Friday, December 18, 2009

Making Your Way Through Vertical Middle School

A few more specific details about your post-biological itinerary. Again, none of this is for the sake of argument; rather, it's just for the sake of discussion. For whatever reason, Rose's general description strikes me as plausible. It makes sense to me, even though, on a more superficial level, it obviously makes no sense. Which is why there is no point in arguing about it, because mere mechanical reason doesn't extend to this plane.

I found this one particularly intriguing: "the dying person's spiritual vision often begins even before death." Again, it is as if the "other world" begins to interpenetrate this one. But immediately after death, the soul "remains close to earth for two days before moving into other spheres."

Then, "on the third day it experiences the Particular Judgment while passing through the aerial toll houses," which are very similar to the bardo planes described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and feature various temptations and snares to which our soul is inclined. Penultimately, "on the fortieth day, it is assigned to the place where it will await the Resurrection." Finally there is the Last Judgment, when "the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven will dawn, and all departed souls will be joined to their resurrected bodies."

Father Rose specifically rejects as heterodox the idea of a "soul slumber" between death and the Last Judgment, and now that I think about it, his view seems to be entirely in accord with, say, the detailed vision of Dante. Rose points out that "the whole Orthodox piety and practice of prayer for the dead surely presupposes that souls are 'awake' in the other world and that their lot can be alleviated." Furthermore, the "calling on the saints in prayer, and the saints' response to this prayer, is unthinkable without the conscious activity of the saints in heaven."

I am especially convinced that the latter takes place, and that one can forge a living relationship with a departed saint. Their words are infused with a transformative grace and power that are clearly not of this world. Moreover, they manifestly want to help. As I've said before, friendly nonlocal operators are always standing by, ready to assist you. One is free to argue over why this is the case, but that it is the case, I have no doubt. My own work, such as it is, -- whatever it is -- would be inconceivable without this assistance.

Just for fun, let's look at what some other reliable sources have to say, starting with Benoist's The Esoteric Path. Regarding the "intermediate realm" between heaven and earth, he describes it as a region "of struggles, temptations, testing -- in a word, the realm of duality." It is where one may encounter, among other things, "energies of non-human entities, the influence of powers of the earth," and various "elemental spirits" variously called "gnomes, water sprites, sylphs, salamanders, djinns, demons, etc." Interestingly, these "obscure forces" include "residues of long abandoned cults," and "mingle with authentic angelic powers and with wandering influences... to constitute a strange, fascinating, and dangerous world."

Frankly, it very much reminds me of the realm of the unconscious, except instead of being situated between the human and terrestrial, is between the human and celestial. It is also where "ideas take shape, languages become organized, influences are transmitted, and souls form unions."

Again, all of this strikes me as intuitively true. I mean, if true ideas don't come from above, from where do they come? Likewise, if anyone imagines that the miraculous gift of language could have resulted from material processes alone, they just haven't thought about it deeply enough.

A key point is that the value of this intermediate realm "is highly variable according to those beings who are manifest in it and who manifest it to us, for it is the meeting place of humanity and divine inspiration." It may be thought of as "the lowest part of the heavens," just as the human mind may be thought of as the highest part of earth. Try as we might, mind alone cannot penetrate this realm unaided; rather, there must always be a descent (↓) to meet our aspiration (↑), otherwise life really is an absurd bridge to nowhere, which simply collapses to the earth at death.

I am also intrigued by the idea that this realm contains the "residues of long abandoned cults," for this surely accords with human experience. For example, what is Islamism but a revival of the pagan cult of human sacrifice? Perhaps this even explains the weeping and hysteria that accompany the climate change cult. I was discussing this with a friend just yesterday, and we were trying to understand the source of their strange cultish energy that is so far beyond reason (even while absurdly couched in their pseudo-reason). It must be that they are plucking a face from the ancient gallery and tapping into one of these archetypal pre-Christian cults.

It is also important to point out that this is the realm where human imagination intersects the divine planes, i.e., the realm of healthy imagination, without which it would be impossible to understand religious symbolism or "see" spirit. But it is also a realm of dangerously unhealthy imagination, for when the human imagination merges with an obscure or elemental force, it can produce monsters, something that Unknown Friend describes in MOTT (probably in the Devil card chapter, which I believe discusses the creation of mind parasites and the generation of demons).

The imagination is an "organ of perception," without which the artist could not function. But notice how common it is for the imagination of the spiritually untutored artist to be hijacked by other forces. In our day and age, it is almost the rule, not exception -- you know, "all the lousy little poets tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson" (Cohen), to say nothing of the creepy safe school czars trying to outfist Robert Mapplethorpe.

