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What Crow Would Say ...

As Above, So Below.. Print E-mail
Written by Raven   

There is almost no culture in which the original founders or rulers were not thought to have descended from the gods. The royal office of the king or queen was therefore thought to be divine, and derive its power from that divinity. When a royal died, the holder of the office died, but the role played on, filled by another, hence the cry: "The King is dead! Long live the King!"

The Gods, meanwhile, began to look suspiciously like Kings. Or was it the other way around? No matter. According to the logic of royalty, there can only be one King or Queen. It naturally follows that there can only be one God, since the structure of the Cosmos must naturally follow the same structure as human society. As below, so above, and all that.

In much of the West, that one God looked and behaved pretty much like a idealized King - wise, bearded, the dispenser of justice and law. Biblically (and in many other cultures, to be fair), HE also took on the less savory characteristics of Kings - temperamental butcher, angry, jealous of sharing power. And like mortal Royalty, ruled by the classic tools of fear, shame, and guilt.

That's much of our tradition. To project upon the universe our ideas of what constituted power and godliness. There is no culture which has not done this. God, Shiva, Allah, Jehovah, Wakan Tanka, Papa Legba, Tonacatecuhtli, Chac, Ra; all the myriad gods and goddesses are the projections of our psyche on the mirror of Reality.

In 1998, Michael Shermer, Director of the Skeptics Society, along with MIT social scientist Frank Sulloway, conducted a survey on why people believe in God. The number one reason given (29 percent of respondents) was the apparently good design of nature or the universe.

Good design = good designer, right? And so it goes, down through the ages. The Universe makes sense to us, therefore some One (just like us!) must have made it so. The question then becomes: Does the Universe really make sense? Or do we simply make sense of it in whichever way each of us can? Is it that for some, God made it? (And does that understanding change depending on the depth and complexity of our conception of "God"?) Is it that for some, it is still unfolding? Or does it only make sense when we narrow our focus and limit our vision? What happens when we begin to see our projections for what they are?

Coyote says: The Sun fills the sky with pretty blue. Only at night can we see the universe filled with the light of stars from billions of years ago.

The Wizard of Oz said: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

The news is: There is no Man behind the curtain. God is dead. Never existed.

There is instead this vastness filled with the soundless thundering of countless boiling suns. Nebula spread clouds of glowing gas in arcs that span light-years. Galaxies are thrown across the night like pebbles, each beyond our imagining.

There is instead this vastness filled with an emptiness that is not empty, that we can barely wrap our minds around. Silent giants hurtle unseen and unknown in orbits both tiny and enormous. Light crawls across this vastness.

There is instead this vastness filled with particles that flicker in and out of being. They shimmer for a moment in time, making emptiness, making worlds, suns, moons, plants, animals, you and I. And then they disappear, only to reappear another place, another time. There is no permanence. No certainty.

This makes sense to you? How can anyone alive say this with a straight face? How can anything or anyone with any awareness at all be more than stunned in amazement that any of it even exists?

We strive to make sense of it. We desperately seek any device. We tell ourselves there is Someone behind the curtain. We see this thing we cannot comprehend the reason for and we refuse to admit it. We pull back the curtain and here it is: God the verb. God the vast enormous process that whirls around us.

It is, admittedly, a God like none of us ever imagined. The shuddering impact of this relatively recent realization resonates resoundingly throughout our very existence. (It is after all, a realization that is only decades old, parts of it even less.) Our hearts and minds, our science and philosophy, our language and ideas, have yet to catch up to this.

We feel the anguish in our hearts: It must care! It must be like us! There must be a reason! It must fit in with our understanding! Why? Why? Why? Oh, yes. That cry went up a hundred thousand years ago and it goes up still.

And yet, there is no Being behind the curtain. Or if there is, it is something so vast and incredible that to project our collective fragmented psyche on it does both it and ourselves a disservice. As long as we do so, we can only (at most) understand more about ourselves. (If we honestly look at what this says about us.) The Sufi's put it like this: La illaha il allah. There is no reality but God. But this reality looks nothing like our projections, our wishes, our demands upon the Cosmos.

Ultimately, what We have striven to do since first we became aware is to understand the why of our existence. I return again to the Latin word "religio" - to link. To link is to place into relationship. To place into relationship is to make sense of it all. To define our relationship to Creation in our terms is to have given up the dream. To admit that we cannot understand and we cannot know. To draw the blue curtain back across the sky and look only to the near horizon. To confuse the lenses for the light.

Or we can say: We are born to this, born into it, capable of knowing it. To embrace the vastness and the shimmering impermanence. To understand it and know our place as part of something incredible, impossible, amazing! Something whose very existence (and our existence!) should stop us in our tracks in awed wonder. Something that does not behave like our old idea of God, but rather has Its own purpose. God not outside, but inside? God not noun, but verb? A multiplicity of actions and accidents, rather than a singleness of purpose?

Now.. let's go find out what's really going on. Perhaps instead of projecting our old man God onto the cosmos, we should project upon ourselves instead that we contain multitudes, vast and endless, filled with glorious stars and galaxies and birds and waterfalls and friends and lovers and kisses and wine.

As above, so below, and all that shimmering jazz....


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