Archive for Occult

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.

The Power of Christ Compels You

Posted in All, Health, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2010 by marushiadark

“Healing is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.” ~ W.H. Audin, poet

In my last post, I talked about the basic points of health and healing, stating that the human body is a self-correcting machine and that medicine is only as good as its ability to help the body return to homeostasis.  Most drugs are ineffective in the prevention and curing of disease because they do not address the underlying cause of the problem.  However, there is a field of medicine that I have yet to address and it is perhaps the most powerful form of healing known to man.  It is also the most overlooked and under-appreciated “drug” man has ever created.  I’m talking of course of the Placebo.

A placebo is essentially a form of medicine that has no actual measurable effect on the human body.  The most common form of this is a simple capsule filled with a small amount of sugar.  Its purpose in modern medicine is largely as a control metric in experiments that test the efficacy of drugs.  Patients are given placebos but told they are actually medicine and then the results are compared between the drug being tested and the body’s own ability to heal itself.

I admit, I can’t think of any better way to test the efficacy of drugs than that, but what these tests fail to determine and what modern medicine seems to have completely brushed over, is the actual power of the placebo itself.

A placebo itself has no effect on the body, but the patient believes it does and so their mind registers the belief that it is being healed.  Since the mind controls the body, the state of the mind can affect the health of the body for better or worse.  If the mind is convinced that it is healed or is in the process of being healed, then it will tell the body that everything is okay and so the body will release chemicals and hormones and endorphins to correct whatever issues are there.

Conversely, if the mind believes it is sick or hurt or in pain, then the body will align itself with that belief and act accordingly.  This is the mechanism that creates psychosomatic illness and is a chronic problem in many hypochondriacs.  Very often times, a hypochondriac can become seriously ill from nothing more than the fact that their mind told the body to be sick and it obeyed.

We know that disease is the result of either some overt toxin being present in the body or the lack of sufficient raw materials (water, minerals, etc.) to carry out the bodily functions.  But for all instances where this is not the case, the result is psychosomatic.  It’s all in the mind, meaning that the issue is not with the car, but with its driver.  Correct the driver’s error and the car will stop crashing into trees.

Consequently, this is the mechanism by which all medicine works.  Whatever will convince you that you are better is what will help you heal your body.  This is why drugs can sometimes appear to be helping, even though they are in fact introducing toxic substances into the body.  What’s actually helping is the mind’s orders to release healing chemicals, coupled with the presence of life-enhancing raw materials and energies.  As I said before, the human body is a self-correcting machine.  All you have to do is give it what it needs to do its job and then get out of its way while it does its thing.

“All healing is first a healing of the heart.” ~ Carl Townsend, futurist

The spirit controls the mind, which controls the body.  Everything in the universe is made up of energy, so it would make sense that any and all issues within the higher levels of the body and mind stem from issues on an energy level.  Our conscious minds may not know how all this works, but our subconscious minds and our spirits are working diligently behind the scenes to make sure everything comes alive for us on stage.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a diagnosis begins with an assessment of a person’s energy.  In such fields, it is common to hear about things like energy meridians, chakras, yin and yang, feng shui, or the concept of hot-cold-wet-dry.  Such practitioners of TCM have a very acute awareness of the factors that contribute to the health of the energy body – as do a great many faith healers, reikiists, reflexologists, acupuncturists, and psychics – and it is from this assessment of the energy body that they are able to catch and correct most diseases way in advance of western medicine, which still relies mostly on drugs and surgery.

Now, to be fair, there are a great many hacks as well within the alternative community, but the underlying principles are both accurate and applicable, and this is how all of the legitimate ones operate.  And by knowing this, you can begin to heal yourself without help from anyone.

“Then he asked him, ‘What is your name?’ and he answered, saying, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many’.” ~ Mark 5:9

Perhaps the most well-known healer in history is Jesus of Nazareth.  The Gospel of Mark, chapter five, recounts three of Jesus’ more famous healing sessions.

In the Gospel, Jesus is traveling with his disciples by boat when he comes to a small village.  A man from the village is being bound by chains and it is said that even the chains could not hold him for very long.  When Jesus arrives, the man is raving with madness, cutting himself with stones, but falls to his knees at the sight of Jesus and asks that Jesus not torment him.  The man says that he is possessed by a demon that is actually many demons.

