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Making a Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear [YWC]

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posted on Jan, 9 2012 @ 03:24 PM
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The Way I came to my beliefs has been a long road. Occasionally, I've felt that I strayed off the Path altogether, but I always come back to it.

Religion and mythology have pretty much been life-long interests for me – at least from the time I could read.

As a kid I'd read anything I could get my hands on. My weekly comic kept me engrossed for hours as I'd practise my reading skills and pore over the pictures. When I'd finished the stories I'd even read all the publisher's details at the bottom of the back page. After that, I'd poke my nose into anything else that was handy be it children's books, books for grown-ups or a bible. I spent some time trying to make sense of Genesis, I remember.

I was never christened or baptised for which I've always been grateful but I did get packed off to Sunday school because my mother wanted me out from underfoot on her busy Sunday mornings. As an adult I don't resent that I had to go to Sunday school, I'm happy to have been taught some of the values that they tried to instil in the kids, but I wasn't happy about going there when I was a child. How glad I'd be to get back home to my toys and I stopped going as soon as my mother lost the will to argue with me about whether or not I should attend.

I used to keep my ears open around adults and picked up a lot of tidbits of information, including the fact that not everyone believed in God. I was shocked but I'd always been a bit rebellious and the idea fascinated me that maybe he didn't exist and that I didn't have to believe in him if I didn't want to.

I was equally fascinated when a neighbour's son came home on leave from the Navy and shocked all the old ladies with tales of his life at sea. He described how the sailors used to pierce their ears by putting a cork at the back of the lobe and whacking in a needle. Of course I had to try it for myself a few years later - but without the luxury of the cork.

Anything bizarre, unusual, out-of-the-ordinary would be fodder for me. I'd soak it all up quite happily, like a little sponge. Fortune telling with playing cards? Gimme a pack. Astrology? Oooh ooh, what sign am I? It just seemed that my natural inclination was towards this stuff.

I used to ask a lot of questions about the stars and remember how surprised I was when someone explained to me that the Sun, Moon and stars were actually very big and that they only looked small to us because they were so far away. Imagine that!

Sadly for me, the reality of the stars became less romantic when I looked into astronomy. I wasn't scientifically minded and finding out what they were as opposed to what they were for was rather boring. I decided to stick to reading the stories behind the constellations.

When, aged twelve, I first learnt about the Ancient Egyptians I loved them. The Ancient Egyptian Gods in particular drew my attention and I asked the teacher if they had actually existed.

I was in a bit of a religious wilderness about then. Doubting what I'd been taught about God but having no real alternative except for one I was making up. Not one who sat on a throne in the sky condemning people to Heaven or Hell depending on whether they'd been naughty or nice, but a sort of personal, inner god who I could talk to and ask for help and guidance.

To digress slightly, I was about twelve when I bought my first pet mouse, a little black one. That started my long, on-going love affair with rodents. Up until then I'd only seen them in comics and my expectations were that people would be jumping on chairs at the sight of my new pet. Sadly there was no such drama, but from then on I didn't have to spend too long with rodents absent from my life.

I believe in reincarnation and it comforts me to think that how ever many lives I've had on this planet it's a pretty safe bet that mice and rats will have featured in them. I hope I greeted them in the past with the same joy that I feel for them now. If I have to come back here it's a comfort to think that I'll enjoy them again.

Anyway, fast forward to age fourteen and I found myself in a museum whilst on a school outing. It was a fascinating place and among its exhibits were Balinese shadow puppets. I was admiring them when a staff member showed me the button on the side of the case that made them move. Well, there was something I'd never seen before. I'm still grateful to that man for taking the trouble to show me.

BUT the very best and most perfect thing in the museum was a small head of Buddha which had been broken off the body. It didn't matter that it wasn't complete, it was serene and beautiful. I loved it straight away and treated myself to a postcard of it so I could remember it when I got home. I promised myself that as soon as I was able I would look into Buddhism to see what this man had to teach.

I'd had a troubled home-life and left at age sixteen. By seventeen I was living in a small bed-sitter on the outskirts of the City with very little money and only a couple of not very close friends. I had hardly any social life and no form of entertainment at home except for a small radio which I used to listen to in the mornings before I got up for work. There was nothing I wanted to hear in the evenings so I needed something to read or I'd be sitting there with literally nothing to do but stare at the walls.

