A Pagan Almanac for August 5 and 6, 2012
Lunar Cycle: Days 8 and 9 of the full Moon
Trees: First day of the Hazel
Rome: August 5, Nones
Athens: Hekatombaion 18
William Blake wrote:
An Ancient Proverb
Remove away that black’ning church:
Remove away that marriage hearse:
Remove away that place of blood:
You’ll quite remove the ancient curse.
These were reflections on and reactions to Alan Watts’ Behold the Spirit, written about 1964. These words just came; I have never worried about from where. They are signposts on the path that led to the NROOGD. Understanding them depends on understanding Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Watts emphasizes that God, being infinite, has no opposite; hence God is both male and female, both One and Many, both transcendent and immanent. There is no difference between God and the Gods, but I speak here of “the Gods” because so many people assume that the word “God” must always refer to Old Nobodaddy, as Blake called him.
There are an infinite number of truths, an infinite amount of truth, and an infinite number of ways to seek truth, and each will reveal a different portion of truth.
No person has a monopoly on truth; no way to truth is the only way.
Each person must be free to seek truth in his or her own way; no person should be forced to seek truth in a way not his or her own, whether by physical force, public opinion, or accepted custom.
Consider the machine as a tool: it is useful and relieves us of dreary burdens that deaden the soul, for how can anyone create if forced to do what he or she does not enjoy?
Consider the machine also as a work of art: its form, motion, and function should also be pleasing to us.
The material, sensual world is real, for creation is infinite.
Take pleasure in good food, in wine, in making love with a beautiful girl or boy, in sunsets, in grains of sand, in thunderstorms, in galaxies.
If you cannot appreciate the world you now know, how could you appreciate the infinity of creation to come?
Are we different from the Gods?
Are we not each a small bit of the Gods?
Then how could what displeases us give any pleasure to the Gods?
If the Gods are pleased by what we enjoy, then be joyous, create ecstasy for yourself and those you love, and the ecstasy of the Gods will also be increased.
Why have you waited for these words to do what you want, to do what will please you and thus please the Gods?
Do you need permission to please yourself?
The Gods wait for us with open thighs: only our ignorance keeps us from ecstasy.
We learn through pleasure, and joyful knowledge raises our divinity.
Only pain and misery are repeated over and over; wisdom and ecstasy raise us into communion with the Godhead, and allow us to participate in the infinity of creation.
Those who work and give up some pleasure in order to provide others with the necessities of life should be respected because they thus brings pleasure to others, but not because they have denied themselves pleasure.
There is no virtue in self-denial by itself.
A man who spends all his time doing only what he does not enjoy, who is always denying himself any pleasure, is sick and needs loving help and compassion.
The man who denies himself all sexual pleasure is especially sick, perhaps dangerously sick, and needs great love and care, though these must not be forced on him, but offered in a spirit of true compassion.
So sick a person may try to hurt someone who offers him love and compassion; if you wish to help him, your compassion needs to be great enough to overcome his fear and sickness.
In a society composed mostly of people who deny themselves pleasure, who are not free to follow their inward desires, who are not awakened to the sense of joyous divinity, such people will, out of fear, sickness, and ignorance, attack anyone who has awakened to the joyous path to the Gods, who has become free from the distorted Gods of the self-deniers, and who is free to offer love and compassion to all people.
In such a society, the compassionate must preserve themselves, but only in the spirit of compassion.
If individually attacked with physical violence, they must use force only as a last resort, only in a spirit of compassion, since any force used against human beings is always wrong in itself.
Compassion will lead the awakened person to try to prevent such events and to handle them peacefully if they nevertheless occur.
The compassionate must resist the sickness of the society in order to overcome it, and not allow themselves to be overcome by it in any way, physically, spiritually, or emotionally.
Anything done in the spirit of compassion is right.
Only your own intuition can tell you if an action is done in the spirit of compassion.
If someone is hurt by your action, then your intuition was wrong, and needs more training, but only you can know how to train your intuition.
Sex is like fire: it is beautiful in itself, and is neither morally good nor morally bad in itself.
Only the way in which people use it can be called good or bad.
Love, sex, all pleasure is therefore good in itself, as trees, water, air, light, and earth are good in themselves, for they are.