12 Comments:

Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

It is where one may encounter, among other things, "energies of non-human entities, the influence of powers of the earth," and various "elemental spirits" variously called "gnomes, water sprites, sylphs, salamanders, djinns, demons, etc." Interestingly, these "obscure forces" include "residues of long abandoned cults," and "mingle with authentic angelic powers and with wandering influences... to constitute a strange, fascinating, and dangerous world."

Oh. It's the Internet.

:o)

12/18/2009 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Again, all of this strikes me as intuitively true. I mean, if true ideas don't come from above, from where do they come? Likewise, if anyone imagines that the miraculous gift of language could have resulted from material processes alone, they just haven't thought about it deeply enough."

Not only haven't thought about it deeply enough, but have precluded themselves from being able to do so.

12/18/2009 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

I am struck, as always, by the degree of general agreement about immediate afterlife conditions between authentic Christianity and Eastern traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. When it comes to true eschatology - the end of the world, the general resurrection, etc - they part company, but on these kinds of issues they're singing from the same hymnal.

Basically, everybody more or less knows this stuff. It's the wisdom and experience of the entire human race speaking here. The only people who claim to deny it are a few little fringe modernist groups (materialists, certain fundie Protestant sects, etc).

In fact, this is a big reason why some fundie Protestants view Catholics as "pagans". In a way, they're quite correct, because the Catholic tradition includes much wisdom from the pagan world, while trimming away (ideally) the false and/or devilish elements in it. Rejecting the entire pagan worldview, as certain Christians do, is to needlessly throw out a large chunk of the human race's traditional wisdom, thereby making oneself much more clueless than is strictly necessary.

12/18/2009 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger jp said...

Bob says:

"It is also important to point out that this is the realm where human imagination intersects the divine planes, i.e., the realm of healthy imagination, without which it would be impossible to understand religious symbolism or "see" spirit. But it is also a realm of dangerously unhealthy imagination, for when the human imagination merges with an obscure or elemental force, it can produce monsters, something that Unknown Friend describes in MOTT (probably in the Devil card chapter, which I believe discusses the creation of mind parasites and the generation of demons)."

It's the Devil card letter. I just read it.

The question is how do you find the (non-mind parasite) generated garbage (demons) and destroy it so that it can't generate any more garbage?

12/18/2009 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

I studied the occult for years. Yet I learned more about the spiritual realm from this blog and the good works it points too. I consider my previous studies mostly a waste of time. However I do know something of the power of dark imagination. Let me explain.
Imagine your mind is like a radio. With practice you can tune the radio. It has already been discussed here how ritual religious or otherwise can bring you into a state of mind that is receptive to God. This is what I mean by tuning the radio. Now the God station is the right station, but there are lots of other stations. There is a lot of unwholesome noise. Listening to it is really bad for you health. Tuning into a daemon is not like tuning into God. God is dynamic, wholesome, radiant, all good things. The message is personal it changes, it deepens with you. Tuning into a demon is like tuning into a recording of a madman playing forever on infinite loop. There is no life there, the message doesn't change, and it's always a lie. But it is powerful, and it can seduce and corrupt us easily. Without God we can not withstand it. In this way it is like Token's one ring. It only ever had one message.
The problem is people especially people who don't believe in a spirit world, don't know what their radio is tuned to. It is easy for them to end up on the wrong channel. This happens to smart folks all the time. It effects them and pulls them towards certain ideas. This is the dynamic for a lot of cults. The power of Jim Jones, and other wacko cult leaders comes from them tuning their victims into the same bad juju they are listening to. In other words, Black Magic! I believe this process explains why Marxism just won't die. It has at it's root an infernal motivator.
Anyway, my point is always keep your radio tuned to the right station.

12/18/2009 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

Neil Gaiman's novel, "American Gods" might be of interest to coons; I recently reread it, and it came to mind while reading today's post. It describes a looming battle between gods old and new. Worth a look...

12/18/2009 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with James about keeping the radio of the mind tuned to the right station.

With that in mind I think one should limit one's intake of media.

Media consumption makes it difficult to quiet the mind and recieve the God station, or at least some other beneficial station.

So evaluate how much tube time, internet time, etc you put in.

The three main problems confronting mankind are all mostly rooted in the physcial:

How to keep the air, food, and water free from contamination.

How to avoid obesity or metabolic syndrome x

How to ensure all people get enough sexual gratification to keep them calm and happy.

