Tag Archives: religion

Halloween and Elections, a Few Thoughts

Happy Halloween. Halloween as it exists in America is a time for celebrating the scarier parts of our unconscious and also other parts of the imagination with children.  This election season is for many Americans time of frightening realities and a scary walk and wait for adults. America is well populated with people who are afraid of Hillary as President and people who are afraid of Trump as President.  There are some who are not happy with either and this long post will discuss both Halloween and the elections as scary ritualistic events.

I have posted about Halloween here.  I also dealt with this day in the context of other days around this time just here. I have remembered that for me it was near my maternal grandfather’s birthday. I have also remembered the occasions of All Saints Day and All Souls Day which follow hard upon us.  The New Orleans Saints Football team was also founded on November first, the Feast of All Saints and of course the two things are related although how they are related is not so clear.    Family Missions Company and many of my family members usually have a Holy Ween Party with many traditional aspect of Halloween where the kids however costume as Saints while they bob for apples, get candy and play games . It is a rather beautiful and fun custom. All these events other costuming and the national celebration of Halloween make up the meaning of these days for me. The memories of those days are largely good ones as are the memories of many of the earlier days I spent Trick or Treating.  There have been plenty of bad memories as well.  But nothing really terrible is closely associated in my mind with these days.

This particular Halloween 2016 is one of those days which is not all together one thing for me and not all together another. It is a day when the weight of many problems ways down upon me but the weights, worries and regrets are offset by other aspects of my life. Nonetheless what is most notable about it is that it is Halloween. It is also the day after my deceased maternal grandfather’s birthday and the day before all Saints Day. But today, while trying to find out if the party is happening and perhaps drop in on it I will also be helping my aunt  with whom I share my grandparents house where she has been living for a long time recently and I have lived many times in the past. She will be giving  out candy during Abbeville’s official Trick or Treating hours between 6 and 8.    The town also has a  public access Scare on the Square in the late afternoon. That is my contact with the mainstream Halloween. The first picture posted below is not one of those pictures but I may add some pictures of the Square to the mix over time. There are quite a few decorated houses which have gotten elaborate. I might get a picture of one or two but probably not as to do them justice on really needs to go out at Trick or Treat time and I am not doing that.

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Among Cajuns  in the past the customs of these days varied from place to place. But generally some of the adolescent boys, in some cases united into societies that passed on their customs across generations and in other cases not in such an organized way raised a little hell on day we call Halloween. They went to houses and put skinnier and lighter cows on roofs and in barn lofts, made ghostly shapes and figures on window panes, howled like wolves and brought their dogs around to scare the farm animals but not enough to do serious harm.  Inside around the fire and stove there would be a few traditional treats and some scary stories. The loup garou  or Cajun werewolf tradition is not deeply tied to Halloween but it is tied to all things scary in this culture. I have posted about that tradition a little bit here and here in the glossary. The connection is available in music today, there are many things to be written or said about the  Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Day  customs in the region without mentioning the werewolf tradition but one song of some significance  by a musician named Daigle is viewable here. . On the morning of Toute Saints or All Saints people would walk ride or drive through the village, town or region to see the mischief done. Then people would go to church for the feast of All Saints. After Mass in some communities there would be a feast and music in the cemetery so that people could wake up early and clean, repair and decorate their ancestors tombs on the feast of All Souls on November first. In most communities however people ate at home and got ready to go to the cemeteries on All Souls. Caring for the tombs and visiting with others doing so was the  main focus of Acadian and Cajun practices around this time of year. In some places it was customary for widows to remove their black shawl on the first All Souls Day after they finished one year of  mourning.  In other places the calendar year alone was the key for the end of all mourning dress. Courtships sometimes began between widows and those men repairing other tombs who would pay respect to the dead husband’s tomb before courting the widow. Only taces of all of those custms remain today. But all of these things are in my mind on these days.

I also grew up a good bit of my life in Mexico and remember the various customs of the Dia de Los Muertos — the Day of the Dead. I have spent significant time in cemeteries and changing out flowers and such around the tombs of family members but that has not been as associated with this time of year as I would ideally have liked it to be.  So that is a summary of what these four days in a row bring to mind most for me.

