Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ancient Scotland and Samhain

 
 
In ancient times, the great Celtic fire festival of Oidhche Shamna, Samhuinn or Samhain Eve lit up the autumn night skies of the Isles of Albion… the lands of what is today known as the United Kingdom. At nightfall, bonfires would be kindled upon every sacred mound in the highlands. In those times, the tribes & clans would gather to celebrate the end of the harvest season, the gathering of cattle from the summer highland pastures and the beginning of winter or the 'darker half' of the year. Historians consider Samhain to be a celebration of the Celtic New Year and the autumn equinox, however...
 
To the ancient Celts, Samhain was seen as a time when the veil between our world and the Otherworld was thinnest. A time when the 'door' to the Realm of the Dead opened enough for the souls of the dead, and other beings, to come into our world. Feasts were had, at which the souls of dead clan & kin were beckoned to attend and a place set at the table for them. As such, Samhain has been likened to a festival of the dead, held by many cultures throughout the world in honor or recognition of deceased members of the community.
 
During the night of this great autumn festival, people took steps to protect themselves from harmful spirits, which is thought to have led to the custom of guising. In Scotland and Ireland, "guising" or children going from house to house in disguise… was integral to festivities... a gift in the form of food, usually apples or nuts or sometimes coins was given out to the children dressed up in costume. Those in disguise are only supposed to receive treats if they perform for the households they go to. This normally takes the form of singing a song or reciting a joke or a funny poem which the child has memorized before setting out.
 
Guising and the wearing of masks may have been another way to befuddle, ward-off or represent the harmful spirits and fairies. Although guising or mumming was common at winter festivals in general, it was particularly appropriate on a night in which supernatural beings were said to be abroad. For the reveling highlanders, it was a very short step from guising or representing harmful spirits and fairies… to playing pranks. Playing pranks at Samhain is recorded in Scotland as far back as 1736 and was also common in Ireland, which led to Samhain being nicknamed "Mischief Night" in the highlands.
 
Divination was an essential function of Samhain. Harvested foods such as apples and nuts were incorporated within the divination ritual. Apples were peeled, the peel tossed over the shoulder, and its shape examined to see if it revealed a potential spouse. Nuts were roasted on the hearth and their behavior interpreted. If the nuts stayed together, so would the couple. Egg whites were dropped in water, and the shapes foretold the number of future children. Ravens or crows were sought out and observed. The number of birds or the direction they flew would divine these most important questions of matrimony and/or child bearing.
 
These familial questions were crucial for the survival of the clan. Matrimony brought with it alliances within the clans, while the birth rate directly influenced a clan’s strength through numbers. Questions of divination and prophecy traditionally fall to a culture’s shamans. The ancient Celtic shamanic traditions were overseen by a spiritual tradition known as Druidism. Virtually nothing is known concerning the practices of the ancient Druids, so that… although they certainly existed… they function more or less as legendary figures.
 
Historical reports from the Roman occupation era indicated that the druids followed the Pythagorean doctrine… essentially the immortality and transmigration of the soul. Scottish folklorist Donald A. Mackenzie theorized that druidic philosophy and cosmology was influenced by Buddhist missionaries who had been sent by the Indian king Ashoka. This theory was based in part on archeological artifacts such as the Gundestrup bowl, on which the Celtic god, Cernunnos, is postured like a typical Buddha.
 
The Druids did not believe in eternal damnation, or in the angry demiurgic god who rejoiced in torturing sinful heretics and infidels. The thought-control apparatus of the Roman Empire and Roman Catholic church could not operate in the Celtic lands of Britain, Ireland or Scotland as long as Druidical vestiges remained. It's also apparent that the only religion existing to the present day which resembles Druidism is Buddhism.
 
The metaphysical bases of Buddhism and Druidism are very similar. Buddhist teachings on Dependent Relationship indicate that all phenomena exist in three fundamental ways. First, phenomena exist by dependence upon causes and conditions. Second, phenomena depend upon the relationship of the whole to its parts and attributes. Third, and most profoundly, phenomena depend upon mental imputation, attribution, or designation. According to John Michael Greer, Druid philosophy has a similar division into three 'elements' which are known in old Welsh as Gwyar (change or causality), Calas (structure) and Nwyfre (consciousness).
 

