Tuesday, 7/3/18

I’m still trying to find some value in TCIM, so I’m going through the Table of Contents and then looking up pages that might have something to offer. Chapter 15 has a subhead: “The Only Real Relationship.” Since I’m really into relationships, I checked it out:

“…let Him Whose teaching is only of God teach you the only meaning of relationships. For God created the only relationship that has meaning, and that is his relationship with you… The reality of this relationship becomes the only truth that you could ever want.” (pp. 299-301)

Nope, that doesn’t work for me. Sure, I have a relationship with The Goddess, but my relationships with women as Her avatars, and men as avatars of the God, and animals as avatars of the Totems, are all really important to me, and I would never dismiss or deny them!

How about Chapter 16, with subhead: “The Illusion and the Reality of Love:”

“The special love relationship is an attempt to limit the destructive effects of hate by finding a haven in the storm of guilt… The special love partner is acceptable only as long as he serves this purpose… It is sure that those who select certain ones as partners in any aspect of living…are trying to live with guilt rather than die of it… There are no triumphs of love. Only hate is at all concerned with the ‘triumph of love.’ The illusion of love can triumph over the illusion of hate, but always at the price of making both illusions… The special love relationship is an attempt to bring love into fear, and make it real in fear… If special relationships of any kind would hinder God’s completion, can they have any value to you? … The special love relationship is the ego’s chief weapon for keeping you from Heaven.” (pp. 314-317)

Having had a “special love relationship” with my beloved Soulmate for 40 years, and many other “special love relationships” as well, I just can’t agree with any of this. So I skipped to the end to see what the conclusion might be:

“And now we say ‘Amen.’ For Christ has come to dwell in the abode You set for Him before time was, in calm eternity. The journey closes, ending at the place where it began. No trace of it remains. Not one illusion is accorded faith, and not one spot of darkness still remains to hide the face of Christ from anyone. Thy Will is done, complete and perfectly, and all creation recognizes You, and knows You as the only Source it has. Clear in Your likeness does the Light shine forth from everything that lives and moves in You. For we have reached where all of us are one, and we are Home, where You would have us be.” (p. 622)

Hmn. Skipping past the Christ references, I can see those final three sentences as an appropriate response to “The Charge of the Star-Goddess”…which, as far as I’m concerned, could replace the entire previous 621 pages.

More on Miracles

Monday, 7/2/18

I’ve now slogged through 240 pages of “A Course in Miracles,” and I’m afraid I just can’t take any more. The 6-page Preface was all about immanent Divinity (“Thou Art God”), the interconnectedness of everything, the underlying core essentiality of Love, and the “One Mind” of Universal Consciousness (the quantum field?). Things I’ve believed and striven to live in accordance with most of my life. So I thought, “this is cool,” and eagerly plunged on to see what other grand revelations awaited in the following 1,327 pages.

Unfortunately, I found nothing else to add to those excellent basic premises. Rather, the book went on and on making 2nd person (“you”) accusations, condemnations, and sanctimonious admonitions that I just didn’t get it; that my ego prevented me from seeing the truth; that I was too pig-headed, arrogant, egotistical and ignorant to understand, etc. And all this in the constantly reiterated context that I must accept unquestioningly the authority of the Word of God–Father, Son, and Holy Spook–as presented herein.

Despite the book having been supposedly “channeled” (by Jesus Christ, no less!) through a woman (Helen Schucman), in the first 240 pages at least, there is no hint of anything feminine. No mention of Mothers, Sisters, Lovers, Wives, Daughters–let alone Goddess. Only Father, Son, Brothers, and other masculine references. All “He” and no “She.”

And despite the frequent references to Love as the core essence of everything (which I wholeheartedly believe!), there is nothing about love of people for each other–nothing about romance, affection, sex, soulmates, courtship, marriage, children, family, community, friendship, or any other form of human love for one another. It’s all a pedantic lecture by Jesus Christ to the solitary male reader (presumably an orphan bachelor), and all the Love is just Father-to-Son-to-Man.

The Introduction says, “The underlying premise of the work is the teaching that the greatest ‘miracle’ that one may achieve in one’s life is the act of simply gaining a full ‘awareness of love’s presence’ in one’s own life.” I do agree with that. But I think we have different understandings of what that means…

Moreover (and this is inexcusable!), the book is stultifyingly boring–a real put-you-to-sleep no-page-turner. It’s redundant AND repetitive (try that!), endlessly rehashing the same tired admonitions over and over. And over. I just had to give it up, lest I throw it out the window (and it’s not my copy).

Of course, your mileage may vary. The book has been enormously popular for over 40 years, so many people must find that it works for them. But not for me.

Rabbits and Miracles

Sunday, 7/1/18

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit! (Google it) Today and the following three days Samina is working at the Venetian as a singing gondolier. She has muscles like an Amazon from paddling her gondola four days and evenings a week!

