Friday, March 29, 2019

Mystery of the Palm I

In the only passage that mentions “palm” in the namesake observance Palm Sunday appears in, The Gospel of John.  The palm frond is viewed as a symbol for victory yet in ancient Egypt (goddess Seshat) it was a nuanced sign of victory  tempered wisdom. It is one of the four esoteric elements of the Sukkot which would have been well known in Jerusalem as a symbol of fecundity yet having both male and female attributes; the erect spine enclosed by the branched (ovaries) leaflets. The symbol might be summed up as a blessing of the ancients.  

As Jesus entered Jerusalem people displayed palm branches in the streets and greeted him.  John is the only disciple who specifies that it was palm branches. This recollection had a purpose.  In the classic world concepts were communicated with “gestures”.
“Hosanna”, (save us) they cried, thinking that this was the King of Israel come “in the name of the Lord”.  He was not the Lord to the crowd more likely thinking him a great magician who could raise the dead come to destroy the Hebrew  Pharisees and their authoritarian bureaucracy much as the Zealots had predicted.

Referring to Zechariah (Zec 9:9) and the prophecy of the Savior coming to Jerusalem John says to “Fear not daughters of Sion (Zion) ...behold thy King cometh…”  then enters the disclaimer that the significance was not understood by the people including the disciples until after the death and Resurrection.

The other accounts of the event in Matthew, Mark, Luke are very similar although they emphasize different elements of the Zechariah prophecy which seems to be on a dedicated timeline engineered by God but not the Christian institutions (who claim it) or the disciples (that witnessed it) whose analysis is after the fact (along with everyone else apparently). This leaves John’s account and the enigmatic palm frond reference.

Like nearly every other aspect of the New Testament the disciples are searching for the meaning of events that were nearly incomprehensible and certainly unprecedented so meaning is being imputed from whatever knowledge base available.  But the symbolism of John’s palm frond and the subsequent importance of it rings out as a key element.

We are left with a scene of a political rally where a revolutionary figure is hailed as a conqueror. The Pharisee and the Romans certainly thought so.  
So did the Zealots and their allies in the mob. The same mob who would call for the murder of  Jesus in the near future.

It is the appearance of the ancient palm frond that belies this characterization not the cry of “Hossana” which certainly was not a desire for Salvation. Some in the crowd knew the wisdom of the ancient sages (the religio-perennis is discussed by Schoun in the last post) and were signaling that with the palm.  Like waving a flag.

From out of the unconscious mind comes the palm frond, sign of wisdom, plenty, and the dissolution of opposites in the androgyny of the frond. Some in the crowd understood these things and John recognized and noted it.

 Jesus in his cosmic role was going to Jerusalem as a journey back to the womb.   The New Adam would go to Jerusalem and then return to the pre-existing Logos as a result of the Crucifixion.  Through the unmistakable sin of murder at the hands of evil a dramatic gesture was generated that foreshadowed the redemption or his followers forever through the subsequent Resurrection.

John 12:12—-On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13  Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. 14  And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. 16  These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. 17  The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. 18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. 19  The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

Ted Nottingham covers this same material from a different view:    HERE

Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist.  After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits.  I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell.  It is no easier today than ever .

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Eternal Horizon

Firthjof Schuon (1907-1998) was one of the great perennialists.  He was interested in intersection of religion and philosophy that he called Religio Perennis. This is the root foundation of esoteric knowledge and our interface with God.

“The essential function of human intelligence is discernment between the Real and the illusory or between the Permanent and the impermanent, and the essential function of the will is attachment to the Permanent or the Real. This discernment and this attachment are the quintessence of all spirituality; carried to their highest level or reduced to their purest substance, they constitute the underlying universality in every great spiritual patrimony of humanity, or what may be called the religio perennis; this is the religion to which the sages adhere, one which is always and necessarily founded upon formal elements of divine institution.”
Frithjof Schuon, “Religio Perennis”, Light on the Ancient Worlds (Full article in PDF).

