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Showing posts with label Mythology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mythology. Show all posts

Friday, January 22, 2021

The End is the Beginning - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

01.22.2021

 

The End is the Beginning

 

It was with a great sense of relief that I watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths of office, watching in real time as the powers of the executive branch were taken up by a team of people who appear to be genuinely interested in helping our country through the multiple crises that have manifested themselves over the past year.

 

I was delighted to watch Donald Trump leave the White House and Leave Washington D.C. in keeping with his utter lack of respect for the office he held, and the traditions we hold so dear. I am glad that he didn’t try to pull some last-minute Trumpery to salvage his dignity…he has none.

 

There is not much more to say about the orange menace, now the toothless tiger except to express my desire to see him wither up and fade away. His legions of fanatics have already begun to turn on him, as well they should, he never deserved their loyalty, he never believed in their causes (not that their causes are worthy of believe and not that their loyalty was anything to covet), the man believes in nothing…not even in himself.

 

I would like to believe that we have learned a lesson from the past four years, but the election proved otherwise, the enemies of our republic, the foes of democracy have actually been empowered by Trump’s loss. The Trump presidency has given them a blue print, a tested set of tactics and stratagems to use against the American people in the next round…and they have already begun.

 

There are millions and millions more of us who look to the future of the country with hopeful eyes, and desire to participate in a plan that has us all working together for a better future, but there are still tens of millions of people who are lost in the fever swamps of conspiracy theories and alternative facts, people who get juiced when they participate in the big lie as they walk around in their fantasy world.

 

Most of us have the instinct to treat these lost souls with some degree of empathy, to feel sorry for them and even try to help them, and that is a good thing we should not stop feeling that way; we should hope for the best but prepare for the worst, because those Proud Boys, and boogaloos Q-publicans see the world in starkly different terms. They see their opponents as demonic, and themselves as the heroes of some kind of apocalyptic conflict, they are willingly being fleeced by a host of conmen and politicians who do not give a jot, not one tittle for their well-being.

 

The end is the beginning.

 

We have thrown out the trash but the landfill has become a superfund site and the waste is a toxic mess.

 

We have to stick together, all people of good conscience, we cannot let our guard down or allow ourselves to be caught up in petty squabbles that divide us from one another.

 

We have to rebuild America, turn the American dream into an American reality, fulfill the promise this grand experiment…we must.

 

A successful Biden administration, beginning with a successful first two years are essential to this prospect. If two years from now we have stymied ourselves with internal bickering, allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good, if we let the opposition stalemate us and frustrate our progress, we will lose the argument, the momentum and the opportunity to realize our goals.

 

We need the people to embrace a new mythology for the twenty-first century, a triumphal mythology of progress and liberty and justice for all, a mythology that denounces fear and embraces opportunity, a mythology that looks toward the infinite horizon with hope and purpose, a mythology that is built on a firm foundation of accomplishment, and the American people must be the focus of this work.




Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pathos

Give me a new mythology, a bright new creed to believe in

Succumb to, conform with…let it reform me

 

I would sell my soul for a good drama, barter it for a godling’s dogma

Narrow the beam, raise the heat, enlightenment by pathos




Wednesday, September 2, 2020

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien - Author


I learned how to read novels by reading Tolkien.

My mother had a beautiful edition of The Hobbit, hard bound in a green case with gold leaf and gilt pages. There were lovely illustrations in the book, and maps drawn by the author himself.

I pulled it off the shelf when I was in the third grade and I read it. Then I read the Lord of the Rings, followed by the Silmarillion, his Unfinished Tales edited by his son Christopher, and then a biography of the man himself.

Before I began to read his other works, I began to re-read those books. I read them all, many times over: eight, nine, ten times.

I remember a sensation I had on my third time through the Silmarillion, I experienced a heightened sense of understanding that came to me because I had become a better reader. It wasn’t just that I was re-reading the same material, but my vocabulary had expanded and I was able to comprehend more of the material.

The picture was filling in and the world that Tolkien created was coming to life.

I added his smaller lesser known works to the corpus of material I consumed, when I was still in the seventh grade I read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Beowulf. These works resonated with my other reading interests, such as the collected and various tales of King Arthur, they also put me in touch with the broader tradition of the Viking sagas.

Then I began to read books about Tolkien and Middle Earth written or compiled by other authors, The Tolkien Companion, the New Tolkien Companion, along with various encyclopedias, bestiaries and anthologies depicting the arms and armor of Middle Earth.

