb to their lies. Even if everyone around us prefers darkness to light we do have the light within us and we can respond to that if we are correctly oriented within ourselves to the spiritual true north.

 

Perhaps that is the problem. Most people don't care about God because they care too much about themselves in the here and now. They are too fixated on their worldly hopes and ambitions and personal desires. They are too identified with their bodies or their feelings or their thoughts and so never look more deeply within themselves. Then there are those who are too attached to a particular sin to be willing to acknowledge that it is a sin which they would have to do if they recognised God. Such people are setting themselves up to be the victims of the dark powers to whose influence they will become more and more susceptible. 

 

The subtitle of this book is Reclaiming the Soul. It is the soul, the spiritual component of our being, that is denied when equality is asserted for each soul when created is original and unique, and its experiences bring out its individuality further. If you believe in the soul you cannot also believe in equality. To do so is to apply quantitative principles to a realm of quality.

 

A world of real equality would be a world with no room for improvement. It would be flat, without height or depth and nothing to aspire towards. It would lack the vertical dimension and the sense of beyond. It would be a world in which numbers and measurement really were at the root of being and that would be a controllable world in which there was neither freedom nor mystery.

 

Fortunately for us the world is not like that. It has its numerical, quantitative side but that relates to matter only. There is a spiritual side too and that is primary. Every soul has complete spiritual reality as a person, an authentic unique individual which cannot be reduced to anything else for it is whole in itself. In a universe of individuals there can be no equality but there can be love. Which would you rather have, equality or love? You can’t have both."

 

 

Monday 18 March 2024

They Shall Deceive the Very Elect

 The full quote from Matthew 24 is "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." 

Jesus is talking about the end times. It seems to some that our times are the end times, and even if they are not they certainly do a good impression of it. It's true that often over the course of history people have thought they were living during the end times but the widespread apostasy of the present day has not occurred before nor has the fact that the gospel of the kingdom has indeed been preached in all the world which Jesus said would be an indication of the approaching end. Be that as it may, the same patterns tend to repeat themselves at similar stages so while we may or may not be living in the actual end times teachings relating to that will still be relevant for no one can deny we are living through some kind of cultural and civilisational breakdown with the spiritual being chased from the world in most places.

Jesus says that even the elect might be deceived by the signs and wonders put out by those serving the dark agenda. Who are the elect? I suggest it is anyone who holds fast to the truth and is not deceived, neither by lies nor by half truths which always involve a subtler attack on the psyche. These people remain true for the following reasons. A love of truth, spiritual integrity and humility. They seek their reward in heaven and are not tempted by earthly riches or reputation. A tall order. We would all like to think we belong among this group but we should do well to remember that we are tested where we are weakest and even the elect can fall. We might think we have resisted one illusion but then we be deceived by something coming from the opposite direction. We may be impervious to some assaults on truth but still succumb to something that plays on our weaknesses. Right motivation is essential on the spiritual path. It will not protect us from everything, we have to have right discernment too, but it will guide us through many difficulties and enable us to resist many temptations.

To be part of the elect is not a glamorous position. Their role is to serve and quite possibly to suffer too for the suffering of the saints is a kind of expiation for the whole of humanity. They will not be thanked or acclaimed or rewarded. They may even be condemned as their Master was but then the mark of the elect is that they seek only to tread the path of light in truth and love, come what may. If we would join them we must have that attitude too.

Thursday 14 March 2024

The Madness of the Present Times

 I have noticed that quite a few writers on the Internet whose main focus is spiritual are getting increasingly drawn into commenting on and analysing current affairs. I understand why people do this especially with each new development revealing an ever greater descent into insanity. But the danger is that too much of one's energy gets focused on irrelevancies. We know, or should do, that the state of a civilisation that denies God becomes more and more detached from reality. We have been in such a state for decades now and it was inevitable we would follow the trajectory we have done. Loss of God leads to lose of the sense of reality because once you reject God you soon start to reject nature as well as there is nothing to anchor you to objective truth. You feel you can make reality what you want and what you want becomes corrupt because it is based on the desires, aspirations and ambitions of your earthly self which is mired in ignorance and egotism. We are some way down that road.

I'm not saying we should ignore what is going on in the world but nor should we allow ourselves to get caught up in it or react to it. To do that will inevitably drag us down to worldly concerns. If you really believe in God you see that life in this world is all about the preparation for heaven. And when you understand how entropy works in terms of human consciousness you see there are going to be times when the world can be coordinated to the heavenly pattern, to a greater or lesser extent, never completely, and times when it goes against that pattern. You have to have the discernment to know what sort of time you are living in. Surely anyone can see that we are now living in a time of spiritual decay and nothing will improve that situation. That doesn't mean you let evil have its way unopposed. You should always resist evil in your heart and stand against it, but you need to know that the trend is irreversible so don't hope for a bright new dawn. Not before there's been a clean sweep anyway. 