In ancient times, people were far more superstitious and didn’t have the modern understanding of psychology that we do today.  So was this a demon or was the man just merely schizophrenic with multiple personality disorder and sadomasochistic tendencies?  Regardless of the actual facts, the man believed he had a demon living inside him and that demon quickly went away when Jesus commanded it to enter into a herd of pigs.  Did Christ really cast out a horde of demons, or did the man simply heal himself with the power of his own mind, for which Jesus was merely a catalyst?

The Gospel states that the demon was known as “the legion” and it affected the man’s “right mind.”  Was this really a demon or was it simply an aberration?  Or perhaps it was even a lesion in the right hemisphere of his brain, which Jesus healed using nothing more than a placebo effect and a transfer of energy.

Regardless of the actual details, the Bible says that when Christ healed the man, the people of the village were very afraid and they made it clear that they didn’t want Jesus hanging around there anymore.  So much for gratitude, eh?  So Jesus got in the boat and sailed back the way he came, but not before the man he healed came up to him and thanked him.  He wanted to go with Jesus, but Christ instead said that he should go and tell the people what he’d done for him.

“And he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well.  Go in peace and be healed of your affliction’.” ~ Mark 5:34

By the time Christ reaches shore again, news of his “miraculous” healing powers had reached the people there and he started to gain more attention.  A man named Jarlus came up to him and told him his daughter was sick and near death and he wanted Jesus to come and see her.

Along the way, a crowd begins to follow Jesus.  Among them is a woman with a severe blood disorder.  The Bible says that, for twelve years, she “had suffered many things from many physicians … and was no better, but rather grew worse.”  She hears about Jesus and comes up and touches his cloak because she believes that Jesus has some sort of special healing powers that can save her.

Jesus turns and asks what she thinks she’s doing.  The woman becomes terribly afraid and confesses all, but Jesus tells her not to worry and that she is healed.  Moreover, Jesus emphasizes that it is the woman’s faith that has healed her, not him.

Many Christians today attribute this event as being proof that belief in Christ is what will heal them.  However, it’s less about their faith in Christ and more about the power of the placebo effect and the ability of the mind to heal the body.  What you believe in specifically is of little importance to anyone but yourself.

Many churches, especially televangelist and evangelical churches, are known for their priests and pastors that lay their hands on worshipers and the people feel an overwhelming sensation come over them and they feel much better afterwards.  Scientists can’t explain it or apply it to non-believers and so there is a schism between the scientists who say it’s all bunk and the believers who are exploited into further belief and in subjugating themselves to God and the church.  In actuality, these people are healed because of the power of their own minds over their bodies with the priest or God or whatever merely being a metric that will only work for them and no one else because the minds of others are not geared to believing in that stuff, which is all that matters.

Faith in Christ is just a catalyst for getting the mind to be in a mode of healing and is fundamentally no different than if you were healed through belief in Buddha, Mohammad, or Tom Cruise.  It’s all about you and there’s no subjugation or worship required.

“When he came in, he said to them, ‘Why all this commotion and weep?  The child is not dead, but sleeping’.” ~ Mark 5:39

At the end of Mark 5, a servant comes up to the group and tells Jarlus that his daughter is dead.  Jesus commanded Jarlus not to worry, but to have faith that everything would be alright.  He then went alone with some of his disciples to the house.  Before he even went inside, Jesus told the people there that the child was not dead, but only sleeping.  The people rebuked him for this and so he made them wait outside.

Many Christians believe this to be an example of Jesus bringing someone back from the dead, but is it really?  Why did Jesus say she was only sleeping?

The passage seems to contradict itself here because it says that only Peter, James, and John went with Christ; yet Jarlus, the girl’s father, was present at the house when Jesus got there.  So if Jarlus went, is it possible the servant went as well?  Who really went with him?

If Jarlus and/or the servant went with Christ to the house, they could have told Jesus about her illness and Jesus, being a healer, would have known what the problem was and so he might have known just from that information that it wasn’t anything lethal.  People that aren’t knowledgeable in disease and healing often overreact to what are otherwise relatively simple problems to solve.  Is that what happened here?  I don’t know, but it’s possible.

