Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is the horror genre discordiant with the Divine harmony?

The esteemed Matrona Georgia of the Elegant Lady Feminine Seminary at one point mentioned that she believed that the horror genre could be considered this athamë, or in discord with the Divine harmony that can be understood as the proper functioning of the universe. It was something that I had found myself circling back to frequently. That which is in accordance with thamë is generally viewed to be beautiful, pleasing and possessing qualities of order and correctness that has a resonance with nature that is undeniable.

In the Chelouranyan community, there is a strong association with the Japanese Lolita subculture. Purity, innocence, and simple beauty reminiscent of pre-1960s era Europe are the hallmarks of the Chelouranyan manifestation of this subculture. It is, in many ways, the antithesis of the horror genre. At first glance, it would seem that this and other manifestations of the Filianic aesthetic are strongly opposed to horror and the genre can be considered to be a manifestation of the modern era's 'fall' from the more genteel society of the past.

Thamë, however, is not all things pleasing and delightful. Thamë includes everything from birth to the dissolution of the physical corpus, in all it's processes. Some are quick to quote the lessons of the Thoughts of the Mind from the Scriptures:

 (1) Thoughts of the mind pass not away, nor vanish into air. (2) For everythought is a builder in the subtle world that lies about you. (3) Thoughts of beauty and of things of the Spirit refine and purify the soul, making her fair to look upon and graceful in her movements, (4) uniting her with the universal music of eternity and gathering about her the servants of the Janyati. (5) But harsh thoughts harden the soul; coarse thoughts coarsen the soul; thoughts bound only to thinks of clay burden the soul with heavy chains.
It is tempting to use these verses to argue that the horror genre (which has been present in some manifestation since the advent of story telling within this world) as a sign of how the human mind has devolved from a state of spiritual wholeness and purity. Indeed, some would argue that the fascination that is held within modern society with the grotesque and excessive violence described in the media through movies and television programs that are in this genre as clear evidence that the Eclipse spoken of by the Aristasian community and referenced by the Chelouranyan community marks the progressive moment of Western society away from the state of thamë that is mentioned of earlier eras in human spiritual development.

If we step away from this and look at the stories we tell ourselves, we must keep in mind the following, also from the Thoughts of the Mind lesson:
(28) And not a sparrow lights upon a twig but it shows forth the conflict between evil and the Good, nor any grain of sand shifts in the desert reflecting not some spiritual truth; (29) neither does a star fall in the farthest corner of the firmament with out an inward meaning.
Stories of horror do not mean that we have fallen farther away from Dea's presence and the grace of her love. Indeed, they can be a means to find Dea's presence in the times of sorrow and evil that happen within our world. This sounds counter intuitive. When we look into the dark mirror of horror, we find that which is wrong with the world highlighted and illuminated. While some would argue that this is because the genre is a celebration of these things, it is equally likely that the horror genre serves the same need that the fairy tales of old did. (And when you read the old versions of the fairy tales, you find that they have far more in common with the horror genre then they do with the sanitized versions that are presented for children of today.)

These were cautionary tales intended to teach the listener about the dangers in the world. They serve as vehicles to give the listener warnings of that which is dangerous to them, even as they are intended to entertain. A casual survey of the villains presented in modern horror, we find that they share characteristics and traits. While an assessment of theses traits and presentation of a character sketch for the villain that is most predominant in modern horror is outside the scope of this article, it is interesting to note that many of the people who engage in acts of atrocious and egregious evil in this world carry the same traits.

The stories we tell ourselves to warn others of the dangers in the world around us may have become more graphic as time has gone on, but so too have the stories of the good in the world. The character of the hero has grown in complexity just as the character of the villain has done so. Where the hero represents that which moves in accordance with thamë and corrects that which is athamë, the villain shows what is the opposition of the hero and warns of the dangers of moving against the Divine harmony.

While the proveribial note struck by horror is dissonant, it ultimately is well woven into the fabric of following Divine harmony. It encourages the observer to keep close to that which is the correct course of action. It also presents the consequences of failing to adhere to such things for even in horror stories, the villain has consequences for their actions to deal with.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Messages via Dreams.

