zenpundit.com » spirit

Archive for the ‘spirit’ Category

Authentic, spiritual magic!

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — from conjuring to gospel truth — third in a series ]
.

Kwakiutl winter ceremonial mask, closed and open

|

**

Here’s magic, as in my best recollection, a Pacific Northwestern shaman explained it to an anthro friend..

It’s my recollection that [Tlingit / Kwakiutl winter ceremonials] were both entertainment for the long winter nights and “schooling” for the young, and I have a vivid recall of reading somewhere a shaman’s admission to an anthro of the exact nature of the dramatic means by which the shaman’s capacity to defeat death was demonstrated.

I read this in the early eighties, but searching on the web I’ve found something that comes close — Clellan Stearns Ford’s record of Charles James Nowell’s memories in _Smoke from their fires: the life of a Kwakiutl chief_. Around p 120, there are two stories, the first about a girl who “turned the wrong way” during a dance, the second about a girl who is put in a box and burned. In both cases, the nature of the trickery is described but in the version I read all those years ago, the two stories were one — the girl who was put in a box in the fire pit and “burned to death” escapes through a false bottom to the box along a tunnel into the adjoining room, and her voice then issues as if from her ashes, via a kelp tube that goes from the tunnel to the adjoining room where she’s now standing.

She describes her descent into the sea realm, where she is chastened and eventually granted a boon to return to the tribe. A canoe sets out to fetch her, but by the time the audience sees it set out, she’s already secured by rope to the far side of the boat, and at a suitable distance is hauled aboard and brought back to shore, alive.

A child seeing this would be mightily predisposed to believing the shaman had healing powers, and by the time the ruse was revealed, that underpinning of faith is already in place.

In the Nowell version, even the adults, who “know” the deception involved, are deceived: “The fire burned and the box burned, and she was still singing inside, and then the box go up in flames, and they can see her burning there in her blue blanket, and all her relatives just cry and cry. Although they know it is not real, it looks so real they can’t help it. It was all a trick. There was a hole under the box with a tunnel leading out of the house, and the woman went out of the box and put a seal in her place wrapped in a blue blanket, and then someone sang into the fire through a kelp tube, her song. Oh, it looked real!”

One source I found recently online:

Tom McFeat, Indians of the North Pacific Coast: Studies in Selected Topics

**

I would like to suggest to you that magic, if you think of it as imagic, has to do with image, and is usefully considered as another term for or related to, imagination..

There are a couple of other categoies I’d like to bring to your attention: (i) coincidences or synchronicities, which can border on (2) the miraculous, at its finest a sacred business, (3) poetry, at its most beautiful, true and good, (4) sacraments, defined as revelations of “an inward an spiritual grace” my means of an “outward and physical sign” — and (5) the Eucatastrophe as described by JRR Tolkien in his masterful essay, On Fairy-tales..

The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels — peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, selfcontained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath.

**

Magic: there’s more to it than advertising, but advertising may deploy it.

Fanning the flames

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — winds blowing east from Notre Dame ground zero fans the brush-fires of fear, prejudice and concpiracy — this, and a poetic and sacred alternative ]
.

It’s often said, and has no doubt been said many times since the horrific fire at Notre Dame began, that fire rages. By the same token, rage inflames. It is rage, and not truth, that brings us these horrific Twitter posts, which I can bring here courtesy of Buzzfeed:

**

A great beauty DoubleQuoted:

The Loss of Notre Dame is horrific enough without pouring hatred onto the flames.

**

May I refer you to Thomas Merton‘s great poem of sacred, sacrificial fire, Elegy for the Monastery Barn, and to these brief but potent lines from TS Eliot‘s Four Quartets?

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error.
The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.

TripleQuoting trees and spirits, onwards, 37

Monday, April 15th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — a woman so lovely she’s pure spirit, carved in stone and overgrown by trees — great christina greer quote — rachel’s mille feuille mar-a-lago ]
.

Here’s the TripleQuote:

To the left, the statue of an apsara or female dancer spirit peers out from a tangle of forest encroaching on abandoned Khmer temples.. Center, she looks to him, Khajuraho temple sculpture, India,mand right — look closer — tree.

**

Craig Melvin, 4/12/2019:

There’s no daylight between him and the Attorney General ..
He wanted to show that he’s in lockstep with the Attorney General on this issue ..

**

Nicolle Wallace, 4/12/2019:

Nicole: Three dominios have fallen in this story since late last night: the Washington Post reporting about his desire to release human beings into sanctuary cities as some sort of pawn in his political battle over immigration —

— Julia Ainsley and Courtney Kube, superb reporting on how he wants to use the military in effect as human toy soldiers to carry out his political goals on immigration .. and now Annie Karni and her colleagues reporting about the dangling of a pardon ..

