The Great Goddess, worshipped by all of the many nations across the ancient European/Mediterranean/Asiatic world for thousands of years, gave birth to Christianity, in full awareness that her power would be eclipsed for the duration of an astrological age as the male gods took over the heavens. Her avatar, Jesus, knew this too, and spoke of her eventual return as the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, whom he said would ‘teach all things, shall bring all things to your remembrance’. We have been told to regard Christianity as an outgrowth from Judaism, but this is not the whole story.
Lost on the modern world but certainly obvious to everybody in ancient times, the significance of Mary’s virginity was not that she had not had sex with a man, but that she was a holy priestess of the Goddess, probably Artemis, whose temple at Ephesus, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, and not far from Palestine, had been a huge centre of worship for thousands of years. It was to Ephesus that Mary retired to live after Jesus’ crucifixion.
It was also at Ephesus, after the temple had been destroyed by Christians, that a Church gathering of 250 bishops in 431 CE declared Mary ‘theotokos‘, the Mother of God, thereby opening the way for the devotional love that the populace across the Empire had long felt for the various Goddesses – such as Cybele, Isis, Artemis/Diana, Aphrodite/Venus – to be channelled into Marian shrines and kept within the Church, while at the same time it affirmed the divinity of Christ. Sacred imagery of a mother goddess and human son was nothing new to the ancient world, it was a very common motif from Cybele (who gave birth to Attis, later her lover), to Isis (mother of Horus), to Aphrodite (who was mother to many male gods, including Eros, Priapus, Hermaphroditus and the feminine male Dionysus), to Venus (mother to Aeneas, ancestor of the Roman people).
Jesus was born among the Jewish people, who had a thousand years previously marked themselves out as different from the other tribes of the region by rejecting Goddess reverence and making their Father God the one and only supreme being. The Christian Church regarded Judaism as its forerunner and shared its patriarchal attitudes, for example apopting the Hebrew creation myth, one of many that were told at the time, but the only one which put the woman firmly in her place as the servant of man. Most creation myths of the Middle East gave the prime place to the Creatrix Mother. But actually Jewish mythology also tells of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, who was thrown out of the garden of Eden because she refused to surrender to his will. Second time round Adam’s primacy was affirmed by claiming Eve had been made from his body, the opposite to the reality of childbirth.
The Genesis story of Eden would have been understood differently to ancient peoples than to most of us today, just like the Gospel’s tale of virgin birth. The snake was one of the most prominent images of the Goddess-centred pagan faiths, packed with symbolism, including sexual. The Genesis story is saying that, once again as with Lilith, the female lands them in trouble, this time because she has let the pagan faith lead her astray.
At the time of the birth of Jesus however the Goddess power was still in full sway. Cybele, the most ancient Mother worshipped since at least 6000 BCE in Anatolia, eastern Turkey, and known to the Greeks as the Mother of the Gods (that phrase again!), had been adopted as the Magna Mater of the Roman Empire two hundred years earlier. Her worship united the world from Britain to Turkey, and it was spread through the Empire by her itinerant, queer or transgender Gallae priest/esses, whose flamboyant, loud, erotic and bloody rituals were hated by the Church Fathers, not least because, for the first 300 years of Christianity, the Roman citizens were happy to go hear a Christian preacher in the afternoon then attend an orgy at the Cybele temple in the evening.
All the holy priesthoods of the ancient Goddess featured both virgin females and transgender or gay males. The Old Testament tells of repeated efforts over 400 years by Hebrew kings to stop their people sacrificing and building phallic poles to Asherah, their local version of Ishtar, Goddess of the region since 10000 BCE, also known as Inanna and Astarte. There were some kings who were more tolerant, such as Solomon, whose many wives came from many cultures, bringing their ways with them to his famous temple. The OT tells also of the Hebrew kings’ efforts to eradicate the Qedesha, translated into English bibles as ‘sodomites’ or, nowadays, ‘male shrine prostitutes’, but whose name meant in fact the ‘Anointed’ or ‘Holy Ones’.
The title of Mother of God moved from Cybele to Mary as the Christians set to wiping out Goddess culture once it had become established as the only official religion of Rome in the late 4th century. This move to name Mary Theotokos (as opposed to Christokos, the Mother of Christ – the heated debates over this at the Council of Ephesus led to a schism between Roman Christianity and some, mainly Persian, churches that was only finally addressed and healed in 1994) was a conscious act taken in full awareness that people everywhere held the Divine Feminine in the highest regard, taken because this would enable them to dismantle the worship of other female forms and bring more people into the new faith.
The Church was also busy changing the gender of the Holy Spirit from female to male, the means being the Greek language. In Hebrew ‘ruach’, the word for spirit, was feminine, also in Syriac ‘rucha’, and writers in those languages used maternal imagery to describe the third member of the Trinity. In Greek however, the words used were of either male or neutral gender, and this has of course fed into other translations. Most Christian writings today about the Holy Spirit use He pronouns, but there are some churches that do see a She, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Unity Church, whose founder Charles Fillmore said of the Holy Spirit, “love is always feminine”. What the Church declared and what people believed have not always met of course, and while European art of the Middle Ages depicted the Holy Spirit as male, there is one surviving fresco in Urschalling, Germany, in a church of St Jakobus, that shows her female.
Jesus also said that people will know the Comforter when they come because the Holy Spirit already “dwelleth with you”. The Goddess in Judaism had been channelled into the concept of shekhinah, referring to invisible, divine presence, regarded and experienced as feminine. Yahweh was above the world, shekhinah was divinity moving through the world in all things – just as the Hindus see male Shiva as the overseeing Father and female Shakti as the Divine present in manifestation.
Note that Shiva is regarded actually as half male-half female, as he contains all within him, and this reflects the totally disregarded description of the Hebrew God in Genesis as being both male and female (which should in fact be clear from the Genesis verses that say he made humans male and female ‘in his image’). Arabic has the word sakina, translated usually as tranquility/peace but which actually indicates so much more, as is clear from its similarity to shekhinah.