In Celtic tradition this was a time when the year passed from the light half to the dark half of the year and the dead  were free to move between realms through a sort of portal opened up by these occasions. the very early Christians (such as the Galatians to whom St. Paul wrote)   included many Celts. There were people of living  flesh and blood who took advantage of the time of spiritual and demonic activity to do some bad things. Jack O’ Lanterns and scary costumes have some connection to scaring off bad spirits and bad people in ancient Celtic society.  The Christians gave some Christian meaning to those cultural acts but the darkest and worst parts of paganism such as human sacrifice were woven together in the same symbolic language and the controversies have been ongoing from the earliest days.

To lump all of this together in a single post when more clever writers are discussing the elections is probably only another means of whittling away the tiny readership that I still have.  Perhaps the scaries Halloween reality for me is embodied in that reality related to this post and to the fact that I used to write a great deal for many thousands of folks and get paid. Now I am trying to embrace the career path I am on which will end with paying one person a great deal to read my work. It never hurts to know where you are heading. Like many writers over history I might do well to dress as an unpaid bill or perhaps a a literary agent. those are scary realities for sure.

But is there anything that can be said coherently about all of these varied faces of this time of the mysterious, the mortal and the unusual. For me the unusual and the little known ar not unique cetainlu to Halloween.  I have had an unusual life thus far. In it I have sailed small vessels, ridden horses, hiked, climbed, spent time and energy in  pretty exotic and secret places. Form Boucheries, to Hula dances, to cava and Haka ceremonies in Polynesia to teahouses in China — I have sought the insights of the treasured common ceremony. My own life as a Christian every day  has been wrapped about with a number of secrets. Now I am in the process of revealing a few of them. Of course the Catholic Sacraments are described by the Latin word “Sacramentum” but also by the Greek word “Mysterion”, the same word translates as mistery. Catholics pass into the sacred mysteries at different phases of Christian life and the human lifecycle. They gain spiritual insight, renewal and energy.

I never pledged a college Greek Fraternity. I got a bid from the TKE chapter at Steubenville but declined it, I was honored but unable to take on the commitment and I was committed to a household that had few secret aspects to its initiation.  But there have been rituals that have been part of my life beyond church. I have posted a good bit about Mardi Gras, here and here for example. Besides the  Carnival and the  Official Christian Catholic mysteries, I remember being bloodied after a significant kill and bloodying young boys after a first kill — this is an important hunting ritual that I have seen in many forms. I remember fathering my hunting cap for the first kill of significant desirable duck or geese species like mallards, pintails, specks and snows. Then somehow I remember my first time at a bar after a rugby game, my first byline in print, my first time in a deep pool cave where sun never shines, my first time in a bat filled cave and a weta cave. Drinking and caves also remind me of other drinking rituals and not all involving alcohol or drinking cava in ceremonies on the Pacific isles. I remember getting a driver’s license and learning how to use computers — in both processes there were real initiation rituals and the car is extremely dangerous in many ways. Like a lot of people there were many milestones on the way. Somehow I got involved with some rarer and more exotic ones. When I was a teacher at St. Thomas More High School one of the classes that I taught was the Junior year “Sacraments and Morality” year. Both the editors of the textbook and I chose to show how rituals like birthday parties and Friday night football games were formative for young people learning the language and practice of rituals that they would use in Confirmation, the celebration of their weddings and the celebration of Mass.

For some people the politics of this election cycle are a bit of a mystery.  The cycle does not fit with their view of the way things should be and their ideas of what is normal in America. For some people much of life is a mystery, but many still hope for candidates from both parties that feel transparent and normal. Spies, detectives, lawyers and clerics keep lots of their life’s work hidden form many people who know them. I have known prophets, witches, mystics, shamaans, monks of various faiths, nuns, vampires and members of secret orders of knights. Some people would argue that virtually none of these people can exist. But nobody can argue that Anthony Weiner’s laptop full of Hillary’s email and his own problems exists. Nobody doubts Trump has said and done tings on record which many Americans consider abnormal or scary. these are our major choices this year. Neither Hillary nor trump were my choice this year.  I believe in the duty of citizens and I did my duty.

I voted. I voted yes on all but one of the Constitutional Ammendments — although I had less conviction than is ideal. I voted for Marilyn Castle for Supreme Court. Both seem qualified but she is very well qualified and I found her husband a decent boss back in 1989. I voted for Charles Boustany in the packed Senate Race. I selected Scott Angelle for Congress. Mike Francis for Public Service Commissioner and for the big finale….