Reading Tolkien put the idea in my head that I wanted to be a writer. Reading his work over and over again gave me a deep appreciation for the care and the craft he put into the work of devising his fantasy world.

Through Tolkien I came to have an early appreciation for the power of myths, their malleability, and the potential that we have as creative people to fashion our own myths and communicate them to the broader world.

Through his writing Tolkien dramatized the basic conflicts he saw at work in our civilization, conflicts between the bucolic and pastoral life with the forces of industry that seemed to be destroying the planet, the disasters of modern warfare and the suffering they visit on the world.

The collected stories of Middle Earth are a form of social criticism that is more relevant than ever in the twenty-first century.  



Given First - 2020.09.02

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Saint Columba, Colmcile - The Patron Saint of Poets


Saint Columba, Saint Columban, Saint Columbanus; by whatever name you would like to refer to him, he was an Irishman and as such it is fitting that he is the patron saint of poets, because poetry flows through the Irish blood, and the Irish call him Colmcile.

What we know of the life of Colmcile has been magnified by myth, taken on a supernatural bearing through the typical aggrandizements that characterize the hagiographies of the saints, but Columba was famous for his non-supernatural work above all, for his missionary work and building monasteries in Scotland among the Picts.

The timeline of Colmcile’s life crosses over with that of another famous Irish Saint named Columbanus (the Latinized version of Columba, Columban) , Columbanus was also famous for his missionary work, and building monasteries on the continent, in Frankia and Burgundia, and as far South as Lombardy. 

Colmcile’s is said to have lived in the mid 6th century CE, while Columbanus’ time lime extends to the early 7th century.

Both men are believed to have set out from Ireland to do their missionary work in in the company of twelve companions, like Jesus with his disciples. Colmcile’s work is said to have been concentrated in Scotland, and Columbanus work is said to have begun in Scotland but then it was quickly transported to the European Mainland.

There is a listing of the names of Colmcile’s companions, on this list are the names are those of Columbanus the Younger and a man known as Cummain.

Two things have been suggested by modern historians: one suggestion is that Columbanus the younger is actually the Columbanus who continued the missionary work on the continent in the name of Columbanus the elder, who was actually Colmcile or Saint Columba, the other suggestion is that all of the deeds committed by Columbanus (the elder and the younger), Columban, Columba, Colmcile and Cummain are the deeds of one person, a person who was a prolific writer.

Two of Colmcile’s poems have survived and it is for this reason that he is the Patron Saint of Poetry. He is also considered to be the founder of the abbey at Iona which preserved so much of the historical deposit of ancient writing through the dark ages.




Given First 06.09.2020



Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Feast of Saint Patrick – Patron Saint of Ireland


Today is the feast of Saint Patrick, today we celebrate his sainthood, and the ascendance to heaven of a British man, of Roman heritage, who lived sometime between the fourth and fifth centuries CE.

Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland, but he was not Irish at all, he was a Roman of the Patrician class, from a family of rank, and privilege.  

Patrick (Patricius) is credited with converting the people of Erin to faith in the Universal Church, the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, in so doing he separated the Celtic people from their Gaelic traditions, and subordinated them to the Catholic Church in Rome.

It is no wonder that he was named a saint for this, Patricius.

He won with the Word what could not be accomplished by through war, by sword and spear, by fire and blood.

It should be noted that Saint Patrick has never been canonized, or even beatified not by any Pope. Therefore Patrick is not officially a Saint of the Catholic Church, and nevertheless, he is recognized in the annals of the Saints of the Church of England, I hope that all my Irish kinfolk appreciate the irony of this.

It is worthy of song.

History tells us that Patrick was a humble man, a rare quality for those of rank. History also tells us that he proofed the plan of spreading the faith by converting Irish chieftains first. Patrick was a politician of great skill. Every missionary who followed him, emulated this method.

He spread the faith, he established churches and he earned the rank of Apostle, by popular acclamation.

History tells us that his mother was a relative of Saint Martin of Tours, the patron Saint of Soldiers, Saint Martin of the Sword whose biography was written by Pope Saint Gregory the Great, but we know that was a work of pure fiction. Saint Martin never lived, even so, his story gave license for Christians to become soldiers, to serve in the army, and as such it brought the Roman legions into the fold.

Patrick was said to have had “heroic piety,” praying day and night, in the mountains and the woods, he prayed through the rain, and through storms of snow and ice, he should be the patron saint of post men if this were true, but then again…all hagiographies are lies.