Chuck Rosenberg: At least historically, pardons were always an act of Presidential compassion and mercy, that’s certainly how they were designed and intended….

**

Erin Burnett 4/12/2019::

I heard those words, and I didn’t know if I was in 1967 or 2017..

**

Not sure where, but war room *****

**

DoubleQuote:

Bannon embraces Trump

Pope embraces Imam of Al Azhar

**

MTP 4/12/2019:

You don’t want to replicate Trump; but you want to beat Trump .
**

Ari Melber:

Let’s see if they have open arms

Tillerson:

When the President would say, Well here’s what I want to do, and here’s how I want to do it, and I’d have to say to him, Mr President, I understand what you want to do, but you can’t do it that way, it violates the law, it violates the treaty, you know — he got really frustrated..

Matt Miller:

When the DHS Director — who was willing to do a lot for Donald Trump — when Kirstjen Nielsen said, the one thing I can’t do is break the law, he fired her. And now you have him telling the new Acting DHS Director, It’s okay if you break the law. I want you to break the law, and if you do it, and if you go to jail, I’ll pardon you. So even this constraint, where you have officials that say, The one thing I can’t do is break the law, he’s trying to find away around that — and it’s about the most lawless thing you can imagine for a President..

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto:

They like his boldness, they like that he’s authentic, they like that he shoots from the hip. And he’s leveraging that, even to the detriment of our democracy.

Christina Greer:

Unfortunately, there are far too many Americans who look at these families at the birder, and they don’t see human beings. This is the consistent message that the President is giving his base, when he talks on Twitter, on television, calling them animals, calling them undeserving, saying the doors are closed. Even though he is the child of an immigrant, even though two of his three wives were immigrants, even though four of his five children are children of an immigrant, he doesn’t see these people at the border as of the same lineage as his family.

John Flannery:

I sort of think of them as nested Russian wacky dolls, you know, one supporting each other..

And what it looks like is, the Justice Department is so despoiled now that they’ve becpome a p[olitical arm of the West Wing ..

You can’t win an argument you don’t make, and we’re not making that argument..

Ari Melber:

You can’t win a legal argument you don’t make — is that sort of a court version of Michael Jordan, You miss 100% of the shot you don’t take?<

**

Hardball:

Chris M:

If that’s not impeachable, I don’t know what is. A President of the United States using his authority to tell government senior officials, cabinet level people, to break the law, I’ll cover you.

Leon Panetta:

I think we’ve all gone down the rabbit-hole with Donald Trump into Wonderland, I have no idea what is going on here with the President, who acts like a punch-drunk fighter striking out in all directions ..

Richard Engel:

The Pope under attack, and look who’s leading the charge..

Bannon:

He’s constantly coming back and putting all the faults in the world on this populist nationalist movement..

CC comment — this is what really has Bannon exercised, not pedophilia, which is something that both left and right can agree on, and a terrific diversion from his real concern..

Bannon’s Institute:

Chris M:

He’s also building a monastery .. he is putting together a huge facility on a hilltop outside Rome .. It is an 800-room monastery .. and this is going to be the center of his movement ..

— but we’ll get to all that, after Richard Engel’s evening special tonight..

All In Chris Hayes:

That’s John Yoo, unbelievably enough now the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California —

— Berkeley.!– which a right-edge very bearded ‘vette-owning vet friend said could be nuked, no problem..

Apocalypse:

Jeff Biggers:

Coal is really like a fourth-string pitcher ..

Rachel Maddow:

on having her first taste of mille feuille on her b’day —

Rachel:

Apparently this is a whole category of dessert ..

**

And ain’t this delicious, too? DoubleQuoting two brilliant women in science — fifty years in a single tweet:

**

ANd I’m done.

Spiritual Warfare, an evolution / devolution

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — fascinating — how a scriptural theme is developed by Catholic and Orthodox sources, is turned by a Calvinist split-off and a related Pentecostal movement to an attack on the Virgin Mary, carried out on Mt Everest — and in New York City, on AOC! ]
.

Said president Dave Kubal of Intercessors for America:

It’s been widely publicized that there is a coven of witches that cast spells on President Trump 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This particular coven is found in the southern portion of New York City.

The southern portion of New York City? A coven? Typically, though not always, referring to a gathering of a dozen plus one witches? 24/7?

Is this a witch-hunt? Literally??

So, right in the middle of all of this, the southern district, in the middle of where these witches are doing the 24/7 spell-casting, we find the territory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her district is in the center of all of this going on. Is this a coincidence? Maybe … Is there an evil thread running through this area, trying to dispel diabolical power?

Furthermore:

Just this week, there was a spiritual SWAT team that was sent into this particular geographic area to deal with the spiritual activity that is going on there.

**

Sending prayer teams to tackle the malevolent spirits associated with geographical areas is an idea associated with C Peter Wagner, lately of Fuller Theological, the moving spirit behind geographically oriented Spiritual Warfare, and the New Apostolic Reformation.