From Here
I had this morning a dream that on the surface seemed a bit odd. I dreamt that my family and I were in Westminster Abby, prior to a ceremony wherein the Queen of England would restore to me noble title that was due to me by virtue of my lineage. The Queen was not an elderly woman, as she truly is, but rather she appeared as she did in her youth before the beginning of WWII. Throngs of people could be heard outside but inside the building was virtually empty except for the royal guard. This absence of people was not because it wasn't time for the ceremony as much as it was for the comfort of myself and my family.

I awoke from this dream convinced it had a deeper level of meaning. As I fixed myself something to eat, the realization struck me like a thunderbolt. This dream was Dea giving me back my dignity, which I had felt that I had lost with my most recent illness. The interesting thing about the dream was that it was never said that I had lost my title or that my family had done so. It was said that it was not properly recognized and removed from the record because of the error.

How does this compare to my dignity, one might ask. Well, I failed to recognize the dignity that I retained in the midst of my illness and, thereby, assumed it lost. This dream gently guided me back to seeing that dignity remains and gave me the external push to recognize it. One may be curious as to why in my dream Dea's messenger wore the face of Queen Elizabeth. The answer is fairly simple. In the Filianic faith, those women who are in positions of power can be considered living icons of Dea. They represent her goodness and sovereignty embodied. Queen Elizabeth is one of the rulers that I know has their power that exists in a fairly unbroken chain back to the founding of England. While the hands of those who held power transferred (in some cases quite bloodily, I might add), England has been a monarchy of some sort for a very, very long time. From a Filianic perspective, this history lends a weight of additional support to the claim of Queen Elizabeth to her throne.

Dreams can be random and strange. Sometimes they are nothing more then the brain's efforts to tell a story incorporating external stimuli that we receive and attempting to process the information of the day's events. Dreams can also be rich with symbolism wherein the unconscious mind speaks with the conscious mind, revealing that which we might not fully grasp during our waking hours. There are also dreams like the one I had that carry a spiritual element to them.

A strong understanding of the symbolic language that your mind uses to speak to you is useful in interpreting dreams and in practicing divination. Keeping a dream journal allows you to identify themes and symbols as you interpret them. I like to write my dreams up in a simple notebook with a few pages between them. After I have written them down, I wait a few hours before beginning to interpret them. My first level of interpretation is always what does the dream mean to me on a personal level.

Sometimes, I have dreams of fire. These are anxiety dreams, usually happening when I am in the midst of dealing with far too much stress in my life. I identified this theme after months of observing my dreams and recognizing the correlation between the content of my dreams and events unfolding in my life. If the dream I am having can be understood in the context of what is happening in my waking life, like the fire dreams, I will usually end my interpretation session there.

At times, I will have nightmares wherein I relive traumatic past events. These dreams require precious little in the way of interpretation. Generally, I treat them as memories. Then there are the dreams which at first seem very random but I recognize that the elements of the dream have larger meanings. Like the dream I described earlier in this post, the surface aspects seem odd. I have not been thinking of England of late nor has it featured in any respect in my daily life. When faced with a situation where a dream seems too strange to make sense of, I first attempt to examine the symbolic content of the dream.

Just as the fire dreams I have will speak of things regarding my mental state, the symbols can also communicate spiritual truths. This information is accessible to the unconscious mind because it is more intimately woven into the spiritual aspect of life then our conscious minds. Due to this closeness with the spiritual world, it is possible for information to not only pass from the spiritual aspect of the world to us it is possible for spiritual beings to contact us via this route.

Dreams of dead loved ones are commonly understood to be instances of the dead visiting the dreamer. A dream of angels may indeed be a visitation from those powerful beings. Sometimes, the divine uses symbolic language to express  messages in images that are not as clear as a direct vision of Isis, for example. A solid understanding of what different images and contexts mean to you is extremely helpful in interpreting dreams that have a message buried within them. An understanding of the cultural context and symbolic meanings of images presented to you is additionally helpful.