This clean sweep may be what is starting to happen now. At the end of an age all the muck of that age has to rise to the surface so it can be brought out and dealt with. Imagine a pond. On the surface the water looks reasonably clear but stir everything up and all the filth that lies at the bottom will be brought to the top. Only then can you clear it away. This is what is taking place in the world today. It is a kind of purification in that our sins are all coming out. It's not pleasant but stand back from what is going on and observe the process from a spiritual vantage point, from above and with a much more extended temporal point of view. Our task is to focus on the spiritual. It doesn't mean we accept the worldly on its own terms but the insanity of the present times has its own logic. That doesn't make it in any way right but fighting it with the idea that you might overcome it externally is a fruitless task. Speak out against so as to support others who might be struggling to make sense of a crazy world but know that the only resolution is spiritual.  

I have written about this before but the madness will only grow which means that the reaction to it will become more extreme, more vehement. That reaction is based on healthy human instinct and common sense (see, for example, this article), but the trap is it can be lured into intemperate response. The proponents of the madness can truly be said to be possessed by the devil in the sense that they have succumbed to malevolently seeded mind viruses because of unacknowledged sins such as envy, resentment, pride and the like. We must be careful not to let their capitulation to sin bring out our own innate tendencies to it which is what Jesus meant when he said resist not evil, something I have also mentioned in previous posts.

The article I link to makes complete sense on the level of everyday normality but it shows no real insight into why the lamented changes are happening. Unless you understand the demonic impulse behind all this you will not grasp that the only resolution to it is to transfer your attention to the spiritual world. Then you will eventually find that everything you think you have lost, and you have lost in a worldly sense, actually exists in a purer and more real form in the higher worlds. That is the reality, this is only the shadow. It is right to lament the destruction even of the shadow of goodness but know that the true goodness can never be harmed by evil. It remains inviolate.

Added note:

Some people might think this is defeatist talk. It is not. We should all fight the madness in whatever way we may be called to do so but we should also know that victory will not be in this world, not at this time. At other historical periods that may have possible but not now. In fact, one of the reasons the madness is allowed is so that we may remove our focus from this world to the higher one. Christians are being called to the Kingdom of Heaven. When the earthly kingdom becomes very obviously the province of the adversary that shift in focus becomes easier to make.

Monday 11 March 2024

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

The story of creation and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden as told in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis is one of the most interesting spiritual texts that has come down to us. For here, told in the simplest of terms, is the story of how we were created and why we are as we are now. The story has different elements to it and can be taken on different levels but the aspect I want to look at here concerns the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Here's the relevant passage. 

'And the Lord God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall die."'

The first thing to note is that this is all in Paradise and so this tree forms part of Paradise. Everything in Paradise has been created by God and everything there is good so the tree in itself is good. What is the tree and what its fruit? Clearly, the tree is the self-conscious mind and the fruit is that which awakens mind, thought. The tree is knowledge of good and evil or just knowledge. Adam and Eve did not have an awakened mind before eating the fruit. Thereafter, their eyes were opened which means their mind, their capacity for self-reflection and thought, awoke.

Does this mean the serpent was correct and Adam and Eve were right to listen to him? After all, they moved out of naive innocence into a world of experience in which they could grow. In the prelapsarian Garden of Eden nothing could change or so it might seem. This is a theory certain esoteric schools would subscribe to and they would see the serpent/Lucifer as the Light Bearer his name implies, being either a liberator of humanity in a Promethean sense, freeing us from a tyrannical Gnostic-type Archon god, or else simply working in line with the needs of evolutionary development by helping to awaken mind in infant humanity who were little more than animal men at that stage.

In my view this, to some, appealing scenario is not correct. We know that God is love and God is good. As in goodness is God - there is no goodness apart from God. God is also truth so what he says about not eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is also truth. And yet it awoke mind in man so how do we reconcile these two facts? The fruit is knowledge and knowledge is good but there are two sorts of knowledge. The knowledge that comes from God and the knowledge that comes from self. Eating the fruit from the tree after having been told not to do this gave knowledge apart from God. It was the act of a being that wished to become God, or a god, it makes no difference, without reference to the true God. One can speculate that the fruit was not in itself evil but eating it before being ready to do so made it the source of sin and death.

