Posted in Spirituality, tagged Agnosticism, Atheism, Conan, Crom, Death, Food, God, Gods, Hyborian Age, Love, Maya, Paganism, Polytheism, Pulp, Red Meat, Religion, Robert E. Howard, Sex, Skepticism, Spirituality, Swords and Sorcery, Valhalla, Violence, Wine on April 26, 2010 |
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I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he trusts them too deeply. I seek not death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom’s realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer’s Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care. Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and the stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let the teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.
-Robert E. Howard, from “Queen of the Black Coast.”
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Posted in Music, Spirituality, tagged Architecture, Art, God, Heaven, Infinity, Jimmy Page, Joh Bonham, John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin, Magic, Music, Mysticism, Occult, Robert Plant, Rock, Rock & Roll, Song, Spell, Spirituality on April 16, 2010 |
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I clearly had “Stairway to Heaven” on my mind yesterday, and I still do today. I think the song is absolutely amazing, and I think it’s unfortunate that so many people regard it as played-out or cliched. I’d be willing to bet that a staggering number of young people have heard someone disparage “Stairway to Heaven” more times than they have actually heard the song. In fact, I think that insisting that “Stairway to Heaven” is a cliche is itself far more of a cliche than the song is.
Anyway, I think the song is powerful, mystical, and magnificent. My dad always talked about how he thought certain songs seemed to tap into some kind of cosmic energy or some power source out there, implying God or Heaven or something like that. I think he might be right. There’s something about the way this song is put together, the words, the phrasing, the musical arrangement, the instruments, the guitar solo, the crescendo and decrescendo, something about the architecture of this song that makes me think of occult architecture, of buildings and statues built specifically to channel otherworldly supernatural power through symbolism. Somehow this song is like that.
I’m not even sure what all of the words mean, and I’m not even convinced that if you broke them down and analyzed them like you would a piece of literature that they would come out the other end seeming very profound at all. It’s like the pieces of this song are combined in such a way that the song itself–not specifically the words to the song or their meaning–works like a magic spell. But a spell meant to do what? Something is being invoked here, but what is it? If this song is a key, what door does it open?
What is this taste of infinity that rolls around on my tongue every time I hear this song?
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Posted in Music, Spirituality, tagged Art, Classic Rock, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin, Music, Mysticism, Robert Plant, Rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality on April 14, 2010 |
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There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying
In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those
Who stand looking
And it’s whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will
Echo with laughter
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Posted in Spirituality, tagged Alchemy, Aphrodite, Ares, Art, Artemis, Athena, Bacchus, Bhagavad Gita, C. G. Jung, Diana, Dionysus, Discovery, Divination, Drama, Druid Revival, Druidry, Ecofeminism, Ethics, Euripides, Gita, Gods, Great Work, Greek Mythology, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Hinduism, Holy Grail, Hubris, Inner Work, Insight, Jim Morrison, Jove, Juno, Jupiter, Land-spirits, Liberalism, Light, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Morality, Music, Mysticism, Mythology, Neo-druidry, Nymphs, Olympian Gods, Pacifism, Paganism, Pan, Pantheon, Philosophy, Politics, Polytheism, Psyche, Reincarnation, Revival Druidry, Rock & Roll, Rock and Roll, Salvation, Sin, Snakes, Tarot, The Bacchae, Theater, Theoi, Transcendentalism, Upanishads, Vedanta, Venus, Vesta, Vision Quest, Wheel of the Year, Wicca, Wilderness, Wisdom, Zeus on April 14, 2010 |
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I believe in the Hellenic gods. I have personally experienced their presence and their effect on my life. I think that worshipping an honoring them in a traditional way makes sense. I pray to Zeus, to Hermes, to Ares, to Aphrodite, to Hera, Athena, Dionysus, Artemis, Hestia and the other Olympians. And I believe that I should also be finding ways to honor Pan, the nymphs, and the other immediate, present land-spirits. I think that Euripides’s The Bacchae is one of the most intense, meaningful, and wise pieces of literature ever composed. I believe that classical ethics and the Golden Mean remain–as they always have been–the best and most reliable guide for human behavior.
I have a strong pull towards personal mysticism and inner work: I have a strong desire to explore the landscape of the unconscious. I think there is immense truth to the work of Jung. Somehow, rock and roll, Dionysus, the Holy Grail, Jim Morrison, and snakes are all tied up in this. And probably tarot, too. I believe that there is something to be accomplished, some Great Work, some journey. A journey outward into the literal Wilderness that is also a journey inward into the Wilderness of the human psyche. There’s something there that wants to be discovered.
I believe that the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads, taken together, are an unsurpassed work of spiritual genius. Reading them is like drinking light and wisdom. I think that the philosophy of Vedanta comes the closest of any human philosophy to explaining the universe as we are situated in it. If there is such thing as enlightenment–and I have to believe that there is–then the path outlined in the Gita has to be the way to find it.
So what does that add up to? I don’t cast spells, or do any magic(k), or even really believe that other people who claim to are actually doing anything. I don’t celebrate the wheel of the year. I’ve tried, and it just didn’t click like I thought it was going to–it always seems like it should be relevant and emaningful and important to me but I never am able to make it be anything other than awkward and ill-fitting, like an outfit that looked great on the mannequin but just fits me terribly. I think. Or maybe I was somehow doing it wrong. I don’t believe in assembling a homemade pantheon of gods that I “work with.” I don’t think “working with” gods is a very good term at all, if nothing else because it fundamentally misunderstands our relationship to them and in a terrible act of hubris tries to convert them into tools for our use. I do divinations with tarot–and have often had uncanny insights–but sometimes I think the randomness of drawing cards causes me to miss the power and symbolism that the tarot has as a whole and in all of its parts. I believe in right and wrong, but I don’t believe that we need salvation from sin. I’m not sure if I believe in literal reincarnation, or literal life after death (I don’t deny either one: I just don’t know). I’m inclined to agree on a philosophical level with the revival Druids, but when it comes down to specifics, none of what they do really reaches out and grabs me. I’m not an ecofeminist. I’m not a pacifist. I’m not politically very liberal.
I don’t feel much in common with most people who get included in the boader umbrella of “paganism” or neo-paganism; I don’t even think that the broader umbrella is a meaningful category because it includes too many things that have nothing in common other than being-clumped-together-into-the-category. I’m not a Christian, but I have no fundamental problem with or hostility against Christianity.
So what, then? What am I? How do these pieces fit together? How do I move forward, given all of this? What’s the next step for me, spiritually? Who am I and what does this all mean? What does it mean for me as a father, a husband, a lawyer, a brother, a human being? How do I keep myself from getting pulled away into tangents and driven off-course and away from things I hold sacred by the countless diversions and slippery slopes and spectra of meaning and practice that all of these disparate threads seem to be tied to?
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Posted in Spirituality, tagged Active Imagination, Bacchus, C. G. Jung, Dionysus, Dreams, Jim Morrison, Mysticism, Polytheism, Psychonautics, Spirituality, Vision Quest on April 13, 2010 |
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Vision quests, psychonautics, Jim Morrison, Dionysus, mysticism, the gods, snakes. Dreams and dream interpretation. Active imagination. Meditation.
The same stuff that’s always on my mind.
Trying to figure out how to integrate my mystical leanings into regular religious practice of some kind, without neglecting either. Trying to figure out how to break out of the closed-circuit of endlessly thinking (or worse, endlessly looking on the internet for the thing that isn’t there) and into the open limitless beyond of actually doing.
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