Thursday, April 24, 2014

Voodoo & the Gnostics

I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees…
Went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees…
Asked the Lord above for mercy,
Save poor Bob, if you please…

- from “Crossroads” by Robert Johnson

Servants of the Spirits & the Gnostics
In describing the character and “energy” of the United States… using anthropomorphic terms… New York City could be described as the “Head” of the Country. Perhaps “brain” or nervous system would be a more accurate descriptor. If NYC is the “brains of the outfit” …then San Francisco would be the “Heart.” San Fran acts as the “Heart Chakra” of the US of A in demonstrating a national conscious. If NYC is doing the thinking and SF is doing the feeling, then New Orleans, Louisiana, AKA: the “Big Easy” definitely serves as this Country’s “Soul.”

New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz, America’s one pure art-form… home of Blues… originator of Soul Food… and of course, home to America’s most treasured and debauched, Dionysian party… Mardi Gras. As guardian of America’s soul or spirit, New Orleans is also home to a particularly virulent form of spiritual practice, sympathetic magic and practical ritual, known as Voodoo. This is no mere coincidence. The following is from Wikipedia:

New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of spiritual folkways which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions which developed within the French, Spanish, and Creole speaking African American population of the U.S. state of Louisiana. Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun.

Voodoo became syncretized with the Catholicism and Francophone (French speaking) culture of south Louisiana as a result of the slave trade. Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with—but is not completely separable from—Haitian Vodou. It differs from Vodou in its emphasis upon Gris-gris, voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo occult paraphernalia, and Li Grand Zombi (snake deity). It was through Louisiana Voodoo that such terms as gris-gris (a Wolof term) and voodoo dolls were introduced into the American lexicon.

As a result of the fusion of Francophone culture and voodoo in Louisiana, many Voodoo spirits became associated with the Christian saints that presided over the same domain. Both saints and spirits act as mediators with the priest and “Legba” (more on this later) presiding over specific activities. Early followers of Voodoo in New Orleans adopted the image of the Catholic Saints to their spirits. In its desert-religious syncretism, there are multiple facets of New Orleans Voodoo that draw upon ancient Gnostic understandings. Again, from Wikipedia:

Gnosticism (from gnostikos, "learned", from Ancient Greek: γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) describes a collection of ancient religions that taught that people should shun the material world created by the demiurge (deranged demigod) and embrace the spiritual world. Gnostic ideas influenced many ancient religions that teach that gnosis (variously interpreted as knowledge, enlightenment, salvation, emancipation or 'oneness with God') may be reached by practicing philanthropy and diligently searching for wisdom by helping others.

Gnosticism itself is believed (by some) to have come from northern Africa, via the Egyptian Mystery Schools. In this regard, Voodoo’s Xian-imposed overlay may also be African in origin. Even though the descendants of West Africans concealed their cosmology in a thin Christian veil, they were honoring and utilizing the old, African gods… gods that had found their way via Egypt and Syria, into Xtian teachings.

Gnostic Voodoo
Again, parallels between Gnosticism and New Orleans Voodoo are multifaceted. Within Gnostic cosmology, the serpent in the Garden of Eden is a heroic, salvific figure rather than an adversary of humanity or a proto-Satan. The serpent represented ancient understanding and the apple represented specific knowledge. Accordingly, eating the fruit of Knowledge is the first act of human salvation from cruel, oppressive powers.

Among New Orleans Voodooists, Li Grande Zombi (also called Damballah Wedo) is the major serpent spirit of worship. Within the Voodoo cosmology, snakes are not seen as symbols of evil as in the (traditional) story of Adam and Eve. Snakes are considered to be the holders of intuitive knowledge… knowing that which cannot be spoken. The origin of Li Grande Zombi can be traced to the serpent deity Nzambi (a creator god) from Whydah in Africa.

In this regard, the Gnostic symbol for universe, the ouroboros (the serpent biting its own tail) is roughly equivalent to the serpent creator god, Nzambi and by extension, Li Grande Zombi.

Central to the Gnostic cosmology is the understanding that there is a true, transcendent and “unknowable” God, who is beyond all created universes. Intermediate deific beings known as Aeons, exist between the ultimate God and manifest universe. What we perceive as the material universe was created by a deranged deity known as the Demiurge or, more recently known as… Jehovah. Jehovah was in turn surreptitiously created by one of the Aeons, known as Sophia (wisdom). Thus our universe is “administered” by a deranged deity, whose minions (Archons) intercede with humanity. 

Closely related to New Orleans Voodoo is the sister cosmology, Haitian Vodou. Voudouists believe in a distant and unknowable creator god, Bondye (likely derived from the French language term Bon Dieu, or Good Lord). As Bondye does not intercede in human affairs, vodou practitioners direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye. These spirit minions are known as Loa.  The Loa “administer” specific aspects of daily life, and routinely interact with humanity. In order to navigate daily life, vodouists cultivate personal relationships with specific Loa, through the presentation of offerings and the creation of personal altars and/or devotional objects.

