Category: Reflections


© Evgeny Drobzhev | Dreamstime.com

 

This interview was written down verbatim, with no editing:

 

Where are we before we’re born?

With God.

What is God?

God is everything.

Where is God?

God’s in heaven.

If God is everything, isn’t God here too?

God is watching over us.

How come people get sick if God is watching?

They just do.

Why do people die?

Because it gets their time, and it just gets their time to die, and they have to.

What happens to people when they die?

They join heaven – a beautiful, magical place.

What happens when lions die?

They roam heaven in peace.

What happens to bad people when they die?

They learn a lesson at heaven.

What happens to mosquitoes when they die?

They go into their own little mosquito heaven.

Are people better than animals?

They’re the same.

Are animals better than people?

No, they’re the same.

Is there one God or lots of gods?

There is lots of gods.

Can you tell me more about that?

Some are Egyptian gods, some are Indian gods, some are the Bible God, some are earth God, some are Mars God, some are China God. That sort of thing.

Are all the gods in heaven?

Some are still alive.

Did all gods used to be alive?

Yes.

When?

Way, way back maybe when the dinosaurs lived.

Why do people say there’s one god if there’s lots?

Because people have different beliefs.

Is God a boy?

Some are.

How do you talk to God?

Praying and talking to trees to tell them to tell God.

How does God talk to us?

We feel it in our mind or if we’re already dead, then we’ll just hear him in real life.

Why do trees talk easier to God?

Because they’re higher up and their branches reach to God and he can hear them talking.

How come I can’t hear trees talk?

You can, but only in your mind.

Is it easier for children to talk to God?

No. It’s easier for grownups actually.

Why?

Cause kids have less focus.

How many gods are there?

Too many to count.

Is it important to pray?

Some people it is, some people it’s not.

Why do bad things sometimes happen to good people?

Bad people make bad things happen to good people, but then they can pray to God.

It’s always caused by bad people? What if someone just gets sick?

That is because maybe the bad people tricked them to come over to their house when they’re sick and they gave it to them.

What about when a nice kid becomes an orphan?

Nothing really bad happened. It was just time for the parents to die.

Why are people so sad sometimes?

Because they can’t keep themselves happy and they want to be sad.

What should people do with their lives?

They have to have fun here while they’re still here. And enjoy their time.

Can people do magic?

Only if they have pixie dust. Otherwise, it’s not real.

Can some people tell the future?

Well, you have to have pixie dust.

What’s in outer space?

Stars.

Does anyone live in outer space?

Aliens.

Is there anything else you want to share?

The great heart key will unlock a door, but no one knows where it is. It’s the door to friendship and love. And we have it.

Who has it?

Us. Annika, Dad and you, mama.

 

Photo: © Evgeny Drobzhev | Dreamstime.com

 

 

Lascaux_painting

By Sharon St Joan

 

When watching the stock market, we talk about the bulls and the bears – why? Well, the symbolism behind this isn’t so much really about the bears, but it is about the bulls, who from the very beginning of human consciousness have been known as a symbol of power, success, and victory. The bull stands at the top of the mountain, having conquered his rivals.

 

In the caves of Lascaux, in southern France, 17,000 years ago, Cro-Magnon man painted extraordinarily beautiful cave paintings. The largest of these, running about 17 feet long, depicts, a bull, not a modern bull, but an ancient wild bull, the auroch, a species that existed before bulls became domesticated. They were much larger then and fiercer.

 

Visiting Crete in the late sixties, I was struck by the many depictions in the ruins of Knossos of the bull. Even simple blocks of stone had double bulls’ horns carved at either end. Clearly, the bull was an archetypal symbol for the Minoans, whose civilization was at its zenith, around 1500 BCE.

 

 

In ancient Egypt, the bull was worshipped as the god Apis, symbol of strength and power.

 

Among Native Americans of the plains, where there were no cattle, the bison assumed the place of the bull, and the bison, who provided everything the plains people needed in terms of food, clothing, and shelter, were greatly revered.