This is the Cosmic Christ that is spoken about by Richard Rohr without the political overlay and by Ted Nottingham.  The religion of the Sages has always been with us but for much of history it has been hidden beneath layers of bureaucracy.  

The tedious laws  of the Hebrews hid the “great permanent spiritual source” under a cloak of social devices, a practice that was carried on by the Romans when they co-opted Christianity into the state church of the Empire.  Many people have continued down this path to this day through the institutional approach to religion.

Today we are at a crossroads.  The Christian faith is under assault from within and without.  Western Civilization is teetering. Yet the basis for its survival is in plain sight.  

Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist.  After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits.  I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell.  It is no easier today than ever .

I have added a Donorbox link to this blog.  Please consider contributing a monthly donation to keep this work going.  Or just a one-time sum will be appreciated. You can contribute anonymously if you like.   

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Covert Reformer

In his recent posting* Richard Rohr has been discussing the failure of religion in dealing with the stages of life particularly the later years .

However what I really think is happening here is Rohr is using this as a metaphor for Roman Catholicism.  

He writes, “Religion in the second half of life is finally not a moral matter; it’s a mystical matter. While most of us begin focused on moral proficiency and perfection, we can’t spend our whole lives this way. Paul calls the first-half-of-life approach “the Law”; I call it the performance principle: ‘I’m good because I obey this commandment, because I do this kind of work, or because I belong to this group.’  That’s the calculus the ego understands. The human psyche, all organizations, and governments need this kind of common sense structure at some level.
But that game has to fall apart or it will kill you. Paul says the law leads to death (e.g., Romans 7:5, Galatians 3:10). Yet many Catholics I meet—religious, laity, and clergy—are still trapped inside the law, believing that by doing good things or going to church, they’re going to somehow attain worthiness or acceptance from God. This was Luther’s authentic critique of much of the Roman Catholic church as he knew it.”

Having to acknowledge anything good about Martin Luther must have given Fr Rohr heartburn, yet his honesty in this situation allows us an insight into just how dire the situation is.  Slipping from his pastoral role to the role of a critic is a perilous action for any official in the Catholic organization. But this is the way of a wise old cleric, using related topic to make a point without getting yourself in too much trouble; plausible deniability in political terms.  

Rohr is a reformer make no mistake about that but he exists in a dangerous environment .  The Catholic Church is a wounded animal. As it trashes around from one scandal to another people can get caught and crushed as it rolls about.  

Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist.  After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits.  I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell.  It is no easier today than ever .

I have added a Donorbox link to this blog.  Please consider contributing a monthly donation to keep this work going.  Or just a one-time sum will be appreciated. You can contribute anonymously if you like.   

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Fountain

The renowned philosopher of Western religious consciousness, Arthur Versluis, writes a chapter in the book Introduction to Jacob Boehme and on page 274* makes this amazing statement regarding the possible “...changes in consciousness hypothetically could exist” from reading Boehme.  

Although Versluis is careful not to diminish his position it is clear that the insights of
Jacob  Boehme  (1575-1624)  could carry from the page to the reader in a very profound way.  

Professor Versluis continues, “Already, this threatens to go beyond a mere ‘suspension of disbelief’; and it is also more than a matter of empathy or seeking to ‘think like’ another, because what is under consideration may include but is not necessarily limited to discursive thought. Such a reading accepts the possibility of changes in consciousness not accessible to (exoteric) discursive thought or analysis. But the second answer to the challenge is more difficult and is suggested by the first. It is the question of how and to what extent one accepts as real or, if one prefers, ‘real,’ the claims of, for instance, Boehme.”

In the same manner as Ted Nottingham and Richard Rohr, Versluis is a Perennialist who sees the Christian tradition to be deep and eternal underlying all of our culture with a richness that has been dismissed or ignored by a century of materialism. The great mystic Boehme creates a platform for today’s thinkers to work from and enables those who perceive the light from this glorious fountain of perennial knowledge to come forward and enrich our culture.