Knowledge is good. As potential co-creators with God we are called to knowledge but that knowledge should be centred in an awareness of the full reality of God. Knowledge without that awareness becomes evil or there is the strong likelihood it will become so. The serpent tempted Eve to disobey God therefore to deny God and assert the separate self. This was the cause of evil and why Lucifer is no heroic freedom fighter but a rebel against goodness and truth, something that continues to this day.


Wednesday 6 March 2024

Who is Sophia? What is She?

 Modernity was largely born out of the Reformation. This was the manifestation in the religious domain, which up to that point had always been the primary domain, of the new consciousness, one with a greater focus on self, the rational mind and the merely human. It was a step forward because it increased our powers of agency and self-determination. It moved us from a largely passive to an increasingly active mode of participation in the world. This brought many advantages but also many problems because human beings, first in the vanguard and then more or less everyone, were no longer directed by an external authority rooted in the real (cf. the instinctive nature of the animal kingdom) but by their own selves, and those selves were, and still are, limited by and to the phenomenal world of sensory experience, though for some journeys into the realm of abstract thought were possible. But even these were largely restricted by the nature of thought centred on itself. Greater freedom and creativity became open to us but the price was the loss of connection to everything that is summed up in the word 'God'. Our horizons became extended but our vision contracted. You might say we saw further along the East/West axis but as a consequence the North/South axis collapsed. And yet this was absolutely necessary if we were to advance from the state of a being embedded in creation to one able to move out of that and manipulate creation ourselves. This was once again eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and it meant we could become gods, if we did this with full recognition of the will of God and in line with his natural and spiritual order, or, failing that and acting according to our own will and its own ends and glorification, devils.

With the Reformation and its rejection of authority the seeds were sown for every man to become his own pope. Eventually every man should be his own pope but the pope is subject to God and if every man becomes not his own pope but his own god then you have crossed the line from saint to demon. That line can be thin sometimes and unfortunately it does seem that humanity as a whole has not succeeded in avoiding it at the present time. We are called to be individual but not individualistic. We are called to be gods in creation, able in the fullness of time to create worlds ourselves, but never to be our own gods. A god must serve the will of God or he becomes a devil.

The Protestant Reformation created the modern world which is why the main drivers of modernity, until its corruption, were those countries in which that ethos was most fully embedded. The spirit of the times was everywhere and that spirit created outcomes in most places but still the Protestant countries were at the centre of it all. One of the defining characteristics of Protestantism was its rejection, either overtly or in effect, of the supernatural. While this meant it could focus its energies more fully on the material plane as was intended by the powers that be, in the short term anyway, it also meant it became spiritually dry and unfulfilling. Religion without the supernatural becomes legalistic and limited to morality. It has no real life or colour or flavour or joy or mystery or power to uplift and inspire. It's an arranged marriage rather than one founded on love. Protestantism also demoted the Mother of God to just a mother. It lost touch with the Divine Feminine.

When the Romantic movement arose at the end of the 18th century, as a reaction against the rationalistic spirit of the Enlightenment and the reassertion of imagination, poets, artists, writers and philosophers rediscovered the Divine Feminine. This might be identified as the soul of things as God the Father is the spirit. It is associated with beauty, mystery and love as opposed to will, life and being. It is also associated with wisdom and in this aspect the Divine Feminine is identified as Sophia.

Sophia is the Divine Feminine in her most elevated mode of being. According to some she actually incarnated in the Virgin Mary. A debate has long been whether she is created or uncreated with some theorists equating her with the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. This might seem logical were it not for the fact that it contradicts scripture which describes her as a created feminine image of God. The very first created being but still a created being. In beautiful language chapter 8 of Proverbs extols her thus: 

"The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works before his deeds of old; 

I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.

When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water;

before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,

before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth.

I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command,
 and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

Then I was constantly at his side.
 I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,

rejoicing in his whole world
 and delighting in mankind."


The apocryphal Book of Wisdom in chapter 7 supports this when it says of Sophia that: "She is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness."


These Old Testament quotes can be taken as authoritative or not. They certainly have a poetic truth. However, part of the modern mindset when applied to the spiritual quest is that nothing can be taken as unquestionable just on say so. We must always use our own intelligence and intuition though making sure it is intuition and not wishful thinking. But associating the Divine Feminine with the third person of the Trinity goes against the fundamental Christian teaching that Mary, who is the embodiment of Sophia and the Divine Feminine, conceived Jesus by power of the Holy Spirit.


One can see why the Protestant suppression of the Divine Feminine might cause her to come back in unbalanced or exaggerated forms, action and reaction etc, but still one should know that there is a feminine dimension to divine reality without going to the extreme of feminising God as making the Holy Spirit feminine does do. Seeing Sophia as the first of the Lord's works gives us a clue as to where the Divine Feminine might arise but she is not just the first created being. She is the actual foundation principle of creation. As substance and even space she is the Universal Mother and World Soul who receives the image of God and who ultimately becomes the Heavenly Bride or Divine Spouse. She must arise before anything can be created because everything is created out of her body.