Last night we popped popcorn and watched a couple of movies: “The Boy,” and “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” Alice was by far the most fun! The Boy was a scary psychological thriller with some surprising twists, but not exactly a fun flick.

Friday evening Samina showed me a DVD of her legendary father’s final nightclub performance, 4 months before he died on Dec. 4, 2016. His name was Carme Daniel Pitrello, but everyone knew him as simply Carme; his obituary says: “Italian singer, comic, impressionist and a 2012 inductee into the Las Vegas Entertainers Hall of Fame… With more than 10,000 performances during his over 40 years on the Strip, Carme was gifted with an outstanding baritone voice, flawless comedic timing and a special rapport with the audience.”

Samina was born and raised in show business, often on tour, performing onstage with her father when she was growing up. She showed me her photo scrapbook, full of 8”x10” glossy b&w autographed PR pics of her with dozens of famous performers. She’s a stage magician, singer, dancer, burlesque queen, showgirl, and all-around class act. She performed as “Jessica Rabbit” after the “Roger Rabbit” movie came out, and she really looked the part!

Samina turned me on to the thick “Course in Miracles” book (1,333 pages!), which I’m reading while she’s off at work. It claims to be channeled from Jesus, and as a Pagan I have to struggle a bit to translate from the Christian metaphors and the lack of any feminine/Goddess/Mother perspective. But there’s a lot I can relate to regarding “Thou art God,” interconnectedness, and Love…

The Introduction says, “The underlying premise of the work is the teaching that the greatest ‘miracle’ that one may achieve in one’s life is the act of simply gaining a full ‘awareness of love’s presence’ in one’s own life.”

According to Wikipedia, the book states that “everything involving time, space, and perception is illusory. It presents a nondualism which states that God is the only truth and reality: perfect, unchanging, unchangeable, extending only love, though not in time and space, which cannot really be comprehended from a dualistic perspective. The theory further states that all life as we perceive it is actually one life, dreaming of separation and fragmentation.” Ehh…could be.

Vegas Wanderings

Friday, 6/29/18

The last two days have been adventuresome. Yesterday we went shopping at a whole foods store called “Sprouts” for groceries for the week, and picked up a bouquet of sunflowers to offer when we visited Samina’s friends Heather and Marco. Their beloved 19-year-old kitty, Sunflower, was on her last legs, and for her final day on Earth she was holding court regally over a moving and tearful celebration of her life, as friends gathered to honor her. Deaf for the past few years, she sat enthroned on a cushion as a slide show behind her projected images from her long life. To our dogs and cats, we are the immortals, living for generations of their kind.

Marco had read about me in “Drawing Down the Moon,” and had to explain to folks who I was, and my role in founding and fostering the Pagan movement. Samina mentioned that I was on Walkabout, and planning on spending a month in Guatemala, at the LaKazonA Lodge eco-resort on Lake Atitlan. Marco had grown up in Cancun and Tulum, where Dona and I were in January. But he was very familiar with Guatemala and Lake Atitlan, and recommended them highly. He and Heather want to have me over for dinner next week, so we can talk about life, the universe, and everything.

After our visit with Sunflower, Marco and Heather, Samina took me to the Venetian, where she works four days a week as a singing gondolier. We went to the new “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” in the Void which was an amazing hyper-reality experience. We put on equipment similar to that for laser tag, but with a virtual reality helmet that took us into an awesome walk-through video game adventure as rebel infiltrators disguised as stormtroopers on the lava world of Mustafar…sometime between movie Episodes 3 and 4.

We explored a few of the many art galleries in the Grand Canal Shoppes, and talked with the artists of some truly fabulous works. One guy created ingenious steam-punk kinetic sculptures we could animate with cranks. Others had fantastic paintings and sculptures far beyond anything I’ve seen in museums. So inspiring! They asked me if I was an artist too, and I felt almost embarrassed to say I was, as my work isn’t anywhere in the same league as theirs.

This morning we drove up north into Mount Charleston and went hiking for a few hours at Cathedral Rock with Samina’s giant 9-month-old puppy, Jester (American bulldog and bull mastiff), followed by outdoor lunch at the Lodge. Three different people (including a Park Ranger) called me “Santa Claus,” and one guy had to take a photo of Jester.

This afternoon we went to the comfy-chair Galaxy Theater to see the new Jurassic World movie, “Fallen Kingdom.” It was quite entertaining, except that the volume was turned up so loud we had to stuff tissue in our ears.

Tonight Samina is making seared tuna salad for dinner. She’s a pescatarian, and I love seafood.

Vegas with Samina

Tuesday, 6/26/18

After driving 9 hours, including a couple of hour-long breaks, I spent last night in a Motel 8 in Buttonwillow, off Hiway I-5, near Bakersfield. Had a yummy dinner of chicken tikka masala at a vegan Indian restaurant next door to the motel.

