Politics of the Inquisition

As I study Witchcraft in the Middle Ages by Jeffrey Burton Russell, I came across a great quote that seems to align the struggle that happened then with what is happening in the chaotic world now. Because I am learning that as much as European witchcraft, and all the academic issues with its origins and historic importance and place and blah blah blah, I find it relevant to our contemporary struggles of class that are so characterized and profound at this time in history. He writes on page 3.

It should not be difficult to to understand how men could torture and kill in the name of the Prince of Peace when at Dresden and My Lai men could torture and kill in the name of democracy and freedom. Viciousness is excusable in neither rebel nor Inquisitor. To understand is not to forgive. If tolerance is taken to the point of tolerating the destruction of those processes by which toleration is itself guaranteed, then it becomes intolerable. But ours is not to judge the fanatic or the Inquisitor: ours is to experience the shock of recognition of the fanatic and the Inquisitor in ourselves.

Sociopaths and Consciousness

This is somehow relevant to my work because I am now completely consumed by it, but I don’t fully understand why, although it is all about consciousness studies which is the chapter I am working on now. I heard an interview with a woman whose pen name is M.E. Thomas. She wrote a book about being a sociopath, a non-criminal one, who is a law professor at a US university. I was fascinated by this and checked out her blog:

www.sociopathworld.com

I spent hours on this site yesterday at work (slow day) and read every post voraciously. Sociopaths are people who do not feel emotions, or only base ones, have little capacity for love, empathy or bonding. Consequently they become mimics of emotions and are able to game almost everyone and ultimately end up hurting those who get involved with them. Charismatic, manipulative, aggressive, prone to compulsion regarding their base desires, predatory and sexual, and also confused and in pain – not talking here about sadistic and violent psychos who might also be socios. These are people who function, kinda, but either realize or don’t realize that they are not like the rest of us who can feel. Her deal was that this personality type was being generalized as sadistic criminals, but that they exist as a kind of subculture and it’s time to deal with it. She’s basically “outing” herself without saying her name.

Now, here’s the thing. She contends that 1 in 25 people are socios trying to fit in with “neuro-normatives.” She says “we sociopaths walk and live among you empaths” (those who feel love and emotion and live – or try to live to varying pathetic degrees – the moral code that such ability to feel engenders) basically faking it, learning to cope by mimicking emotional responses better than the “weaker” of us that possess those qualities and destroying those who act in ways that are against their sort of base code of ethics that can only serve themselves cause they can’t feel empathy so they exploit the emotional vulnerabilities of those around them. Apparently these creatures are easily bored, have a liquid sense of self that gives them an edge in shapeshifting as a survival technique.

Ok, I have been consumed with this for the last 24 hours so I don’t want to write you too much to read but so much is up for me on this because reading those posts I began to see two things: first, I began to understand more of myself because in this narrative I am opposite woman, I could be called an uber-empath – my ability to bond, feel connections with other entities is far off the scale of what I am guessing would be a median normative scale. I can feel the emotions and pain of others, not only in a face to face situation with one person in time now, (hence my 10 years as a psychic and card reader in which I was accurate in a way that challenged my Western intellectual indoctrination ) but also in other geographical locations that are in time now but not place for me such as the global suffering of people and animals, and in a horrific act of fate or karma, I can also feel the suffering of those in history and in other times if I choose to, though I think that perception is like a film or residue that subtly sculpts my consciousness always and I’m swatting at it sort of unconsciously like a fly or mosquito. I also get pictures to match the emotions I feel channeling through me.

Second is that through a metaphysical lens, and she is Western indoctrinated so that a psychological and neurobiological lens are used to discuss this phenomenon, I see validation for my insights and theories that something otherworldly or non-corporeal is ranching our asses. She says that sociopathy as a personality type is part of evolution, a sort of necessary chaotic attractor, but I don’t think so. I think socios, as functionally as they try to be, are evolutionary aberrations. Successful evolutionary strategy favors the indigenous model of understanding interrelation and interdependence of life forms as holographic communities. Love, without the hallmark connotations, is an energy that has been cultivated by our ancestors because it is the most efficient medium for making human communities in all their forms, from micro to macro, most in alignment with the environments that sustain us. To not develop that ability is alien to this planet.

Now, lastly, and thank you for staying with me if you could bear to, this means that socios do not belong here. I woke up with the vision this morning while on the couch tending my puppy that they – those souls or whatever you wanna call self-awareness in a body – were made to incarnate here by something else. They don’t belong here. They are not the order of the things, they are confused and suffering and are more likened to an invasive species than part of the evolutionary matrix of this reality on this planet. And they are dangerous to us. That she has this self awareness was amazing to me and she did a service to those of her kind. I have respect and compassion for her, though a serious radar out.