  • C Peter Wagner, Territorial Spirits: Practical Strategies for How to Crush the Enemy Through Spiritual Warfare
  • C Peter Wagner, Breaking Strongholds in Your City: How to Use Spiritual Mapping Tomake Your Prayers More Strategic, Effective and Targeted
  • I’ve used the full titles and sub-titles of both books above, because I want to catch the geographico-militarist flavor of each — and of course, from my POV and with my interests, the word mapping doesn’t hurt..
  • Spiritual warfare is a concept at least as old as St Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus, telling them:

    Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

    It’s also to be found in both Catholic and Orthodox traditions:

  • Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat: and a Treatise on Peace of Soul
  • Theophan the Recluse, Unseen Warfare: The Spiritual Combat and Path to Paradise of Lorenzo Scupoli
  • What can I say? In these classic, sacramental traditions, there’s no emphasis on territorial spirits. Territorial spiritual warfare is an innovation that goes along with the Seven Mountains theory, by which many present-day Pentecostal and other Christians seek dominion over:

  • family,
  • religion,
  • education,
  • media,
  • entertainment,
  • business, and
  • government
  • Dominion theology is the work of an off-shoot of Calvinism pioneered by RK Rushdoony in his master-work:

  • RJ Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law
  • :

    There’s a slippery slope, I believe that’s the phrase, between the somewhat eschatological dominionism of many who may nonetheless feel a sacred devotion to the Constitution, and Rushdoony‘s original version, which regards anything less than strict Old Testament law with some New Testament changes — “Ye have heard.. but I say unto you..” — and views the existing laws of the United States as tantamount to anarchy:

    For a sense of where C Peter Wagner‘s territorial spiritual warfare takes us, see:

  • C Peter Wagner, Operation Queen’s Palace
  • This includes Wagner‘; endorsement of Ana Mendez‘ spiritual warfare on Mt Everest, fighting the Queen of Heaven. Wagner quotes Mendez‘ report, in which (see final paragraph below) she asserts that among the blessings brought about by her spiritual warfare on the lower slopes of the highest mountain on earth was the death of Mother Theresa, whom she describes as “one of the most visible advocates of exalting Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix” — Mary Mother of God in the Catholic tradition, the Theotokos or God-bearer in Orthodoxy.

    Mendez, as quoted by Wagner, reports:

    After five days of prayer, on September 22, 1997, an incredible climbing anointing came over the team, and God led us through the Ice Fall, the most difficult, dangerous, and technically exacting part of the Everest ascent, with no guide but Him and no help other than from His angels. After many hours of crossing crevasses and climbing ice walls, we were about to reach the point where we had located the seat of the Queen of Heaven. At that moment the fury of the devil was unleashed and a huge avalanche broke loose above us, sending megatons of ice and snow crashing our way. At the last moment a huge crevasse in front of us swallowed up the avalanche, saved our lives, and we only had to deal with the [life threatening] resulting cloud of ice for about ten minutes.

    “We continued toward our goal, and when we arrived we took the throne that the Lord had showed us, prophesying against the powers of darkness and declaring the judgment of God on the whore of Babylon and the false religions of the world.

    “That same evening God spoke a clear and strong order: “Go out from this mountain tomorrow before 11:00 AM because I am going to destroy everything. The next day we dismantled the camp in a great hurry, and left Base Camp at 10:30. When the last of our 36 beasts of burden [yaks] had come out, not one, but all three mountain slopes which surrounded Base Camp–Everest, Loh-La, and Nuptse–simultaneously collapsed in the greatest avalanche ever seen in Everest. Base Camp was totally buried under the snow and the enormous falling clouds of ice. The climbing season was closed, and the only flag waving on the top of the world was the one planted by the king of Kings and Lord of Lords.” [ .. ]

    Ana points to some world events which occurred within two weeks after the prophetic act at the throne of the Queen of Heaven which she senses have some connection: (1) The nation of Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, caught on fire and began to burn on that very day; (2) An earthquake destroyed the Basilica of Assisi in Italy, the place where the Pope had called a meeting for the unity of all world religions; (3) Hurricane Paulina destroyed the infamous temple of “Baal-Christ” in Acapulco, Mexico; (4) Princess Diana of England died, representing the crown of England, to whom Mt. Everest was consecrated by Sir Edmund Hillary; and (5) Mother Theresa, one of the most visible advocates of exalting Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix, died in India.

    This attack on the Blessed Virgin Mary, to use another title afforded her in Catholicism, was so blatant as to arouse a comic-book artist to pillory it:

    It is often taught in Catholic circles and elsewhere that Mary, as Queen of Heaven, is portrayed in Revelation 12.1:

    A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

    The artist Albrecht Durer rendered her thus:

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 5

    Monday, February 18th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a quiet weekend with no chyrons, but yasukuni, heavy metal, and three stunning headers on faith, forgiveness, and guns ]
    .

