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Symbols, Part 8: Serpents

Posted in All, Health, Humor, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2010 by marushiadark

“If you see a snake, just kill it – don’t appoint a committee on snakes.” ~ Ross Perot.

That sentiment may be practical advice, but it serves to illustrate how serpents get a pretty bad rep, both in ancient and modern society.

A number of stories depict snakes as villainous, conniving, and evil.  Medusa and Grendel’s Mother are classic examples.  Indiana Jones can face down Nazis Occultists but is afraid of snakes.  Interpretations of passages from Genesis and Revelation equated the serpent with Satan.  We refer to liars as “snakes” and to fake remedies as “snake oil.”  And a cursory glance on Google will reveal a number of quotes about snakes (like the one above) in which the general advice is to kill them right away.

It would seem that most people throughout the ages don’t like snakes, nor do they take the time to educate themselves about snakes.

There is practical reason to be cautious of snakes, since a number of species are, in fact, poisonous.  But by and large, they are not something to fear.  Most of the top ten deadliest snakes are located in Australia, and then others such as the boa constrictor or the anaconda do not appear commonly in most people’s lives.  Snakes, like most animals, operate based on survival instinct.  They eat when they are hungry and attack when they feel threatened.  If you leave them be, even the deadly ones, you’ve nothing to worry about.  Snakes are deserving of our adoration and respect, like every other creature.

“I’m fascinated by the concept of snake-handling.  When you read about the Pentecostal snake-handlers, what strikes you most is their commitment.” ~ Lucinda Williams

The Pentecostal tradition of snake-handling comes from an interpretation of the ending of Mark 16.  The idea of snake-handling, in a Christian perspective, is most likely because of the association of snakes with Satan, and that to wield power over snakes is to overcome the power of the devil.

An interesting idea, except that it is believed by a number of scholars that the end of Mark 16 is, in fact, a later addition to the Gospel to make it more like The Gospel of Luke.

Still, the Pentecostals are not the first group to practice snake-handling.  Many people keep snakes as pets and we are all familiar with the late Steve Irwin and his famous handling of snakes and other deadly creatures.  Such traditions of snake handling go back many thousands of years, in fact.

“Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ ” ~ Genesis 3:4

Genesis 3:1 is the first appearance of the serpent in the Bible.  Here, it is depicted as “more cunning than any beast of the field that the Lord God had made.”  The word “cunning,” typically has a derogatory connotation associated with deceit.  However, it can also mean clever, skillful, sharp, or shrewd.  So the serpent was the most intelligent creature God had made up until that point.  Depending on which interpretation you choose to follow, this may or may not include man and angels.  Lucifer was allegedly the most intelligent being in existence next to God, but he was not a “beast of the field.”  Man also was not a “beast of the field,” but the serpent may have been smarter than man, since it convinced Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.

Either way, the serpent is very intelligent, but is it malicious?  Some people blame the serpent for costing us paradise.  Certainly the God of the Old Testament does, since he punishes the serpent by removing its limbs and making it subservient to man.

Others see the serpent as a savior, bestowing on mankind the gifts of knowledge and reason.  If anything, the Tree of Knowledge helped to enable our free will by making us more aware of our reality.  And although Adam and Eve did ultimately get cast out of Eden, it could be said that the serpent never really lied.  God said Adam and Eve would surely die if they ate the fruit.  But the fruit isn’t what killed them, and God still had a chance to change his mind if he wanted to.  So one could say it was God’s decision to cut them off from the Tree of Life that ultimately killed them.

Some people believe that the human race is either descended from, or is the creation of, serpent-like alien beings, equated with the Annunaki of Mesopotamian mythology.  Many of the Biblical stories derive from earlier Sumerian and Babylonian myths, of which the Annunaki are a part.  Certainly the “sons of god” from Genesis and the numerous references to “we” and “us” suggests a pantheon of beings, not just one alone, and the behavior of God in the Old Testament suggests he came to earth quite frequently.  Either way, if there is any truth to the serpent alien story, are they benevolent or malevolent?  Who’s to say?

In Jewish mythology, Lilith – the first wife of Adam – was created at the same time as Adam.  She is often depicted carrying a serpent or sometimes equated with the serpent of Genesis.  Lilith is viewed as different things by different people.