The metaphor for me was that socios were “reptilian,” and empaths were “mammals.” The posts indicated that their skill sets, which were not the same as ours fell along the lines of different animal adaptive strengths. Where socio’s skills were acute, ours were more dense, where ours are finally tuned, theirs were clumsy or non-existent. Hence the recipe for when entities collide.

So that was my last 24 hours and it put a lot of things into place for me. I believe that we are experiencing a Grand Central Station of entities coming into human form for the information and event that is occurring – and that is accelerating, – and that is kicking my Pleiades butt – but we are somehow programed, or star born or whatever vernacular that you feel comfortable choosing, to a particular grid pattern.

Popcorn, is next I guess. Spyke

Marriage Equality and the Argument of Religious Freedom

A Theology of Necessary Intolerance

In a historic event, the US Supreme court announced this month that it will decide two cases regarding the legality of same-sex marriage its 2013 session. These cases include the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriages allowed by individual states, and California’s Proposition 8 that amended the state’s constitution in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage after that right had already been granted.

The heated debate surrounding the issue of marriage equality has focused mostly upon our American ideal of Civil Rights, and the Constitutional concepts of personal liberty and religious freedom. Both sides are ringing these bells to validate their arguments.

Advocates for marriage equality take the position that same-sex couples’ access to the legal rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples regarding spousal, parental, tax, and estate statutes is a Civil Rights issue. The reasoning is that if same-sex couples function in the same marital and familial ways as opposite-sex couples, then not granting them equal rights under the law for no reason other than they are members of the same sex is blatant discrimination.

Also, if laws are enacted that forbid the recognition of partnerships and families based on religious parameters that narrowly define who is acceptable to love and to have sexual relationships with, then that is an issue of personal liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. In fact, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals struck down Proposition 8  partially for this reason, citing that it “has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The [United States] Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

Many opposed to marriage equality, especially those who hold a biblical worldview, have argued that any law that broadens the civil definition of marriage represents a threat to their religious freedom. Some who support, and even some who are indifferent to, the issue of marriage equality, have questioned the rationale for this argument. How can a marriage between people of the same sex have any bearing on any other marriage or anyone else’s religious choices? Isn’t marriage a personal decision made by those who choose to commit to it?

But to understand how legislating marriage equality for all can be argued to be a violation of the religious freedom for some, it is necessary to understand the underlying theology. From a biblical perspective, marriage is not a right that can be given or taken by a secular authority, nor is anyone “free” to recreate the institution according to one’s individual preferences. Marriage is not the result of human evolution or a social contract between people in a society, but “ is theistic: it is of God not man” and exists “first and foremost to glorify God.”

Those who subscribe to this theology believe that any deviation from a strict biblical interpretation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the sole purpose of procreation is to deny “God’s” original human edict and will necessarily lead to a degradation of the moral order of society, and ultimately to the unraveling of culture.

In this absolutist worldview relativism cannot be tolerated. There is no room for diversity in human relations or complexity in human sexuality because anything other than unconditional acceptance of what is seen as “God’s” will is a rejection of the ordering principle of the universe. In this theology, “truth is not discovered; it is revealed. It is not from within; it is from without.” This means that ultimately one’s life does not belong to oneself and any attempt to live according to one’s own will, one’s personal religious beliefs, or one’s own desires represents the sin of idolatry.

From this perspective, same-sex marriage can never be defined as a Civil Right because homosexuality is a moral wrong.  However, there are varying levels of tolerance within the diverse Biblical community regarding the issue of marriage-equality. Leading voices within the debate range from calling for the faithful to stay true to their religious beliefs while attempting to practice tolerance for their LGBT sisters and brothers to those who believe that any acceptance of homosexuality in our country is nothing less than a Christian call to arms that must be answered.

Yr Girl Brain on Sex

MRI images of a woman’s brain throughout an orgasm.

Love neuroscience. Remember a while a go when some dude scientist came up with the brilliant idea that female orgasm served no evolutionary purpose? Because they reduced evolutionary trajectories to only making babies? Well, look at the brain light up. Goddess states of consciousness much?

http://theconnectome.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/sexy-neuroscience/

Spider Webs – Faery Realm

After writing about my Faery training, I awoke to six sublime spider webs catching the morning light. Photonic energy is magick. – photos by Mike Rose

Methodoltry – Mary Daly

As I work on my introduction chapter, I am coming across some deep layers of imbedded patriarchy in myself. When I catch this tendency, I find myself going back to Mary Daly. Now she is not sexy (read here threatening) to patriarchal culture. She is a broom-riding dyke who speaks like a Druid Bardic adept and was, apparently, a cranky bitch of a person who GASP! Didn’t care to nurture by way of explanation other people’s problems with swallowing what she had to say.