Going back to her source, she could be said to derive from the receptive nature of God which arises when the positive principle of pure act takes expression as its complementary opposite, creation necessarily being founded on duality since a world of subject alone cannot be known. You cannot say she comes after the male principle since the two must arise together as one suggests the other, but she is a reflection of God (as Wisdom says) once God moves into creative/dualistic mode from his original uncreated form, the Ain Soph or hidden God that is at the back of and beyond everything. This is why she is, as Mary, her incarnation in human form, says, submissive to God. Her will is to do his will not the other way around for although the two arise together in time, they arise out of his pre-temporal being. 


I think this insight would resolve the difficulty with feminism which is right to see the feminine as integral to divine reality, there from the very beginning as in "let us make man in our image" i.e. male and female, but fails to see there is still a hierarchical distinction. Sophia is the very first of everything but she still comes from God, created as his Divine Consort.


From God the Creator comes before anything else Sophia who is the light and glory of God and who comes into being when He expresses Himself in creation. She is the mirror in which He sees himself. She becomes His Bride and could even be said to the primary reason for creation because in herself she sums up and includes the whole of creation as it is in relation to God. At the end of days when all is accomplished, she will sit in glory alongside Him on His heavenly throne, created by God out of Himself but now by His great love made equal to Him.




I have used this image before on this blog because it contains so much. It comes from Robert Fludd's History of the Two Worlds (Macrocosm and Microcosm) and can be interpreted in various ways. In the context of this post it shows Sophia as Queen of Creation. She presides over all the created worlds, outer and inner, shown by the concentric circles but is linked by the chain attached to her right hand to the hand of God who is hidden in the cloud above the circle of angels. The image shows the relationship of God to Sophia and Sophia to the universe. He is the Creator, she the Creation.


Friday 1 March 2024

Islam and the West

 This is a follow up from a post of a few weeks ago. Obviously, emotions can get very heated in a discussion of this topic but I hope to remain objective. I don't think the current attitude that all religions are equally good or equally bad is a useful one. It may be well-meaning and an attempt to redress past prejudice and ignorance but it can also obscure the good and enable the harmful. Where the spiritual is concerned it is not just a matter of believing but of believing what is true and knowing what is either false or on a lower level of truth, meaning a level which caters more to the unevolved consciousness. For consciousness does evolve which is to say it takes in more of reality, is better able to perceive it and to express it. As this takes place the mind is potentially opened up to greater meaning and creative power and love and understanding, and when that happens its values change. If systems are in place which facilitate that it is in line with human growth and development. Not to mention the will of God. If there are systems that impede, prevent or restrict the evolution of consciousness this must be understood or else we will fall back into lower levels of being. That is all there is to it. Good intentions can be as harmful as bad ones if understanding is lacking just as love without wisdom (or misconceived love for it is not real love in these cases more a sentimentalised version of it) can actually have spiritually negative effects. I meant well is the excuse of the foolish and irresponsible.

Will all this in mind I have to point out that Islam in the modern Western world is a counter-evolutionary force. It is all very well to point to the spiritual decadence of the West, and I would be among the first to do so. That decadence is destroying our civilisation but we have to go forwards in line with the growth in consciousness and Islam is only suitable for a pre-rational stage of consciousness and that is looking at it in its best light. We can say that Islam has not succumbed to the absurdities that modern despiritualised Christianity has but that, in part, is because it has remained primitive and not evolved. The modern West has evolved but lost its spiritual centre in the process. Islam has retained its religious focus but is resistant to evolution. Both are wrong and neither is a remedy for the other.

When Muslims emigrate to the West it is because they seek a better life, materially speaking. But so many of them then seem to want to change the West to accommodate the ways of Islam failing to see that this would just make the West like the countries they left. To understand this religion and see why it is spiritually damaging in the modern age one has to go back to its roots. We might then perceive that it is not an intolerant, violent, oppressive doctrine because of misunderstanding of its core teachings. The core teachings are intolerant, violent and oppressive. Of course, sometimes intolerance is good if what you do not tolerate is evil but what Islam does not tolerate is anything other than Islam. That is a plain fact which we cannot avoid. Obviously, there are many good, decent Muslims but that is because they are human beings and God is in all human beings. But while there may be moderate Muslims there is no moderate Islam. Islam means submission and demands that everything submit to it, and its adherents are under the obligation to enforce that rule. You cannot co-exist with Islam for it will always seek to overcome you when it can, and this is because it is not just a religion but a totalitarian political ideology.