Return of Samhain

Wicca, Neo-Paganism and Neo-Druidism mark a popular return to the old ways. Popularized by Gerald Gardner, Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice. Wicca is primarily a duo-theistic religion, centered upon the worship of a Moon Goddess and a Horned God. The Goddess and the God may be regarded as the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine. They are complementary opposites, similar to the ideas of yin and yang in Taoism.
 
Neo-paganism emerged as part of the counter-culture, New Age and Hippie movements in the 1960s to 1970s. Inspired by the wider occult movement, neo-paganism incorporates Neo-shamanism,  or a revival of an old form of "shamanism", a system that comprises a range of beliefs and practices related to communication with the spirit world.
 
Neo-Paganism emphasises the sanctity of the Earth and Nature. The related Eco-paganism is an off-shoot of direct action environmentalism, with a strong emphasis on fairy imagery and a belief in the possibility of intercession by the Fae… or fairies, pixies, gnomes, elves, and other spirits of nature and the Otherworld.
 
Neo-Druidism forms the second largest pagan practice, after Wicca. Like the name implies, it draws inspirations from the ancient Druids and ancient pagan Celts. Many forms of neo-druidism are seen as philosophies that are not necessarily religious in nature.
 
The most appealing shared aspect of Wicca, Neo-Paganism and Neo-Druidism… is, of course, the festival. Most revelers follow eight festivals a year, which are collectively organized and known as the Wheel of the Year. What self-respecting pagan wouldn’t see it as their sacred duty to observe these ancient and now revived festivals?
 

 

Festivities aside, we are drawn to the synchronistic aspect of the eight fold organization built in to this pagan revival. The Buddhist/Druidic connection only reinforces the universal nature of the eight-fold and eight-circuit model of consciousness. The underlying octave structure apparent in universe continues to surface in the world’s great philosophies… and that is a reassuring thought.
 

Happy Halloween to all!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Planet of the Apes Politics – Pt 2

 

Political Marco-Trends

As discussed in our earlier post, the outlook for the 2012 election is… desperate as usual. Beyond normal political rivalry, a deep philosophic divide separates the Democratic and Republican world views. The outcome of the presidential race will, to a great extent, dictate the course of America’s future. The choice appears to be between Laissez-faire capitalism & renewed militaristic adventurism on one side, and entitlement maintenance & health care reform on the other. The American public, upon making this decision in November, is on a collision course with a brave new world order.
 
Predictably, our politicians only rehash tired 20th century political concepts, such as “trickledown economics” …in the hopes that failed policies of the last century will somehow be applicable to 21st century socio-economic conundrums. For better or worse, humanity’s economic, political, social & spiritual landscape is in the process of rapid transformation… and for the U. S. citizenry; things will never be the same.
 
The United States was once an industrial powerhouse with unmatched manufacturing capabilities. As the astute reader knows, the U.S. manufacturing economy was dismantled over the last 30 years. For America… the time of industrial might has come and gone. A manufacturing economy (and the jobs that went with it) as the U.S. knew it in the 50s/60s/70s is gone forever… it is never coming back. Yet politicians continue to speak of the past as if it is the future.
 
Both presidential candidates spin their version of bringing back manufacturing jobs. Romney & the Republicans speak reverently of big-business as being “job creators” …giving big-business tax breaks and other incentives will magically create more jobs, thereby eliminating our current high un-employment rate. Big business as job creators is a myth. The obvious truth is… the last thing any business owner wants to do is hire more employees. Adding more employees to payroll is the last resort in any business… they will do everything they can not to hire… including outsourcing. Enter the global economy.
 
If a return to U.S. manufacturing is not in the plutocrat’s game-plan… what is? The role that the global elites foresee for the “Land of the Free” is a return to an extractive economy... gas, oil, mining, timber… a good old fashioned, god-fearing extractive economy. Without a manufacturing base… this is the only economy that is left for America. Evidence of this is the renewed interest in the extraction of gas and oil shale, and the associated international delivery of said products. Remember the Keystone Pipeline?
 
Big oil is all a-twitter over natural gas and its extraction technique, popularly known as “fracking.” It is no coincidence that considerable environmental concerns have risen around the practice of fracking. Ground water contamination, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, health effects associated with all of the above… the list goes on. Any large scale harvesting of natural resources brings with it environmental degradation… sadly, this is an inescapable reality.
 

Resiliency

Again, the return to an extractive economy will bring devastating environmental consequences… especially if done on the massive scale that we have seen in the past. The plutocrats’ global plan is all-inclusive, but not visionary. It still relies upon the imperialistic strategies of exploitation of the past… only on a grander, global scale. These practices of the past have painfully illustrated that bigger isn’t better.
 