True to form, any reading material would do, including my Works of Shakespeare which I'd managed to keep with me after leaving home. If I found a book that I could afford I'd forgo a decent meal and buy the book. I was lucky that a local bookshop had several small hard-backs in stock which featured Persian Poets, including Rumi and Jami, among other interesting books such as The Spiritual Physick of Rhazes and Persian Proverbs. They were cheap and I bought them all over a period of time, no-one else seems to have been interested in them.

I bought a book on Buddhism too, fulfilling the promise I'd made to myself. I was so delighted with it, Buddhism was everything I could have hoped for. I was vegetarian by that time and vegetarianism was advocated by Buddhists. They didn't kill animals and had respect for all life.

I liked their philosophy of non-attachment and wondered how I could go about 'non-attaching' myself from the world and all its temptations. I can't pretend that I did too well at that but the ideas were 'sticking'. I did become less attached in some ways – more specifically, non-attached to life itself. I didn't care if I was here or not here, but if I was here I wanted to be at least comfortable and learning things.

I started to wonder how to go about achieving Enlightenment. As many other people do, I wondered what would happen if I became Enlightened and then I didn't die straight away. What if I had to live for several more years? Could I become un-Enlightened if life 'got to me' a bit too much? That would be a bit of a bugger.

I studied Hinduism and ancient Indian history. The Mahabharat remains one of my favourite things. I was already aware of the Greek and Roman Gods but they seemed a little removed from modern life. I knew about the Norse Gods too, but they were a little robust for me. In Hinduism I found Gods who were still believed in by millions of people and could easily be appealed to. Strangely, I never felt that the Egyptian Gods were removed or remote. They seemed to be very accessible too.

I gradually came to the understanding that there are powers in the world, the universe, which are personified in different ways by all or most Earthly cultures. Never mind the facade you are presented with, the powers are the same, so a person could just pick whichever representations suited them best – the ones who 'resonated'.

I came to realise that those powers would exist whether or not mankind believed in them. Not so with some other, made-up God who depended for its existence on human belief in it.

A made-up God, I suspect, that is actually a huge battery 'charged' by the belief and praises of its congregation. A congregation who have little access to the power they are providing and are unsuspecting that their Masters or Adepts can very well avail themselves of that power and energy whenever they wish to do so. Even if there is no 'battery' the priests have gained astonishing power for themselves.

Whilst trying to find ways to entertain myself during my years in my lonely little bed-sit I came across 'occult' books. Astrology, the Tarot, Astral Travel, Path Working, Alchemy, and Magic! Magic spells! Oooh boy – just the thing for me, especially since I'd been inspired by Dr Strange, my favourite comic book hero after Spiderman.

I read a biography of Aleister Crowley and then read many of his book including his novel, Moonchild. I read Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie and W.E. Butler, too. I waded into the Kabbalah, although seriously doubting my ability to remember it all and developed a particular fondness for the four elements of Fire, Air, Earth and Water. I learnt about the Tree of Life and its many paths and sephirah and discovered which Tarot Cards fitted where on the glyph.

I was particularly interested in Aleister Crowley's writings about the Knowledge and Conversation of one's Holy Guardian Angel. That made sense to me. I'd read a bit about Over Souls or Over Selves and more than anything I wanted to contact mine. Quite an undertaking by all accounts.

It took me a while to realise that probably Ceremonial Magic wasn't for me. I didn't even like cooking, let alone going off and finding and mixing ingredients for a spell. I came to the conclusion that all this mumbo-jumbo was just a way of getting the Magician into the right frame of mind to do whatever he wilt or to contact his Gods, Angels or whatever. Well, sod that for a game of soldiers. I determined to find a way to get myself into the right frame of mind without all the antics and paraphernalia.

I mean, I'd read about the Dark Arts. I had a book in which a spell was described that involved wearing grave clothes for so many days and then going out first thing in the morning and hammering nails into your first nine footprints. I can't remember what the spell was for, but it obviously made an impression because it's one of the few that I can even vaguely remember.

Well, I could just see me going off grave robbing and, worse still, getting up early so that I could ram nails into my footprints. And how was I supposed to do that in the City where I would have been walking on concrete??

Life had moved on and I'd left my bed-sit behind and upgraded to an apartment. I'd expanded my social life a little and my bed-sit had become over-run with mice. They'd been great company and hugely entertaining, but I was better off financially and wanted a little more out of life. I was still finding spare money for books and had quite a library, but I'd stopped reading my books from cover to cover. I'd found a new way of researching.