In its efforts to evangelise the Roman Empire the Church also took on traits of the Goddess priesthood – such as the wearing of robes, its insistence on celibacy for priests (people were simply not used to holy servants having spouses and families, they were not ready to accept it) and of course built churches at pagan sites (eg St Pauls Cathedral in London at a site where Diana was worshipped) and the timing of Christian feasts to fit and replace the pagan calendar. The Archgallus of Rome, head of the genderqueer servants of Cybele, became the Pope, complete with the same style of headgear, the mitre.
The association of trans/queer people with the Goddess temples and rituals goes way back into pre-history, but from those times we have some myths that suggest we were created by the Goddess for that very purpose. A hero named Asushunamir, who was both male and female, was sent into the Underworld to rescue Goddess Inanna, a task they fulfilled, but not without suffering a curse from Inanna’s dark sister Ereshkigel, which was that they (and their kind) would be hated and feared by the world. Inanna could not remove the curse but appointed the queer/transgender people (known variously as kurgurru, assinnu, galatur at different times in the long history of Mesopotamia) to be her special, beloved servants, and promised a time when the curse would hold no more and they be recognised in their holiness again.
Jesus was aware of all this. The Gospel of Matthew records Jesus saying that there are those who chose to become eunuchs ‘for the sake of the kingdom of God’. In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas he speaks of uniting/transcending the male/female in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The future for transsexuality is also referred to by Isaiah in the Old Testament, who predicts, for those eunuchs who serve the lord faithfully, an ‘everlasting name’, ‘ better than that of sons and daughters’. Those joining the Gallae priest/esses of Cybele undertook public self-castration during a frenzied ritual on the Day of Blood, where Attis, the dying (through botched self-castration) lover of Cybele, was remembered. The ritual involved carrying an effigy of Attis tied to a pine tree through the streets raising the ecstatic energy and the next day celebrating his resurrection. This ritual predated Christianity by a very long time, and of course the Christian Church Fathers hated this ceremony, so timed the Easter festivities to replace it.
The Catholic Church encouraged the channelling of devotional feelings for the Goddess into the honouring of Mary, but of course throughout the Middle Ages the populace of Europe were not so quick to let go of their love of other versions of the divine feminine. Diana worship, which was especially associated with nature and the night, with the moon, continued among the country folk for centuries. It was generally Her that witches went to meet at their night time Sabbats, though the Inquisition and later the witch trials would use torture to force prisoners to say they were meeting with the devil.
For English female mystic Julian of Norwich in the late 14th/early 15th century Jesus himself became the Mother. She lived as an anchoress, living a life of prayer in an enclosed space, through a slit in the wall she would dispense advice and wisdom. She was very highly regarded but the nuns of her order kept her writing about the Motherhood of Christ secret for centuries after her death. ‘Revelations of Divine Love’ is now regarded as one of the finest works of medieval mysticism.
Protestantism, from the 16th century, regarded Catholic veneration of Mary and the saints as no better than pagan cult practice, and pushed the divine feminine further into the background. It shared the Catholic fear of witches however and the peak of the witch hunt craze came in the 17th century.
Then reason and rationalism rose to the fore, and religion gradually lost its dominant grip on our lives, but it has yet to release its power over our souls, for so much of the taboos it enforced were carried forward into the rational age – not least the prejudice against gay, lesbian, bi, queer and trans people, which is still far from dismantled as we progress into the 21st century. Religions still influence the attitudes of a large percentage of the world’s population, but without real historical knowledge of how faith was in the pre-Christian world, people today do not see much of the underlying significance of the stories in the holy books on which they base their faith, nor do they understand where their religiously justified, irrational and stubborn prejudices stem from. The long told story of Christianity’s ‘Triumph’ over paganism hides the fact that the religion was born from the Goddess-centred faiths of that past time as much as from the Judaic prophecy of the Messiah.
But the Goddess isn’t worried. She has never gone anywhere. Anyone who has felt the presence of expanded, vibrant, high vibrational, peacefully embracing love has met Her, even if they called it ‘Him’. The shakti-shekinah-sakina is present in all matter, in both ‘he’ and ‘she’.
Jesus came to do a job, his inspirational life kicked off a stream of growth for humanity that has unfortunately utterly severed our connection to the actual presence of the divine in the world, except for rare, magical moments that become the highlights of our lives. To heal our disconnection from the planet, from love, from the god and goddess within ourselves, we need – as a species, but each of us individually can help that day come – to reconnect to the light-giving, loving, teaching, compassionate and comforting Divine Mother Presence in everything- the shekhinah, shakti, sakina: the Great Holy Goddess Spirit.
I am a Long Term AIDS Survivor, witnessing how dynamics experienced by the Gay community in the 1980-90s are being played out on a much larger, global, scale, for in the Age of the Coronavirus everybody is involved.
Diagnosed HIV+ in 1990 I lived as a PWA (Person With AIDS) from 1995-8: I wrote articles for London based magazine Positive Nation and was very focused on exploring alternative treatments to the deadly medicine, AZT, that was killing my friends, and alternative understanding of the cause and nature of the condition to that of the medical-biological model. In the HIV world we had our outright virus-deniers, and many more of us who were just prepared to try anything we thought might help. I explored Chinese medicine, Kombucha, spiritual healing, flower remedies and dived into the ‘New Age’ ideas of Louise Hay (‘You Can Heal Your Life’). I took a pro-active, positive approach towards my own healing, did not simply surrender to the medical system, which, I came to realise, was limited by its materialist, entirely biological approach. As my journey with HIV progressed I woke up to the fact that this was not simply about an infection gained through sexual activity, this was a multi-levelled health crisis, of body, mind and soul.
2020’s COVID-19 PANDEMIC IS A COLLECTIVE CRISIS OF BODY, MIND AND SOUL.
Restrictions in place on where, how and how many people we can meet.
A battle raging for control of our minds, between beliefs, ideologies, conspiracies.
Our souls, like the planet, are battered by materialist, consumerist, conflict-driven paradigms, in fact the soulless, materialist military-industrial paradigm is killing life on Earth, we have to start caring for our home, and for each other, or we die.