Solve all three and the our society will hum like a well oiled machine.

12/18/2009 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I think noting what music one listens to is one of the better ways to help tune into the right station. Music carriers far more "information" than I think most of us ever realize. Music is a--if not *the*-language of the soul/unconscious. A piece of music is a worldview.

This intuition has come down through the ages (e.g. Plato, Confucius etc) seen today more as a call to censorship than anything else. More importantly I think they saw the *positive* benefits of music in aligning one to Truth, Beauty and Goodness.

12/18/2009 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Retriever said...

This has been a very good series, GB. I have been reading it and translating it a bit as I do. Trying to imagine the situation of people who are in comas, and/or declared brain dead as somewhat similar to those described in these reflections on what might happen to the soul upon physical death.

As the anniversary of my brother's untimely death approaches (his wife pulled the plug after he was on life support after a massive heart attack at 45) on the 20th, I keep wondering what (if anything) happened to his consciousness all those months he lay there "brain dead". The wife would not let us see or visit him. So I have no real clue...

Ironically, in my youth, I was a chaplain on a neuro-intensive care unit where I visited and prayed with people with all kinds of brain injuries, tumors, diseases that altered their consciousness at a minimum. When I would pray with a comatose patient (say, at the urging of a nurse or a family member), the patient who was supposedly a vegetable would breathe easier, would sometimes clutch my hand tight, and a more peaceful expression would pass over their face. Cynics would say that it was just a reflex or a body's breathing keeping pace with that of another person...

When I would sit and keep a person company for an hour or so (say, if they had no family or visitors) I would often tell them a story or how much we all hoped that they would wake up soon or read them a Psalm (because I am verbose in person, as well as writing!). They would react to changes in topic or tone.

I spoke sometimes with people who had come out of comas who would talk about having been talked over or at or ignored as if they were not there when comatose. And how they had been glad when people still talked TO them and made polite requests of them, when they had been "unconscious". And of how they felt as if they were shouting, but not a sound could come out. A couple of times, people I had visited when they were comatose recognized my voice before I introduced myself when I visited them conscious again.

Sorry to go on so long, but it has haunted me ever since (Jaynes, Sachs and others write well about such things): wondering if something of the person remains in those dismissed as "brain dead". As a Christian I believe that the soul lives on, even if the physical brain processes are limited to bare life support functions.

Naturally, when I reflect upon the situation of my poor brother, I hope in a way that they were right, that he was in fact a vegetable. How awful to have felt something while being treated like a piece of meat. Imagine the soul wandering thru the halls of the mind, unable to connect with those outside. Tethered to the earth, but unable to live and communicate here.

12/18/2009 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I am especially convinced that the latter takes place, and that one can forge a living relationship with a departed saint. Their words are infused with a transformative grace and power that are clearly not of this world. Moreover, they manifestly want to help

Yes, but I never would have believed this until fairly recently, being your basic, generic protestant. I was wrong and I know that now. Thank God.

...and various "elemental spirits" variously called "gnomes, water sprites, sylphs, salamanders, djinns, demons, etc." Interestingly, these "obscure forces" include "residues of long abandoned cults," and "mingle with authentic angelic powers...

Not to mention all the people who should have been just passing through, but got "stuck in Lodi again".

12/18/2009 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It is indeed interesting that the rough sketch of the early afterlife presented here was completely unknown to me after decades with the Bible and various Christian books, but eerily familiar now after last summer when I saw an animated movie ("The Laws of Eternity") scripted and funded by a Buddhist sect leader and tax-cutting conservative.

From the two angels to the soul hanging around the physical world for a while to the judgment by watching one's life, even the possibility of falling after death. All of it seems pure Buddhism to me, since that is where I saw it first. I suppose an Orthodox Christian would think the Buddhists had nabbed it from them...

I wonder where this Orthodox priest got his knowledge from, if it is not from the same source. If this is common knowledge, it is clearly common to only certain people, since I spent 50 years without hearing it until I now suddenly hear it from completely different religions.

12/19/2009 03:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Very interesting. After seeing seeing science programs and hearing stories like Retrievers', I've come to think similarly. The "interface" for those in a comatose state is down or otherwise compromised, leaving them unable to interact and stuck behind an impenetrable veil of sorts. Perhaps it's something similar for those developmently disabled, suffering brain damage, etc... their souls are dealing with a sub-optimal interface and do the best they can with what's available.

wv: ingles (maybe Ray is still lurking about :)

12/21/2009 03:01:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home