Sons of Dionysos

These past few days weeks months have been quite introspective (and stressful) for me and I have been very thankful that I’ve got two Dionysian friends who have guided me through and through. I’ll talk more about in the succeeding days, but for now, let me share you what Dionysos advised me to do in the next six months via Sannion:

Your worship is beautiful; your ancestors are pleased. But you don’t laugh enough. Go on a journey. It will destroy your life as you know it. Take it.

There He is again with making me smile and shiver at the same time. Hail, Breaker of shackles! You never fail to unbullshit my bullshit. Touché.

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Then there’s Mad Light with his runes and cards mixed with psychiatry. This is what he read for me:

This first card is the Fear Dorcha. This is your past and it’s ongoing now. There is an inner shadow, an inner conflict, a hidden part of you that you have been ignoring. Now is the time to ask the questions: “Who am I really?” and “What do I want to become?”. These questions may be hard to answer, because most of the time who you think you are, isn’t who you really are. What you think you want, you don’t really want. But, in the back of your mind, back of your heart, you know there’s something wonky going on, that’s why you’ve been ignoring these questions. Because you might not like hearing the answer. And because you might have to make changes in your life when you realise that.

The card being in the past suggests that this has been going on for a while. Feel around for it in yourself. You’ll understand in time.

Your present card is a reversed Green Lady. Every plant knows how it must grow. When you plant a seed in soil, it will become a squash. It does not ask if it will become an apple tree or something. But reversed: “Twisted, the energy of growth goes awry, and we move in directions that are either dead ends or simply inappropriate for us. Or perhaps we try to shift from one extreme to another, between growth and stasis, which only yields twisted, stunted, and warped results”.

Your last card is the Soul Shrinker. Beware of malicious gossip and curses flying between people. Of bad criticism. Soon you will need to counteract this with saying nice things, not only to others, but also to yourself. Critical and malicious thoughts become curses when the target accepts the negativity into themselves. That’s how curses work, and soon, you’ll have to counteract it with positivity. Don’t let yourself curse yourself; don’t bring yourself down.

Your past card was the card of the fairy version of the Sphinx. She asks the riddle of identity and the riddle of the self. Basically her appearance in this reading is that there are self-identity issues that you need to face, that have been plaguing you for a while. You have to face them before you can move forward. This just goes back to what I was saying before: ‘don’t make decisions out of fear‘. Make decisions that lead you somewhere. But, the sphinx warns that you might have to think again. Are you making your decision out of fear, or out of reaching a goal? And what’s even more confusing is even if you’re trying to reach a goal, did you set your goal out of fear? One example is revenge. It’s a goal set out of anger and hate, but it’s a goal, nonetheless. So you have to make sure that the goals that you have set aren’t made out of negativity, but because they’ll make you happy.

Also, what’s even more confusing is that the goals you have set in the past may not be goals that you desire now. All of these questions should be answered by you. It’s a riddle. (Well, you don’t need to totally answer everything, but it will help to know where you’re headed.)

Know who you are, who you really are. The first card is telling you you’re “in denial” about certain issues in yourself. So you have to resolve those.

Now, the Green Woman: When you walk in the city you’ll find plants struggling to grow they’ll grow in the pavement cracks. They’ll trail on the walls of buildings, and even in the most inhospitable environments, you’ll find plants. How did they even get to, say, the 10th floor of a building? Where the ground is fertile, they will grow. As seeds, they can’t choose where they land, but wherever they land, they will try to grow no matter what, they will try to live; they will try to thrive. They will always try to find ways to nourish themselves and eat sunlight. This is what you must do, but the twisted energy of the green lady says that you are indeed growing… but not… in the way that you should. In other words: You are a pumpkin seed trying to grow into a pine tree, and that’s just not going to work. You might think that you want to become a pine tree out of fear, or maybe just because everyone’s a pine seed, but you can’t change the fact that you are a pumpkin seed.

Just listen for now, at the end of the reading, there will be one message. Remember, there is a way to be a pumpkin in a world full of pines. And don’t expect to grow quickly; plants are patient too, you know.

The last card warns you of criticism. Well, bad criticism. This will happen in the future: don’t let criticism bring you down, just accept it, and use it as a stepping stone to become better. Be careful of gossip and do not curse yourself. Try to have more self-esteem, and instead of bringing yourself down, pull yourself up. You can twist negative comments, so they pull you up instead of bring you down.

The next time you hear in the back of your mind: “You’re worthless! You’re unskilled!” — tell yourself: “No, I have worth, and what skill I don’t have, I can work on”. Something like that. Don’t take criticism personally.

But, there are connotations of gossip, as well. Don’t take it personally. The jobs that have rejected you? You are just not what they needed and they’re just not what you need!

But anyway, this happens in the future, so just be prepared for it. In the meantime, work on your past and present issues.

Thank Dionysos for Dionysian friends.

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Atheist temples, why and how?

Today, I shared this on Facebook with a comparatively long commentary that I thought I should blog about it, too:

My first reaction was why? What for? What does an atheist represent? What does it accomplish?