*Introduction to Jacob Boehme, ed Hossayon & Apetrei, Routledge, 2014

Versluis website

Many of you have been enjoying Perennis blog for years since the print version cease to exist.  After over a decade we continue to post on this blog as time permits.  I still go to work everyday as an artist squeaking out a living with my wife creating things to sell.  It is no easier today than ever .

I have added a Donorbox link to this blog.  Please consider contributing a monthly donation to keep this work going.  Or just a one-time sum will be appreciated. You can contribute anonymously if you like.   

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Seeing Reality

In his March 10th video Ted Nottingham discussed the Bible verses, Colossians 1:15-17 KJV
[15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. …
Often we overlook the phenomenology (understanding how we know or perceive things) that is in Scripture preferring to concentrate on issues like “good and evil” or guilt or how to get to heaven.  These topics are the everyday grist for the great religion mills that dot our landscape but they ignore some very important issues.

In this reading from Colossians authored by the Apostle Paul we are drawn to how we view our world.  Our reality is made in two parts, the visible and the invisible. It is all created by God “by him and for him”, in other words this is God’s universe which we are living in. “Before all things”, He is vested in the fabric of our reality.  

We are not living in a simple machine consisting of whirling electrons and specks of abstract energy.  Rather we are living in a vast construction of God matter of an inconceivable nature. I think Ted Nottingham in his accompanying video is drawing out attention to this miraculous vision of God’s majesty.  Not unlike Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) Nottingham sees the connection between Creation and matter as a spiritual one not a material one.

Learn more in his video

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Richard Rohr in the Weeds

At times Richard Rohr writes stunning Christology and powerful prose that strikes to the heart of perennialism.  At other times he wanders into the weeds.

In his March 5 post he first discusses the symbolism of taking Eucharist at the Last Supper and how scandalous this practice was to the Jews.  Rohr writes, “As if eating his body weren’t enough, Jesus pushes us in even further and scarier directions by adding the symbolism of intoxicating wine as he lifts the cup and speaks over all of suffering humanity, ‘This is my blood.’  Jesus then dares to say, ‘Drink me, all of you!’ “
To the Jewish establishment this was utter blasphemy.  

Rohr continues, “During Jesus’ time, contact with blood would typically mean ritual impurity for a Jew. How daring and shocking it was for Jesus to turn the whole tradition of impure blood upside down and make blood holy! And what an affirmation of the divine image within women—whose menstruation was often considered unclean.”

These are important insights regarding the magical initiation practices the Christ Jesus employed to awaken people while exasperating the Jewish establishment.  

However in the next breath he goes off on male initiation ceremonies stretching the metaphor  to American holidays stating, “For example, on July 4 in the United States, we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and parades to show we’re ‘proud to be an American’ while never acknowledging colonists’ genocide of Indigenous Peoples, the enslavement of Africans, how our over-consumption has contributed to planetary devastation, and other ways our “freedom” has cost others.”

What does his political opinions have to do with male initiation ceremonies?

In a ponderous attempt to save the train of thought he continues, “We are not allowed to note these things without being considered unpatriotic or even rebellious. True sacred ritual is different than mere ceremony because it offers an alternative universe, where the shadow is named and drawn into the light. Sadly, most groups avoid real life-changing and healing rituals—even the church.”

Okay, I get the drift;  somehow America is tainted with a past and that corrupts its ceremonies because they aren’t sacred. History is full of corruption. Take a few minutes to study the Roman Catholic Church then consider throwing stones at America .

I respect Richard Rohr for many things , however, these bizarre leaps in thinking serve only to undercut his theological points and fuel his critics.  He seems to be channeling the discredited “Liberation Theologists” of the 1970’s.

All of us occasionally go a little astray from our main points.  Perhaps this was not one of Fr Rohr’s finest but it shouldn’t detract from his solid Christology.  