I arrived safely at Samina’s in Vegas this afternoon, after a hot 5-hour drive. I’ll be here until July 10, when I fly to Starwood, leaving my car here ‘til I return in late August. I look forward to reconnecting with so many dear friends here over the next two weeks, from Desert Moon Circle and Vegas Vortex, and the community of Pagan stage magicians and performers centered around Jeff and Abbi McBride.

Morning Glory and I first met the gorgeous and multi-talented Samina in Jan. of 1999, when Jeff brought us to Vegas as Elders to conduct an initiation ceremony for her and a few others into the Priesthood of Desert Moon Circle. She sang a beautiful song she’d written of the Wheel of the Year. At that time she was an exotic dancer. We became lifelong friends, and participated in many events together, including years of Firedance, Bonedance, Mayfire, Mysterium, the Alchemical Firedance, and Burning Man. She introduced us to the “Star Trek Experience” at the Hilton. For the past ten years she’s been working as a singing gondolier at the Venetian.

I’ll be presenting an afternoon workshop in Vegas on “Awakening to Quantum Consciousness;” Sat. July 7, 4:00-6:00.

Litha with Friends

Monday, 6/25/18

Finally down from the mountains, and back in cell phone and wi-fi range. Right now, I’m sitting in a Carl’s Junior using their free wi-fi. But I have to quit and get on the road, as it’s a 6-hour drive to Bakersfield, where I expect to spend the night on my way to Vegas by tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, the folks I was planning on staying with in Bakersfield have an event and a full house, so it looks like I’ll just have to take a motel for the night.

After leaving Tom & Joy’s last Wednesday (the 20th), I drove up to Hayward and spent a poignant last night with Meia. Thursday I drove up to Ukiah and crashed with Kiri and her family, reviewing Kiri’s latest paper for her graduate course at Pacifica. This paper addressed the current border crisis of children being taken from their parents, and especially Melania Trump’s stunningly callous statement emblazoned on the jacket she wore to meet with the immigration authorities and the press: “I really don’t care. Do U?” Kiri’s paper was on Thomas Mann’s “Dr. Faustus,” and Kiri titled it: “Melania, meet Mephistopheles.”

The same day Kiri received her Master’s Certificate in the mail, which we celebrated with champagne.

Friday morning I drove up to Annwfn, CAW’s 55-acre sacred land in the Misty Mountains of Mendocino County. Annwfn is a small part of the 6,000-acre Greenfield Ranch, one of the two oldest Hippie homesteading communities in the world, founded in 1972, where MG and I lived for 8 years (1977-‘85). This weekend was our Litha (Midsummer) celebration—and also a fabulous party at Jonna and Ryan’s home in Willits, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Brad and Terrie Wolfe-Lee. The highlight was a grand re-handfasting ceremony, in which I officiated to proudly re-pronounce them “husband and wife.” Maybe 75 people were there—much of the wonderful community Morning Glory and I came to know and love during our four decades in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, where I hope to return someday in a new home…

Our CAW Litha celebration was small, but sweet and heartful. Fish conducted the ritual on Sunday, and afterwards we went up to the Ranch pond for a relaxing afternoon of skinny-dipping. However, I have been off-grid with no Internet or cell service since Friday morning…

And now I’m back on the road again…the Great Walkabout continues!

Damian Lanahan-Kalish

Sunday, 6/17/18

Yesterday Damian Lanahan-Kalish came to Eclectium to interview Tom, Joy and me for his Master’s Thesis in Anthropology. He’s doing a major study of the Church of All Worlds. He came to Beltaine at Annwfn, and looks forward to Samhain and other CAW Sabbats on the Land. Next he’ll be talking to Anodea and Motherbear.

Tom & Joy

Saturday, 6/16/18

The Journey has begun! Yesterday afternoon I arrived at Tom & Joy’s about 5:00 for a wonderful evening of dinner and conversation late into the night. They’re both fabulous cooks, and Tom is also a brewmeister of considerable talent. Appropriately replete and lubricated, we reminisced over our 50 years of respective and mutual adventures (including the great Mermaid Expedition in 1985), the incomparable Morning Glory, and other avatars of The Goddess we have been blessed to know and love. We talked about the whichness of what, and how to unscrew the inscrutable.

Tom & Joy live at Eclectium, a little Pagan enclave of 8 households in Scotts Valley, founded by Alison Harlow and a few friends in 1982. I’ll be staying here for the next few days, before going up to Annwfn with Meia for Summer Solstice and our CAW Litha. Meanwhile, however, it seems they are out of cell phone range, so I can neither send nor receive calls or texts while I’m here.

The Journey Begins

Friday, 6/15/18

Today I bid adieu to The Keep in Bonny Doon, Santa Cruz, Califia, where I have lived with Anne & James for the past 2½ years. I’ll be spending a few days with my oldest friend, Tom Williams (we met in 1967!), and his wife, Joy (MG and I performed their handfasting in 1994). Then I’ll be going up to Annwfn with Meia for Summer Solstice. After that, I’ll drive to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks, and from there, fly to Ohio for Starwood (July 10-16).