These conditions remind me a lot of living with AIDS.
Physical illness restricted our movements; we listened to the conflicting messages of doctors, hiv-denying activists and of course the sometimes hateful words coming from ‘religious’ people and the authorities. (The Chief of Police in Manchester said the gay community was ‘swirling in a cess pit of their own making’). My own personal revelation was that my body was dying because my soul was seriously neglected. I was not seeking to understand life, to grow in knowledge or wisdom, to find my place in the bigger picture, to discover my own unique magic. I had bought into the idea that my ‘education’ was over post university and now I just had to function, being just a chance happening in a meaningless reality. I seriously lacked goals, but my saving grace was that I did seek love, more than anything – when I sat down to think after my diagnosis I worked out that the one thing on my bucket list was love. I found it with a wonderful French man, we met in a bar in Soho in 1993 and were together for seven years, lovingly caring for each other through the aids experience. Having achieved that goal, a new one appeared – I wanted answers.
I had become an atheist aged 12, when the rational, scientific outlook was educated into me. Up until then I had been quite as ease with Jesus and God, but I had worked out that the teachers did not really believe the religious stories that got trotted out in school assembly. HIV motivated me to sit down and think about life for the first time, in my late 20s. If I was going to die, why had I been born in the first place? What was the point? I suddenly wanted to know.
I had studied History at Churchill College, Cambridge in the mid 1980s, so I approached this question as a historian would – going to the source materials, and studying the evolution of humanity’s ideas about the meaning of life ever since we started recording them. At first I thought that was during ancient Greek times, or the Vedic scriptures of India, but in fact we have been leaving messages for future generations ever since the rock carvings, stone circles and pyramids of the Stone Age.
It soon became clear that you cannot simply study the meaning of life, you have to embrace the inner search and transformation that the world’s mystics and teachers have been talking about for millennia if you want real answers. I came to see, and experience, that, at their core, all the world’s great mystery traditions are speaking of the unity and interconnectedness of life, love, nature and spirit it became clear that this is a basic root fact of existence of which the modern world is in complete denial. Our ‘civilisation’ is built on the principle of separation, domination and division. We abuse the planet, we fight each other – in complete denial of the wisdom that the icons of our various religions and philosophies gave us.
More than this – there is an active energy in the world promoting the idea that there are no answers. It seems that the ruling and influential people in the world have entirely bought the materialist world views that life has no meaning, no purpose; that our consciousness is a chance by-product of our biology; that the universe sprang out of nowhere in a big bang, etc. I’ve noticed mainstream media loves an opportunity to mock astrology, criticise ayahuasca ceremonies, etc, though usually it just ignores the massive surge in interest in spirituality that is going on in the world. For example the BBC on a Sunday will feature god-denying humanists one moment, god-addicted Christians the next. The rest of the week secularism rules the roost. The voices of mystics, of astrologers and holistic healers, of those who have seen beyond the much-hyped differences between religion and science, or between the faiths, and perceive a united spiritual existence here on earth, don’t get airtime.
CONFUSION IS THE BIGGEST CONSPIRACY OF ALL
Life makes perfect sense when we live with an open heart and mind, when we allow the voices of the wise ancestors to inform us, when we accept that we are part of a oneness, not separate except through the illusion created by our own minds and bodies, these miraculous vehicles that exist for us to experience existence.
Crisis drives the search for answers, and the world has been plunged into crisis like never before – with much larger ones on the horizon if we do not address the very real question of how humanity’s actions are unbalancing the climate, in fact the whole eco-system. HIV was the kickstart I needed to wake up and see that life is a spiritual journey, not simply a material one, and that if I wished to heal and feel whole I needed to embrace all parts of being – body, mind, soul and spirit – as sacred. As an educated man it did not take long to work out that life is a mixture of reason and mystery – we need to welcome and operate in both fields to grasp life’s fullness. And yet our modern culture would rather we didn’t. It took that close shave with death for me to shift my mind from a mundane to a profound outlook on life, and that is why I can say that COVID-19 presents an opportunity for the whole species to get to a higher level of consciousness.
While facing AIDS I heard the message of the mystics that the deep seated beliefs we hold in our minds and hearts are always being heard by the cosmos as prayers to which it responds. So to believe in a pointless, random life is to conjure that experience. Equally, to believe in a dominating, angry Father God who judges everything you do is to create the experience of that. This is how religions have been used to control the people for centuries – we maybe think totalitarianism was invented in the 20th century, but in fact under the Roman Empire, Christianity, once it became the only religion permitted in the late 4th century, was already well engaged in this project. During the Middle Ages, alternative Christian outlooks to that of the Roman Catholic Church – such as those of the Cathars, Knights Templars, Bogomils and Free Spirits – ended up on the receiving end of Catholic swords, or Inquisition fires. So did many witches in the early Modern era, as the Christian religion, by then fired up even more by the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation, as the Churches determinedly tried to stamp out any vestiges of the belief in the nature religions of ancient Europe.
The so-called ‘Enlightenment’ came along and the grip that religion held on power and belief started to falter, but as much as they keep trying, atheists have not taken over the world. The human spirit won’t let them. The search to understand life is humanity’s oldest quest, yet I was educated in the 20th century, brainwashed even, to believe this quest was pointless, that no answers could ever be found. Facing looming death I wasn’t satisfied by this deflection any more. As I dived into spiritual search my understanding and experience of life entirely changed. Yes it was very confusing at first, but I could sense a clear light source from which all humanity’s imaginings arise. I kept my focus on that light and walked through the darkness with firm determination until my entire being had transformed.
I believe that the human species is ready to make the leap to the next level of consciousness. This involves accepting we all share the same root consciousness, that we can create a world built on oneness, a world of peace, prosperity and harmony, if we recognise that oneness and make all our decisions and choices from that place. It doesn’t matter how we each perceive that Oneness, whether as a Father, a Mother, a Friend, a Lover or an entirely impersonal presence. But once we find that Oneness within ourselves we become a force for the positive evolution of the species.