So if we don’t want to go along with the globalist’s economic agenda… what are the alternatives?
 
One such alternative that focuses on the micro-level of community development, rather than the macro-level of global development, is the Resilient Community movement. The resilient community is a practical application of the old adage… “Think globally & act locally.”
 
The resilient community movement is a means whereby local communities, be they physical… as in neighborhoods, villages or cities… or virtual… as in on-line communities, build strength and sustainability through self sufficiency. A resilient community has the capability to anticipate risk, limit impact and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution and growth… in the face of turbulent change.
 
The resilient community’s philosophic premise is that the fundamental flaw in global capitalism is its inability to sustain such a massive economic structure. The global transport of goods and raw materials is ultimately doomed to fail by virtue of its increasing impracticality. In this regard, the resilient community is a response to the State (imperialistic) imposed global economy (read: brave new world order) and those architects (plutocrats) behind it. Even on the eve of the Globalists self-perceived final victory, the world economy is imploding upon itself due to its underlying un-sustainability.
 
Although the resilient community draws examples from historically successful communities, they learn from the past… they do not repeat it. Rather, the resilient community is a networked version of community, wherein geographic communities are connected via modern telecommunication. A network of individually autonomous communities, wired to the globally intact internet, becomes a viable alternative to a top-down global economy. Put another way, the resilient community is a competing vision for a global economic system… locally based.
 
More information on the Resilient Community can be found at the following links…
 
 
As for the election on the "planet of the apes" this November... vote early & vote often...  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Enlightenment? ...Forgetaboutit!


"If you meet Buddha while on the road to enlightenment, kill him!"

-Lin Chi

Guest Guru

In the interest of the aggregation of ideas, we like to present the propaganda of other thinkers and their modes or “schools” of thought. The following is a clip from one such thinker, Tony Moo… aka: Mooji.
 
Tony Moo was born on January 29, 1954 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. In 1969, he moved to the UK and lived in Brixton, London. Tony worked in London's 'West End' as a street portrait artist for many years. In 1993, Tony travelled to India, where through a series of synchronistic events, he became a student of the great advaita Master Sri Harilal Poonja, known to his many devotees as Papaji. Check Mooji out... he might be Irie!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

2012 Elections on the “Planet of the Apes”

 
 

“Regardless of whether a democrat or a republican is elected…
the politicians always get in.”

-Hippie Proverb
 
Timothy Leary, PhD had a saying… “If you want to talk politics, you have to get down on all fours.” Human politics is essentially an extension of mammalian pack predation. Earthling mammals can be broken down into two distinct groups… predators and prey. Make no mistake about it… although humans are classified as mammals, the more impactful distinction is… humans are predators. As pack-driven, strategic predators, humans are exceptionally good at it.

Given the success of the human species (order: Primate, family: Hominidae, species: Homo Sapien), it is not an overstatement to say that we are living on the “planet of the apes.” Physiologically, humans have the same characteristics as all predators. Their eyes are in the front of their heads, allowing for binocular vision… they have big ‘ole canine or cuspid teeth, capable of rending the flesh of their prey… you get the picture. Being social animals, humans excel at hunting in packs. As in all pack behavior, humans are more aggressive when in packs. The recent GOP and RNC national conventions are two cases in point.

Like the other great apes, politicians demonstrate all of the classic simian displays of aggression. They flail about, beat their chests and vocalize, threateningly. When all else fails, they fling poop. Again, we need look no further than any political stump speech to observe elaborate ritualized displays of primate dominance behavior, similar to those documented by anthropologist Jane Goodall, in observation of our closest cousin, the chimpanzee. Both democrats and republicans are typical specimens.

Not that the underlying philosophic concepts of democracy and republicanism are without merit. The democratic principle of the greatest good for the greatest number has honorable intent. Likewise, individual liberty and the personal freedoms that are safeguarded within the principles of a republic are admirable… in concept. The ideals of a democracy and a republic are arguably noble notions. The current socio-political dilemma within the United States is not driven by the ideals of democracy or republicanism… it is driven by those primates who call themselves democrats and republicans. It is these monkeys (read: elected officials) who, through their inaction are causing all the trouble.