My second reaction was how? I think building atheist temples is particularly problematic because atheism doesn’t belong to any single culture (although many atheists, arguably, seem to engage in a particular cultural trend, “New Atheism”, but that’s another story). We know that atheists are found in virtually all cultures, and can really be anything from intellectuals to culturally illiterate trolls. How ever can you make a temple that represent such a variety? And, what do all atheists have in common other than nonbelief in deity, anyway?

However, whilst I do question the point to building an atheist “temple”, I also disagree with the suggestion that atheists already have their sacred spaces in libraries, laboratories, museums, and the LHC. They are, to use the word loosely, “temples” of knowledge, art, history, and science — not atheism alone! And, these temples belong to all humankind, no matter what their beliefs are. Are atheists more likely to hold libraries ‘sacred’ than theists? From a very narrow definition of religion (Dawkins’ atheism vs orthodox monotheism), one might be tempted to say yes, but a narrow definition of such a truly complicated matter is ultimately undesirable.

Besides, I think atheists, in general, don’t need religious temples because they either: 1. already have their own (religious atheists who pray at Buddhist temples or atheist Jews who attend synagogue, etc); 2. their respective cultures don’t distinguish temple from library from grove (atheist pagans, mostly); or 3. they’re simply not interested in enshrining their nonbelief.

Your thoughts?

On Faith, God, and Faith in God.

This is what I mean, and I hope what other people mean, when I say that faith in God gets us through our problems:

  • It is through our awesome family and friends and our own innate awesomeness that get us through life’s adversities and struggles. This awesomeness is the immanent, pantheistic God.
  • It is through faith in ourselves and faith in the people who love us that we have faith in God.

What I don’t mean, and I hope what other people don’t mean, is that:

  • All help must come from a supposedly all-loving transcendental God who afflicts us with all sorts of maladies to “test” our faith. Cancer is there to test us if we can still have “faith” despite the unbearable pain, and tsunamis are there to remind us to return to God because we’ve all been so wicked. Either way, there’s nothing we can do; it’s all up to God.

Which do you think is closer to what you mean? More importantly: Which do you think is more rational and more applicable to the human condition?

Euripides: "The wisest men follow their own direction."

Note: I hereby declare Saturday to be my Share-a-Quote Day. Sundays will be Share-a-Link Day.

This Satuday’s quote is from Euripides: “The wisest men follow their own direction.

This wisdom is perhaps one of the reasons why I was never attracted to the ‘Good Shepherd’ metaphor. To follow one’s own direction is not an open invitation to anarchy nor does it confine oneself to one’s own ideas only. And anarchy is not necessarily chaos. Who needs a government of idiots leading a herd of idiots? No, not me.

I have no shepherd. I am no sheep. Do not ask my faith, I do not give it blindly. Do not demand my trust, give me a reason why I should. Do not lead me, I shall not follow. But you may take my hand and we may talk. Like men, like companions, like friends. Like free thinkers.

What about you? What is faith and up to what extent should a person act on it? Is faith even a reasonable concept?

On Religious Examination, Burning Child Witches And Islamic Homosexuality

I have been reading some really interesting stuff from my favourite blogs lately which is why I have not had the chance to update both my blog and private diary. That and, of course, the life sucking nature of my job. Anyway, here are some of them.

Islamic Homosexuality in Indonesia? by Brian

Indonesia is such a baffling country. At times it seems like the hardline Muslim faction is taking control and is successfully imposing repressive Sharia laws on the populace. Yet at the same time Indonesians are not Arabs and their traditional laid back tropical island culture is not well suited to the bleak outlook of your typical austere desert dweller.

Read rest here.

Always Asking “Why” by Catherine Noble-Beyer (author of Wicca For The Rest Of Us)

If there is only one piece of advice I can give to religious seekers, it would be this: never stop asking yourself why you do what you and believe what you believe. (…) Any ritual without purpose is pointless.

Read rest here.

Religious Interpretation of Biology by Catherine Noble-Beyer

I returned home to Detroit this week to visit friends and family. Among old acquaintances I caught up with was a friend who spoke at some length about the agonizing choice he made a few years ago to give a son up for adoption.

The process included choosing the adoptive parents from a list of candidates hoping to adopt. Some of the choices were easy for him. As an example: he immediately weeded out anyone who said God had made them barren specifically in order for them to adopt his baby. He didn’t want his child being raised in that sort of atmosphere.

Read rest here.

The Sad Fate of Child-Witches in Nigeria by Brian

The people of Nigeria have sunk to a new low. The Invisible Pink Unicorn has the details on the sad tale of Nigeria’s so called Child-Witch problem. It seems that quite a number of parents are beginning to blame their problems on their own children, who they claim are either witches or demon-controlled in some way. Many such children are murdered outright but the survivors, these outcast children, are filling the shelters.

Read rest here.

Update on Nigerian Child Witches by Brian

In case I didn’t point it out strongly enough in that last post, these atrocities are being directly caused by Evangelical Christians who are being manipulated by their pastors and prophets. It also really needs to be pointed out loud and clear that Sarah Palin’s Nigerian pastor friend, the one who anointed her for public leadership, is one of the ringleaders of this anti-witchcraft movement and that Sarah Palin herself applauded the story of his chasing a witch out of town.

Read rest here.