There is way more evidence for the ongoing paradigm shift away from division and separation on YouTube and the rest of social media than you will ever find on the mainstream channels. There are a lot of confused ideas too of course. Our task becomes to find our own truth, make sure we are not being manipulated into ideas strongly espoused for others, and then to walk in it.
From the place of Oneness, a virus is not simply an enemy – it has a role in pushing the exploration and evolution of medicine, of community, of consciousness. HIV never felt to me like a simple sexually transmitted disease – it is much more than that, a life changing guest in the body that has the potential to assist us to open up and heal our minds, hearts and spirits. That was my experience, HIV revealed to me that Healing Is Vital – ie healing from the paradigm of separation and suffering that grips the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for humanity to question the way we do things, to evolve quickly to better ways of living in harmony with each the planet and each other, but we have to grasp the opportunity and get on with it.
As a rational, educated human being who was faced with a crisis of mortality, I dived into study of humanity’s attempts to understand its own nature, from religion to magic to science and philosophy. After an initial rush of excitement about the wonders hidden from view in the modern world, I settled into a steady life pattern that generates health and well being through communion with nature, attunement to planetary and cosmic cycles, and knowing myself integrally as part of the planet, part of the solar system, part of the divine mystery. As far as I can see the biggest lies running on the planet today are that we are separate individual beings, that life has no direction or purpose, that life’s mysteries can never be solved. Try believing something else and see where it gets you, that’s my recommendation. Confusion is the biggest conspiracy on the planet today.
I remember Religious Education lessons at my school during the late 1970s in which indigenous pagan traditions of old Europe and the rest of the world were mocked for their primitive worship of the Sun and Moon. Our teacher was a Christian, and although I recall him giving a reasonable introduction to the great religions of the East, nature based faiths, we were firmly told, were superstitious nonsense.
Since I have become aware of the rich spiritual culture and inner growth that paganism offers, I’ve wondered whether that teacher, Dr Surin, really had so little understanding of nature spirituality or his attitude was a conscious ploy to direct the development of our 13 year old minds.
As long ago as 1851 American archaeologist and historian E.G. Squier wrote in ‘The Serpent Symbol’ that the active and passive principles of nature, –
“symbolised by the sun and the moon, or the sun and the earth, was recognised in the mythological systems of America”.
Those religion lessons skimmed over paganism in less than one session, and no wonder, for there was a crucial central feature to nature based spiritual paths the world over that the teacher did not want to mention – the centrality of pleasure, the inclusion of sex in pagan ritual worship and their regard of the genital organs as holy. This was surely a very conscious decision to hide all this, for British paganism was back in the open by this time, and far back in the 19th century historian H. H, Bancroft, in the Native Races of the Pacific States of North America (1874), had understood that, –
“the life-giving and vivifying principle of nature has been always symbolised by the human organs of generation”.
Traditional faiths were mocked by my religious teacher as ‘fertility religions’. We were told the stupid people used to make ceremony to ask the gods to bless the crops, and that was about it. But back in the 1940s George Ryley Scott was already pointing out (in ‘Phallic Worship: A History of Sex and Sexual Rites’) that the pagans were also honouring pleasure itself, for they regarded sexual ecstasy as a state of communion with the gods. And for this reason the phallus was an almost universal holy symbol across the world. Where the patriarchal phalli did not completely subjugate the feminine the vulva was honoured equally.
From Roman times the Christians began to call the sacred sex workers who had operated for millennia in the temples of antiquity (throughout Middle East and Asia) ‘prostitutes’. But George Ryley Scott pointed out that, –
“It is important to note that these temple prostitutes… were not looked upon with disgust… They were “brides of God” or “slaves of the idol” and were accorded a degree of respect far in advance of anything given to the ordinary female member of society. It was considered to be an honour to serve the gods in this way.”
In the 1970s feminist and gay historians such as Merlin Stone (‘When God Was a Woman’) and Arthur Evans (‘Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture’) were going as far as to call the traditional, ancient faiths ‘sex religions’.
There is a crucial connection between the virulent homophobia that developed in European Christianity and which it then spread around the world in the last 500 years and the destruction of the ancient sex positive cultures. To achieve this, women’s sexual power was turned into something dark by the adoption of the misogynistic Hebrew creation story and the gradual association of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah with gay sex instead of it being about hospitality and the rape of strangers (a process begun by Christian thinker Philo in the 1st century CE). The Christians followed the example of the Hebrew Kings of the period 1000-600 BCE whose efforts to stop the worship of phallic symbols and the sexual temple practices carried out by women and the Qedesha (meaning the ‘Holy Ones’, the word was translated into English as ‘sodomites’) had been only partially successful. From the 4th century onwards pagan statues, temples, sacred groves were all attacked by Christians, again following the instructions of the Old Testament Yahweh (such as Exodus 22:20 “He that sacrificeth to any God, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed”), backed up by juicy lines from the New such as Luke 10:19 “Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy”.
The religions of the Father God caused a separation of the spirit and the flesh, and over the centuries of the Middle Ages destroyed rival Christian groups that accepted sexuality, that gave power to women, that refused the authority of the established Church. By the Early Modern era the repression of gay sex in Europe, was being taken up by the political lawmakers as well as the Catholic Inquisition. Europeans were utterly shocked by the open expression of sexuality they found on their world explorations. On every other continent they came across people who had no shame about sex, who had not thought of the concept of obscenity, and they found sexual rites of worship, same sex couples, transgendered souls held in high regard, and sacred phallic imagery, all of which they set about doing their very best to destroy.
George Catlin wrote about the Sioux Buffalo Dance in 1867, recording the climax when O-ke-hee-de (owl spirit) came into the scene: “In his hands he carried a sort of wand – a slender rod of eight feet in length, with a red ball at the end of it, which he slid about upon the ground as he ran”. Professor Gerard Troost of Tennessee wrote of a statue of a priapic kneeling man (he switched to Latin in his work to describe the ‘membrum generationis virile in erectione‘) that was ‘considered too indelicate to be preserved’. Phallic imagery was common throughout the Americas, and in Africa and Asia too, as it had once been in pagan Europe (as the modern world realised with shock when the ruins at Pompeii were revealed). For example, 19th century British explorer Richard Burton wrote that phallic worship in Dahomey, west Africa, “is uncomfortably prominent; every street from Whydah to the capital is adorned with the symbol.”
