My books etc.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Christian Religion

Understanding of Christianity is based first on the leap of faith that there is a God. The condition and nature of God varies considerably from one denomination to the other, however, God exists. Some other generally accepted views are;
God created the Heavens and the Earth. God is the fount and basis of all goodness. God knows everything.
God dwells in Heaven. This is a not easily described. Various denominations attempt to say what living there will be like but agreed specifics are hard to come by. Two principles, however, are generally agreed upon by all denominations.
a) It is the most desirable place to be.
b) God will not allow sin to enter Heaven.
c) We are all sinners, every one of us and we are born that way.
This raises an important question: “What is sin?” The answer generally is, “To disobey the will of God.” The question that logically follows then is, “What is the will of God?” With slight variations, the answer is given that: “The will of God is that you Love Him with all your heart and soul and that you accept Jesus Christ, his son, as your savior believing that he died for your sins at Calvary then rose again to conquer death and lead those without sin into the presence of God. Then strive to live the commandments of God that you may demonstrate outwardly that you are a new person inwardly.”
This is Christianity as I understand it. Various denominations within Christianity have variations on what all of the above actually means but this seems to be a common thread.

Christian beliefs and their difficulties
I have a number of difficulties with the above philosophy. Not least is the idea of worshipping a God who was tortured to death. That seems way too freaky. The belief among Christians is that this was done at the will of his father. That is disturbing.
I also find it strange that otherwise rational and sensible people will insist that the reason we are all “Born in Sin” is because a talking snake convinced a woman she should eat some fruit.
Another bothersome point is that love is shown to God and absolute devotion must be given in total faith and total love. These are the prerequisites of entrance into Heaven. “Love me or I won’t have anything to do with you and I will banish you from my home forever.” This sounds like blasphemy. It appears to take the creator of heaven and Earth, a being with the ultimate in intelligence, inspiration and creativity and give him the petulance of a small child. Moreover, this love extends to kneeling on the floor, clasping hands together with head bowed. The God who created iron, who made the wind and the storms, how can it be believed that He made slaves? How can anyone believe that He would want slaves?
Most troublesome of all is the doctrine of Hell. This is the place reserved for those who do not love God in the manner described and who reject the notion that someone could take on themselves the karma of the world. Those who refuse to believe are damned forever. If the Bible is to be believed, and Christians insist it is the word of God without lies, then hell is a place of eternal torment. A lake of fire and brimstone where the pain never ends. So somewhere out in the cosmos is a massive concentration camp. It’s not like the Reich, built for a thousand years, but for eternity. The Kommandant is God and the guards are his angels. If you ask a Christian why would God do such a thing? The answer is “Because he loves you.”
This is my understanding of Christianity along with some of the questions I have. If anyone has serious answers I’d be glad to hear them. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Learning the Tarot

My Mother used to read the Tea Leaves. There always seemed to be a string of women coming to our house for “A cup of tea” Mam would read the leaves and she developed a very favorable reputation. When I was 15, or thereabouts, I saw a book on Tea Leaf reading at the local library. Scanning through it I read that seeing a ladder means one thing, a wolf means something else and so on. Later I asked my mother, when she read the tea leaves what did she see? My Mother answered “Tea Leaves”.  That’s it really; the shapes and figures my mother saw were what she saw. Others may not see or interpret the way she did. I know she never read a book on the subject, she learned the way I have learned, from the teachers who cross my path. My Mother saw Tea Leaves at the bottom of a cup and could tell the person who drank from it things of the past, present and future.
So let’s talk about Tarot Cards.  The Tarot contains 78 cards and within the symbolism of those cards can be found the infinite possibilities of Human existence. Understanding the symbols and how the cards interact to create infinite possibilities is the purpose of this blog.
There are many different decks floating around and many books. Frequently the books give a different meaning to the symbols on the cards and it can be very confusing for the beginner. What I am suggesting is; forget all that. Stop trying to learn someone else’s interpretation of the symbols and develop your own. There is however, some basic information that should be common to all serious students of the Tarot;
There are 5 suits; the first is the suit of Trumps or the Major Arcana. This suit is made up of 22 cards. The first, “The Fool” is numbered 0 (Zero) the last is numbered 21 “The World” The other four suits, known as the Minor Arcana, correspond roughly to the suits in a normal deck of playing cards.( Modern playing cards owe their origin to the cards in the Minor Arcana.) There are 56 cards in the Minor Arcana. What is important to know are the correspondences or the associations of the suits with the 5 elements.
Major Arcana……………..Spirit. The immortal soul, the essential you.
The suit of Swords………Air. Intelligence, knowledge the thinking mind.
The suit of Cups………..Water. Emotion, feelings, desires of the Heart,
The suit of Pentacles……..Earth. The senses, the physical, Material needs.
The suit of Wands………….Fire. Intuition, spiritual understanding, Magic.
Having grasped the elements and principles associated with each suit it is time to begin the journey. The only other thing you need is a pen and paper because you are going to write your own adventure through the World of Tarot.
Take the 22 cards of the Major Arcana and lay them out in front of you, face up and in order from 0 to 21. All cards are to be face up, this is not a reading this is an exercise in understanding. Group the other 56 cards into their suits and lay them in front of you but separate from the major Arcana. Now, with the Fool, begin your journey. The Fool is you, you are setting out on an adventure, are you stepping off a cliff? Or are you walking beside it? Is the dog playing or warning you? Look at all the symbols and decide who you are and what you are doing. The next card is the Magician. Is he someone you meet? Or is he you? The symbols of the four suits are on the table, is he showing you? Or are these the contents of the bag the Fool is carrying? Make up a tale, an adventure as you move from card to card. This is you travelling through another World a realm of your own creation. As you do so, look at the other cards. The minor Arcana are your tools, and your guides. Look carefully for your nemesis may be there also. Draw from them as you need. When your journey falters and you do not know where to go, look in the four suits. Advisors are in there, useful tools and weapons can be found. Continue on your journey, the cares of the mundane world may require you to put them aside for a while as you fulfill your obligations. Return as you can and complete your quest as you are able. Finally you reach card 21, The World.
The cards will have a deep meaning for you now. A meaning that is uniquely yours. You will understand the tools the advisors and the assistance, or hindrance that each card brings. You will also find that you have not only learned the Tarot, you have found out valuable things about yourself.
Don’t forget to write it all down. You may have a best seller on your hands.