I am writing this because I live in London, a city with a Muslim mayor and a Muslim population that has now grown to 15%. That has been very apparent recently and many voices have been raised warning that we are sleepwalking into a massive problem. Often these voices are dismissed as spreading hate and, even though that is just a cynical attempt to shame critics into silence, one has to be careful to avoid unfounded prejudice and make sure one's real motivation is to awaken people to reality. Modern Westerners know little of their own history and do not understand Islam. I don't dispute that it has many qualities. Remembrance of God or some kind of deity, not a particularly evolved concept because it is limited by the limited spiritual capacity of the religion's originator who was clearly no Buddha or Krishna never mind Jesus. Focus on prayer, pilgrimage and fasting, all of which are valuable spiritual exercises. But you can never get away from the fact that it was founded on violence and spread by conquest. It does not tolerate rivals.

Western civilisation is clearly on the way out. In its present form it doesn't deserve to survive because it has turned its back on God. It has therefore become a blot on the face of the Earth. But a civilisation is made up of individuals and many are caught up in the present cultural devastation with no guidance of a better way. That guidance does exist but now you have to look for it and when you find it you will place yourself outside cultural norms or you will if you then follow it properly. At the same time, there are many false answers to the present problems and Islam is one of them. For the West certainly. It may have had a purpose for a particular place and time but that place is not here and that time is not now. Let those looking for a way forward out of the darkness of the present time know that Christ remains the Light of the World. He is the only thing in this temporal zone that truly speaks of eternity.

Sunday 25 February 2024

The Battle is Spiritual

 Continuing with the theme of the last post concerning the conquest of the West, the question has to be asked, is the West worth saving? Is it too far gone on the path of truth rejection and God denial? Is it merely suffering the consequences of its apostasy not merely of Christianity but of recognising any kind of spiritual reality at all? The saying "those whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad" (see here) can be reversed and become "those who go mad are destroyed by the gods".  All previous generations would have thought that we have gone mad not only because of our spiritual abandonment but, even more, because of our denial of nature. I won't go into details about that but the same old culprits from anti-racism to mass immigration to feminism to same sex marriage and so on bear witness to what I mean. If you don't see these as denials of nature it's because you have succumbed to the temptation of giving abstract thought and ideology more importance than reality. You prefer theory to simple, naked, honest truth. Congratulations, you are an example of someone who has been educated beyond his intellectual capability and led astray by the glamour of thought. You illustrate the point of why certain spiritual teachers of the past preferred pupils who were illiterate and so could not be distracted by theory. I remember a saying from a Taoist text, possibly Lao Tzu,"Great Tao is very straight but the people love byways". You are one of those who has left the straight path and gone down a byway because it looks more superficially attractive. But it leads to death.

Francis Berger has a very good post about how someone who has not succumbed to the madness should fight it. There are three options. Confront it on its own battlefield through politics, ignore it and tend your own garden or fight it on the spiritual plane which might sound airy-fairy (and, to be honest, can be) but is actually the only way to confront it now because it is so deeply embedded in contemporary life and culture. There may have been a time when it could have been fought politically but that is long past. That does not mean those who feel called to do that should not do it but the fact is they will not win. On the other hand, the attempt to do so will at least invigorate those who see some of the madness and perhaps help them to resist it internally. But, in reality, to fight the enemy on his own terms will just mean that you are drawn into his world. He may give ground in small things only the better to advance his main purpose. You will start to become him.

No, the battle is spiritual and must be fought spiritually. The first thing to do is fight it within yourself. Put yourself right with God by full and complete orientation of your heart towards God and his purpose which requires humility and honesty. The next thing is to proclaim the truth as best you can. Not so much by condemning what is wrong (that too but it is not primary) as by asserting what is right. And then just live the truth, again as best you can. This will have a spiritual force which can't be measured and will probably not have a public and obvious impact but which is nonetheless very real. You will be injecting light into darkness on the mental plane and that light will be picked up and responded to by those in search of light. They won't know it comes from you and you won't know it has gone to them but the effect is real.

Francis's post is written in the context of The Lord of the Rings and points out how confronting Sauron, aka, in modern terms, the System, means you must think and act in ways that he doesn't know. If you fight him with his own weapons, he wins.  He (Francis not Sauron!) says in a comment to the post:

"Thinking like Sauron expands Sauron's influence and power. It creates more Sauron. On the flipside, not thinking like Sauron does not imply never confronting the enemy directly, but for goodness sake, if you're going to do it, be creative, intelligent, and "spiritual" about it". This sums the matter up perfectly and corresponds to Jesus's instruction not to resist evil, a widely misunderstood quote. It means don't fight evil with its own weapons because, just as modern materialistic technology actually alters the minds of its users to become more materialistic, so too do those who live by the sword die by it. The real battlefield is the mind and it's that you must address by showing people how to think and perceive differently.