 

In Vedic literature and other sacred texts of India, great heroes were referred to as “bulls among men.” Throughout history and today in India, the vehicle of the God Shiva is the bull, Nandi, who guards the entrance of every Shiva temple, and the devotee pays his respects to Nandi, who then graciously allows the devotee to enter the temple and to worship Shiva.

 

In the Christian Bible, the ancient Hebrews got into a lot of trouble by worshipping the Golden Calf, as soon as Moses had been gone too long on the mountain. When their faith in Moses waned, they reverted to an older tradition – worship of the bull.

 

392px-Elam_r_(30)

 

The Mesopotamians worshipped the bull as Marduk, a magical being – god of water and the growth of vegetation, as well as judge of human affairs.

 

The Canaanite god Moloch was often portrayed as a bull.

 

Unfortunately, the position of great honor bestowed on the bull throughout history has drawn the attention of a darker aspect of human nature, which is the desire to kill whoever or whatever stands at the top. This is not at all the same as the legitimate fight against oppression and injustice, which is noble and heroic, but instead, it is the ignoble wish to subjugate anything that might be seen as a potential rival – the basic drive which seeks to eliminate all competition in any way possible.

 

This instinctive drive has a positive side which may lead to success and to excellence, but all too often, throughout human history, it has instead been overwhelmingly negative — leading to the wanton destruction of all that is perceived as not subservient enough.

 

The desire to destroy one’s rival leads to wars, to run-away arms races, to tyranny, to the accumulation of wealth at the expense of all who are less fortunate, to the oppression of the female, the young and the old, and all who are weaker or poorer. It leads to the destruction of nature, the elimination of wild species, the devastation of the planet earth and to climate change run rampant. At its most extreme, anything that is beautiful, untamed, or magnificent is the enemy of this drive for domination and becomes a target for destruction.

 

All this has lead to the bull being among the most persecuted of animals in many cultures, worldwide.

 

800px-Armon_Knossos_P1060030

 

The bull in ancient Crete was the object of bull-baiting in which young men leaped on the backs of the bull to ride them, thus proclaiming their victory and superiority over the bull – and their worth as “heroes.”

 

Bull-fighting is the modern day form of this in Spain and other countries. In Spain and in Mexico, there are lesser-known “festivals,” sponsored by local Catholic churches, which far exceed bull-fighting in terms of extreme cruelty, torture, and the killing of the bull.

 

There are ritual tribal persecutions of the bull in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

In the history of Christianity, the devil has traditionally been depicted with the horns and the tail of a bull – thus showing the bull, who is an innocent animal, as the essence and symbol of evil.

 

The drive to dominate, subject, torment, and destroy all that is innocent and beautiful represents the very worst aspect of human nature, and it is based on fear, the fear of being defeated and replaced.

 

There is though a positive, iconic figure who is just the opposite of this – the protective hero, seen for example, in the great flood myth of India in the Noah figure, Manu. Manu saves a tiny, helpless fish, who calls out to him for help because he is about to be eaten by large, ferocious fish. Manu cares for his little fish with great attentiveness, for many years, raising him until he becomes a large, strong fish and then releasing him to be free again in the sea. The fish repays him for saving his life by warning him of the Great Flood and then by pulling Manu’s ship through the tempestuous waves to the top of a mountain, to rest in safety. There, all the seeds that Manu has brought along on the boat are planted in the ground, and the life of the earth is restored to begin anew. Manu is the archetype of the positive, protective figure, noble and kind, who cares for the good and the innocent. He is the true hero.

 

800px-The_fish_avatara_of_Vishnu_saves_Manu_during_the_great_deluge

 

Even India though, which has for many thousands of years worshipped and revered trees, plants, and animals, is not free from the destructive instinct to dominate, especially to dominate the bull, and this is seen in the cruel sport jallikattu, a form of bull-baiting practiced in the south in Tamil Nadu, in which crowds of young men torment and persecute bulls as a spectator sport. It is also evident in the cruelties inherent in the illegal transport and slaughter of cattle – and in bullock-cart racing in the state of Maharashtra.