Or if Jesus went alone with his disciples, he could have relied on his intuition to tell him that the situation wasn’t as bad as it seemed.  I know many times I, myself, have been in what appeared to be very bad situations; but my intuition coached me through it, telling me everything would be alright, and, more often than not, it was.  Is that what happened here?  Again, I don’t know, but it’s possible.

When Jesus got to the house, he made everyone wait outside.  He then took the mother and father and went inside the house to the little girl.  Undoubtedly, they believed that Jesus knew what he was doing and had faith that the little girl would be alright.  Jesus told her to wake up and she did.  Jesus told them to give her something to eat and she was fine from that point on.  Was she really dead or did the servant just mistake her being asleep for actual death?

I remember a very particular scene from the movie Doc Hollywood where Michael J. Fox is about to cut open a kid’s stomach because he believes the boy has a terrible stomach virus; but the local doctor comes by with a cola and gives it to the kid and rebukes Michael J. Fox’s character for nearly putting the boy through an unnecessary and risky procedure.  As it turns out, the boy simply had a case of gas, not a virus at all.  How did the town doctor know?  Because he had treated these people before and knew what they were like and knew their habits and the sorts of things that might cause diseases in that town.  He had knowledge and experience and an understanding that neither the family nor Michael J. Fox’s character had.

Perhaps this twelve-year old girl simply fainted from not having anything to eat.  But let’s consider the possibility that maybe that wasn’t the case, and that maybe there really was something wrong with this girl.  Maybe she wasn’t dead, but instead she just fell into a coma.  How would someone like Jesus have handled that?

Recall that the mother and father probably had a great deal of faith in Christ’s abilities.  They heard stories of how he cured a man of demons and saw how he healed a woman’s illness by the touch of his cloak.  Likely, they and their servants believed him to be some sort of magic man and spiritual healer.  So their minds were aligned with a spirit of healing and so it’s possible they transferred some of that positive energy to the girl and this reached her subconscious and caused her to awake and become healthy again.  After all, everything in the universe is just the interaction of energy waves in space.  All matter and medicine is subject to these laws.

“So based on your time spent with … these bizarre individuals, you’ve concluded that possession is a basic, typical human experience?”

“I must say, counselor, that’s quite a laundry list of disdain and one that thoroughly mischaracterizes my work.” ~ The Exorcism of Emily Rose

The very last line of Mark 5 says that Jesus commanded that no one be told what had happened.  To me, this is more indicative that the actual metric of healing used in this case was the power of faith in the minds of those around him.  If Jesus told them what really happened, perhaps they would lose faith and so then they might also lose the power to heal themselves, having nothing else to believe in and no skills in diagnosing or treating diseases.  And so Jesus would have to be called back to them, which I’m sure he would have preferred not to do if he didn’t have to.

How often have we heard doctors, as we’re leaving their offices and hospitals, tell us, “I don’t ever wanna see you here again” or something comparable?  Of course, that doesn’t mean that they are inherently grouchy and anti-social individuals.  What they mean is that we should take better care of ourselves so that they don’t have to treat us again, because the power to prevent and cure our own maladies and diseases lies in our own hands.

I’m sure some of you reading this article aren’t willing to believe this.  Maybe for you, the catalyst is something else more in line with your empirical beliefs and the scientific method.  Maybe the healer you trust is a medical doctor and because you believe that his remedies work, you become in-tune with the spirit of healing and that helps you get better.

Likewise, I’m sure there are some of you reading this article who are already well-versed in spiritual healing and so I’m just preaching to the choir.

Then there are probably a third class of people that are somewhere in between.  You’re not sure if you believe this works or not.  For those people, if you haven’t read it already, I would recommend the book Clairvoyance and Occult Powers, by Swami Panchadasi.  It’s out of print, but you can find an e-book of it on Google Books.  It was written almost a hundred years ago, and yet it reads as though it were written more recently than that.  I like it because it explains everything in rather layman’s terms from the very beginning and the most basic assumptions that require very little stretching of the imagination.  Another one you may enjoy is simply called Psychic Healing, by Yogi Ramacharaka.  It was written in 1934 and can also be found freely on Google Books.