We’ll get to the democratic president and his republican challenger in a moment, but first, let us examine a much easier target… the one hundred twelfth United States Congress. These guys have spent the current session playing partisan politics and pissing away their timely opportunity to do their jobs. They did nothing… except fund raise. As a result, no significant legislation has been passed, nor is it likely that any legislation will be taken up until after the election in November. Does anybody really think that this legislative body will do anything to address the combination of automatic spending cuts and the expiration of Bush era tax breaks, both of which are triggered in January? Question: What is an 8-letter word for monkey? …Congress!

The truth is, with a completely dysfunctional legislative branch of government, the U.S. will deserve any resulting downgrade of credit worthiness imposed by “New World Order” lackeys such as Moody’s Investor’s Service or Standard & Poor’s. It’s ironic too… because from the perspective of the NWO, the U.S. economy is in a unique position to take advantage of the current global economy, if only politicians had the guts to act. Maybe this is an example of poetic justice.

Speaking of lackeys, let’s take a peek at that buffoon (or should I say baboon?), Mitt Romney and the other suspect, Barak Obama. If Mitt and his Neo-Con bosses (I’m looking at you, Paul Wolfowitz) manage to blunder and/or buy their way into the White House, get ready for World War III. These guys are going to march directly into Iran to finish the job they started in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their justification is, of course, weapons of mass destruction… sound familiar?

Sadly, it’s not clear that Barak is much better. The proliferation of the use of military drones under Barak’s administration is alarming, to say the least. It is just a matter of time before this militarized technology transitions into a domestic police technology. Barak’s continued bragging point of killing Osama bin Laden is just plain creepy. Really? …sending a black ops unit into Pakistan on a revenge mission to kill bin Laden is something to brag about? Is that the kind of operation that the supposed leader of the free world should condone?

So… to sum up our current political situation as we head down the home stretch in the 2012 elections: We have a dysfunctional legislative branch of government who’s inaction has been the primary continuing cause of our economic crisis… we have an executive branch who’s pretty darn hawkish and “business as usual” considering the fact that he ran as the “hope” candidate in ’08… as far as the judicial branch goes, consider the 2010 ruling: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission …need we say more?


“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being
governed by your inferiors”
 
- Plato

 
If monkeys are an analogy for politicians... Piggies is an analogy for the 1%
 

 Is it any wonder that extreme skepticism and cynicism dominate the mood of the American public? Is it any wonder that we must resort to sources like The Daily Show and “The Corbert Report” for our political analysis? Even popular push-back against the political machine, such as The Tea Party from the right and Occupy from the left, seem lack-luster as we close in on November. It appears as if we get to choose from a list of bad choices this fall.

For all intents and purposes, contemporary politics has gone utterly insane. We mean this quite literally. Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” The continued escalation of war… the unashamed expansion of empire and military adventurism… the dismantling of the middle class… the commoditization of the political system… this all seems… feels… completely insane.

The difference between Mitt and Barak is that Mitt has no clue that what is going down in the world today is insanity… honest-to-god, complete systems failure insanity. To Mitt, it’s just “Business (with a capitol B) as usual.” Mitt mistakes political and social insanity for normality. This is the world view of the new global capitalists. Extract the Earth’s resources for profit… global warming be damned!

We suspect that Obama at least knows that the current socio-political situation is insane. He appears to be an intelligent man… his early experience in social justice and activism suggests that he comprehends the importance of human integrity and diversity. Surely he grasps the precariousness of letting capitalism run amok. The question is… will he, or can he address these social ills, if re-elected?

An undeniable result of the contemplation of all this is… apathy. A lot of people… especially our young and brightest… when taking a critical look at our political structure… conclude that they have no reason to participate in such a broken system. “Why vote? …it isn’t going to change anything”

We have no logical reply to this… but offer an illogical one. Participate anyway. Broken as it is… the U.S. representative democracy, balanced by, and operating within a constitutional republic, is a resilient form of government. Even if popular opinion deems the system broken beyond repair, vote anyway. For in the words of Buckminster FullerDare to be Naive! Throughout this tattered old republic’s short history, it has always been the naïve dreamers who made this country great.

Don’t expect leadership from politicians, though. In truth, politicians don’t lead… they follow. They react to situations, after the fact. No… leadership is going to have to come from us… the naïve dreamers. It’s a brave new world out there… and in these uncertain times, we place our faith in, place our bets on… dreamers. Dreamers… poets… heretics and shamans... for at the end of the day… any nation of people is only as great as their shamans.