I have voted for a third party or independent candidate once in a while but never for the Presidency. I voted for Keniston. I do not apologize for it and give him a limited endorsement:

Who is Chris KenistonChris Keniston is a family man, a patriot, a veteran but more importantly he is an American that will work for the people. Get to know Chris and…
CHRISKENISTON2016.COM

I believe in the basic claims of Christianity and in differences between good and evil outside of the question of whether something is Christian or not Christian. By no means would I put contemplative Carmelites and human sacrificing demon worshippers on the same moral plane. However, both groups like their privacy, both like to use symbolic language and both can be communities with long traditions that are well known to insiders and little known to outsiders. Discussion of what Halloween, All Saints Day  and All Souls Day mean are tied to the problems that exist across any tradition f rituals and secrets tied also to public celebrations.  I would urge that, if you have never thought about it, you realize that metaphors can be made real on film and effects are used to sell tickets. Halloween does not answer all our questions about the scary beings portrayed in some costumes  just as Real nuns don’t fly or seem like characters in “Sister Act” but you would recognize real nuns from either “The Flying Nun” series with Sally Fields or from Sister Act. I have had the time, desire and guts to get into a whole lot of varied mysteries. Sex and love are of course among the greatest mysteries and none of us exhaust them.

I have taken up too much time and space to discuss the other things I wanted to discuss. But we have concerns at the holiday and on election day. I will do my best to cope with each.

A Friday the Thirteenth Look at Evil…

Today is Friday the Thirteenth. There are ancient roots of the superstitions related to this day as it is currently noted. However,  while thirteen has long and broadly been a scary number and Friday is the day that Jesus died the combination of Friday and the thirteenth as both scary and unlucky is not so old in its current organized fashion. However,  as long as it has existed as an association it has been a bit associated with evil and also with the aspects of evil we find in the milieu which Americans especially describe as occult or related to the literary and cinematic context known as horror .  One of the most successful franchises of bloody horror films in American popular culture  is titled Friday the Thirteenth.  Another is called  Halloween both Friday the Thirteenth and Halloween were released on the dates indicated by their title. It may mean something that there were more Friday the Thirteenth Films (as I recall) although they did lose the title and the release connection over time. I am not so much a horror fan myself but the tradition is still relevant.
At midnight last night when the calendar began this Friday the Thirteenth the new movie in the Twilight series “New Moon” was released. This pursues the idea of war between vampires and werewolves which had almost disappeared from popular culture before the making of the Underworld movies with Kate Beckinsale. For a glimpse at the pre-historical background behind the fiction see my earlier posts here on this blog.   
 
 and also
 
 
I have not read the Twilight books nor seen the movie the New Moon but I did see the first Twilight movie. and it is a quality piece of film. I am disturbed by the making of vampires into sex symbols of such importance but I do see the value of the moral and social messages, Kristen Stewart is beautiful in a way that is a more available sexual ideal in Bella than many characters and more humane as well for many girls. Now I think the werewolves hidden in the first movie may be revealed in an interesting way.  Many if not most of those going to see these movies in the United States would identify themselves as Christians and the creator-writer is a member of a body which while outside of conventional Christianity is tied to the Christian tradition — she is a Mormon.  So what is the appeal of these films and other aspects of the horror genre. Are they just bad,silly and spiritually dangerous?  
Twilight_star_Kristen_Stewart signing autographs

Kristen Stewart the Actress who Portrays Bella in the Twilight Series

 I am not really going to deal with films and literature outside the Gospels for the rest of this post. Nor am I going to deal effectively with all the issues of inculturating the Gospel into various countries and cultures with varied pagan roots.  The Facebook Note which makes up most of this post  is really largely a follow-up to my Veterans Day post from the day before yesterday. This post    https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/veterans-day/      had a related Facebook Note. They deal with Jesus and his experience which must define much of our view of Good and Evil even for those who are not Christians and simply wish not to be ignorant fools — because of his cultural influence. So here is my Facebook Note.    