The cultures of Asia show many examples of phallic worship…..
In the western world the 1960s brought the ‘Sexual Revolution’ at the same time as an explosion of interest in all things mystical and occult. The still prudish atmosphere of the mainstream at the time, plus the materialist backlash against spirituality that has been raging since the 1980s, has prevented as yet a proper reunion of the sexual and spiritual sides of our humanity. When it comes to sex, we as a species are still learning about the basics of respect, equality and consent, and maybe we have to get these properly in place before we can truly embark on the pagan, tantric, embrace of life in all its pleasure giving glory, before we can access all the potential of the life-giving, pleasure-giving sexual organs, symbols and tools of the divine creation, and of the divine creative presence within us.
In our hearts, the peoples of Europe are pagans. Our native culture was formed after the end of the Ice Ages during what is known as the Neolithic (New Stone) Age and the Bronze Age, a period of several thousand years years. Our most ancient sacred sites are elaborate tombs and stone circles, some older than the pyramids of Egypt, and found especially in Ireland and the British Isles, showing that the spirituality of our ancestors honoured the dead and nature’s seasonal cycles.
The Iron Age brought a time of scarcity and conflict in Britain as the population grew and resources dwindled, which made it perhaps easy for the Roman Empire to invade and take over….though only as far as Hadrian’s Wall, the Picts of the north were unconquerable. Romans were known for absorbing local deities and religious festivals into their own pagan worldview, but the Druids of Britain were an exceptionally stubborn bunch. Resistance to Roman rule included the burning down of both Colchester and London by Iceni queen Boudicca, while the Roman army was engaged fighting the druids in their last outpost, Anglesea.
The retreat of the Roman Empire and the arrival of Christianity saw, at least at times, a continuing tradition of the ancient Celtic faith blending to some extent with Christianity, as evidenced by Celtic crosses which combined both the crucifix and the circle. The conversion of European leaders to Christianity was a gradual process that took several centuries, and of the populace took even longer. The Church and State worked hand in hand to build churches and cathedrals in the Middle Ages, and to destroy the last vestiges of pagan practice through the Inquisition and the witch trials. Yet even so, in the 17th century a Maypole of over 100 feet height still stood in a prominent location near the Thames, and was restored as a sign of British sovereign spirit at the Restoration of the Monarch in 1688. The natural pagan magic of Summer Solstice has never been forgotten throughout the centuries of Christian domination, as Shakespeare assured us in A Midsummers Night’s Dream.
The Witchcraft Act brought in by Henry VIII and his successors forced pagan practices underground. They survived in secret family traditions and occultist societies, before coming out of the closet when the Act was repealed in the mid 20th century. This has led to the spread of Wicca around the world, a formulation of pagan witchcraft created in the UK, and the dawning realisation that the white man, the european, also once had an indigenous shamanic culture that was about reverence of nature, of the dead and the cosmic cycles, that honoured the body and sexuality and ecstatic states of reverence and reverie – just like every other race on the planet once had, until the monotheistic religions spread their ‘love’ by killing those who would not convert to it. And who did they focus their hatred on in order to destroy the power of the pagan faiths?
Among their victims were the genderqueer Gallae priesthood of Cybele, Great Mother of the Roman Empire with roots going back to at least 6000 BCE, the lesbian priestesses and eunuchs of the temples of Artemis/Diana and Isis/Ishtar, the sex-positive gnostic, heretical and free spirit groups of the Middle Ages (that also gave equal power to women as men), the wise women and fairy men of the countryside, the two-spirit shamans of the American continent (whom the Europeans called berdache, a French word for a bottom or ‘kept boy’), and their kin on all other continents. The Christian Europeans were so successful at eradicating the ancient profound associations between gender-fluidity, same-sex love and the sacred realms, that the modern gay movement has very little idea about this rich and illustrious past that exists in our ancestry. Until this is known and understood, the sometimes frightening position of trans and all queer people in this world will is unlikely to improve. But Summer Solstice opens the season of GAY PRIDE, through which, across the globe, queer visibility and presence has soared over the past few decades. And in certain places, unseen by most, our ancient connections to the spirit worlds are gradually being reclaimed also. The merging of queer and pagan spirit brings an acceleration of human consciousness, opens the portals to awakening – for all: because, from the Qedesha of ancient Canaan to the Quimbanda and Bori-Bori of Africa and the Mahu of Polynesia, TRANS AND GAY/QUEER PEOPLE – ie those who embody masculine and feminine spirit strongly in their one being – this is what we have always done.
This SUMMER SOLSTICE 2020 coincides with the NEW MOON IN CANCER and a SOLAR ECLIPSE, which happens on a 19 year cycle, last time in 2001. Due to PANDEMIC CONDITIONS people are not welcome at STONEHENGE this year – instead there is a LIVESTREAM broadcast available online – for the first time in the history of the planet the ancient stone spirits of the Henge are speaking to the whole world!
2020 is bringing so much change. So many assumptions about our culture, history and destiny are beginning to fall, to transform. This includes our collective understanding of spirituality, of who we are, living as humans on planet earth.
As we do this, we in Europe and across most of the world might reflect on the fact that Christianity is an invader, an interloper from another land – but one that came with a divine purpose. What that purpose was is HISTORY. It, like Judaism and Islam, came to bring something that is ultimately intended to form a harmony with the natural ancient shamanic wisdom of the planet.