I'd developed a knack for finding exactly the right book when I needed it. I'd have a small stack of books on the floor (where I'd sit reading, with a cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate to hand) at any given time and, even though the subjects weren't always related, I could look into one book, put it down, find something in another that somehow co-related and then back it up with references in a third or fourth book. Somehow, all the pieces would come together. I've still got many of those books.

(Actually, about a dozen boxes of them came up from the City the day before I started this story. Finally, after nearly four years in the country I had the rest of my books brought out here. I peeked into a few of the boxes in the evening and saw some old friends.

Not all of my books would consider me their friend, though. I used to have gerbils and rats running around and many of my older books had their corners nibbled. A few have been weed on. I don't think they should complain too much. The T-shirt I am wearing now, as I am typing this story, has gerbil or rat holes in it. I call it 'customisation').

So there I was, with a load of 'book-learning' and some actual practical experience which is probably best glossed over. I'd never remember all that I'd read but I felt that what I was reading was creating an 'atmosphere' in my mind. That it would bubble under for probably years but that it would always be there, influencing me and my thinking processes. Every now and then a forgotten fragment of knowledge would come to me when I needed it.

I read something about how one wouldn't put clean water into a dirty cup. The vessel, that was the reader, ought to be as clean and pure as they could be. So I tried to cleanse my mind of anything 'unpure' and had a go at filling it with plenty of good stuff, including Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson, my favourite of his many books.

And I studied the Gods more and more, trying to work out who or what was right for me. I kept returning to the Egyptian Gods, the first ones I'd ever come across outside of the christian religion. The Egyptian Gods, with their beautiful animal heads, seemed so approachable. I realised that I was drawn to some of them more than others. One in particular had a 'pull'. I'd started to realise which path I was on, who it led to and the influence the God was having, guiding me to certain books and information.

Synchronicity played a huge part in my life. Small things, but they'd add up. Sometimes there'd be several instances in a day or even during an hour or so as I was reading a book and reference after reference started to 'chime' with something that was happening in my life or something else I'd been studying.

I decided to dedicate myself to this one God. I'd certainly pray to any God if I needed something. The secret to getting one's prayers answered is to ask the right God, but there would be One for me who I would consider myself dedicated to.

Besides studying the Gods, I continued my attempts at uniting with my Over Soul or Over Self. I read somewhere that the everyday personality is like a stubborn donkey that is hard for the Over Soul to contact or control.

Fair enough, if that's how I had to see myself, so be it. I resolved to be less stubborn and to try and listen to the inner voice a bit more often and try and fall in with the plans of my Higher Self whilst still accepting help from the Gods.

I started to understand that the place I go to when I die might depend on my beliefs and where I expect to end up. Well, I expect to end up in front of Thoth having my heart weighed, by Anubis, against the feather of Maat. I'm expecting to have to answer forty-two questions correctly about my behaviour in this life and if I can't I will be tossed to Ammit to be devoured and that's it. Unless, there is one person who will speak up and say that I helped them or made them happy in some way.

I don't believe in being good because I want a Heavenly reward. I believe I should be good because it's the right thing to do. I generally let my really good deeds go unsung because I don't want to detract from the virtue of them. If I reap a reward from doing a good deed, then it hardly counts as a genuine good deed.

BUT, since I was a child I've been putting out bread crumbs for the birds. I love to do it and encourage others to do the same. It's a joyful experience for the 'donor' and it keeps the birds alive. On a cold Winter's night they can go to sleep with a full tummy instead of shivering hungrily on their perches.

What I'm relying on is that a pigeon may just remember that one day I fed him and he might be inclined to speak up for me. So Yes, I am relying on a pigeon to save me from a terrible fate after I die because I can be pretty sure that I won't be able to give the right answers to all those bloody questions.

After a bit of recuperation in some sort of Heaven I expect to suffer reincarnation.

I should include something of my encounter with Scientology, it played quite a part in my life for a year or so. I've had auditing – intensives and dianetics – and in all honesty can't fault auditing. It was an enormous help to me. I know that detractors say that people like me are kidding ourselves if we think these techniques do any good but, for me, it worked. Not every system will suit every person and I've put a lot of effort into finding the right thing for me, so I should know.