 Saturday, April 18, 2009 at 4:09pm | 
There is always the question of evil isn’t there…. The question of evil haunts all of us. Many, many people do not believe in evil. I know that, nonetheless, the question of evil haunts them too. Anyone who reads my notes knows that I value being a Christian very highly. I did not say that I was a very good Christian — those are separate issues in very many ways. But one of the primary reasons that I value my identity as a follower of Jesus Christ is because of how he dealt with evil. The question of evil has a huge draw on my attention. I am palpably and intensely aware of evil. Jesus Christ is the place where goodness interfaces most intensely with evil in my experience. The Christianity that is all about us does not always remind me of Jesus in that way although sometimes it does. Nor do I myself always remind myself of Jesus in that way although sometimes I do.

I see a tremendous and powerful amount of evil in many people who are very confident that they are good people and whose friends all say so. I see a powerful and forceful flow of evil in groups and institutions that many regard highly. I certainly see some evil in myself. I know that I am more polite to many people even in my more cussed middle-aged than many others have been to them and I respect many institutions others detract from — and yet in some cases I see huge evil lurking in these people and institutions and never doubt that it is present and active through the agency of these people and groups. So when they are around me at least, the question of evil (as opposed to evil itself) does haunt them. It haunts them in my reactions.

Evil is by its nature a very tricky sort of subject. It is not the kind of thing that one would expect to yield up all it secrets without struggle. Jesus confronted evil. Christians may disagree about many things but the truth is that all those who are not merely impostors find some significant part of the goodness of Jesus Christ in that he confronted evil. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark all recount a special instance of Jesus’s confrontation with evil once he had been baptized by his cousin John and been specially recognized by some manifestation of the Holy Spirit. St. Mark’s account is a good place to start for anyone who does not know or does not remember the Scriptures or life of Christ very well.

Mark 1: 12-13 simply states:
At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert forty days tempted by Satan. He was among the wild beasts and the angels ministered to him.

That, one might say, is the basic framework of what happened. Devils, The Spirit, angels and wild beasts are at the extremes of naming and here they all are together. Jesus went through some kind of very powerful and very real experience which is left as a mystery. Mark’s is the shortest gospel. It is he who gives us the briefest account of this event. We tend to overlook some of the big claims of the gospels and some of its big language because it is so familiar to us. One part we overlook is the idea that Jesus lost himself in the temple one Passover as an older child and amazed all the doctors and teachers of the law. Prior to his baptism this is one of the last things which the Gospels tell us about him. The Great Temple was an overwhelming place and the schools that met in its porticoes and courts were outstandingly rich and deep in scholarship. Sometimes I think that if there were any real Bible believers in the vast and varied world of professional Christian scholarship there would be book every few years about that one story. That story is related to that of the Testing and Temptation in the Desert. I will attempt to explain how.

The finding of Jesus in the Temple is one of the stories from oral tradition and what might be called pamphlets from which the Gospel writers wrote the story of Jesus. However, the Baptism and the Temptation in the Desert are part of the prologue of the Book of Signs. In the Prologue there was the Mysterion which was the first section and the Revelation which is the Baptism and Temptation more or less. As I recall the tradition I learned is that the book had 12 signs and they were less coded and concealed than the Gospels but the Mysterion had an exhortation to all writing copies to code the stories of each pearl to protect it from swine. The first sign was the wedding in Cana, the second was the Calming of the Storm, the third was the Demons and Swine, the fourth was the first Feeding, the fifth was the second Feeding (which the Gospels do not mention), the sixth was the Walking on Water,
the seventh was the third Feeding, the seventh was the Prediction of the Passion which in the Book of Signs Jesus makes at the site of a group of crucified Zealots, The Eighth was the entry into Jerusalem, the Ninth was The Devil approaches Judas, The ninth was the Cleansing of the Temple, The tenth was the Speech of the Living Waters, the eleventh was the Preparation of the Room and the Twelfth was the Last Supper. This book had a significant influence on all the canonical Gospel writers. Of all books ever written from original sources, mostly the writer’s experience of having known Jesus and the witness of his own known associates who had known Jesus, it had the most information about Jesus as a warrior.

To know what Jesus had been doing in the desert it is useful to understand the narrative of the Temple. That is simply the truth it is a very important story. We are told in another infancy narrative that Jesus went into Egypt as a child to avoid the persecution of Herod the Great. We are told also that he was visited by Wise men from the East. What the story of the boy Jesus in the temple tells us is that almost two decades before his public ministry Jesus was already very well-educated.

