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Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Just for now…stop, breathe, and listen.

Today’s affirmation comes from the fourth rune of the first aett (or “family”) of the Elder FutharkAnsuz. Its traditional meaning comes from the Rune Poems, the oldest of which translates as follows:

The Mouth is the source of every speech,
The mainstay of wisdom,
And solace of sages,
And the happiness and hope of every eorl.

–The Anglo-Saxon rune poem, Verse IV

“The Mouth” in the first stanza as often interpreted as the Divine. In the Northern Tradition this is either the god Odin or Loki, depending on how the rune falls (upright or reversed, respectively). However the Divine has many faces and names, and means different things to different people. For example I see “The Mouth” as my own inner knowing – that part in each of us that answers with a soft but clear whisper when asked, “What now?”

Think for a moment about how much of your day you spend in constant motion, chasing tasks and giving your valuable time to anyone who asks for it. “Most of the day” is probably your answer, and almost everyone else would say the same. Now honestly consider how many of these tasks and meetings leave you with a greater feeling of peace, freedom, and joy once completed. “Not many” is probably your answer, and again many would echo this.

What if, even once today, you stopped what you were doing and asked yourself, “Does what I’m doing now contribute to my highest good?” Then take a deep breath, go within, and listen for the answer. If you don’t receive the answer right away, don’t worry…just keep pausing, breathing, asking, and listening. With practice you will receive the guidance you need.

Ansuz affirmation:

I am aware of my innermost self. It guides and directs me.

A note about this affirmation: if the words presented don’t ring true for you, change them! Make it something that feels good and reflects who you are. For example, some may want to replace “innermost self” above with the name by which they address their Higher Power (God, Goddess, Buddha, etc.). The words don’t do the work on their own…it’s words + repetition + personal intent and emotional connection that make affirmations such powerful catalysts for positive growth.

Click here to see other affirmations in this series.

Rune source material: Oswald the Runemaker

Affirmation by Orin and Sanaya Roman

I’ve been a runology student for 20 years. See the About page or click here to learn more about my work with the runes.

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I just read a fascinating story in the New York Times discussing the possibility that Jesus was married based on the probable authenticity of a recently uncovered papyrus.

If this is true, what does it mean? Why is the possibility that Jesus wasn’t celibate so threatening to some of the article’s detractors? (Some immediately dismiss it; others assert that “wife” simply means “the Church?”.)

Edit: moments after posting this, the story mysteriously disappeared from the NYT blog. I’ve changed the first link above to point to a similar story at NPR.

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WunjoToday’s rune is Wunjo. It’s commonly known as “joy,” but its meaning runs deeper than simple happiness on a personality level.

In his book Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, Edred Thorsson offers the simplest, most concise, and yet most profound explanation of this rune’s meaning I’ve ever seen:

When all members of the clan are harmoniously working together, while integrated into their environment in a syncretic manner, a true state of holiness exists. (34)

In this context syncretic means growing together by setting aside differences and working toward a common goal. It seems the Germanic tribes, with whom the Runes originated, knew the value of syncretism and what would happen without it. In the words of American writer, historian, and philosopher Will Durant,

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.

What was true for the tribes of the Migration Period is still true today, though in a broader context. If petty differences are set aside and all find and use their gifts for the greater good, the global tribe will continue to evolve. One way to experience the essence of Wunjo, the “true state of holiness” Thorsson spoke of, is to do anything that shifts our focus from our own wants and needs to those of others.

I look at this rune today and ask myself, “What is my role in the tribe?” As I commit to finding and living that role, I experience the joy of Wunjo.

Edit on 3/15/11: I came across this quote and thought it was appropriate:

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

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Heaven is for RealThis morning The New York Times reported that Heaven Is For Real, a book based on the near-death experience of a 4 year-old boy in which he met various biblical figures including Jesus, has become a “publishing phenomenon, dominating best-seller lists and selling hundreds of thousands of copies.”

Reading the article left me feeling conflicted. On one hand, it’s clear by its sales that this book has brought hope and inspiration to many. With these in such short supply, I’m truly happy for anything that adds more of both to the collective conscious.

On the other hand, it was the boy’s father who decided to flesh out the story and publish the 163-page book. As I thought more about this I began to feel a little insulted…though that’s really too strong a word. Perhaps “excluded” is a better fit.

The book’s title feels like yet another declaration that the Christian path is the only path. It’s distressing that the book may serve as proof to some that what lies beyond the veil is indeed the Christian heaven, and only the Christian heaven. The renewed fervor it may lend to those who’ve memorized and constantly regurgitate the tired and worn “Jesus is the only way” argument also concerns me.