 

These abusive practices are being opposed by thousands of animal welfare groups in India, part of an energetic struggle that has been pursued over at least the past forty years.

 

The Supreme Court of India is expected soon to deliver a ruling on these three forms of cruelty to bulls, which are already illegal, according to the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act – 1960. If the ruling upholds the rights of the bulls and the integrity of the longstanding humane traditions of India, this will be a major leap forward for animals in India and the world – and a sign that the voices of kindness and positivity are not always silenced and will sometimes prevail, overcoming all obstacles.

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2014

 

Sharon St Joan is the author of Glimpses of Kanchi.

 

Top photo: Prof saxx / “This building is indexed in the Base Mérimée, a database of architectural heritage maintained by the French Ministry of Culture, under the reference PA00082696.” / Wikimedia Commons / “Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version…” / Lascaux Caves / Cave paintings of aurochs and deer.

 

Second photo: user:Rmashhadi / “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.” / “This is a featured picture on the Persian language Wikipedia” / Marduk. Iran’s heritage in Musée du Louvre.

 

Third photo: Deror_avi / Wikimedia Commons / “Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version…” / This is a duplicate, at the Minoan Palace, Knossos. The original is at the museum in Heraklion, Crete.

 

Fourth photo: Ramanarayanadatta astri / Wikimedia Commons / “This work is in the public domain in India because its term of copyright has expired.” / The fish Matsya pulling Manu and the seven rishis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29AnconaTraianocropped

Thanks to Eileen Weintraub for posting this story, from an unknown source, on the website of Help Animals India.  Eileen writes: This is a western variation on the Hindu story about Yudhisthira – a  man who wouldn’t abandon his dog to enter heaven.

 

 

A man and his dog were walking along a road.  The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

 

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years.  He wondered where the road was leading them.

 

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road.  It looked like fine marble.  At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

 

When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

 

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

 

When he was close enough, he called out, ‘Excuse me, where are we?’

 

‘This is Heaven, sir,’ the man answered.

 

‘Wow!  Would you happen to have some water?’ the man asked.

 

‘Of course, sir.  Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.’

 

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.  ‘Can my friend,’ gesturing toward his dog, ‘come in, too?’ the traveller asked.

 

‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’

 

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

 

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.  There was no fence.  As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

 

© Judy Kennamer | Dreamstime.com   dreamstime_xs_18027887

 

‘Excuse me!’ he called to the man.  ‘Do you have any water?’

 

‘Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.’

 

‘How about my friend here?’ the traveller gestured to the dog.

 

‘There should be a bowl by the pump,’ said the man.

 

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.  The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

 

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.  ‘What do you call this place?’ the traveller asked.

 

‘This is Heaven,’ he answered.

 

‘Well, that’s confusing,’ the traveller said. ‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’

 

‘Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s Hell.’

 

‘Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?’

 

‘No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.’

 

To visit the website of Help Animals India, click here.

 

Top photo: Wikimedia Commons / photographer: MarkusMark / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license./ Ancona – Arco di Traiano — An arch built by Trajan, which has nothing to do with hell as far as we know.

 

Second photo: © Judy Kennamer | Dreamstime.com

By Niamh Fodla

It’s the time of Capricorn, when everything makes sense.  When clear patterns can be seen in the chaos. When anything can be achieved, and there’s nothing that can’t be understood.  It’s a time of creation, when thoughts can become a reality, and wishes can systematically be granted.  When magic is being able to reach out and move a stone with one’s hand.  When hard work grants miracles. It’s now that abstractions settle into clear and present, usable information, like bursts of sparks floating back down to earth, forming intelligent designs.

 

rockwitharron

 

It’s a grounding time of great sanity.

 

littlerocks

A video for feeling during the time of Capricorn. The sign of rocks. Click here.

 

house,trees

 

A video for thought during the time of Capricorn.  Money is a topic of interest for Capricorn, so here’s a video of something important to understand about money.  Click here.

