Your Unique Religion by George Breed

Your Unique Religion by George Breed

Each person has a religion. Each person is a religion. A religion is a path to which you swear obedience over and over. A religion is a consciousness realm you inhabit. It is both a linear path and a point of awareness. This linear path circles on itself as you age, producing a spiral of continuity. At the core of the spiral is the ongoing point of awareness. The consciousness realm that you ARE is your religion.

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Mini-Ecstatic Experiences by David Cole

Mini-Ecstatic Experiences by David Cole

Many of the Christian mystics had ecstatic experiences of the Divine within their contemplations and meditations. To name just a few, these include Mother Julian of Norwich, whose visions as she lay on her (almost) death bed inspired her to write her book, Revelations of Divine Love; Hildegard of Bingham, who often turned her ecstatic visions into beautiful choral pieces; Teresa of Avila; and the poet Thomas Traherne. Even Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth-century mathematician, inventor, and physicist, had a two-hour ecstatic experience one night.

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Transition by George Breed

Transition by George Breed

My son asked me long ago why as people get older they tend to get more religious. As an older person, 79 in a few months, I think I can now more adequately address that question. In my case, it is not so much that I am more religious in the sense of church attendance unless by church is meant the realm of Nature plus the actions of daily life, especially the latter. 

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Resistance in this Present Darkness
by Kenneth McIntosh

Resistance in this Present Darkness </br>by Kenneth McIntosh

I remember reading Frank Peretti’s novel This Present Darkness in the mid-1980s. The title for that novel came from the Scripture passage cited above, “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against...the cosmic powers of this present darkness.” As an Amazon.com review describes it, “Nearly every page of the book describes sulfur-breathing, black-winged, slobbering demons battling with tall, handsome, angelic warriors on a level of reality that is just beyond the senses.” Looking back, the book seems maudlin; but when I first read it, Peritti’s Christian thriller provided a lens to view reality. Things happening in the world of the senses were linked with the doings of an unseen realm.

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Douglas Firs and Apple Trees
by Bill Palmer and Ellyn Sanna

Douglas Firs and Apple Trees </br>by Bill Palmer and Ellyn Sanna

My Christmas tree this year is a beautiful Frasier fir, for which I paid a whopping $45 at Kodey’s Tree Farm on the first Sunday of December. It meets my late father’s minimum requirement that it scrapes the ceiling of my living room. But in honor of my Dad, there’s no way it could have come into the house until it was almost Christmas (my family followed a now-almost-extinct tradition that the tree did not go up until Christmas Eve because the preceding weeks of Advent were a time of spiritual preparation for the Big Day and very much NOT part of the Christmas Season). 

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The Gift of Christmas
by Marietta Bahri Della Penna

The Gift of Christmas </br>by Marietta Bahri Della Penna

Celebrating Christmas by spending money on all sorts of trinkets and gifts has been the norm for several generations. Not that there’s anything wrong or immoral about it. Giving gifts to those we love, to make others happy, or simply for the sheer joy of celebration are all good things. So is the yearly reminder of our yearning for a peaceful world that’s embedded in Christmas cards and the lyrics found in Christmas carols. But somewhere along the way, we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted from the central meaning of this holy-day.

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Christmas and the Night of St. John of the Cross by Avellina Balestri

Christmas and the Night of St. John of the Cross by Avellina Balestri

There is more to Christmas than just Christ’s birth. It serves as the beginning of epic, and Advent is the prologue whereby we prepare for the first spellbinding chapter. There’s a thread running through Christmas that ties into so many other Christological elements, including Christ as Divine Lover, in concert with the poetry of St. John of the Cross, whose feast aptly coincides with the Advent season on December 14.

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The Meaning of Hope by Ellyn Sanna

The Meaning of Hope by Ellyn Sanna

The Advent season is a time of hope—but many of us are feeling as though our hopes have been trampled into the mud. It’s hard to hope for anything now. The future looks dark, terrifying. To continue to hope seems like whistling in the dark. It almost seems safer, less risky, to abandon all hope, batten the hatches, and prepare for the worst.