Sauron was not defeated by armed opposition. He was about to crush his opponents on the battlefield when the ring was destroyed. He was defeated by hidden, secret work which went on without being noticed. It's true that the armies that confronted him did serve as a distraction but that was the best they could do.

Thursday 22 February 2024

The Conquest of the West


The ways things are going it looks as though the countries of Western Europe might be conquered without putting up any resistance. Has that ever happened before? In fact, these countries often facilitate their conquest by their own weakness and foolishness. America may go the same way. Part of this comes from an ignorance of history, part from naïveté, part from the feminisation of religion, culture, politics and anything else you care to mention and part from sheer stupidity. You might say that maybe this doesn't matter since these countries are so corrupt and spiritually destitute anyway, and that is certainly true. Perhaps they deserve to die. But what will replace them is in no way better despite theoretically being driven by supposedly religious motives, and it is in many ways worse. At least, the West is nominally Christian and its culture has enabled the thriving of deeper enquiry into religion and spiritual understanding. That which seeks to replace it would not permit any such investigation. Its systems would suppress any search for higher truths. It would be from a bad state to a worse.

I have been struck by the crescent and star symbol of Islam. The crescent is the crescent moon which is also known as the horned moon because of its appearance. The star is pictured next to the moon which means it is a fallen star. The moon itself represents the past and what must be outgrown. Esoterically, it is regarded as decaying. Horns, a fallen star, spiritual decay. What does that call to mind?

Added note: I should probably say that my interpretation of this symbol is not meant to imply a literal association but a symbolic one in the contemporary context. Perhaps the symbol is meaningful, perhaps not, but it is certainly there.

Sunday 18 February 2024

Ethnocentrism and Globalism

Every ethnic group is ethnocentric except for, as a sub-group, white liberals who are both the product and the cause of civilisational decay and whose spiritual nihilism has given them a racial death wish which they disguise to themselves as concern for the other but which is actually founded on a kind of self-hatred whether that be real or something they have been propagandised into believing because of their tendency to prefer abstract theory over reality. Certainly, we are called to self-transcendence as in uplifting our centre of focus from self to God, but this is totally different to the virtue-signalling self-rejection of the white liberal. And note that these people only ever reject their self as their kind not their actual personal self.

History tells us that ethnocentrism can be taken too far but still without an initial love of self there can be no love for anything else because self is where you come from. This is why we are told to love our neighbour as ourself. It is why, as the saying has it, charity (the original meaning of which is love) begins at home.

Ethnocentrism, as least that of white people, is tarnished as racism but what is racism really? Is it racial prejudice or is it the recognition that the different races do indeed differ and in quite significant ways, not just in trivial things like skin colour? It seems that two different attitudes have been confused and lumped together. What is now called racism was never a sin until it was made such by communists in order to weaken the natural instincts of self-preservation of Western nations, making them submit to their replacement by other groups. This was so countries could no longer resist the forces of globalism which would override national identities and concerns and make all groups subordinate to central control. This is why the sense of history is being deliberately lost, the past rewritten to reflect the prejudices of the present and groups which might counter the new narrative with a more spiritually literate understanding attacked or just ignored.

We live in a world of mass immigration, feminism, destruction of family, egalitarianism, climate change propaganda, transgender ideology and the fomenting of war. All brought about to separate Man from God and replace the natural order with Dis-order. The one thing that might stand against this is a Christianity rooted in the supernatural which is why that is attacked or remade into a branch of secular humanism. Know that we are in a spiritual war of good versus evil, and any form of spirituality which doesn't acknowledge this is deluded and just a diversion for dilettantes. Many people go along with the evil to gain money and worldly success as that is what you must do if you want those things. But others who may not actively go along with it can't be bothered to stand against it because they are not sufficiently incentivised to do so as they don't really care. But if you don't care about evil you are a part of it and that means that when it falls, which it will, you will fall with it. To avoid falling you must actively identify it and stand against it both in your mind and in terms of your relationship with the world. It can be hard to resist the relentless propaganda but that is what you must do without falling into the error of allowing evil to drag you down to its level by your opposition to it. Focus at all times on a love of God and the true good and know that evil can never win the war though it may gain many victories in the short term.

Ethnocentrism is attacked because it stands against globalism but also because it is natural. In today's world to be natural is a sin because demonic powers are trying to remake us in a form that has separated itself from its Maker and no longer obeys his laws but has replaced them with others, false laws, spiritually perverse laws. The reason the white race is the primary focus of this attack is because once that falls everything else will follow. Those foolish people who rejoice in the discomfiture of the white nations because of resentment of their past leadership will find that once natural order is removed there will be no barriers to chaos and oppression. 