 

Opportunity is missed by many because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

 —  Thomas Edison

 

Photos: © Niamh Fodla

800px-BrynCelliDdu3

By Sharon St Joan

All over the world there are megalithic monuments with alignments to the Winter Solstice. At the moment of the Winter Solstice a beam of light from the sun strikes the deepest recesses of an underground sacred temple, as at Newgrange in Ireland or Maeshowe in Orkney, Scotland.

In the New World, at Chaco Canyon in new Mexico, the Sun Dagger at Fajada Butte marks both the Summer and Winter solstices, as well as other important celestial alignments.

The significance of the Winter Solstice is that this point in time every year marks the darkest time of the year; the death point if you wish, and at the same time, the return of the light.  It is the time, when the sun, having reached the moment when the days are the shortest, returns, and the days begin to grow longer.

The light returns, and with it comes the promise of spring and summer, the rebirth of the world.

This is also the message of Christmas – and for that matter, it is a message in many religions, not only Christianity.  At the hour of greatest darkness, the light returns, having conquered the darkness.

Interestingly, it is also the message of Jesus’s death and resurrection.  The moment of crucifixion is followed in three days (actually a day and a half according to the Biblical account) by the resurrection, as life overcomes death.

Winter itself represent cold, darkness, and death. It is the time when nothing grows and every being that can, takes shelter or hibernates, waiting for a change of seasons and the return of spring.  In warmer lands, the rainy season, or even the sun-baked, dry season may represent the time when one seeks shelter and waits, for a more propitious time – for a change of the seasons.

Though today the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 or 22, the festival of Mithra, who was the god of light in ancient Iran, was celebrated from December 17 to December 24. The Romans adopted these dates for a festival to their god Saturn, which lasted several days and ended on December 25 – a date then later adopted by Christians as the birthday of Jesus.

When or what time of year Jesus was actually born isn’t relevant in this context. The symbolic meaning has a significance that lies beyond the historical dates.

Life is cyclic. Life follows death, and death follows life. Both are two sides of the same coin. In the darkest hour, when there seems to be the least hope, the light returns, and a new age begins.

Photographer: Rhion Pritchard / “I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide.” / Bryn Celli Ddu in Wales, which has an alignment with the Summer Solstice.

©  2013, Sharon St Joan

What if?

© Demid | Dreamstimecliffs on a beach cote d'albatre France.com

 

By Elizabeth

 

What if suffering wasn’t part of the plan?

 

What if God did not create the world. But instead, beckons us live in His.

 

What if we’re supposed to be having fun?

 

Not amidst the torment, disease and heartbreak of this world, but in the white light which pierces the mist the moment it occurs to us.

 

What if the animals, too, are not His creations, but His fellow spirits, imprisoned too by three dimensions.

 

What if we all could escape?

 

What if the cell door has never been locked?

 

Have we all been kept in place by an illusion? The impression that a desk is real but that strange feeling is not?

 

What if we were to step through? Would we then find ourselves in an unimaginable world, trying to believe in desks? Calling occasionally from the Divine for fantastic moments of “physical intervention”?

 

What if God has no personality? If He did not get jealous, get angry, or take anyone’s side.

 

What if He never agrees with you – but is always rooting for your happiness.

 

What if misery wasn’t a lesson from  God – but a distraction by the jailer.  The hypnotist.  A painful pinch to turn your eyes from the Light.

 

What if suffering wasn’t a part of anyone’s plan except the Dark One’s?

 

And God wanted you free from it.

 

What if healing the physical world was futile without the Light of God? If the dungeon guarantees all victories temporary: a maze, always returning you – and us – to the place where you began.

 

What if even the most powerful psychic were nothing but a weather forecaster, noting which days we might expect rain and sun – although both will inevitably come. What if the most potent wizard had only the power to choose his day of sunshine.  Which the clouds will still block out in the end.

 

What if we are all playing an unwinnable game?

 

A game at which God is not the dealer in the sky.

 

But the outreached hand, inviting us to quit.

 

What if we could walk into His world without moving a muscle?

 

What if there is nothing wrong with us. With any of us. Neither the seal devouring the helpless fish. Nor the polar bear devouring the helpless seal. Nor even the human committing atrocities no other animal would dream of.

