Monday, May 31, 2010
God, Gods, Spirits, and Cosmos Part 1.
Now since basically people have been posting their beliefs about God, Gods, and the Cosmos, I thought I might do the same. I had to give a lot of thought recently to the cosmos because I just finished up the lessons on the Astral Planes for the SS Course. Here than are how I deal with or treat some of these subjects in my practice:
WORSHIP: In terms of reverence towards a God or Goddess, I try to show reverence for all of creation. In terms of tying myself in service to the will of a God or set of Gods - no thanks, not for me. My favorite quote on worship is from the Hevajra Tantra; "the only worship fitting for me is to become as I am". When Hekate was first contacting me 10 years ago I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not worship her as a servant except in the most mystical interpretation. She answered with that exact quote. In terms of Christianity I live by the axiom: God became man to show man how to become God.
GOD: Most people would say that I do not believe in God, at least not as they understand it. I do not believe in some intelligence from outside the universe that created everything. Investigation through meditation has revealed ultimate reality to be more than just empty however. There is an awareness that permeates everything that has definite qualities: compassion, wisdom, bliss, clarity.
There is a problem in physics that is hard to solve. The problem is that the Universe is just a little to perfect and right for life. Most physicists that I have spoken to go to the multiverse theory: there are an infinite number of them, so one of them had to get it right. I prefer Paul Davies idea that consciousness is a fundamental building block of the universe and that it exists the way it does because consciousness itself evolves to a point that it can insure it was created. We are part of that.
Some people have said that I am not a real Buddhist because I acknowledge these qualities as having ultimate nature. If you believe in Rang tong (essentially empty), than you would be right, but I would say that you drift too close to nihilism to be a real Buddhist. If you believe in Zhen tong (empty of other than) than you can dig what I am saying about these qualities that are essentially "enlightenment qualities".
THE LOGOS: I do use the term Logos to represent the divine seed in man, and also those beings who perhaps were born with it fully flowered. In Buddhist terms I see this as the same as the Tathagatagarbha. I do not however see this as an emanation of God or lower than god. Simply our own real nature, that is obscured by our ignorance. It can be uncovered and realized by a number of methods. Among them:
1. Renunciation of everything that obscures it. Think Monks and such.
2. Refinement by constantly traveling from the gross to subtle. This is the primary Hermetic and Khabbalistic Method.
3. Transformation of the energies that normally obscure it. This is the Tantric, Kundalini, Taoist and such methods.
4. Radical Relaxation. This is the method of Dzogchenpas and Christistian Mystics. It my main method, with some support from numbers 2 and 3 above.
GODS: I have no problem working with Pagan Gods. I do not however worship or in Buddhist terms "take refuge" in them. I try to understand that many (though not all) have cosmic and transcendent natures, just like humans do. For instance, Hekate when she is spoken of in the Chaldean Oracles is clearly a Cosmic force akin to the Sophia or Shekina. In the PGM or Definiones Tablets however, she is very clearly an immanent persona with likes dislikes and ego. It depends upon how you approach them, but a lot of trouble comes if you mistake one aspect for the other. On one level the Gods and Goddesses of the world are the cosmic forces and beyond all grasping conception. On another level the pantheons are the archetypal dysfunctional families. Just like us, they exist on multiple levels and planes at once and just like us, they spend most of the time ignorant of that fact.
It all depends upon how you relate to them.You see this in the Old Testament as well. In Genesis 2 and the rest of the Y narrative you have YHVH who is a very Egoist god who is concerned with a special group of people and obsessed with how close they follow his rules. In Genesis 1, which though first in the final edit actually is not as old. and the Elohist and Pristly narratives, you have God refered to as Elohim and every attempt made to make YHVH into the Cosmic God of ALL just like the Babylonian El. He is the god of everyone and creator of everything, not just the Israelites and the Garden of Eden. He is less concerned with the Law, and as history progressed you see this start to be reflected in the prophesies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah.
Anyway, the universe and lower astral planes (see below) are filled with Gods. These are either beings that have some connection to specific cosmic functions or simply beings that were reincarnated onto higher planes where people have immense powers, and live for hundreds of thousands of years. They can however, be just as ignorant about ultimate nature as anyone else. In fact it can be argued that those born onto higher planes are so blinded by pleasures that they are less likely to do real spiritual work than humans are.
ANGELS AND DEMONS: In some cases they are beings that are created by higher beings and given specific tasks. In other cases they are bound to specific traditions. In yet other cases they are simply Gods known by other names. What makes an Angel and a Demon? Their nature. Angels tend towards the ennobling, ouranic, intellectual, balanced, and benevolent. Demons tens towards the atavistic, chthonic, emotional, unbalanced, and yes, malevolent. They are for the most part not evil for evils sake, but working with them can be a bit like hiring Hells Angels to run your concert security. If left to their own devices, they may choose the most troublesome path.
ASCENDED MASTERS: Horrible term, but appropriate. These are beings that have either escaped the wheel of rebirth and have become fully enlightened beings or were so powerful and wise in life that they left behind shells that will last for hundreds of thousands of years and which can assist or guide those on similar paths. A Christ or Buddha would be an example of the former. A saint or Guru or some Lwa would be an example of the latter.
SPIRITS OF PLACE: This would include most nature spirits, spirits of the dead, and other non physical beings that can actually be said to take up space. What I mean by this if that when you evoke an Archangel into a room, the archangel may be seen to approach from a specific direction, but will soon fill all space and even the minds of those in the ceremony. RO is quite right when he says the line between invocation and evocation is not firm. If you invite Ghosts and most nature spirits into a temple however you can usually point to an area and say "they are over there."