The Xtian Jehovah had at his disposal, his underling Archons… more recently referred to as angels and demons. These lesser deities intercede in the affairs of humanity. Voodoo too has a pantheon of lesser spirits… the Loa. Like angels and demons, Loa can intercede with humanity, either positively or negatively. Unlike saints or angels however, they are not simply prayed to, they are served. They are each distinct beings with their own personal likes and dislikes, distinct sacred rhythms, songs, dances, ritual symbols, and special modes of service. Contrary to popular belief, the loa are not deities in and of themselves; they are intermediaries… for a distant Bondye.

Consequently, Voodoo practitioners seek to actively influence the good will and assistance of the Loa.

One major Loa within the Voodoo pantheon… he who serves as the intermediary between humanity and Bondye, as well as all the other Loa is: Papa Legba. As master of roads and pathways, Legba stands at the crossroads of the spirit world. He is the first and last spirit invoked during ceremony, as he is also master of communication and understanding… he opens and closes the doorway between realms. As the Loa of the crossroads, Legba’s symbol is the cross.

Legba’s corresponding figure from the ancient Xtian world is, of course, Saint Peter. Peter stands at the “Pearly Gates,” passing judgment and granting passage to those souls found to be worthy. Peter is considered the keeper of the keys to the kingdom of heaven. So it is that Peter and Legba stand at the crossroads… at the doorway or gate between the realm of the spirits and the realm of the living.   

Both Voodoo and Gnosticism share the view of a distant and unknowable Godhead. The world of God is eternal and not part of the physical. It is impalpable, and time doesn't exist there. To rise to God, practitioners of Voodoo and Gnosticism must reach the knowledge, which mixes philosophy, metaphysics, curiosity, culture, gnosis (knowledge), and the secrets of history and the universe.

The secret of both Voodoo and Gnosticism is that, in the grand scheme of universe, God can’t be bothered by the “goings on” of puny humans. God leaves the details of the material world, and that Podunk, backwater outpost known as “Earth” to underlings. These rascally underlings, be they Loa or the Demiurge, either help or hinder… based upon their whim.

The deeper secret is this: on one level, humanity “doesn’t amount to a hill of beans” …but on another level, the spark or the soul of each human is divine, or able to connect with godhead. This is where the small meets the large… where the micro meets the macro… where the snake bites it’s tale. This is the secret of the old hermetic adage… as above, so below.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

War on Consciousness - Esoteric Websites to be censored in the UK

The war on consciousness and the agenda against esoteric knowledge is not a side issue. Ultimately we are all consciousness... and so whilst a myriad of issues play back and forth in the world, what affects our ability to recognize who we are and awaken the potential of our consciousness is THE issue that lies at the very core of life. Spiritual knowledge is therefore right up there on the hit list of the dark and hidden powers that be.

The most recent evidence of this: the UK government has proposed a bill to make internet service providers automatically block websites dubbed “esoteric material”. That means people in the UK could be shut off from websites the UK government deems “esoteric” unless they go in and manually un-tick their network filters.

It has been labelled “pornwall” by some because the bill will block pornographic websites in the name of internet safety for children (great), but this “hot topic” has overshadowed media debate, likely very deliberately. A BBC article debated pornography only, despite there being 9 other categories of blocked material discovered by the Open Rights Group, which includes the aforementioned “esoteric material”. A moral issue has clearly become the Trojan horse to unleash a new stage in the game plan long in the making against spiritual knowledge.

- Angela Pritchard

Full Article Here

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Multiverse Theory: new kinds of sideways.

Is there another you reading this article at this exact moment in a parallel universe? Dr. Brian Greene, author of The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, believes that this freakish quirk of nature may exist; and he discusses its amazing possibilities in this 3-minute TV interview.

A growing number of cosmologists agree with Greene that we are but one of many universes and at least one of these other worlds lies close to ours, maybe only a millimeter away. We can’t see this world, because it exists in a type of space different from the four dimensions of our everyday reality.

MIT’s Max Tegmark believes this multiverse model of ‘many universes’ is grounded in modern physics and will eventually be testable, predictive and disprovable. “This is not sci-fi,” he says, “its real science.”

As research at the CERN Large Hadron Collider progresses, scientists are talking increasingly of a “new physics” on the horizon, which promise to help researchers understand more of the unknowns about our universe. This new approach includes developing a better understanding of dark energy, a mystery force that some forward thinkers believe indicates that a ‘sister’ universe lurks in our neighborhood.

Strange happenings have been observed by cosmologists such as the Andromeda galaxy, 2.2 million light-years away speeding towards the Milky Way at 200,000 mph. This phenomenon makes sense logically if gravity leaking from an invisible universe were pulling the two galaxies together.