 

What if God forgives us all? And only wants us to step into the Light.

 

What if there are people and other animals who have already crossed the threshold? Who live and die in joy instead of pain.

 

What if that is what we are all meant to do?

 

What if just the thought of it makes the gloomy clouds begin to part ……..

 

 

© Elizabeth, 2013

 

Photo: © Demid / Dreamstime.com / The Alabaster Coast, Normandy, France

 

 

 

 

Mapungubwe Hill, a sacred hill in South Africa.

Mapungubwe Hill, a sacred hill in South Africa.

 

 

By Sharon St Joan

To read part one first, click here.

And for part two, click here.

Susan Boyle came from a humble background in Scotland; her father was a miner and her mother a typist. Until her mother died she lived with her, and she now lives with her beloved cat.

For years she struggled to achieve some success with her music. Recently, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Disease, which could explain why her social relationships had always been awkward. Most of her life she had been been subjected to ridicule, and must have endured many unhappy and very trying times — until that one evening, in which, like a rocket leaving the bounds of earth, she shot into stardom.

Illustrating how not to be a victim — Susan Boyle’s is a rags-to-riches story, which, in its own way, is a testimony to the great power of not allowing oneself to remain victimized, but instead, with the help of the angels, of magically overcoming obstacles.  It is  a simple story – she has not transformed the entire world, but it is a remarkable one, and has certainly altered her own life and touched the lives of many others.

Her strength is not only her musical talent itself, but her undying faith in her music.

None of us has to remain stuck in the box that we find ourselves in.

Nelson Mandela during a meeting with Bill Clinton in 1993.

Nelson Mandela during a meeting with Bill Clinton in 1993.

The second example of rising above limitations is Nelson Mandela. A figure on an altogether different scale, he was one of the great men of history, who had a transformative impact on our world. Though he came from a tribal royal family, as a boy, he herded sheep, then became a boxer, then a lawyer. When he was imprisoned for 27 years, spending part of the time breaking rocks in a quarry, it must have seemed to him, that there could be no hope even for his own freedom, let alone hope for any success in his life.

If he had emerged from prison, embittered, to lead his people on a crusade to make his oppressors pay for their crimes, that would hardly have been a surprising turn. Yet he didn’t. Somewhere he found the grace and wisdom to forgive his captors and to lead South Africa beyond the threat of a bloodbath, into the light, to stand as a democratic nation. In the process, he spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and avoided a prolonged time of darkness for generations of South Africans. South Africa is not a perfect country. No country is, but it has avoided these catastrophes, thanks to the wisdom and greatness Nelson Mandela.

Neither of these two people, very different from each other in their scope and their impact, is a saint. They are examples of people who did not allow themselves to remain victims, but instead, with the grace of the angels, overcame and rose above obstacles.

We do not have to be victimized by our circumstances, sinking under the weight of our situation, and blaming heaven, the stars, or those around us for the obstacles in our lives.

There is always a higher level, where God, the Gods, the angels, the universe (or whatever we wish to call the spiritual level) live —  and it is from this level that strength can be drawn and magic and miracles can come into being.

To return to the concept of the myth of progress – it would be a great mistake to confuse this higher level of otherworldly strength, inspiration, and clarity, which occasionally breaks through the clouds, with the current, ongoing state of  the human world in which we live.

Were we to put our faith in the “human spirit” or in the “inevitability” of human progress and the advance of human technology, we would find ourselves sadly misled. We ought not to sit waiting for the train of human “progress” to carry us along to utopia, because it won’t.

Many of us, probably most of us, have seen miracles happen – of one kind or another. Miracles are very real. They come from beyond and above the level of this world.

The world does not get better by itself, and, sadly, human nature does not make it better. There is no inevitable progress of the “human spirit.” We are not the culmination of evolution, and we have not, in creating the “wonders of civilization” brought peace and enlightenment even to ourselves, much less to animals and the natural world. Instead we have left a trail of destruction in our wake. And the natural world seems to be reminding us of this regrettable fact through rising tides, catastrophic storms, and other upheavals.