    Kamikaze, yay! As war-relate epithets go, it’s among the very finest — strongest, most halo’d with associations — from my POV as mythographer and poet:

    As myth and legend, dream and imagination have it in some circles in Japan, kamikaze is spirit wind, downward-rushing, warships targeted, headlong warplanes in full nose-dive, martyrdom almost — tinged with cherry blossom and droplets of blood, patriotism, self-sacrifice ..

    The controversies swirling around the Yasukuni Shrine and its inclusion of war criminals as patriotic heroes is something we’ve addressed in Zenpundit before — for both the controversy and the mythopoetics, see these excerpts:

  • Zenpundit, Why is the Yasukuni Shrine so controversial?
  • Zenpundit, Japanese self-sacrifice with intent to kill Americans
  • **

    Saturday wasn’t a chyron-collecting day for me — I had the distinct pleasure of a visit from Omar Ali, and live conversation trumps Trump every time — so I don’t have many items to display here… but this one caught my eye today, Sunday, as much for the color of the header as for its provocative content:

    Heavy Metal Confronts Its Nazi Problem

    Among bands that are said today to fall into the category of N.S.B.M., as it is often called, are ?8?8??, from Russia, whose fans have given Nazi salutes during performances; a Finnish band, Goatmoon, which has performed in front of a backdrop resembling a Nazi flag; and Der Stürmer, from Greece, which shares a name with an anti-Semitic German newspaper whose editor, Julius Streicher, was convicted during the Nuremberg trials and then executed. Those bands and others, including Stahlfront, Sunwheel, Absurd, and Dark Fury, performed in December at the Asgardsrei festival, in Kiev, where Nazi-style displays abounded.

    Asgard, hoke of the Æsir in Norse mythology — sacred to some though not all Asatru in a way reminiscent of Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine..

    **

    Okay, moving along, here’s a football ref, buried in the text of Uranium One informant makes Clinton allegations to Congress:

    An FBI informant connected to the Uranium One controversy told three congressional committees in a written statement that Moscow routed millions of dollars to America with the expectation it would be used to benefit Bill Clinton’s charitable efforts while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quarterbacked a “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations.

    Don’t you just love quarterbacked? Like wingman and running point, it comes up all the time, but that was a stellar quarterback example in terms of paragraph content, ***** in my book.

    Which reminds me, I don’t think I’ve captured one of this week’s favorites yet — making an end run around Congress:

    Finally, I ran across three headers with religion-connected content today (Sunday at time of writing)…

    **

    A Senator praying his party would avoid a second shutdown may well be no more than a figure of speech:

    Republican Chuck Grassley was on the Senate floor, asking the entire chamber to join in seeking divine intervention with Trump. “Let’s all pray that the President will have the wisdom to sign the bill, so that the government doesn’t shut down,” he said, as Washington waited, once again, on its capricious President.

    Susan Glasser, the New Yorker writer, seems to take it a bit more seriously..

    So it’s finally come to this: only God can stop Trump, as members of his own party are admitting that they’ve basically given up trying.

    **

    The story here is best told in this image, the work of the artist Wendy MacNaughton recording the words of a National Portrait Gallery guard, Rhonda:

    Falling on one’s knees in prayer is definitely a mark of religion, even though Obama isn’t generally considered an object of religious devotion..

    **

    And this may be the most remarkable of the three. In the guns as religion article, it’s the mother of a teen-aged son who was shot and killed — a mother who is now a US Representative, Lucy McBath — who ssuggestd gun culture is an American quasi-religion — but she’s the one described in the article as deeply religious in her opposition to gun violence, refusing the request the death penalty for the killer of her son:

    We never considered pushing for the death penalty because I firmly believe that I am not the one to choose who lives and who dies. Morally and ethically, I believe that decision is left to God. We suffered so much pain and so much anguish, and I actually did not want to be the one to inflict that upon his family, and I didn’t want to be rooted in those kinds of decisions, because I truly believed that would be the noose around my neck and I would not be able to move forward to actively champion for safer gun laws and a safer gun culture, because that’s what I believed that I was given to do, and I couldn’t do that without forgiveness, and I couldn’t do that without releasing myself.

    That’s a stunning level of faith and forgiveness.

    Remember?

  • Zenpundit, From the Forgiveness Chronicles: Rwanda
  • Zenpundit, Of martyrdom and forgiveness
  • Zenpundit, More from the Forgiveness Chronicles
  • **

    Sources:

  • New Yorker, The New Republican Strategy for Dealing with the Emergency That Is Trump
  • Atlantic, The Obama Portraits Have Had a Pilgrimage Effect
  • New Yorker, Lucy McBath on the “Religion” of Guns in America

  • Switch to our mobile site