Thursday, February 28, 2013

The First and Second Insights

I want to present a short summary of what the Twelve Insights mean as I see them (as discussed in the previous post on The Celestine Prophecy). So here, beginning with the first two Insights, is a series of posts that briefly capture the main points covering the meaning of the Twelve Insights.

The First Insight – A Critical Mass

The Twelve Insights as a whole describe the beginning of a mass movement towards a more spiritual culture on the earth, one where religions come together in common spiritual truth and the main purpose of humanity becomes to further pursue and actualise this truth. Polarities of opinion are gradually integrated and resolved, and fear is moved past as together we open up to the greater wonders of life on earth and the energies available to us from the heaven realm.

The first step in awakening to this spiritual awareness is to notice the coincidences. Many times in our lives we may have noticed that an old friend makes contact with us out of the blue right around the time we have been thinking of them. We may bump into someone we haven’t seen for a while, and then later that day or on the next day bump into them again and then perhaps a third time. We may need extra money to purchase some needed item, then either the money comes unexpectedly or we find some creative, economical way to obtain the item. Or more dramatically, we may need urgent help in some dangerous situation, and just the right assistance comes when we need it most.

These are all examples of synchronicity, meaningful coincidences that prod our consciousness into sensing another, more spiritual process operating under the surface of life. The Celestine Prophecy puts forward the notion that a critical mass of individuals who are at this time all wondering what these experiences mean will help push forward global human culture into a greater spiritual awareness.

The extended, historical context of this awakening is given in the Second Insight.

The Second Insight – The Longer Now

We have largely been brought up to believe that life is a mechanical process, that there are no miracles, that the universe does not interact with us to bring our dreams and wishes. Thanks to the decline of the old religious worldview and the rise of scientific materialism, we have for the longest time tended to reduce life to the very basics, instead of pursuing what Abraham Maslow called the “peak experiences” of life.

But the coincidences seem to happen at a rate that is beyond reasonable probability, and as we notice this fact we begin to awaken from the dream of materialism. The coincidences make us feel more alive, more excited and make us want to explore this dimension even more.

The universe we live in is much more mysterious than was previously supposed. During the materialistic era, we became convinced as a culture that life was purely about practical, day-to-day matters – mind your P’s and Q’s, look good in the eyes of society, go to church and pay your taxes, attend to the basics of survival and forget about the larger questions. But the findings of modern science, especially in quantum physics, remind us what the great spiritual traditions have always known – that we live in a responsive universe, and when we are pursuing our highest good and seeking ways to live our true destiny, then the universe tends to cooperate in leading us onward.

But how to maintain the flow of synchronicity? How do we maintain this heightened feelings of aliveness that comes with being in the flow? The answers are found in the remaining Insights, in further posts to come soon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Observations on The Celestine Insights

I want to provide a brief commentary on my feelings about a book series the first title of which is The Celestine Prophecy, by author James Redfield. This was a book that first emerged back in 1993 – in what looking back on it seems like a much more na├»ve and innocent time. The first book was an immediate hit, launching the unknown and initially self-published author onto the New York Times bestseller lists.

Naturally it’s easy to be suspicious of trends, and I am the first to regard with scepticism such trends in popular culture. And I have certainly seen a lot of really negative reviews of this series on the net. But I want to posit that the insights and techniques described in these books are still very much relevant to our current times, and will continue to be well into this third millennium.

A book like The Celestine Prophecy is bound to raise all sorts of emotions in people. I’ve seen people criticise it on the grounds of religion, that it’s nothing people couldn’t learn from a traditional faith if they had taken the time to explore a faith; that it’s too cosy and new age; that it’s just a summary of everything that has gone before; that the writing is atrocious, and so on and so forth.

I sometimes wonder whether I and these other reviewers have read the same book. Certainly there are many people other than myself who also feel uplifted and inspired by the insights offered in the book, and speaking for myself I have been profoundly affected for the better by contemplating deeply the insights on offer. People seem to resent being offered a new perspective on truth, especially if it conflicts with their existing religious beliefs or with a strictly common-sense, down to earth attitude.

To me, what The Celestine Prophecy is all about is what alternative streams of thought have always been about – to explore truth, non-dogmatically. It’s my opinion that this is the reason it immediately raises people’s hackles – religious types tend to cling to their doctrines and dogmas for dear life, in the fear that if these were to be challenged then their whole religion would lose its basis of truth. But spiritual seekers have long known that the awesome, infinite and multi-various thing that is Truth cannot be contained within the rigid and confined structure of dogma.

I had a shocking realisation recently – shocking to me, at least, because for so long now I have been free of the restrictions of religion as I pursue my own spiritual path in life. Without going into excessive detail, the profound realisation is this: for many if not most people, religion equates to having a sense of the value of human life. It seems to be hardwired into people’s instinctual selves; take away religion, and then what is left? Many people seem unable to hold a set of spiritual values that places the deepest of importance on human life outside of the structure of organised religion.

This unsettled me deeply, and it at least helped me realise why so many people cling so tightly to religion – because they fear on a deep level that without religion, human life has no meaning or worth. It seems bizarre to me, because for the longest time it is religion itself that seems to me to have lost the value and the sanctity of human life. As far as I am concerned, religion (in the West, at least) deserted human beings long ago. And yes for a while I did go through a dark night of the soul over this. Maybe that’s why people fear to let go of religion – because they know they will have to face the awesome unknown and confront their deepest darkest fears if they do so.