The two most prevalent interpretations are that she is either a woman who got a bad deal for being the first feminist, or a demonic seductress.  Quite an extreme, wouldn’t you say?

Lilith also appears in Babylonian mythology and is often equated with the owl, another creature related to wisdom.  The owl can see in the dark, meaning it has secret knowledge of things that the sun does not reveal.  The owl is also a nocturnal predator.  So again, are we to trust the creature or not?

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.”  ~ Matthew 10:16-17.

Martin Luther King was a minister before he became a civil rights leader.  In one of his sermons, he talks extensively about what Jesus meant by the above passage.  In his view, to be “wise as serpents” is a good thing and means to be tough of mind.  To think things through, to be logical, and self-determinant and to not just accept what so-called authorities tell us, but to instead think for ourselves and be our own judges, our own authorities.  Then, to be “harmless as doves,” is to be soft-hearted, compassionate, and kind.  To see our brothers as ourselves and to bring freedom to all.

The serpent ties these ideas together in another religious leader, Moses.

In the book of Exodus, God tells Moses to throw his staff on the ground.  It turns into a snake and Moses is very afraid.  But after working with God, he later uses this same power against the Egyptian priests to liberate his people from the tyrannical pharaoh.

Moses is not the only religious figure to be linked to a staff and snake, however.  In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing, and the son of Apollo (the sun god).  Asclepius is also associated with the 13th sign of the Zodiac: Ophiuchus, the symbol for which is a snake coiled around a rod.  This is the proper symbol for healing, as can be seen on the Emergency Medical Service’s Star of Life, the EMS being an organization that saves many lives.  Interestingly, the symbol chosen by medical institutions is the caduceus, which is a symbol of Hermes, guide of the dead and protector of merchants, gamblers, thieves, and liars.  That should tell you a lot, right there.

Also, I mentioned before that alternative remedies are often referred to as “snake oil.”  I wonder what would happen if it were one day discovered that snake oil actually cures cancer.  Think about that for a while.

All in all, snakes are complex creatures.  Perhaps the real truth is that snakes have two sides to them, like all of us: a dark side and a light side.  One side cold and calculating, the other bright and helpful.  One side seductive and deadly, the other side sensual and enlightening.

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Symbols, Part 6: The Solar Cross

Posted in All, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2010 by marushiadark

“The best thing about the sun … it never tells me I’m unworthy.” ~ George Carlin

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, the time of year when the day is the same length as the night, and I can’t think of any more appropriate time of year (except maybe Christmas) to talk about the Solar Cross.  The solar cross is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous, and most universally recognized religious symbols in human history.  You’ve probably seen it all over the place without even recognizing it.  Simply stated, it is a circle with two lines through it that intersect in the center.

The Greek Cross, the Celtic Cross, the Latin Cross, the Swastika, the Chi Rho, the Buddhist Wheel of Life, the Egyptian Ankh, and a host of other symbols all derive from it.  It is also found in Central AmericaMesopotamia, North America, and many of other places.

In short, the solar cross is the symbol in most of the world’s religions.

Among other things, it is symbolic of the four directions, the four elements, the four root races, the four stages of life, the four humours, the four seasons, and so forth.  But perhaps most importantly, most commonly, and as its name suggests, it is a symbol of the sun.

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.” ~ Sitting Bull

The documentary film Zeitgeist, created by a man known only as Peter Joseph, is arguably the most popular viral video on the internet.  The first part of the video is based on the life’s work of researchers such as Jordan Maxwell and Acharya S.  It outlines very plainly the history and usage of the Solar Cross in various religions and cultures throughout the world.  Without wishing to completely rehash Zetigeist, the basic story is as follows:

The ancients believed the sun was the light of the world and the savior of mankind.  Every night, the sun would set into the underworld and rise again each morning to conquer the forces of darkness and “evil.”  At certain points throughout the year, it would undergo particular behaviors from the perspective of the earth, and these are the basis of many ancient myths.