His story tells us that he spent six years as a captive and servant to a Celtic Chieftain, the Druid named Milchu in Dalriada, where he mastered the language of the common folk and learned all of their stories.

However, if you appreciate history you will know that it is much more likely that he fled his home to wander abroad in order to escape the duties that were expected of him as the son of a nobleman. Such departures were common in his time, they were referred to as the “flight of the curiales.” Patrick was no captive at all, he was a boy running from his responsibilities.

Rather than being taken captive it is more likely that he paid for asylum in Milchu’s house, and  that he paid for the services of tutors to help him learn the language.

The Druids were great teachers and oral historians that much is true.

The story of his escape (if it was in fact an escape from servitude), and subsequent journey were of his own account. He cast the entire experience in dramatic, even biblical terms, they served both to cover up his crime of abnegation, and also to establish his fame.

It is said that Patrick escaped from Milchu and then fled to the mainland of Europe where he entered the priesthood and became a missionary. On his return to Ireland however, the first place he went was to his former home in Dalriada. Where, after some period of conflict with his former captor (or patron) and the affectation of some miracles on Patrick’s part, Milchu immolated himself to make way for the upstart, throwing himself on a fire after burning the collected scrolls and mysteries of his people.

This event may be seen in metaphorical terms as Milchu offering himself as a human sacrifice, at the foundation of the church in Ireland.

That’s how Patrick wrote it.

In reality. the whole episode denotes the ritual destruction of the Celtic people in favor of the ascending Romano-British invaders.

On Easter Sunday, 433 a conflict of will ensued between Patrick and the Celtic Arch-Druid Lochru, historians mythologized it as a battle of divine forces like the contest between Moses and the Egyptians, or Elijah and priests of Baal, and it ended with Saint Patrick magically hurling Lochru into the air, and breaking him to pieces on a sharp rock.

It was another ritual murder at the foundation of the Irish Church, another human sacrifice to be sure. There is no other way to read this, it was a good old-fashioned Roman slaughter.

On a side note, while speaking of his vaunted magic powers, not to be outdone by Jesus, this same Patrick was said to have been able to raise the dead.

It should be noted the Columbanus, who was the most significant representative of the Irish Catholic Church after the Dark Ages, who lived and wrote and sent missionaries from Ireland to Continental Europe, building Churches and founding religious communities, makes no mention of Saint Patrick in his writing, not once, not anywhere, Columbanus tells us that the Church in Ireland was founded by a man named Palladius.

The entire legend of Saint Patrick is little more than a myth designed to subordinate the Irish heart to a British noble of Roman descent, and a fictitious one at that.

Be mindful when you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day!


Revised 2020.03.17

Given First 2018.03.17

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Attrition


This dark attrition, the erosion of reason and cataclysmic
Folly

Aspirations, the flight to Mount Olympus, as the sun melts my wings
Falling

This dark attrition, corrosive identity, a grand deception
Fear

Longing for worship, shattered by the earth, un-done, becoming nothing
            Falsity

This dark attrition, the dissembling persona, disaffectation
            Failing

A voracious thirst, lycanthropic appetites, licentiousness
            Fury

This dark attrition, slighted by the hand of fate, the collapsing will
            Frozen

Cut, bruised and bloody, the wind robs me of all warmth, my heart turned to ice
            Fragile

This dark attrition, drowning in the frothy sea, pickled in the brine
            Forgotten

Monday, November 11, 2019

Nabokov on a Yellow Post-It ©

I found a square of paper, a sticky quadrilateral

A blank parallelogram, a golden-yellow rhombus

I found a square of paper, discarded in the trash

The empty plane of a Post-it note, waiting to be filled  

I found its tightly woven mesh, like a golden-yellow net

And then, a thought that fluttered by—  

 

These inky-blue letters, inspired by a butterfly

Trapped between right angels

 

I thought of Nobokov, a man in love with butterflies

More so than he was with prose, he spilled more ink recording

The subtle variegations of a butterfly’s wings

Micro-changes in coloration denoting their migrations

Than he did composing his tomes of poetry and fiction

 

When I was a boy I was told to be careful with butterflies

I was instructed that the barest touch, would brush the “magic”

Dust from their wings, without which they could not fly

 

A butterfly is pixie-like; floating, flying, gravity defying

Barrie wrote of how with a sprinkle of dust (and a laugh)

The heroine Wendy took flight, waging war against a pirate

Whose only fear was time, the only thing old Hook was panicked by

The tick-tock revolution of the hands of a clock, Wendy flew

And she fought, for the pipe-playing-boy-god (she loved)