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Thanksgiving in Action by Bruce Epperly

Thanksgiving in Action by Bruce Epperly

Gratitude leads to a transformed lifestyle. In gratitude for this good Earth, we are challenged to be stewards of our blessings. Thanksgiving inspires care for the Earth and reverence for its manifold diversity. It also inspires appreciation for our human companions. The Christian scriptures counsel, “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). Ceaseless gratitude brings forth light in you and in all creation.

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The Otherworld by Ellyn Sanna

The Otherworld by Ellyn Sanna

The miracles Jesus performs in the Gospels may strain our modern credulity. The Celts, however, were quite comfortable with stories of the impossible being possible. They lived in a world where the Otherworld was so interwoven with this world that nothing surprised them. Another reality could easily overlap with everyday reality, causing all sorts of strange things to happen.

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Thanksgiving as a Spiritual Practice by Bruce Epperly

Thanksgiving as a Spiritual Practice by Bruce Epperly

Thanksgiving is at the heart of the spiritual journey, whether you are a monk or a parent. Thanksgiving roots us in the graceful interdependence of life and reminds us that none of us ever makes it through life on our own. As a child, I learned the “A-C-T-S” formula for prayer—adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. As an adult, I seek to cultivate the spirit of gratitude essential to my own well-being and to the well-being of my relationships with family members, congregants, colleagues, students, friends, and God.

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Visions and Similitudes by George Breed

Visions and Similitudes by George Breed

"…and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes…" Hosea 12:10

The Originator is speaking through the imaginative realm of a poet seer. The imaginative realm is not “just his imagination.” When the mind is opened to the cosmic, opened beyond animal fantasies of food, sex, and entertainment, when boundaries fade away, vision comes. Mystery unfolds, words come. From where do they come except from beyond? Beyond the skin boundary, beyond the narcissistic gaze of self reflection, beyond the chit chatter of self talk. Beyond.

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Advice from Pema Chödrön by Ellyn Sanna

Advice from Pema Chödrön by Ellyn Sanna

Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times has become one of my go-to resources when my life seems unbearable. This week, I’ve been re-reading it yet again, within the context of this week’s events. I have little wisdom of my own to offer today, no musings that fill me with joy and wonder—but I thought I’d share with you instead some of Pema’s thoughts. These are not easy, comforting words. But her briskness, her challenge to get my head out of the gloom, is perhaps what I need most to hear.

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The Door That You Are by George Breed

The Door That You Are by George Breed

When we open our eyes to our inner universe with its hopes, its dreams, its fears, its gods and demons (which we now call psychological complexes), and we then open our eyes to the outer universe with its grass and trees and animals and stars and galaxies, we find that we are a gateway between the two. We are a gate between the inner and the outer universe. 

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Best Wishes at Samhain! by Bill Palmer

Best Wishes at Samhain! by Bill Palmer

It seems simple enough. “Hallowe’en” (and I’ll use the traditional spelling here) is a contraction of “All Hallows Eve.”  It is the evening before “All Hallows Day” (hallow meaning holy) which is ye olde English name for All Saints Day, the first of November, when the holy dead in Heaven are commemorated by the Church. Hallowe’en begins a short cycle of Holy Days which ends on November second with prayers for the not-so-holy dead, the poor souls in Purgatory as my Irish grandmother referred to them, on All Souls Day. Thus I was taught by the Sisters of Saint Dominic in my suburban parochial school fifty years ago. Hallowe’en was Catholic. It was, even better; it was Irish Catholic! 

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Samhain's No-Time by Meg Llewellyn

Samhain's No-Time by Meg Llewellyn

Like many other indigenous societies, Celtic society was structured and organized; everyone knew who they were because of the place they held within that structure. Our own society has structures that are just firm, but we barely notice them because they are so much a part of the lens through which we see reality.

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