It is important, also, to remember that sometimes a dream has no deep symbolic meaning. A dream of a parrot may be just that, a dream of a parrot. If all attempts to make sense of the symbolism of the dream yields little to no success, consider the possibility that the dream is not a message from your unconscious or the spiritual aspects of reality. As Freud famously is attributed to saying, "Sometimes the cigar is just a cigar."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hope in an hour of darkness.

From Here
Faith is in many ways a simple thing. All that is asked of the believer is for them to believe. In the Sermon of the Apple Seed, the Daughter speaks to the faithful saying:

(36)It is not needful that you should seek knowledge of the highest things outside the sacred Mythos and My words. (37)For I have revealed to you all that is needful that you should attain liberation; and what I have not revealed, that is not needful.

We are exhorted in these words to act upon faith. Faith in Dea in all her guises and faith in that which has been revealed. Simple faith is enshrined within the Filianic and Déanic belief systems as the ideal way to move towards Dea. Paired with love, it is known as the Heart Road.

Faith, however, is not as simple as we wish it to be when we are struggling with the world's ills. In my most recent convalescence, I lived upon gritty, difficult faith. My heart and soul bled with deep wounds from my illness. Despair was woven into the very air I breathed within the hospital walls, it seemed. The cheerfulness of the nurses and their tireless compassion reminded me that life did indeed progress beyond illness and into recovery. This simple truth became part of the ladder of faith that helped me claw my way out of the temptation to simply give up on life.

It was faith that I could recover that spurred me on to take my medications and eat my meals. It was faith that I was not a hopeless case that brought me out of my self imposed seclusion within that tiny cell that was my assigned room. Faith sometimes is an action that we choose and it is one that requires a considerable amount of strength to engage in it. At times, we forget that our decision to proceed as though there will be a tomorrow is an act of profound faith and courage.

The sun will continue to rise, if we believe it will or not. The rain will continue to fall, if we have faith in each drop and its course, or not. Some things are fixed by the will of the Divine. We do not have the means to know the measure of our life's time. While we may not need have faith that tomorrow's sunrise will greet us, it is a powerful act of faith to believe that we shall awake to greet the sun. I was reminded in the course of my illness and am continually reminded as I progress through my recovery, that faith is a decision. It might be habitual to choose to have faith, but it is still a decision that we make each moment of our lives.

Pray for those who are lost and haven't the will to make that decision. I, in my hour of darkness, held hope that I could heal. That hope was an act of faith.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Meditation Upon Gratitude.

Gentle Reader,

I have struggled over the last several days with illness (truthfully, it has been longer but my symptoms over the last two weeks have been particularly acute) and found myself struggling to bear witness to the good that is in my life. Depression has been a constant foe and I have prayed regularly for this burden to be lifted from me. It is with some difficulty that I write this week's missive. In the midst of my overwhelming sorrow and despairing of my fears possibly proving greater then my will to surmount them, I look about me and see very many things to be grateful for.

Gratitude is far more powerful then one realizes. In the depths of darkness, it can prove a mirror that reflects the light of hope that is streaming down upon us from that bright place we recall being at before our times of trouble. It can be a lifeline when we struggle with past sorrows or future fears. In focusing upon that which we are thankful for, we rewire our minds to a more positive mindset.

That minor change in thinking has tremendous long range impact. It is a subtle shift that permits one who is trapped in despair to see the faintest glimmer of a way out of that state. Gratitude when we are in our greatest time of need is also a tremendous act of courage. Indeed, some would say it is also a tremendous act of faith as well.

For, when we say that we are thankful for something, we express faith that it will remain and that the positive effects will persist. Some days, I find myself thankful for things that others would declare profound. On days like I have had over the last little while, I express gratitude for small things that most others would take for granted. The profound has its roots in the small daily gratitude. How can I say that I am thankful for depthless love and fail to be thankful for the constant unfurling of that love? The same can be said for many other things.

I, in this moment, am most humbly grateful for your readership and your willingness to walk with me upon this winding path. I apologize that I have not been as prompt or prolific in my posting as I had intended. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. I strive to do more as the gods will it. May it be that you are blessed in all things and that my missive brings you a ray of hope in your hour of darkness.