For instance, on December 21, the Winter Solstice, the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky and the day is shortest while night is longest.  For the next three days, it would appear to not move at all before rising one degree higher in the sky on December 25.  To the ancients, this motion symbolized the death and rebirth of the sun and it is why Christ and many other religious figures have their date of birth on December 25.  The death and resurrection of the sun was not celebrated, however, until the Spring Equinox when the days began to become longer than the nights and light officially conquered the darkness.  The feast of Easter derives from the Feast of Ostara, the goddess of dawn, who was symbolized by rabbits and eggs.

Throughout the calendar year, the sun would pass through the twelve constellations of the Zodiac.  In Christianity, these are symbolized by the twelve apostles.  Da Vinci’s Last Supper depicts not only the twelve signs, but also Christ centered on the cross as the sun.  The number twelve appears throughout the bible for similar reasons, all being a reference to the zodiac.  The twelve apostles, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve prophets, the twelve kings, etc.  The twelve gods of Olympus, the twelve titans, and the twelve labors of Hercules are examples of the same, as used in Greco-Roman mythologies.

In the book of Revelation, chapter 4, verse 7, there is mention of several beings with the heads of a bull, a lion, an eagle, and a man.  These are the symbols of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio (which was symbolized by an eagle before it was a scorpion), and Aquarius, respectively.  This imagery can also be found in occultism, such as on the Wheel of Fortune card in the tarot deck.

There is no shortage of parallels that can be drawn between the myths of majors religions, especially Christianity, and the motions of the sun as it travels through the heavens.  The Solar Cross, i.e. the Cross of the Zodiac, is a shorthand representation of this concept, which is really just an ancient pagan spiritual symbol.

Some of the earliest constructions of mankind reflect a worship of the sun.  For instance, it has recently been demonstrated by archeologists that the monoliths at Stonehenge were used as a solar shrine to mark the Winter Solstice and there is a sister site some miles away that marks the Summer Solstice as well.  The Egyptians, Mayans, and Aztecs are all well known for their worship of the sun also.  I could go on and on about this, but this is just an introduction.  The point is that, the more you begin to research into comparative religions and history, the more you begin to find sun worship everywhere.

Though its most common use is as a religious symbol, the Solar Cross is also used in a number of corporate logos as well.  Most notable are BWM, Alfa-Romeo, and Bayer.

Also keep in mind that there are many derivatives of the Solar Cross, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article.  For instance, the equal-armed cross is used prolifically in medicine, and in the logos of Chevrolet and the Red Cross.  The cross is used in national flags, such as the flag of Switzerland and many others.

The Cross of Lorraine, aka the double cross (play on words, much?), is used in the logos for BloodRayne, Holiday Inn, Nabisco, and Exxon-Mobile.  It’s also the symbol of the ruling party in V for Vendetta, with Chancellor Sutler being the dictator of a British police state.  The parallels between that and Nazi Germany, headed by Chancellor Adolf Hitler; or the Empire from Star Wars, headed by Chancellor Palpatine, should raise a number of alarming questions in your mind about just what sorts of people are using these symbols against us and why.

Symbols, Part 1: Introduction

Posted in All, Economics, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by marushiadark

“I leave symbols to the symbol-minded.” ~ George Carlin

Chances are, the first things we think of when we think of symbols are logos and religious emblems.  All major corporations have their own specific form of branding with an enigmatic logo to identify them to the public.  Religions use symbols like crosses, stars, wheels, the sun, the earth, and a whole host of others as representations of their specific beliefs.  But these aren’t the only symbols.

A symbol is anything that stands for something else.  Every letter and number is a symbol and the words they comprise are just oral or written symbols for ideas.  A kiss can be a tactile symbol of love or betrayal, depending on its context.  Your own body is just a symbol for who you are, just like your signature or your avatar on a forum.  People (or more specifically their actions) can be symbols for specific ideals or modes of thought.  Certain buildings, banners, and flags are also symbols for the same.  Money can be a symbol of status and power or of greed and corruption, and its lack can be a symbol of either suffering or enlightenment.

Really anything can be a symbol, and symbols can be symbols of other symbols, even.  We are undoubtedly creators and users of symbols, all of us.  In fact, we are the only creatures on the planet that use them, and we use them for pretty much everything.