More about Richard Rohr:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Evangelism through Peace

Ted Nottingham has been researching the Perennial Wisdom for decades.  He has studied in United States and Europe and been involved in several spiritual practices. The Holy Spirit had him working as a pastor in the Disciples of Christ church, studying G. I. Gurdjieff, living with Alphonse and Rachel Goettmann the Christian mystics who ultimately  lead him to the Orthodox path.

Along the way he has created many books and videos that document his path of spiritual study.  

This excerpt from an interview with a 4th Way Gurdjieff group gives us a very good view of Nottingham’s outlook.

“Students who reject any relationship between Fourth Way teachings and spiritual wisdom are generally focused on personal power and elitism. That is a dead end as is clearly demonstrated by the state of being of many such persons.
The Work is not for the elite (the word esoteric means inner not secret), but for anyone who has a sincere desire to reach connected with a deeper part of themselves that opens on to encounter with that which is greater than themselves. Emotional healing and purification, self-transcendence,
conscious effort, awakening from sleep are the birthright of all who "hunger and thirst" for Truth and right action in the world.”

Nottingham gives us a glimpse of how he has put his inner study to practical work in the recently released video Unlocking the Door, which contains the audio portion of a sermon he delivered reveals another side of Nottingham’s powerful grasp of the Scriptures as well as perennialist vision of Christ.
He says that in the Gospel of John “...peace I give you and I send you…” revises The
Great Commission of Matthew to go forth and evangelize .  Your personal peace found in an inner relationship with God transforms the world. It is the  mystical “peace that no one [intellectually] understands” or which is beyond ordinary comprehension but is obtainable through spiritual work. It is then passed on by breathing or infusing your peace into others thus beginnings of new Evangelism in the end enlarging salvation to include a living illumination.

Video here:

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Facing the New Rome

On March 2, 2019 Richard Rohr posted this:

“Paul offers a theological and ontological foundation for human dignity and human flourishing that is inherent, universal, and indestructible by any evaluation of race, religion, gender, sexuality, nationality, class, education, or social position. He does this at a time when perhaps four out of five people were slaves, women were considered the property of men, temple prostitution was a form of worship, and oppression and wholesale injustice toward the poor and the outsider were the norm. Into this corrupt and corrupting empire Paul shouts, ‘One and the same Spirit was given to us all to drink!’ (1 Corinthians 12:13). (Then) Paul levels the playing field: ‘You, all of you, are sons and daughters of God, now clothed in Christ, where there is no distinction between male or female, Greek [Pagan] or Jew, slave or free, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:26-28). ‘You are the very temple of God” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).’ “

When Rohr writes, “Into this corrupt and corrupting empire Paul shouts…”  Paul by way of our author is talking to us in our time. We are confronted with the great corruption of the Globalist world atheist order that is forcing an aggressive materialism on the nations of the world. Not unlike Ancient Rome today billionaires and oligarchs lurk in the shadows with their lurid agenda in their hands.

Read more about Fr Richard Rohr:    

Friday, March 1, 2019

Creation Spirituality

Some thirty years ago when we were studying the sources of the Perennial Wisdom we found Matthew Fox a Roman Catholic author who was not very popular with the hierarchy of his faith.  He suffered expulsion from the Church over his belief in Creation Spirituality a form of the Philosophia Perennis which sees Christ in everything. He is now a Episcopalian priest and also has a foundation to study the idea of panentheism a belief also found in Richard Rohr’s work.  

In a recent post Rohn said the following, “the Apostle Paul merely took incarnationalism to its universal and logical conclusions. We see that in his bold exclamation: “There is only Christ. He is everything and he is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). If I were to write that today, people would call me a pantheist (the universe is God), whereas I am really a panentheist (God lies within all things, but also transcends them), as were both Jesus and Paul.”

This is the sort of bold talk that lead to the expulsion of Matthew Fox.  Yet as people continue to stand up for the Cosmic Christ and his omnipresence we can move Christendom towards the New Covenant.  

Robert Rohr
Matthew Fox