To be is a good in itself.
Sex is, as the Gods are.
The more sex, the more love, the more pleasure there is, the more divinity there is, and the more the Gods become.
Since the Gods are infinite, all that human religious intuition may reveal about the nature of the Gods must be true; else there would be something that the Gods are not, and so they would not be infinite.
For this reason, there is much truth in all religions, but also much falsehood, especially about our relation to the Gods and to other people.
Only your own religious intuition can tell you if the results of another person’s intuition are true for you.
However, your intuition can and must be trained, so that you may learn to perceive the difference between religious truths and mere factual truths—although the latter are worthwhile and useful, and not to be ignored or slighted, in the search for religious truths.
The Buddha realized that whatever truth a person may be able to reach is reached best by a nourished brain in a healthy body.
Someone who is at variance with all accepted ideas, so long as he or she does not prevent anyone else from doing what they want, is more probably finding truth than is someone who is easily accepted by all persons.
The young atheist, who is fiercely opposed to all beliefs and all Gods, has taken the first step on the path of enlightenment.
He or she deserves respect, having already earned more merit than the person who has never questioned anything, who has dully accepted whatever he or she has been told.
But the old atheist may well be a person who has never changed his or her mind since youth and has become, as Blake said, a stagnant pond that breeds pests.
The reality behind all religions is the immediate experience of union with the Gods; do not let anything else obscure that reality.
All religious symbolisms and myths are a means for expressing the knowledge of the Gods gained from the direct experience of the Gods; they are clear and true if perceived in its light.
They are easily understood in that way, worthless if not understood in that way.
The knowledge of the Gods is first and most important.
The direct experience of the Gods is the most joyous and ecstatic one that we can know; it lights up the world from inside, and gives direction and perspective to life.
So it’s foolish to look for the Gods in gloomy preoccupations; they tend to come unannounced and break down your door when you least expect them.
Instead, seek them through joy, through intuition, through what your heart tells you is most important.
The Gods are joy, the Gods are love, the Gods are ecstasy.
They might come to you in a moment of pain and trial, but that is no reason to purposely make your life a trial.
They do not live in gloom; they live in joy and light.
The Gods cannot be found by your looking for them, there is no method for finding the Gods, because they are always already here.
It is only your ignorance that keeps you from knowing them; the knowledge of the Gods is the Gods themselves dwelling in the soul.
You must get yourself out of their way, for it is your ordinary self that prevents you from seeing that the Gods are already acting in such a way that you may know them.
If you have learned how to think analytically, you must learn how to not think.
All the apparent dualisms in the world are the product of the intellect.
Anticipation, by analytic thought, spoils experience.
Analysis before the fact is irrelevant to love.
You must not think in order to feel.
You must not think in order to feel.
You must not think, in order to feel.
Mind is not merely body, and body is not merely mind, for they are the same; it is only the analytical intellect that deceives us into thinking they are different and opposed.
This seems true of all dualisms, including good and evil.
Union with the Gods is given to us as material as well as spiritual beings, to the body as well as to the soul.
Only our ignorance keeps us from realizing that body and soul are the same.
To accept the gift of union, we do not have to deny our bodies, for our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
Does love mean possessing the object of love?
Does love mean being possessed by the object of love?
Can you possess the Gods?
Do you fear being possessed by the Gods?
Is not any answer foolish, if we are the Gods?
We cannot possess the Gods by doing anything; we cannot possess the Gods by doing nothing.
The common person perceives doctrine as image; it is what it is, and nothing more.
The dualistic “mystic” tries to perceive doctrine as metaphor: it is not what it is, but stands for something else, and gets in the way of that something else.
But the true mystic, who has achieved the state that Blake called “Organized Innocence,” knows doctrine as symbol: it is both what it is and something else as well, and it can be that something else only because it is so much itself.
The Gods have given themselves to each and every one of us, whether we deserve it or not, which no one does, for we could not by ourselves reach the Gods.
Therefore the holy life is the result of union with the Gods, not a means for achieving it.
Faith is not belief in what you don’t understand; it is instead the realization that the Gods have already done for you what you could never have done, out of love for you.
This is not mere intellectual knowledge, but emotionally realizing that the Gods’ love is real.