As more and more of us get in touch with our core pagan hearts and spirits, we re-enter the magic of connection, of being part of the dance with all other beings in Creation, instead of vaguely terrified souls, bouncing between the promises/threats of religion and the nihilism of scientific materialism. As we do this we influence the vibrations in the spaces we inhabit, our homes become sanctuaries of love, peace and healing comfort, our communities become sources of immense love and support. Pagan practice heals our wounds of disconnection, isolation and fear. We have to practice both alone and with others to get the full healing effect. Summer Solstice 2020 is a huge turning point on dear beloved planet Earth. Sun and moon aligned at zero degrees Cancer, the sign of the Mother, of the home and of love – the great Goddess is re-entering the playing field of life, change is here. LOVE IS COMING.
Being a Lightworker in Dark Times on planet Earth involves recognising that….
“All life, in particular humanity as a whole, is now working, melding and moving into a space where a deep love, harmony and purpose await….
“So instead of feeling lost, abandoned or forgotten, you can recognise that your are part of a large cosmic family which is now in a position to serenade and support you…
“This … is about remembering. Remembering who you are. Remembering the informational circuits you can use to and being aware of the capacity love has to change everything. And to specifically recognise that fear is artificial and has to be transmuted in its totality…”
From A Handbook For Lightworkers, by David Cousins, 1993
Lightwork is not simply about connecting to external frequencies and entities, it is also about bringing oneself home to self-awareness, love and harmony in ourselves – as humanity transitions out of the old paradigm of division and conflict into a greater understanding of our unified spiritual nature, lightwork, everyone has the chance to feed and accelerate the change. As the book says, lightwork is “a supporting mechanism to go over the abyss of doubt, fear and despair.”
I found these quotes and meditations recorded in my personal journal from 1999, when the acceleration of frequencies I experienced as I started my recovery from AIDS left me reeling – as my life changed I was simultaneously excited and terrified of the future, plus chased by shadows of the recent dark past. I found these meditations very helpful, and still do….
SLOWING THE VIBRATIONS IN THE BODY AND MINDSit with back in straight physical alignment, focus on breathing in and out in steady rhythm. Focus on and visualise the base chakra, for some minutes, try a count of 20-30 breaths, for example. Do this first before the other meditations.
DRAWING IN LIGHTVisualise light coming into the body through the top of the head, the crown chakra, then slowly focus on each chakra through the body, visualising the light entering.
ROOTINGVisualise roots from your feet going down into the planet, feel the planet’s response. Feel down into the earth and into underground water sources. See colour energies coming up through the roots into your body.
LIGHT AND ROOTS
Draw up life energy from Earth and draw in light energy from sky through base and crown chakras, meeting in the heart.
5. BLACK LIGHT HEALING MEDITATION
To transmute, release and clear unwanted, old, slow frequency energy from inner and outer auric fields. Visualise BLACK – the colour health, power, potential and harmony. Complete meditations 1 to 4, then draw up healing black energy from the earth, let it flow up your legs and into the body. See your pains and problems as ice cubes, let the black healing energy wash over them and melt them. Draw up more energy with each in breath and see it pouring out of you through the pores of your skin. Now bring in white light too, from the sky, let it flood through your entire being.
Repeat the sequence of raising up black, see it absorb the pain and negativity, then receiving down white energy three times.
This is recommended as ongoing cleansing practice, and can be especially effective undertaken last thing before sleep at night.
The mental attitudes and beliefs we have in place in the mind frame and colour our experience of life, and in fact are calling those experiences to us. This is what the Law of Attraction is all about – our mental energies emit frequencies which draw similar frequencies to them, good or bad, simply based on what we are putting our deep thought and faith into.
Therefore every now and again it pays dividends to look at the core beliefs we have running in our subconscious minds. If we don’t do this we risk ‘old programmes’ running the show of our lives today. Especially during times of rapid change in life circumstances, or big shifts in our emotional lives, it is a good time to go within and check that we have positive core beliefs operating that support our well being and are calling good experiences into our lives.
The future is not written. However, our imagination is often busy writing it rather than experiencing the current moment. This is, I suggest, usually caused by an emotional reaction to a notion of something in the future arising in our stream of thought, a reaction which is actually a suppressed emotion from the past trying to make itself known by preventing us experiencing the present. If we imagine our happiness lies in the future we are denying the possibility of it existing here and how, and also setting ourselves up for a fall if that future arrives but doesn’t deliver what we expected. But when we imagine a dark future of trouble, issues and angst we are being influenced by something in our past that we haven’t healed yet – we can remind ourselves when we spot this happening that the future is not written, is in fact ours to create – that in fact we are invoking a future all the time through our mental and emotional bodies – so envisioning dark futures is not a great idea (such thoughts also produce immediate chemical and emotional reactions in our bodies as if the dark thing were happening right now) – but of course often it can be hard not to imagine a dark future because we tend to base our assumptions about what is to come on our experience of the past. We tend to believe this pattern –
EXPERIENCE – CONCEIVE – CREATE
but the universe is running on this pattern, that, when engaged consciously, will bring us what we actually want in life:
CONCEIVE – CREATE -EXPERIENCE
Ie to change an experience that you do not want or like, change the belief that conjured it into being, choose a different thoughtform that will lead you towards what you do want. The fullest explanation of this can be found in the series of Conversations with God books by Neale Donald Walsch.
We can surrender all our thoughts, fears and expectations about the future, release them from our energy field – perhaps to the Dark Goddess or the Void or our deity of choice – simply refuse to believe in them – and please note we do not need to judge them for existing, they are what they are, but we do not have to listen to them nor hold on to them. We can accept that the future is in the hand of the Universe, of the Divine, of Creation… and it works wonders to also believe that the Universe/Divine/Creation is poised at every moment to move into alignment on the many levels of Being that exist, to bring you into a state of bliss filled connection with yourself, with the people around you, with nature – BECAUSE IN FACT IT IS! The cosmic consciousness is always on the verge of union, or shifting like night and day in and out of unity – we humans are the meeting points of the maya/illusion of separation/suffering with the yoga/union of joyful, playful. loving oneness. In our minds we create pathways to unity or crisis, all the time – the law of attraction is always in play, trying to manifest the vibrations emanating from our mental frequencies, and the emotionally charged beliefs we put behind them.