Thursday 15 February 2024

By No Means Equal review

David Lorimer of the Paradigm Explorer Scientific and Medical Network and former President of Wrekin Trust and the Swedenborg Society has written a review of By No Means Equal (see right). Here it is.


'In the spirit of René Guénon’s critique of our age of quantity, the author argues that we live in an age of equality which ‘directly opposes the idea of the individual soul as a spiritual reality.’ He regards equality as belonging to the domain of measurement that ‘has been mistakenly applied the human world or world of living things which are worlds of quality.’ (p. 52) We live in a time of inverted values, and the dominance of technology has meant that we have lost touch with the world of the spirit that provides the compass for the soul. He argues, rightly in my view, that since 2020 we are well on our way to being ruled by a system of technocracy, where the technocrats are completely materialistic in outlook, regarding us as machines requiring servicing and updates. He writes that ‘technocracy is anti-God because it is materialistic, atheistic, seeks complete control, subordinates truth to the expedient and the efficient, denies the primacy of the good, the beautiful and the true and puts power in the hands of an unaccountable few whose expertise in specialist areas blinds them to the overall picture... in a world controlled by data and spreadsheets there is no room for beauty, mystery, sacrifice or love.’ (p. 100) A stimulating and timely contribution
.'

 

Monday 12 February 2024

The Human Form

We can speculate that our original spiritual form may have been one of light. If it had a shape it might have been something like a sphere or that's the closest we can imagine with our three dimensionally based minds. This is the only way we can conceive of the appearance of the soul, a spiritual being, on its own plane of existence. But when we come to Earth we acquire the human form we know with eyes, ears, a head, hair, limbs and so on.  However, all these are to perform material functions or developed in response to a physical environment. Eyes, ears and nose are to enable sensory response, their shape and structure determined by that requirement. Hands, fingers, legs and feet are to allow us to interact with and manipulate the environment. None of these  have a spiritual purpose as such and so my question is what is the form of souls in heaven? Do they revert to spheres of light with a luminescence determined by the degree of spiritual unfoldment or do they retain an earthly appearance?

Beauty is one of the major attributes of God. A major reason for creation is to allow for the expression of beauty, and, as we currently know it, beauty reaches its apogee in the human being. It makes no sense that this beauty be discarded simply because the functions on which it was initially based are no longer necessary. Therefore, I suggest that one of the reasons for our incarnation as spiritual beings in a material world is to acquire the imprint of the human form which we can take back to our soul selves in the higher worlds in order to beautify these. This would mean that our souls would still be spheres of light (again conceived in three dimensional terms), though now greatly expanded and much brighter than they were before if we have succeeded in our spiritual tasks, but they can be expressed in human form. In this physical world we have an outer form and an inner corporeal composition, blood, guts, bodily organs and the like. In the spiritual world we may have something similar except that that the inner body is now the soul, the being of light. This, I submit, is why we all feel a degree of disgust for the inner physical body but not its outer form. We know that our true inner self is the soul.

When visionaries see higher beings, whether it be Jesus or Mary for Christians or some of the saints, other traditions record similar phenomena, they see a figure. A figure glowing with light but still an individual human figure and one of great beauty. It is sometimes claimed that it is the visionary's own mind that creates the form or else that the spiritual being manifests in this way to appear more familiar. This may be true but it does not mean that the form is not real as well. We tend to think abstract spirituality is more advanced than a concrete representational sort but why should both not be included in the perfected end product? After all, God looked at creation and saw that it was good. I think it is a grave error to reduce the spiritual to the formless. There is the inner and the outer and both together make the whole. The perfection of life is in the perfection of spirit, soul and body, not just one as in spirit but all three, though naturally with spirit in the hierarchically superior position. But if God is a trinity so are we and all parts of the trinity require completion. The outer form may have been constructed in the physical world and according to physical needs but it is made beautiful by the developing soul and then remains as a spiritually perfected union of the two in the higher worlds.

Thursday 8 February 2024

Spiritual Love

 A(nother) perceptive post by Bruce Charlton prompted a comment from me and since it concerns the most important spiritual quality and the one that is often turned against itself in the modern world I thought I would repeat it here.

My comment was:

I don't think most people know what love in the spiritual sense is. We think of it as empathy or compassion or something like that but these are the smoke of love rather than its fire. Or else you could say they are the reflection of love in the ordinary human mind. But when these reflections are mistaken for their true source all sorts of confusion and misunderstandings arise. What I mean here is that we tend to act in imitation of how we think love might act rather than how love really does act because love, to be spiritually based and therefore real, must be directed first of all to God. If that does not exist then the secondary love which is love of neighbour does not properly exist either though an imitation of it might. But that originates in thought rather than the heart.