Jesus’s family arrived in Egypt with a valuable skill, gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They were a literate family with a royal pedigree and an indescribable set of recent experiences. The Great Synagogue of Alexandria was open to them directly and the The Great Library of Alexandria was open to them indirectly. They arrived there at a time when another group of persons who were not Roman Citizens were using, money eloquence and organization to increase library access to all — these were the Buddhist missionaries. I learned to read at two, Jesus had a much higher IQ than I do and his family were more royalist, strict and attentive to their own identity than mine. The child Jesus was steeped in a sense of destiny educated in carpentry, the skills of the House of David, a broad base of Judaica and yes also some Pagan and Buddhist learning. With the Buddhists and the Magi he also came to much knowledge from the far East. He would leave Egypt with a basic knowledge of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic languages.

Then he had some experience with his priestly relatives in Jerusalem. He had the study and dialog with the great minds of the Temple when he visited there. All of this he fermented, cultured and refined in a life of work, craft and culture in a small country town. A family resented for royal pretensions while living on more or less middle class means and being regular and ordinary members of the synagogue by most measures. Jesus had begun to attract some attention as a potential great rabbi and had some rabbinical training before he journeyed to be baptised by John. Joseph had sent him on errands to retrieve timbers and visit his own Davidic relatives. With these representatives of the House he learned to use the sling and the staff, to track the lion and the bear, to find water in the desert and use its rare herbs and resources he learned to sing the psalms and recite the promises and to adopt a royalist view of women. All this was done between a constant set of ordinary duties and so he never married. He began to refer to and hear his mother referred to as the Queen of his own world of associates and mysteries but to almost everyone he was only a good carpenter, a somewhat reserved bachelor and a lector at the synagogue.

The quiet young man had noticed that a famine was beginning in Galilee. Crops were failing, fish were dying, bandits were raiding and there were many troubles. He set off on a journey for many reasons but one was to find the source of this trouble. After being baptised by John and alone fasting and praying in the desert he found a source of these and many other woes.

It was significant that he went to see John and be baptised first. His cousin was a former Essene. There was a nexus of royalist, semi-Buddhist and Magi influences in nonetheless Jewish Israel. This was the Essene movement. Qumran and the great Dead Sea scrolls preserve of books are such a huge find that they have made modern people think that they were all that the Essenes were, but ancient libraries and organizations were different from modern ones. We know that some of John’s Followers were numbered among the twelve Apostles. As the young (but not so young) Jesus went into the desert he was followed a t a distance by a few men of great Essene learning. He was on the very short list of possible Messiahs they were watching in a crisis they saw brewing. Here the young man of perhaps thirty or so met a man more ancient than all but a few living in the world. A man who would introduce himself in Hebrew and Aramaic as Satan. Does this seem so unlikely and unusual? That is perhaps one of the costs of a vast and profound ignorance. No individual can overcome such a constructed ignorance fully alone.

When ordinary Roman troops attacked a country or civilization they often studied its religion and worshipped and propitiated its gods. Medals were struck and widely distributed honoring the local deities and these were worn by the Legions. But the Demons were far more sophisticated in religion than Rome. Their commander had learned the lore of dozens of dark cults and rites. He was the living incarnation of Pluto, Loki, Hades, perverter of Mithraism, Buddhism and many other cults. In entering Judea he channeled the force and persona of Satan. The Fallen Seraph, Corrupt Prosecutor at the Throne of God had vast knowledge of Scripture and so playing the role required some knowledge of Scripture. He had the wealth and resources to have such texts prepared for the rare occasions when he might meet a Jew worthy of a personal interview. Jesus met this impressive man who knew him from a network of spies.

What are the temptations of Christ?

They are the same three temptations in Matthew and Luke. The order of the second two varies but the oder of the first is the same, and in all of this there is a message. Jesus finds Satan near his assembling Demon administration in a remote redoubt in the harsh Judean desert. To find this would normally be death but Satan is sure that Jesus could be of great value to his enterprise. So he is offered a place in the administration. Help Satan turn the best fishermen of Galilee into meat and he and his family will be allowed to eat and live. The word “stone” or “rock” is most often used to describe one person in the Gospels — Peter. Peter was prominent fisherman already known to so observant a man as Jesus and he stands in for all those Satan would like to start capturing. Turning into pies and sausages those who produced the most food in the first Jewish target. Causing the Collapse of the Tetrarchy of the relatively weak and terrified Herod Antipas in Famine would end the last real form of Jewish sovereignty now that Judea had become a military province. Jesus could protect his own and feed his family by helping to turn these stones to bread. Satan makes the offer knowing that he has seen princes and kings gratefully accept these terms. He has around him the forces to drive all but a very few hearts to terror and despair.