Really her theories are so fucking deep that I get scared of them because my own embedded oppression arises when I read her, quick as I try to swat that shit that shit comes up. What if I’m not perceived as pretty as I say what I have to say based on what I have seen and cannot, as a feminist, unsee? Why am I trying to explain and validate women’s spiritual traditions, including my own, within a system that fundamentally dismisses them? Really? I paid all this money for this opportunity to tell you with your own words what your words cannot contain?

Well, within that rant, I find this quote by Daly fits the bill. “One of the false gods of theologians, philosophers, and other academics is called method. It commonly happens that the choice of a problem is determined by method, instead of method being determined by the problem. This means that thought is subjected to an invisible tyranny. “

She goes on to quote philosopher Suzanne Langer (a process philosopher who I didn’t know about till now, though I know of the males, and thank you for the continual erasure of women’s contribution to history like the tide that washes away the beach).

“The limits of thought are not so much set from outside, by the fullness or poverty of experiences that meet the mind, as from within, by the power of conception, the wealth of formulative notions with which the mind meets experiences. Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there.”

Continuing to ride my broom while fighting the good fight in this the season of the Ancestors – Samhain 2012.

Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosopy of Women’s Liberation (Boston. Beacon Press, 1973), 11.

Thinkin on Religion

I’m trying to get a definition of religion, as opposed to spirituality, for my glossary. You’d think that’d be a simple task. But alas NOT.

“Religion” is a term like “shaman” which is an anthropological term imposed on “native” subjects of study – So then Chad, why are you walking around a circle with a smudge stick every other Tuesday when that big bright star is over that big-assed mountain? Rite? Repeated. Faith in that rite? The rite that reinforces that narrative/myth associated with that rite that may have ancestral wisdom that is evolutionarily relevant. Religion is the repetition of the rites that keep us entrained to the narratives that we hold culturally valuable, even if they are fucked like they are in our culture now (don’t get me started on the bullshit narratives that our rites are reinforcing and don’t get me started on the neurological elements of that manipulation). Now what about power.

Says Jonathan Z. Smith in his dense essay Religion, Religions, Religious:*

“It is impossible to escape the suspicion that a world religion is simply a religion like ours, and that it is, above all, a tradition that has achieved sufficient power and numbers to enter our history to form it, interact with it, or thwart it. (You might wanna re-read that, I had to a bunch of times to get the true horror of the implication)

We recognize (me again – why do these guys always use the imperial “we” when a singular author wrote the damn dense thing) both the unity within and the diversity among the world religions because they correspond to important geopolitical entities with which we must deal. All “primitives,” by way of contrast, may be lumped together, as may the “minor religions,” because they do not confront our history in an direction fashion (…wait for it, wait for it…) From the point of power, they are invisible.”

Faceplant here. That is the nature of my disseration. They are not invisible, but what those “lessor” religions ritualize and mythologize are those psychic/social/emotional currents that run through us anyway, that are part of our story here, our tendencies as mammals. This is what I am doing, trying to bring the white girls juju back up. It’s already there in us, and that is why there is a bunch of crazy white cat ladies. We have that sensibility to be connected and just because the dominant world religion has relegated us to the top of the bottom rung of the patriarchal colonial food chain doesn’t mean we have to stay there. In fact it means we are of great value to them as means of energy, but if they devalue us culturally, through myth/narrative over and over through…um…RELIGION, we give it up for free.

Think of what a good plan that was. Elevate some of the bottom class to a little higher than the more worser scarier bottom and you have your patriarchal top hat on for life. S’cuse me Scarecrow, think I’m digressing.

This dynamic of that food chain thing has been said by better than myself, in fact, I am startin to think that one has got to look at colonialism if we’re looking for that one closepin that is holding this charade of violent, wasteful, patriarchal culture together. Get that one piece and we can bring this thing down.

*Critical Terms for Religious Studies, ed Mark C. Taylor.