Yet all is not lost, and if – beyond the smoke and mirrors of the image we have fabricated, as a species, of our own success – this is, in truth, a dark hour and a dark age, there is still a real light at the end of the tunnel.

The 12,000 year old megalithic ruins of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey.

The 12,000 year old megalithic ruins of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey.

Consider this – a curtain is being lifted that had long veiled the past. All over the world are being found now, in recent decades, remarkable archeological discoveries that speak to us of great civilizations, with magnificent art and culture, that we did not even know existed, and some are many thousands of years earlier than the accepted dates for the beginnings of civilization. (We will be writing more about these.)

The cyclical view of history informs us that this age of limitations that we live in is neither the only age nor the last age.

The 15 billion year old star cluster M80 (NGC 6093).

The 15 billion year old star cluster M80 (NGC 6093).

There is much, much more to the Cosmos than we know – other levels, other dimensions — more to the past and more to the future.

Our “modern world” is not the pinnacle of creation, it has an ocean of problems.  But as we come to acknowledge this, there are great gates that swing open – to the magnificence and mysteries of the very distant past – and to the possibilities of magic and miracles, both in our own lives and in the world ages that lie before us – possibilities of nearly-forgotten connections with higher mystical levels and the restoration and renewal of the natural world of innocence that we have so nearly destroyed.

As our current world age dims, other lights of intelligence, perception, and clarity—those, older and wiser, who were here before — will re-awaken and shine again.

 

 

©  Sharon St Joan, 2013

 

 

The thoughts expressed here are personal views that do not reflect or represent those of any organization.

To look at Sharon’s ebook, Glimpses of Kanchi, on Amazon, click here.

 

Top photo: Wikimedia Commons: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Attribution: Laura SA at the English language Wikipedia / Mapungubwe Hill, a sacred hill in the Kingdom of Mapungubwe in pre-colonial South Africa.

 

Second photo: As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain. / President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, July 4 1993.

 

Third photo: Author (photographer): Teomancimit / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / The 12,000 year old megalithic ruins of Gobekli Tepe, Urfa, Turkey.

 

Fourth photo: “NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted.” / This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy…all of the stars in the cluster have the same age (about 15 billion years)….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoruba bronze head, 12th century.

Yoruba bronze head, 12th century.

By Sharon St Joan

To read part one first, click here

Hundreds of years ago, if you had lived in a small village in central Africa, before its “discovery” by Europeans, you might have lived in a thatched roof hut that kept out the sun and the rain, with a dirt floor that was swept clean every day. From birth to death, you would have lived in a stable community of your friends and relatives, in a society where you belonged and had a place, where there was work to be done, as well as a rich tradition of art, music, and a spiritual life. If you were walking through the forest, and you felt thirsty, it would have been entirely safe to drink from the clear, sparkling waters of a stream. Although you would not have had what we would call luxury, you would have known a world of trees, sky, animals, and the early morning mist that floated over the river where the elephants gathered. You would have lived in the untouched beauty of the natural world.

If you became ill, you would have been treated with herbal remedies, their efficacy tested by being passed down through generations. If you were dying, your village would have gathered around you, singing prayers for you, as your soul left to go on its journey.

At that time, back then, there were no GMO crops or insecticide-laden foods, no miles and miles of plastic trash, no debris littering the ocean floor, no smog-choked cities, no factory farms, no miles of concrete where once there had been forests filled with wild animals, no industrial waste, no nuclear waste, no trash on the moon or in outer space. Yes, horrible things could and did happen, then as now, but it could be argued, nonetheless, that the scale of horror was much less then, than it is today.

Certainly, very bad things could take place. It would have been possible to be eaten by an animal — though a lion at that time, living in a more undisturbed habitat, might have been less likely then, than now, to attack a human. Still being eaten would not have been pleasant.

A lion in Namibia.

A lion in Namibia.

But which is worse really, to be eaten quickly by a lion in the darkness of the night, or to be eaten piecemeal over many decades by human greed, hypocrisy, mediocrity, corruption, and the soul-destroying nibbles that kill off all life and destroy the natural world?