She laughed and flew—soaring with a Titan named Pan

Floating wingless into the heavens, gravity defying

 

All butterflies bear the image of Pan, the face of the horned God

As they dance in the wind, goat-footed Pan the God of wild places

Timeless Pan, God of loneliness and madness, God of shock and,

Feral desire, traits all boys are cautioned to temper, lest they become    

Lost in the haunts of their inner child, goatish—untamed and wild

 

Nabokov loved butterflies, the chrysalis, he loved beauty

And to witness it emerging, even in the metamorphosis of a worm

He loved the tragedian, the anti-hero, and the tragedy itself he longed for

The destruction of tyrants…of self, basking in the subversion of the aged

In the morass of a wild youth, lamenting its corruption, celebrating rebirth

He caught in his pages, like a poem on a Post-It the fragile nature of longing

As delicate as the netted butterfly, which once acquired—

 

Lives  but a few moments before it expires




Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Mist


Groping in the mist, my mind is clouded, wisdom
I cannot see you

Silent Sophia
Invisible and blind, cacophony rising

Fortuna and Justice, sisters to the Fates, drowned in
Fountains of ego

Lost in a haze, tired
Swimming against the tide, searching for refuge, rest

Crashing on sharp stones, hot rocks, baked beneath the sun
Apollo takes me

God of prophecy
God of music and the lyre, God of poetry

Tell me your secrets, burn me with knowledge, branded
Send me to the void

Tell me everything
I need to know, the eternal peace I pray for

Why look for the truth in the world, tossed by wind and wave
The heartless powers

Neither rejoicing
Nor mourning for the things they touch, lift or destroy

Impersonal force
Harsh powers robs me of any sense of meaning

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Husbandry


Adamah, a pawn
He came from the soil; deaf, blind and ignorant
Raising granaries like fortresses, mighty ziggurats into the sky
Careless and arrogant he mapped the skies
Each bean of light, a rung for his grasping hand

Adamah, outcaste
Driven to the desert, far the green gardens, parched and broken
Father of monsters, builder of cities, enslaver of men and families
Pouring blood into the thirty ground
Mixed with lime, the quick foundation

Corrupt Adamah
Keeper of secrets, the thief in the night, Jealous of the light
Like Manu, a man of tyranny, or drunk Noah whispering curses
Cruel and hateful old man climbing the dais
On the backs of broken men

Foolish Adamah
Doomed by the spirits of revenge
The biting wind, sharp and cold, listen to the thunder roll
Watch the flash of Enkidu’s spear, burning your brittle bones
A glowing cinder like a dying star

Adamah falling
Into hands made strong by toil, turning the wheel
The oppressed rising, to set the world on fire
The meek inherit ashes, bitumen and pitch
Nothing grows in salted fields

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tiresias in the Cave


My vision is gone, I am vacant and listless
Groping for meaning

A lie in the dark, this life is moribund is cold
I did not seek it

A false certainty, piercing the veil of confusion
Fall into shadow

Catatonia, sleeping once again, lids closed
Dancing with faeries

In a ring of mushrooms, their soft spongy bed
In the wet loamy earth

My heart winding down the beat slows with each measure
Alive and dying

Sink beneath the earth in my soaked and bloated flesh
A shroud for my bones

My marrow, feeds the flowers to Hecate is singing
A lullaby
                       
The meadow is on fire and Persephone is laughing
She slips into the way

The hot blood returns with the demon, my blind genius
Boiled in tears

I am flush for life, for the embrace of the world
And lusting for it

With a mouth full of ashes, spite and bitumen

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Milk


Mithra grew strong in the earth, cradled in Gaia’s womb
He sprang forth, like a titan in fullness of form

The hero transcending on the back of a bull
A victim made holy for the sake of us all  

Milk flowed from the sacred wound, a stream of light
Sweet as honey, it was the nectar of life

            Drawn with a whisper, seal in the truth
            Holy Spirit, Sophia, all paths lead to you

Mahatma came to serve the poor, the Great One
            Born in conflict, amid strife, like Krishna

The cowherd, armed with the shield of
Knowledge, and the sword of wisdom

Milk flowed from your words as the morning light
Showering the rich and the poor alike

            You offered a vision of new possibilities
             A united humanity without cast or class
           
                        We left it smoldering on the altar      

Metis, the sands are falling, each grain a parcel of time
            Your sons cleave the day from the dark of night      

Prometheus, with one eye on the future
            Epimetheus, with his sight on the past

The starry-field is lit, glowing white like spilt milk
            The planets stars and galaxies, spinning

            We dance around the center and bear witness
            Pulling at the glittering tails of comets burning

Mary, blessed mother, a comfort to the fallen
            Skipping across the moons bright face          

I drink from your cup as it turns me to cinders
And a trillion stars raise their voices to you

Milk flowing from your breast to nourish the anointed
            Did you know then who he would be?