Once we realise we may be creating potential unhappiness in our own future, simply by imagining it there, and get that we actually have some power over that – then it is time to practise the art of surrender to the higher self. The higher self can absolutely handle the future, maybe even has it planned out already – the higher self (perhaps approached through a deity) is always creating pathways to a future of unity, love and concord. We can give all our hopes, fears, dreams about the future to the higher self – yes tell it what you DO want, be clear on the positives, but then stop thinking about them and live in the now… and at the same time surrender to it, and invite it to transform, every single dark thought that arises in the imagination about the future. There is really no need to hold anything about the future in the emotional field except hope, faith and trust!
For all of us born in the 20th century it’s likely we were indoctrinated from birth into believing in ourselves as separate beings, told that our self-awareness that is the product of our physical form, whose thoughts are powerless, but who have to compete and struggle to make our way in the world. It’s fairly unlikely we grow into adulthood believing and feeling we are held, from the inside, by the all-loving, generous source of creation, who gives their own precious, divine gift of self awareness to us, that we might evolve into divinely conscious beings in our own right. This is not what we generally were told, except in some religious versions, sometimes very twisted ones.
Good religion exists too of course, and during the 20th century there have been many teachers and prophets both within and outside established faiths who have brought forth the wisdom of unity and love. The established forces of governments, academia, global corporations, finance – the military-industrial complex that runs the world at the moment holds on tightly to a materialistic paradigm that serves it well, but does not serve the planet nor her inhabitants, that does not connect us to the All-Being.
The Core Beliefs that have infected the world with viral poison and are holding back the evolution of our species are
THAT WE ARE ALL SEPARATE BEINGS
THAT THE BODY AND SEXUALITY ARE ANYTHING LESS THAN DIVINE COSMIC VEHICLES FOR OUR CONSCIOUSNESS
THAT ALL FORMS OF LOVE ARE NOT EQUAL
THAT LIFE IS A RANDOM ACCIDENT IN A HEARTLESS UNIVERSE
As we each individually work out the truth about these things for ourselves – and it seems to me a lot of people have already done so – the collective consciousness shifts and the great institutions that run our lives will either adapt or collapse.
Shifting to or strengthening our own personal core beliefs to an
ACCEPTANCE OF UNITY OF ALL LIFE AND EXISTENCE
THAT THE BODY AND SEXUALITY ARE SACRED
AND SO ARE ALL FORMS OF LOVE
THAT LIFE IS AN ETERNAL JOURNEY, ON WHICH WE ARE DESTINED TO AWAKEN TO COSMIC BLISS
and by making sure that all other beliefs we are permitting in our mind space are in accord with these life-enhancing, light-bringing, core values, we rapidly accelerate our individual contribution to the holistic and healthy evolution of the whole. We bring wellness into our own lives, as our souls relax and our hearts, minds and spirits expand.
With these core beliefs in place, the future becomes a much less frightening place.
Diagnosed HIV+ in 1990, I lived with what we termed ‘full blown’ AIDS from 1995 to ’98, eventually turning the corner when my body responded to the new protease inhibitor drugs. As the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic shakes human societies across the planet to the core in Spring 2020, parallels and comparisons with the AIDS years are appearing on the internet. For some of us Long Term Survivors it does feel like we went through a training for the apocalypse, that we were some kind of ‘advance guard’, receiving important lessons in plague survival which can now be shared.
Writer Mark Matousek gets straight to the heart of the lessons we learnt on the AIDS front line in a piece entitled ‘Practice Dying: Waking Up in Perilous Times’:
“For the first time in recorded history, human beings around the world are confronting our mortality in real time together, fighting a common adversary that would like to put us all out of business.” He acknowledges the general thrust happening globally to find meaning in this crisis, also the “xenophobia; altruism, camaraderie, and gratitude for the smallest things”, but sees greater potential:
”The coronavirus has given humankind the chance to “practice dying” (as Socrates described the central mission of all philosophy) together as an endangered species. Besides the threat of personal illness, we have the unique opportunity to share this dread with everyone else we know, who are facing their own mortality. If we can acknowledge the truth of our plight, I believe, and heal ancient rifts in the human family, we have a chance to turn this catastrophe into a major boon for humanity’s future.
“I know that this is possible because I’ve lived it. At the height of the AIDS crisis, 30 years ago, I saw how death and dying could enlighten a whole community. For more than a decade, we waited for the guillotine to fall, surrounded by thousands of others on the same chopping block. Terrifying and painful as these years were, they were also the most transformative of my life. Emotional walls collapsed, compassion exploded across social lines, and spiritual values became the norm, as we waited in the shadows of another virus. Sick people took care of sick people. Nobody was completely safe, which brought us even closer together. Love showed up in guises we never expected.“https://shift.theshiftnetwork.com/practice-dying-waking-up-perilous-times
Mark says that “Without the threat of mortal loss, I would have never had had the conviction — the fuel — to become the person I wanted to be or to find my way through terrible dread to something stronger than my fear.”
This was also my experience – AIDS was an unexpected kind of spiritual grace for me, because through confronting my mortality I discovered parts of my soul that had been previously hidden, and as I recovered from sickness a new, much more engaged, emotionally and spiritually connected new life began for me.I call AIDS my ACCELERATED INDIVIDUAL DISCOVERY OF SELF, and I have often wondered if the unfolding revelation of the soul’s mysteries that I experienced might be at some point coming to the species en masse.
I came out of the AIDS years with a view that a virus has a job to do. My mind opened to the possibility of consciousness as a unified field of experience – with an eventual destination ahead of love-fuelled cosmic oneness in full glory on this planet – and I came to see HIV as an awakener to the fact that we are each individual embodiments of one divine wholeness, and that life and death are two versions of the same experience, just like day and night.
By facing death, losing the fear of it, even befriending it (and beings who live on that side of the veil!), we have the chance to release the potent creative powers in our bodies, minds and souls. So much of our human nature is veiled behind our fears. Love is the antidote that reveals the way. Love for our selves, our partners, friends and family, our tribes and all living things. This is the potential in the human heart – to rise above the conflicts and delusions of the ego, the part of us that believes itself separate from everything else – and form a culture of compassion and self-discovery that celebrates all forms of love, all forms of joyful sexuality, and the ecstatic mystery held within the human body, in nature, in life itself. It is through the heart that we can know directly our sacred oneness with each other and all existence.