I am blessed to be at a place in my life where alternative streams of knowledge and wisdom have made themselves known to me. From the ancient mystery traditions through Rosicrucianism and Gnosticism through to modern day Masonry, theosophy and Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy, I have become enriched by so many wonderful and venerable traditions that go back well before the Christian era and continue through to this day. There is so much that is undreamt of in the common person’s experience, just waiting for us to discover and enjoy and be enriched by. The problem is that many folk seem to be stuck in a dualistic frame of mind, whereby if a teaching doesn’t come from a recognised major religion then it must be the work of evil and have no validity (although I will unhesitatingly place Scientology in this latter category!).

And so back to The Celestine Prophecy, which actually mentions Gnosticism in the second volume, entitled The Tenth Insight (and I believe there is an implied mention of Freemasonry in the latest, The Twelfth Insight). These twelve insights do indeed constitute a summarising of the best of the wisdom that has come before, such as the power of faith and prayer, the power of love, the ability of humans to make contact with the higher, divine source and be assisted by God and by the angels. But so what? Every age needs the eternal truths to be couched in the vernacular of the time, and for me the arrival of The Celestine Prophecy was a true god-send, and a validation of all the other things I had been reading at that time.

In short, the Celestine series of books continues to inspire me and provoke awe and wonder at the marvellous scheme of life on this earth. If I was forced to find something negative about them, it would only be that there is barely enough space in the pages of one book to do justice to the depth of the topics being raised. But there again, the author is not trying to replace previous sources of knowledge – merely illuminate certain aspects of their highest truths. It is naturally up to each one of us to expand our knowledge and complement our own innate wisdom with the helpful teachings offered by the Insights. Perhaps that is why some people have such an issue with these books; they demand that one have one’s own critical view of religion and history, and for some that’s simply too much effort. I have to admit that when I first encountered them, although I was inspired I was simply too young and lacking in life perspective to make truly practical use of the Insights. Now that I am approaching the age of forty, I find that I have had enough experience and gained a sufficient level of wisdom to bring something to the table and complement my own intuitions and thoughts with the beautiful wisdom of the Insights.

So that’s my perspective on this sometimes controversial series of books. There is so much more that could be said, perhaps I will go into further detail in a future blog. For now feel free to offer your own opinion in the comments. Be aware though that I won’t look favourably on opinions that are not well-considered and at least balanced in their judgment. One of my strongest held values is that we should always test for truth – if a teaching does not align with our gut level feeling and our sense of right and wrong, then reject it. On the other hand if a teaching offers a new perspective, then we should not simply dismiss it out of hand but at least give it the benefit of our consideration.

There is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in most philosophies…

Blessed be

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Saturn in Scorpio...Pluto in Capricorn

These two planets, Saturn and Pluto, traditionally represent death. It's interesting, though, that in the mystery traditions of the West, Saturn's true role is to kill off that which no longer serves the higher self, so that the personality can enter into more harmonious relationship with its true source of authority - the Spirit.

Pluto, strangely enough, seems to do the same thing. Pluto, however, works through fire and water - the purging fire of destruction working deep in the layers of emotional blockage and stagnation. Saturn's elements are earth and air, with the old being crystallised and broken away as a dead form, so that the clear air of reason can be reached and a more perfect organisation of the persona can be created, based on the powers of a clear mind.

At the moment in real time, Saturn and Pluto are in "mutual reception" - meaning they are currently placed in the zodiac sign that the other planet traditionally "rules". Saturn is currently travelling through Pluto's home sign of Scorpio, and conversely Pluto is currently five years into a 14 year journey through Saturn's native sign of Capricorn.

So there is real emphasis here on the powers of death and destruction, but in order to generate a powerful renewal in human affairs - in society, in governments, and in individuals.

There was a grouping of planets in Pisces recently, we had Chiron the wounded healer, Mars, Mercury, and the Moon all in Pisces. For me personally, this had the effect of stirring all kinds of wounded emotions from deep within, and for about three days there I was feeling just raw and sensitive than I had for some time. I just didn't know how to achieve peace within, and my sleep has suffered lately as well.

Then today I had some personal realisations that I won't go into here - suffice to say that the matter-of-fact nature of Saturn confronted me with some stark home truths. But once I allowed the message I was being sent to get through, Saturn in fact helped me deal with those emotions. The wonderful Dana Gerhardt published an article on Astrodienst that helped immeasurably; in it she describes that part of the Saturn/Capricorn message is to "not waste your time" with phantoms - that is, to realise that expending emotional resources on that which has no substance and which is ultimately illusory is a waste of one's time and energy and should be avoided. This is not to ignore one's emotions, of course - this was simply a timely message for me which helped me cut the crap when dealing with my own Piscean phantoms that were plaguing me of late. I felt better as soon as I applied this wisdom.

And so Pluto together with Saturn is working hard to transform us deep within. These two planets are trying to ensure that we "get" the messages of the time - this crucial time when humanity stands in dire need of transformation and resurrection (another Capricorn theme - the Sun is "resurrected" in the sign of Capricorn each year as it begins its journey back to the Northern Hemisphere). For me certainly these effects are quite striking and are helping me to get rid of the dross of the old self.

Growth and change - more themes we can relate to this mutual reception! If only these energies can break through our old patters and lead us into new light!

May it be so for us all!


P.S.: Also, how interesting to note that during the Pisces planetary grouping, Pope Benedict announced he was stepping down due to his failing health. Christianity is of course closely related to the fish-symbolism of the sign of Pisces.