Comment on the comment:

Everyone, religious or otherwise, wants to be thought loving. It's the primary Christian quality and the one that has been hijacked by secularism to be worn as a badge of authenticity and goodness. For that reason it is the most abused, trivialised, watered-down and imitated of the virtues. Because we all know love on the human level we think that gives us an insight into spiritual love but really it does not. We should have a totally different word. Some people like agape but I find this too academic and remote, as though it belongs in a theological study rather than real life, so we are stuck with love. But still we have to understand that spiritual love is rooted in the love of God. The fact that God is love does not mean that love is God. Love can only be known for what it really is when the heart is open to God. Then God enters that heart and love is known. Otherwise all you have is an earthly imitation of it, like the image of sunlight in water but the reflected image is still made of water not light.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Not Quite Human

(Advance warning: This post has nothing to do with the theme of the blog). 

I recently had my DNA tested by one of the several companies that specialise in this service. You provide them with a small sample, in this case by swabbing the inside of your cheeks, send it off for analysis and await the results. My father came from Yorkshire and his family had been there for several generations, my mother's father came from North East Scotland and his mother was from the Hebridean island of Benbecula while my maternal grandmother was Irish so I roughly knew what to expect, but here are the results.

Europe

100%

All fairly typical for a British person or an actually British British person. The big surprise to me was the amount of Northumbrian but I suppose that is not far from Yorkshire. The other interesting (to me) element is the relatively high quantity of DNA from Lincolnshire and Aberdeenshire. My Scottish grandfather's surname was Ledingham and this name was apparently first found in Lincolnshire but is also associated with Aberdeen. I have DNA from most places in Great Britain and Ireland but none at all from Wales. This would have pleased said grandfather who harboured a prejudice against the Welsh for reasons I never found out. When his only son, my uncle, married a very nice Welsh girl he was so annoyed that he trained my brother and I, aged around 6 and 4 at the time, to recite the old nursery rhyme "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief" at the wedding reception in Cardiff. Apparently we weren't a great success with the family of the bride.

The reason I chose this particular company, which is called Living DNA, is because they also give you an estimate of how much of your DNA came from the Neanderthals. It used to be thought that Homo sapiens did not breed with other forms of humans but we now know that Homo sapiens did, in fact, interbreed with Neanderthals during the Late Pleistocene, soon after moving out of Africa some 80,000-50,000 years ago. So, although we are the only surviving human species we do carry traces of earlier human species within us.  At least, those of us who are of European and Asian ancestry do. Neanderthal DNA is not found in sub-Saharan Africa though in that part of the world there are traces of other even earlier types of Homo.  That counters claims made at the time the genetic code was first unravelled which maintained that all human groups were exactly the same. DNA analysis has completely disproved this always obviously wrong and ideologically based theory.

I have 1.89% Neanderthal DNA which is roughly average for someone of my background. I also have 0.18% Denisovan DNA. Homo denisova is another form of archaic human whose DNA survives as part of the modern human genome though they themselves died out thousands of years ago. It survives mostly in populations from Asia and Oceania and presumably does because it is useful in some sense. Ability to adapt to high altitude is thought to be one of the benefits bestowed by Denisovan DNA and that makes sense as the populations are believed to have been centred in areas around Siberia and Tibet. The first discovery of a fossil of this type of human was actually in a cave in the Altai Mountains in Siberia and, though there have been a couple of other places where it has been found since (in China and Laos), scientists are working with extremely small samples, bits of a finger or a molar, to extract their DNA. I have to say that the work in this field has been truly remarkable and led to fascinating results. It makes you wonder how much more there is to be discovered, locked up inside our bodies.

As a result of this analysis I am delighted to announce that I am only 98% human, or modern human if you want to nit pick. Of course, you probably are as well.

On a more serious note, and returning to the blog's actual theme, as interesting as this kind of study is it should not blind us to the fact that we are in a particular body but we should not be exclusively identified with that body. But then nor should we go to the other extreme and do as many do now and think it doesn't matter, we're all the same. We are not all the same and we are meant to be what we are. At the same time, our true self is the soul and when we die that is what we will return to. And yet I do believe we shall take something of what we are now with us as an additional flavour or colouring. Nothing is wasted and just because we are not the body that does not mean that the body is not in some sense part of us too. Approach this question on an intuitive level rather than a strictly intellectual one and you will find that you can reconcile apparent contradictions.