Sadly, Scientology as an organisation has a lot wrong with it and I actually handed over a small fortune only to end up fighting for what I paid for. I didn't get all that had been agreed upon, either.

It was a shame to have found something that helped me so much only to have had it all snatched away before I could complete what I had started. If anyone is interested in Scientology my best advice is to keep away from the Org and contact independent Scientologists in the Freezone.

So there you have it, (some of) the long and torturous Way to my Beliefs. I've left out a lot, of course, but that's the gist of it. Currently my interest is mainly focused on Hermeticism, the idea that there were ancient technologically advanced races, and the Sumerian gods. Of course, I've read Zechariah Sitchin (who on ATS hasn't?) but however far off the mark he is or isn't I'm grateful to him since his books brought the Mesopotamian civilisations to my attention just a few years ago.

I know I'm an eternal being inhabiting a human body. I know I have lived in a physical body before and I'm pretty sure that I will again. The question is how much choice I will have in the matter. I believe the amount of choice will depend very much on what I have made of myself in this lifetime.

It's been a bit like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, if I'm honest. I swear I heard laughter as I typed that. My God is with me, right now, making his presence felt. That suits me. I need a guide through this life and I've chosen a good one. The amount of synchronicity I've experienced since I started to write this piece nearly made my head explode.

I've got an ambition to be something like a patron saint of 'vermin'. I wouldn't mind taking creatures like rodents, cockroaches and snails under my protection. I could think of worse ways to spend eternity than watching over them (especially rodents who, if I had my way, would inherit the Earth) and helping them to thrive.

The Earth is a beautiful planet. I notice that more and more each day as I walk through the countryside and marvel at the trees, the wildlife, the sky and the Elementals, with whom I have built a rapport. The Earth, the Sun, the Moon, all working together to provide us with our habitat. And all the other Celestial bodies, doing what they do regardless of whether or not I notice them.

I know there's a theory that we all make reality up for ourselves. I remember a friend being absolutely incensed when I said that he might be a figment of my imagination. He pointed out that he'd had a whole life that he could remember. Well, he would, wouldn't he? Or he wouldn't have been real to me. Pillock! He really was cross.

I think our physical Universe is created by a group effort on the Inner Realms. That we all agree on what our shared, physical reality will be and that's what makes it 'solid'. We all have an interest in the upkeep of the 'laws'. That's why we can't all fly when we want to or walk through solid objects. Our reality has to be consistent for it to work. And, importantly, all our voices are equal – at that level.

The best advice I read was to act 'as if'. Whatever you want to believe, act as if it's true. Make it your reality.

And there are some people who do over-ride the rules. And that's the sort of person I want to be. I want to shape my reality more so than I do already, without all the constraints. But I'm not putting on a funny robe to do it. Although I think a wand might work – and not just because I've been watching Harry Potter. A wand, that I can focus my Will into. My True Will. I made one once when I was a kid, there was one memorable, aweful occasion when it worked rather too well.

Note to self: remember to pick up a decent stick on tomorrow's walk. I want to resume practising magic.






posted on Jan, 9 2012 @ 03:25 PM
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List of references:


Mesopotamia - British Museum: www.mesopotamia.co.uk...

Buddhism: thebuddhistcentre.com...

Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient World: ancienthistory.about.com...

Spiritual Physick of Rhazes - pdf: files.libertyfund.org...

Prometheus Rising pdf: www.rawilsonfans.com...

Mahabharat - short version: larryavisbrown.homestead.com...

Egyptian Afterlife: www.yozzer.com...

Persian Poet Rumi: www.rumi.org.uk...

Persian Poet Jami: www.chishti.ru...

Dion Fortune: www.innerlight.org.uk...

Israel Regardie: www.controverscial.com...

W.E. Butler:www.servantsofthelight.org...

Aleister Crowley: hermetic.com...

Robert Anton Wilson: rawilson.com...

Four Elements: www.unani.com...

Alchemy: www.levity.com...

Constellations: www.dibonsmith.com...

Astrology: en.wikipedia.org...

Tarot: en.wikipedia.org...

Numerology: en.wikipedia.org...

Ritual Magic: www.magickalmind.com...

Balinese Shadow Puppets: www.tunasmekar.org...

DR. Strange: www.marveldirectory.com...






edit on 9-1-2012 by berenike because: adding links and picture



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