            The world made him a healer and a tyrant, both
            The child you birthed in on a bed of straw

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Of Poetry and Misery

Oh bastion of virtue, portico of romantics, Muse
Make me pure again

Mortal that I am, re-birth me in your golden light
A child of the Furies

My broken feet are bleeding, tired of dragging against time
Driven through the mire

My shell of being, I am weary of seeing, feeling
Still born in still-life

I haunt the static spaces, in the freedom of my dreams
Forgotten, the will to be…be not

Where is the dream now, the promised-land, love and grace
Why now withhold your hand, bar the gate

Oh god of visions, Apollo, poet, you are the sun
The sire of Sisyphus, the wise…the condemned

The good king was right, life is a joke, only the gods are laughing
We are creatures of ridicule

Who am I, what is the meaning of life, where is my purpose?

When can I answer the eternal questions…Why?
Why me? Why you?

Why is the sky blue? Does anything matter…anything at all?
What can knowing do?

Every beating heart, pounds the rhythm of its dreams
We are carried away by them

The Echo of madness leads nowhere, we are lost in the wild

            Drowned in pools of desire, of vanity

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Homily – Luke 2:22 – 40 ©


The Gospel According to Luke – 2017.12.31


Fulfillment Propaganda, and Mythology

Read the narrative carefully.

It is mythology and propaganda, as such it is a deviation from the way, for the way is always found in the service of the truth.

The gospel writers gave us narratives concerning the early life of Jesus that are works of fiction, and while their intention was to help spread the Good News, and they were not acting with malice. Nevertheless they subverted the real teaching of Jesus, and left the burgeoning movement exposed to corruption.

The writer of Luke asks us to believe this narrative concerning Jesus, that he obeyed the “law,” following the forms of ritual and blood sacrifice that were proscribed in the books of his ancestors, ostensibly lending credibility to the claims of Jesus’ holiness, that he fulfills all of the ancient requirements, setting aside the realities of the prophetic tradition that Jesus stood in, the tradition that prefers acts of mercy over animal sacrifices.

Jesus taught us that the way was to be found in service; service to God, the creator of the universe through the service we provide to one another, not in the fulfillment of corrupt rituals, blood-magic, and the service to the temple.

Jesus was not a magician, Jesus was not a supernatural being. He was an ordinary man, who led an extraordinary life, and was killed for ordinary reasons: greed, jealousy, fear.

Jesus only merited the status of Christ insofar as Jesus led a life of service, which he did. He served his people to the bitter end.

We are all Christ, baptized or not, insofar as we follow the way of his example.

The mythologization of Jesus was a subversion of the way because it suggested that the ordinary service Jesus called us to, the service he exemplified, came from a place of supernatural power.

The gospel narrative serves to mythologize other people, Anna, and Simeon; ascribing to them extraordinary insight, and powers beyond the scope of normal people. Allowing for a continued separation of the people, between the ordinary believer and those who live their lives in the church or temple, between clergy and layperson, this is a disservice to the way.


My eyes have seen your salvation

When the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, – observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord – and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.

  Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel’s comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:

‘Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel.’

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’

  There was a prophetess also, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well on in years. Her days of girlhood over, she had been married for seven years before becoming a widow. She was now eighty-four years old and never left the Temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayer. She came by just at that moment and began to praise God; and she spoke of the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

  When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.



1st Sunday of Christmas

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Homily – Luke 1:26 – 38 ©

The Gospel According to Luke – 2017.12.24


Mythology

Whatever the truth is regarding the birth of Jesus, who would have been known by his family and his people as Joshua son of Joseph, if in fact there was such a child born to Joseph and Mary, If fact Joseph and Mary are actual historical persons, the mission of Jesus as reported in the scriptures, the way of Christ is not served by false narratives.

The stories of Jesus’ birth, the annunciation as we have it presented here, these are myths. They are propaganda and lies.

The way of God is not served by lies, God, the creator of the universe, God is the God of truth.


The Annunciation

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.



4th Sunday of Advent