If we look closely, with open eyes, we will be able to see quite clearly that the modern world, for most people and for most animals, for the trees, and the earth itself is suffering, on an unprecedented scale. In our climate-controlled houses and apartments, we live in a bubble, wrapped up in our technology, yet still cut off from many realities of much of the world.

The moon in the western sky, California.

The moon in the western sky, California.

Nevermind that we as a society have gone to the moon and back – is our civilization peaceful, enlightened, kind, gracious? No, it really isn’t.

We tend to resist this imperfect view of history. We cling to the view we were taught in school. After all, there is something comforting in imagining that we are at the summit of human existence and that everything has led steadily upwards, culminating in the grandeur that is us.

So, if perhaps we have realized that we are not quite as grand as we had imagined, if we have begun to suspect that we, as the human race, are all slipping and sliding inexorably downhill, in this corrupt and miserable current age, does that mean that all is hopeless? Should we give up trying to do anything meaningful? Should we just sit down under a tree, hold our head in our hands, and accept the fact that we are doomed?

Should we just forget any causes that we’re devoting our life to – any more meaningful purpose, like freeing people from oppression, saving innocent animals from suffering, or saving the forests and the earth’s wild places?

Should we just decide that everything is impossible and give up?

No, because however dark the world may be, magic and miracles are always possible because, by definition, they come from a higher level that is not bound by human limitations.

A couple of contemporary examples might help. I’m reminded of a couple of people who have not been content to stay put in the boxes the found themselves in. They are completely different from each other. Here is the first one.

Susan Boyle at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 2013

Susan Boyle at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 2013

If you haven’t done so already, it’s worth watching Susan Boyle on YouTube when she appeared in 2009 on Britain’s Got Talent. It’s worth watching just to see the expressions of the judges on the show change from bored condescension to joyful astonishment. It was clear that the contestant on the stage in front of them, Susan Boyle, at that first appearance, had not the slightest idea how to present herself well, and the three judges were ready to dismiss her as a silly, ridiculous figure – until she began to sing, at which point they opened their mouths and raised their eyebrows in incredulity. Before she had finished singing, these rather jaded judges sprang to their feet, along with the entire audience, all applauding, one judge, Piers Morgan, stating that this was the greatest surprise in all his time with the show.

Her immensely powerful and profoundly expressive, beautiful voice seemed to spring from another realm that had nothing to do with her awkward appearance. Within the next nine days after the show, her videos had been viewed over 100 million times. Her debut album was a record-breaking success, and she has soared to stardom since then and is a multimillionaire many times over.

To be continued in part three…

To read part three, click here.

 

 

Top photo: “This work has been released into the public domain by its author, WaynaQhapaq at the English Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide.” / Wikimedia commons / “Yoruba bronze head from the city of Ife, 12 century.”

 

Second photo: Author (photographer): Kevin Pluck / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.” / A lion in Namibia.

 

Third photo: Author (photographer): Jessie Eastland / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / Wikimedia Commons / “Western Moon setting over Mountains, High Desert, California.”

 

Fourth photo: Author (photographer): Wasforgas / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / “Susan Boyle singing at the Edinburgh Festival Theater, July 12, 2013.”

 

© Sharon St Joan, 2013

 

To see the video of Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent, click here

 

 

 

Scorpio

By Niamh Fodla

 

photo oneIMG_1026

 

It’s the time of Scorpio, when turbulence wields its power. When simple reality implodes into denser matter. When hatred is strong enough to kill without a sword and love is strong enough to heal without a whisper.  When beauty lies in the impenetrable mist.

 

phototwoIMG_5774

 

It’s a watery time of glorious secrecy.

 

photothreeIMG_1014

 

A video for thought, click here.

Exploring a mystic reality.

 

By Jennifer Razee-two

 

A video for feeling, click here.

Scorpio’s passion finds solace in its own deep waves.

 

Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.

C.S. Lewis

 

First, second and third photos: © Niamh Fodla

Last photo, used with permission, © Jennifer Razee.