“Most people are unwilling to seek and create their own interpretations of these symbols.  Instead, they blindly submit to preconceived definitions and connotations given by sources unknown.  Because of this, many things have been predetermined in our understanding of life without our knowledge.” ~ The Esoteric Agenda

If I were to say the word “swastika” to you, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind?  Probably a Nazi banner or something else to do with Nazis or Nazism, right?  What if I said “red, white, and blue”?  Probably the American flag, if you’re an American, or something about patriotism and government if you’re from a nation whose flag is red, white, and blue, such as England, America, France, Australia, and many others (most of them use the same colors).  If I said “cross,” your first thought would probably be a Latin cross, with or without the image of Jesus’ body hanging from it.

That right there is proof that we are fixated on symbols that have predetermined definitions and connotations, and that we allow others to dictate for us what to think.  The swastika has its origins thousands of years before the Nazis ever existed, and it was largely a symbol of peace and power.  The cross has its origins thousands of years before Christianity ever arose.  And “red, white, and blue,” are just colors – frequencies of light waves.

Symbols have no meaning except what we give them, so why are our interpretations of these symbols so specific and so limited?  The only reason our thoughts would be so restricted is through deliberate social conditioning.  Symbols and their meanings are not something genetic, but rather they are learned and culturally specific.

Does that mean that everyone whose first thought when I said “swastika” was “Nazi” is a mind-slave?  No, not really.  It does if those are the only things you thought about, but those with more knowledge and awareness will not be limited to just one interpretation of such symbols.

To illustrate the difference, one of my teachers used the example of “gum” as a symbol.  A ditsy, bubble-gum chewing, Valley Girl cheerleader with no awareness or knowledge at all might only think of chewing gum; but someone else might think of chewing gum and think of other things, like a gum tree, gum arabic, or even gummy substances.  The point is that a person who’s not a mind-slave is in full control of their mind and is actively using it to make mental connections to as many things as possible, developing a neurological web instead of a linear, one-to-one association between symbol and idea.

When a corporation, religion, or government body creates a symbol, there is next to no leeway in what they want you to think with regards to that symbol.  Corporations want you to associate their company and their product with it.  They pay millions of dollars to develop logos that will hit deep psychological nerves in your subconscious and create nuerological links between those symbols and the desire for certain products.  Religions demand your focus and devotion to their symbols, which only serves to distract you from truly experiencing life the way it was meant to be lived.  This is why God made it a sin to worship such images.  And governments want your loyalty and your obedience and to keep you distracted with these symbols of pride and patriotism while they carry out large-scale violations against our rights, most-notably war.  In the pledge of allegiance, we’re told to pay homage to the flag and that burning a flag is illegal in many places, even though the flag is just a piece of cloth to which we add our own meaning.

Such symbols are most prolifically portrayed through the media, Hollywood, and through advertisements.  Many of them are variations of the same bastardizations of more spiritually enlightening icons: the sun, the moon, the all-seeing eye, the pentagram, the hexagram, the double-square, the cross, the pyramid, the torch, the eagle, the yin-yang, vesica piscis, skull and crossbones, and so on.  These symbols are not inherently good or bad, but are only good or bad in so far as the meanings and purposes we assign to them.  Look around sometime and see just how prolific these symbols really are.

The Needs of the Many

Posted in All, Economics, Health, Psychology, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by marushiadark

“Nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” ~ John 11:50

In my last post, I discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and its application to individuals.  An individual in such instance can mean a single person, but it can really apply to any entity considered as a whole.  A person is simply a collection of cells acting together for a single purpose.  Cells divide and cells die and we don’t give the process much thought in the course of our daily lives because we’re busy doing things at the level of our macroscopic state.  When you scratch your arm, you lose thousands of cells, but it alleviates the body.  When you cut yourself, the blood lost contains thousands of cells, yet a flesh wound repairs itself easily enough.

Often times, we appeal to higher powers and ask, as Christ did in his final moments, “Why have you forsaken me?”  But we are, ourselves, cells in a much larger body and sometimes it is necessary for a few cells to be shed for the sake of the whole.  Sometimes, the will of the whole is beyond the understanding of the individual cell; and so the cell must trust that the whole knows what it is doing and will realize that the good of its cells means the good of the whole and so will do its best to tend to the needs of as many of its cells as it possibly can.