Researchers at the WMAP space telescope recently discovered a force 10,000 times larger than the Milky Way, which they believe offers powerful evidence that a parallel universe may be in the area.

In another attempt to search for parallel worlds, NASA installed the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 at the ISS to record data that may prove the existence of other universes, some of which might even be made of anti-matter. Unraveling this cosmic mystery has attracted worldwide interest. The project draws support from most EU nations; plus Taiwan, China, Russia, and the U.S.

Could we ever visit another universe? In a recent PBS interview, Riddles of the Universe, USC cosmologist Clifford Johnson said he thought it OK to discuss this in the context of fiction (see FOX TV’s Fringe), but it’s also something that scientists can explore. Some suggest that the stuff we’re made of – matter and the forces of our gravity and magnetism – are the elements that glue us to this universe.

They don’t allow us to leave our 4-dimensions of moving back and forth, up and down, left to right; and sense of time. Another universe may exist close by, but in order for us to observe or communicate with it; we must first understand its different dimensions. We might envision them as “new kinds of sideways.”

However, gravity seems to pervade all universes, and it may one day become possible to communicate with other universes through some futuristic gravitational manipulation. How might we feel if a parallel world is discovered? Johnson says, “It may make me feel less unique as a person, or maybe grateful; because many things I’ve not found time for are maybe being done by a copy of me somewhere else!”

Greene adds that some universes may be almost indistinguishable from ours; others may contain variations of all of us, where we exist but with different families, careers, and life stories. In still others, reality may be so radically different from ours as to be unrecognizable.

Experts predict that as the coming decades unwind, with intelligence advancing exponentially, this ‘over-the-top’ concept will one day become a proven fact. Imagine visiting another Earth where an alternate you is living a more rewarding life than yours, and you could trade places if you both agreed.

This begs the question, “What might happen if our parallel selves met; would we combine our differences to become better humans, or would we compete against one another?”

When might connecting to parallel universes be possible? With resolve and good fortune, some experts predict this incredible feat could be achieved by as early as 10 years; others less enthusiastic,believe the technologies necessary for this to happen could fall into place over the next 50-to-100 years. Stay tuned.

- Dick Pelletier

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Op-Ed Communiqués vol. 4 - Occupy wasn’t a costume party...

Have you paid attention to the commercials since Occupy? It’s been two years, more than enough time for the ads to start singing some familiar tunes.

Dissent, revolution, revolt. Seeking a better world—seeking a better today. Constant crisis; revolution as the subtext. The game is changing. They’re done mocking us; now they want us bad.

In 5-10 years, we’ll start seeing ourselves on TV shows, but if we haven’t changed our tune by then it’ll probably be too late.

It means we’re winning, but it also means that the game has shifted. We’ve flipped all their pieces, but one wrong step and they’ll flip them all right back. They’re on the front foot now, so we need to anticipate their choices, re-focus and press our advantage into unexpected spaces.

They want to make the trappings of our dissent sexy—the gardens, the protests, the anti-work, the DIY, the culture jam, the joyous resistance—because sexy dissent is safe, like a costume party. Like a vaccine against the future, they give those images to mainstream culture before it catches our disease.

That’s why I see Occupy kids in the soda commercials these days, dripping with sex and freedom, all bandanas and compassion and sincerity. But why are we all driving Hondas, using MacBooks and drinking Diet Coke?

All the money in the world and you can buy yourself a Senator, you can even buy yourself an orgasm, but you can’t buy Congress’ approval rating past 10 percent.

The culture’s jammed—we won. It doesn’t know itself any more. It doesn’t trust any of its leaders. The culture shift has finally hit a tipping point, falling into varying forms of madness and cognitive dissonance roiling under the placid, exhausted surface. Baby boomers in adult diapers shaking their fists on the porch are the only semblance of integrity the old guard has left. The rest are ripe to adopt a new normal.

This is our world now. We’ve fought for it. We’ve stood by it. We’ve earned it. We’re the most passionate people we know. Imagine if we got respectable. Imagine if we lived as if we wanted to conserve the humanistic, creative, anti-authoritarian, anti-oppressive memes we’ve spent so many years building.

How can the destroyers grab a foothold when the new normal doesn’t want them? They want to shut down our cultural gravity, but they can’t hit a moving target. They think we’re just our trappings, the anti-capitalist branding, but we’re more than that greenwashed, blackwashed, bluewashed bullshit they make so sexy on TV.

Don’t be seduced. Don’t let others be fooled. That’s not you on the screen. It isn’t anybody.

Let’s walk our walk in a completely new yet familiar direction, eyes fixed not on the path but toward the horizon, and we’ll fuck up their whole paradigm before they can use the tools of media myth-making to take the game back.