On Shamanism – the Schizo Problem of Being an Academic & Serving Up the Grateful

I am working on my section in my dissertation that is an overview of shamanism. I am finding that the research is bringing to light the problems of Western academics as it attempts to pin like a living bug that is now dead onto the board of Western scientific assumptions the ancient and living tradition of shamanism, which it can’t really, by its nature, grok.
I am finding myself looking directly at our Western reductionist franken-logic that finds it necessary in the name of science to kill the rare butterfly in order to preserve it on a 19th century board of hyper-rationalism and illusionary-objectivity.
I thought this section would be a breeze for me since this is um….like….my favorite subject and it’s taken me a few months to get back into being able to write this miasmic beast. I thought stupidly, because I apparently can’t get this lesson about the disparateness of indigenous and Western worldviews and what that means for ways of perceiving and the effects on consciousness, that this would be ENOUGH.
Funny, as practitioner as I am, I find that when I move into the Indigenous arena as a Western scholar, the spirits fuck with me, laugh at me and make me work in what seems like a futile way. I am one of a handful of Westerners who sorta kinda gets working with spirits as actualities, and now I’m struggling with everything the scholars at the edge of this area of research are struggling with.
Because I am a practitioner as well, which means I not only “believe” in spirits, it means that I relate to them in the same way I relate to the woman at Starbucks who I buy my coffee from, I am respectful and kind and aware that they have something that I need and will need again. I tip them in respect and cause I’m a smart negotiator.
This is ontologically and epistemologically messed up, because I CAN HEAR THEM LAUGHING at my attempts to try to write academically about them and this is after I already bought and placed the fucking cup of coffee on the altar to honor them. The godds of the indigenous and of the neo-pagan are like the rest of your family. They don’t float about the world like some kind of Western ideal of a fucking happy white asexual jesus or a god-father who wears a more inclusive skirt or not, and loves you like the ideal parent you never had or therapist whose gonna heal your fucked up family by listening to every pain you every had. It’s about how to navigate relationships with the spirits of the land and place that sustain you who may appear more like weird uncles, talented aunts, grieving children, loyal pets, angry grandmas. More like community.

Anyhoo…………..I was told by my committee chair, that I cannot publish what I am writing because it somehow disqualifies my status as a PhD candidate as “non-published” material. This is of course bullshit and represents the archaic and changing predicament that higher education is in. Kinda like the LP – what? you want me to use a pen and quill? The institution of “higher learning” and it patriarchal and hierarchical structure that are being illuminated for me in my research on shamanism, as somehow more authoritative than our own experience and ancestral traditions is taking my fucking money.

Here’s my new favorite definition of shamanism.

“From the Stone Age to the New Age, the figure of the shaman has continued to grip the human imagination. Being chosen by the spirits, taught by them to enter a trance and fly with one’s soul to other worlds in the sky or clamber through dangerous crevasses into terrifying subterranean worlds; being stripped of one’s flesh, reduced to a skeleton and then reassembled and reborn; gaining the power to combat spiritual enemies and heal their victims, to kill enemies and save one’s own people from disease and starvation – these are features of shamanic religions in many parts of the world.”

Piers Vitebsky, “Shamanism,” in Indigenous Religions: A Companion, ed. Graham Harvey (London: Cassell, 2000). 35.

Super hoping for good dreams tonight for all.

My rant on the student loan issue

The issues with student loan debt represent serious issues in our society. On the most fundamental level, schools charge astronomical amounts of money because they can. If there were no government student loans available to subsidize education then schools would have to charge much less or perhaps cease to exist. The fact that schools raise their rates every year knowing that their students are going into the worse kind of debt (without the option of bankruptcy) is the fault of the institutions. How is it that the same instruction and knowledge is more expensive every fall? Did the instructor, the meat and heart of the programs, get a raise? When I took my last formal class at CIIS (I am at the dissertation writing level now) it was an independent study assignment with a respected adjunct faculty. My tuition for that class was around the 1k unit cost. I paid about 3 grand (plus the expensive interest) to have the privilege of researching and writing for her and she received less than $300 for her services. She received less than ten percent of my tuition for that class.

This brings up the next issue. Why is the cost of borrowing money for school so high? At the level I, and others are at, the interest rate is between 7 and 8 percent? This is in face of the large banks who borrow from the government at little or nothing in terms of interest. Why am I, and my compadres who are in the same boat, paying that much to borrow when the banks, o say like JP Morgan who lost billions gambling on stocks they probably did not even own get to borrow for nearly nothing? Why is it that major corps get to borrow or be subsidized by the government for nearly free when the country’s brightest minds are going into indentured servitude to get an education that frankly, I believe is our right as citizens?

This brings me to the last issue. People tell me I am a fool to spend this much money to get a PhD in Religion and Philosophy, and when I am not having a panic attack, I tell them that somebody in this country has to learn to think – to learn to think critically, to write critically, to understand history and understand how to examine and interpret it. This is especially important if you are not of the class that owns the dominant narrative. Education is our right as humans. We need to know what has been said and done before. We need to exercise our minds, our intellects, our hearts in order to honor those who came before and to contribute to contemporary culture. It is harder to enslave the educated.

IF WE DO NOT HAVE THAT OPTION, if education is only an option for the wealthy, then only the wealthy will be educated and we will have an even more divided society based on class and we will have forgotten who we are.