“There literally are different worlds in which we live … but they’re complimentary.  Because I am my atoms.  But I am also my cells.  I’m also my macroscopic physiology.  It’s all true, there are just different levels of truth.” ~ John Hagelin, physicist

As we learned from Star Trek II and Star Trek III, there is a balance between the needs of individuals and the needs of the wholes that those individuals comprise.  Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and sometimes the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.  To do the greatest good for the greatest number of people demands a more careful observation of what the actual needs of both the individual and the whole require.

In my post on energy, I explained how everything in the universe is energy and how consciousness is energy and thus implied how everything has consciousness and identity.  Everything in the universe is its own individual, made up of smaller parts, and it is also, itself, a component part of something much larger. Atoms are collectives of quarks, but components of molecules.  Molecules are collectives of atoms, but components of cells.  Cells are collectives of molecules, but components of organs.  Organs are collectives of cells but components of people.  People are collectives of organs, but components of society.  And so forth until you get to the whole of the universe and ultimately to God.

Half of the object’s identity is as a whole, half is as a part of some larger whole.  Both sides have their own needs which must be respected.  Without the health of our cells, we succumb to disease and die.  Without the whole, the cells won’t stand much chance of finding what they need on their own.  Symbiosis is the coming together of two or more individuals to form a larger whole that will serve the needs of all.  This is how nature and the rest of the universe manages to get along so well.  It is a lesson that we, as humans, do not always remember.

“The securing of one individual’s good is cause for rejoicing, but to secure the good of a nation or of a city-state is nobler and more divine.” ~ Aristotle

An idea is true based on its merit, not where it comes from, which is why I try to draw wisdom from all walks of life, not just one.  For me, one of those paths includes Christianity.  Another includes Scientology.  As Christianity has the eight beatitudes, so does Scientology have what are known as the eight dynamics (and you’d be surprised in what other ways they relate).

In Scientology, the dynamic principle of existence is survival.  The eight dynamics are eight different levels at which we might consider the needs for survival.  They are as follows:

  1. Self – The urge to survive as an individual.
  2. Sex – The urge to survive through family and offspring.
  3. Group – The urge to survive as part of a group.
  4. Species – The urge to survive as a species (e.g. Mankind).
  5. Life – The urge to survive as a life form and to embrace all life forms.
  6. Matter – The urge to survive as part of the universe and for all the physical universe to survive.
  7. Spirit – The urge to survive as a spiritual being (soul).
  8. Infinity – The urge to survive as part of God and the infinity of All.

An action is good if it promotes survival on all levels.  Given that our existence holds stock in all these levels, it would behoove us to tailor our actions so as to promote survival across the greatest number of dynamics as possible by weighing the needs of the self, our components, and the wholes of which we are a part.

“Most people today have no idea what they really want or need, for they have never been informed as to the true state of technology.” ~ Peter Joseph

I once watched a video lecture by the late William Cooper, a former Navy Intelligence Officer.  He began the lecture by asking if anyone could tell him when the first Stealth aircraft was created.  Most people said the 70s or 80s.  In actual fact, the Nazi’s had developed one during WWII.  According to Cooper, whatever the state of technology we think exists, it’s likely that the U.S. military is already about 25 years ahead of that.

In some cases, depending on the technology, it’s probably more like a hundred years.  But the point still remains that people are not educated on what’s actually possible and this colors their perceptions of what they believe they need.  Sadly, most people are simply not interested in advancing their knowledge beyond what little they already know.  Sadder still, the only ones that can change it are them.

“I can only show you the door.  You’re the one that has to walk through it.” ~ Morpheus

In the video slide show presentation Zeitgeist Movement: Activist Orientation Guide (linked in sidebar), filmmaker Peter Joseph attempts to outline, in greater detail than I have done, the basic needs of human beings as both individuals and as parts of a larger whole.  I don’t wish to repeat everything mentioned in the video, but it’s definitely worthwhile to watch and is perhaps more valuable information than what you might find in the average high school or college in America.  Consider it a 101 course in your pursuit of higher learning.