To be clear I actually admire Jesus immensely, and am open to different ideas about where our souls go when we leave the physical world. (I have my ideas, and so do you. Without verifiable facts, who’s to say which is right or wrong?) What I don’t like is the monopoly on tickets to the afterlife and “salvation” Christianity claims to have, which I’ve always viewed as an instrument of control more than anything.

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This morning the Washington Post reported that the Dalai Lama has announced a timeline for transitioning his political power to an elected

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

official within Tibet’s exile government. His resolution was undoubtedly met with resistance and sunken hearts by the Tibetan people, who have long regarded the Dalai Lama as both their spiritual and political leader.

Like a parent who realizes the time has come to let his children stand on their own, I feel the Dalai Lama realizes that allowing his people to do so is crucial for Tibet’s continued political and spiritual evolution.

I am grateful to His Holiness for the light he shines, and wish he and his people joy and peace in the wake of this transition.

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According to The New York Times, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a bill today abolishing the death penalty in his state. Illinois joins a list of 15 other states including Alaska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin which have also eliminated capital punishment. One of the bill’s supporters was anti-death-penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean, made famous when portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the Oscar-winning movie Dead Man Walking.

Who truly has the ethical and spiritual authority to decide if “an eye for an eye” is just punishment for a crime? How does killing someone, even when they’re guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, serve the victim, the victim’s family, and society at large?

Hopefully more states (including my own) will realize that the death penalty is moralistic and out-dated, and will pass similar abolition bills in the future.

Dead Man Walking

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The new pink Ouija board by HasbroTwo years ago the Hasbro Company released a pink version of the classic Ouija board, presumably to revitalize Ouija’s appeal and help it remain a slumber party mainstay. A recent story by Fox News seems to have catapulted this “pink portal to the other side” to the forefront of Christian and non-Christian consciousness alike.

The buzz seems to mostly consist of Christians condemning the product as a “dangerous spiritual game” and non-Christians responding with snark (some of which is pretty entertaining – see the “reviews” link below).

Some snippets of product reviews I found at amazon.com, followed by my take on it all:

I guess it’s an indictment of the level of science education in the U.S.A. Ouija board simply works on kids pushing the marker to the letters. –reviewer Joseph P. Klein
There is inherent in using the board the possibility of demonic contact and influence, since dead people cannot be contacted. The effects are real when it “works.” –reviewer Former Astrologer
Deuteronomy 18:10 states ‘There shall not be found among you anyone who…CALLS UP THE DEAD. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord.’ –reviewer common sense
Based on personal experience, the first two reviews contain little bits of truth (though overall they miss the mark). Here are my thoughts on Ouija:
Q: Who (or what) moves the Ouija board’s marker?
A: Kids trying to either scare or impress their friends.
A: A discarnate spirit on the astral plane. This could be someone who’s recently passed and has not yet progressed to the higher planes of existence, but is more likely an unevolved spiritual entity. Some may dub these beings “demons,” but it’s important to understand that the Abrahamic Religions have perverted the meaning of this word, which simply meant “unclean spirit” originally. However this is precisely why Ouija can be dangerous – in using it, those without the required knowledge or respect essentially make a “phone call” to a room full of strangers, any of whom could “pick up” and some of whom may have malicious intent.
Q: If I had a child, would I let them play with a Ouija board?
A: Generally speaking, no. Though the board itself does not cause harm, the fear surrounding its use might. This fear, now embedded in our society’s consciousness, is exactly what attracts the unevolved spiritual entities I described above (and keeps them around).
Q: What qualifies me to these questions, and why do I disagree with the reviews quoted above?
A: Personal experience. On several occasions friends and family members have spontaneously visited me after passing, often with messages for me or for me to relay to others. Contacting (or being contacted by) those who’ve passed is indeed possible, and I feel strongly that ruling this out simply because one hasn’t experienced it (or worse, judging someone without “walking a mile in their shoes“) is spiritually and emotionally immature. The universe is bigger than any of us can comprehend, and there is plenty that can’t be explained by either religious doctrine or empirical evidence.
I find it ironic that zealots on each side of any religion vs. science debate seem to share the same weakness – the conviction that everything in the universe can be neatly categorized as religion or science, belief or fact, black or white, good or evil. Though it might seem desirable to live in a world where everything is so cut and dry, it would rob us of the opportunity to experience the freedom that humility brings – that quality we embody when we admit there are more questions than answers.

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