Luke 4:3-4
“If you are the Son of God command this stone to become bread. Jesus answered “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'” ”

Jesus rebukes and rebuffs and refutes he does not try to slink away. Satan knows that his first efforts have been badly misguided. He is not sure who this man is but he is not going to be even a high ranking flunkee. So he sets out to reveal to Jesus what his two options will be even should he survive this interview.

He can go to Jerusalem and call upon his ties and relations at the temple as well as his princely claim to the allegiance of the City of David. He can lead a suicidal revolt that Rome will use as an excuse to crush all Jews and which will open the path for Demons to play. Otherwise he can seek to cooperate with the Demons and they will help him to take Antipas’ throne and then make his move. They will let him operate with some dignity and respect so long as he guaranties that when he does give up hope all the power of the lives and flesh of his people will be theirs. He must be the Devil’s vassal. Since Satan is a heavenly Prince as the book of Job teaches us there is no real blasphemy here. Satan in his splendor, spiritually intense, surrounded by narcotic and hallucinogenic smokes and mists makes in the offer of kingship as generous an offer as he has ever made. While the two accounts are similar I will leave you to read Luke 4 and Matthew 4 for the accounts on your own. Jesus ends the interview and as Satan retreats he makes his way into the desert again. The gospels do not really code the next section of the story it is absent.

Jesus walks away from Satan and is followed by two demon assassins. They are strong and powerful and have orders that he not reach the settled land alive. He is weak from fasting, nights of prayer and the effects of Satan’s drugged smoke. He leads them in a very particular way at a very particular pace. He sees the white-robed Essene messengers drawing near but very far away. The assassins draw their short swords and round a rock to pin him in a small defile. They rush in but do not see him instead they see one of the few stealthy prides of lions in the Judean desert not taken to an arena. They are killed and devoured — not entirely in that order. Jesus is then met a bit further on by the Essene emissaries who with prayers to God and channeling the angels of his Holy Court attend to Jesus with food, water and help in disappearing. They note his story.

So the pacifist or revolutionary or whatever Jesus kill these demon asassins with lions. Does that change too much? The real point is that Jesus will have to deal with the facts the Devil presented. But the court he will found will not be their vassal and will not crush the smoldering wick that is the murderous Antipas who will kill his beloved cousin. He will start trouble in Jerusalem but will arrange to absorb all the pain and get all the credit in the short-term. Before that passion he will do many things the Devil cannot imagine. He will use pigs to feed Jews fish mixed with other fish, bread and other food , he will heal countless lepers (many of whom were ill with poverty and neglect fostering rashes or festering wounds) and other sick people as well and he will organize the fishermen of Galilee in such a way that even those who did not follow him directly would be richer, more active, more alert and harder to capture. He would directly lead attacks on Demon camps.

These things he did were hard for the Devil to understand or deal with. However, that was only the beginning. In his teaching and in the Eucharist he changes a fundamental advantage the Demons have always had over many of their prey. He makes it possible to think about cannibalism without practicing it. He makes it possible to prove that a great man can find dignity greater in giving up his flesh as the Bread of Life than he would in being a flesh-broker for the Demons. While the Christian heritage has often been misused and perverted it still towers high as one of the greatest confrontations of evil. He is not a pacifist and will hurt people, he is meek and humble, he cannot be discounted. He fasts but he also enjoys food, wine, the attentions of women and music. He will not yield all human pleasures to the Devil.

In the Facebook Note “War & Easter” I crossed a point of no return and began putting into public view an ancient esoteric interpretation of the Gospels which I know in my heart is true. I have continued that here and may now stop for at least a while. But the point is that for me Jesus is the most convincing case in all of the human record of full engagement with evil which is manifest by someone who is very good himself. To some Christians this view of Jesus will not be spiritual enough and seems like giving in to modern secularism. To the secular it is old-fashioned superstition. To me it is both historical and spiritual truth.