In this mystical view, the Coronavirus is part of us and its name gives us a clue to its ultimate goal. The Crown Chakra at the top of our head opens our energy fields up to the spirit, to the multidimensional universe, to the ability of our soul to fly between worlds. Fear blocks access to this light. Surrendering fear and embracing love and trust brings internal connection to the powerful and subtle forces of the universe. We do not need science to tell us if these other dimensions exist or not -we have the perfect instrument, designed by Nature Herself, with which to explore them, our own bodies, minds and emotions.
I replaced god with science and became a self declared atheist at the age of 12, when events at school brought home the shocking revelation that the teachers did not actually believe the religious platitudes they espoused daily in assembly – particularly in relation to death and the afterlife. I had proposed that a way to deal with overpopulation in the world would be to create places where people could choose to go and die when they had had enough of being here – in my innocent mind would simply return happily to heaven. I think even at that age I was aware of old people shut away in care homes, no longer engaging life actively and simply waiting to die. I could not understand why we tried so hard to keep them here in a state of suffering.
The teachers were of course horrified, I was taken aside for a very serious chat! Five decades later western culture faces ongoing crises in care provision for elderly people. Coronavirus erupts around the world and there is great outrage and shock expressed left, right and centre about old people in care homes dying from it – about 50% of the deaths across Europe so far we recently learned.
From where I am standing however this virus is offering souls who have completed their life mission here a chance to get out., so of course it’s finding willing hosts in care homes. Our death-phobic culture will not let people go peacefully with grace at a time of their own choosing, so the ‘Angel of Death’ has to intervene. I’m not saying there is no tragedy, or ‘accidental’ deaths along the way, but the Coronavirus is also delivering grace.
Of course this Angel of Death is doing a lot of things for us – offering us a chance to gain some perspective on our lives, individually and collectively, through this enforced time of quarantine for nearly half of the world’s population – to review how we are living on the planet, reconsider how we are treating her and each other, what we make our priorities. We are going through the most profound collective paradigm shift our species has ever experienced – it is happening quickly, and it is very difficult and challenging. Yet it is exactly what we have been waiting for, and what some of us have even been pre-trained by life to be ready for.
Hank Trout writes on aumag.org, that “We need to remember AIDS lessons learned.”
“We elders in the tribe who lived through the entirety of the AIDS pandemic, have learned we need to take care of our own. We know how to do it.” https://aumag.org/
Mark S. King, author of Myfabulousdisease has written of the Coronavirus prompting flashbacks to the AIDS wards of the 1980s, and while at first, like some others, resistant to drawing comparisons with our experience of AIDS – this time after all world governments acknowledge its existence and are applying resources, something we had to fight hard to get, (no need to remind you i’m sure of the virulent homophobia that erupted) – he too speaks of the grace that will be accessed through this time of trial: “We haven’t yet seen the best our humanity has to offer, It’s coming and you’ll know it when you see it.”https://marksking.com/
One commenter on Myfabulousdisease called COVID-19 “a walk in the park” compared to AIDS. Kevin Jennings on Them.us described the “level of attention and alarm for the coronarvirus versus the apathy that greeted HIV is life a slap in the face.” The New York Times reported that the pandemic is bringing “for HIV survivors, a feeling of weary Deja Vu.” (their caps)
Californian blogger Martina Clark says that compared to HIV, Coronavirus is a “supersonic bullet train” – HIV was for most of the population ‘somebody else’s disease’ but this virus “knows no borders and does not discriminate.” https://martina-clark.com/
Well – fair enough….. however, HIV didn’t infect everybody it could have, AIDS didn’t killeveryone it might have – me for example. The materialist paradigm puts us at war with nature – and this virus is nature, can be seen as nature’s response to the way we are treating the planet – and ultimately therefore at war with ourselves. Fear of death and ignorance of the multidimensional mysteries of the consciousness keep humanity gripped in a three dimensional drama of tragedy and torment. But facing the fear and seeking direct personal knowledge and understanding of our spiritual nature as conscious living beings, are what will reveal the deeper layers of what is going on to us a species and our own individual part within that.
There is no faster way to wake up to the soul
to escape the illusions that humanity has fallen into
and to rebirth yourself as a timeless entity
on a mystery adventure called life
than to face the end, and make it your friend
FOR THERE IS IN FACT NO END
you are eternal – stop fearing death
release each fear with an outbreath.
EMBRACE LOVE, EMBRACE LIFE
there has never been a more miraculous time to be alive.
The 2020s will be a DIVINE DECADE
Society will shake, there will be plagues and earthquakes
but humanity will finally be more AWAKE.
Interconnectedness plain for all to see
I’m another YOU, and You another ME
the journey we’ve been on is called History
now it’s time to evolve and be free.
Our species united, through love or through fear
A new way of being together is near
Advanced understanding of our creative gifts
Finding a new divine way to live.
All paths have been leading to this time
All paths become One
Divine Self online.
Since 2012 as the Mayans said:
the Old World is Dead!
But the new one barely yet born.
Some fear the End and read the signs
but others know there is more to these times:
Ancient hands still guide our way
There will be a brand new day…
Prophecies and predictions have long foretold
of a total break with ways now old:
Since 2012 the light of superconsciousness shines
but is only visible to those with 3 eyes,
Planet Earth has into two divided –
there are some in the light
but most dwell in the lies
espoused by religions, politicians and the unwise.
Everyone can have a voice in the internet age
but those who listen to their own inner sage
are the ones who are really turning the page.
in this time of trial there are many lessons to be learnt
just as there were in the time of AIDS.
We were vanguards, scouts on the edge
living and dying in the aids pandemic.
For 15+ years our trial did endure
and still there is no vaccine or cure –
we learned about community, compassion and care-giving