I wish you all the best in your own struggles with evil.

END OF FACEBOOK NOTE—

So have a safe and enjoyable Friday the Thirteenth.

Some Thoughts about Science Fiction….

I am writing a science fiction novel on Facebook on an account named Summers Progress. In it I feature a number of my own inventions. Perhaps none of them will see the light of day outside that fictional universe. I am not sure. I see people casually discussing what amounts to surrender to the Taliban. From a scientifc progress point of view this is quite different than delivering Iraq to the influence of an Iran which is at least eager to compete in science no matter how much else I may find reprehensible in its regime.

In recent months we have had  the new Star Trek movie introducing a new young cast and we have had the release of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra on our movie screens. I think people are hungry to believe in a new and better future. The role of Science fiction in shaping the dreams and hopes of young people is a complicated one which we cannot easily fully analyze and understand. But it does play a role. I hope that as the world struggles with all its current problems it can still make time to perfect its dreams of the future. Perhaps in some ways those are blueprints of many future policies. 

This post first appeared on my Facebook page on March 27 of this year.

This is the kind of topic that I will surely have to revisit and take in small pieces in other notes if this series is long enough. However, there is a place somewhere in the wide universe for an overstretched brief personalistic essay about the future generally. Maybe this is the time and space for such an essay I have taken the lense of science fiction and have ended up focused on really a small part of the future itself. Howver, the future itself is still my topic.

I often or even usually have a strong or weak religious and spiritual element in these Facebook Notes. I usually do not single out religious groups by name for the purpose of distinguishing them from the point of view I am taking. However, in this case I am taking the somewhat unusual course of discussing both Christianity and science fiction and how they relate to our apprehension of and planning for the future. I think that I have a decently adequate basic nonadherent’s understanding of the following three religions: The Church of Jesus Christ Scientist (Christian Scientists), The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (Mormonism) and the Scientologists. I can assure any of you that I would be happy to influence thinkers in any of these groups but that I am not taking a position which is anywhere particulary near to the orthodoxies of any of these religions. Indeed it is I believe within the range of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.

I do believe that Space is within the meaning of the heavens and heaven as are other things which Jesus indicated when he said that “The Kingdom of God is within you”. I do believethat Jesus as a fully human man was a poet, a liturgist, a prince, a lector, a rabbi and among other outstanding achievements he created a body of achievement that could be classified as science and engineering — all his human attributes do not detract from his claim to divinity. Nor do they answer the poetic ambiguity in the verse from the epistle “Though he was at one with God he did not claim equality with God as something to be grasped at…”. I do believe the Scriptures I cal the Sacred Scriptures have a call on us to care for the Earth, for our fellow man, for our families and (that at the state) we have now reached Space colonization is exigent in order to fulfill those obligations. Nonetheless, I do not intend this note to be primarily a religious or Scriptural Facebook Note.

One way in which I subject my own talents in predicting the future to public scrutiny is that I play a variety of viewable online games in which prediction is a vital skill. These games include fantasy football at NFL.com, the NCAA Bracket Challenge on Facebook and various kinds of online Texas Hold ’em Poker. I am not the very best but my play is fairly respectable. Outside of online gaming I have demonstrated other signs of function in the current technological milieu. I have earned a couple of degrees, some licenses, some commisions and certifications and they all demonstrate that I am not drawn towards futurist endeavors because I cannot find anything I am able to do anything worthy in the present. Nonetheless, I would proudlyidentify myself as a humanist rather than a scientist.

I have thought about the future a great deal. It seems that a lot of people have. We all express a certain faith in the future everytime we put milk in the refrigerator, puchase stock, go on a job interview or call someone to set up any kind of date, meeting or get-together. In fact probably nobody reading this really thinks that the known universe will cease to exist in the time it would take an ordinary person to read to the end of this note. In that sense faith in the future seems pretty universal.

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BRINGING A BABY INTO THE WORLD AND HELPING THE BABY MAKE HIS OR HER WAY IN THE WORLD IS A GREAT ACT OF FAITH IN THE FUTURE FOR A NORMAL OR BETTER THAN NORMAL PARENT.

However, beyond simply believing that life will go on for somebody or something somewhere, most of us think we ourselves have some continuity beyond this throbbing or fleeting instant we call the present. I am writing about the future in a bit more specific way than this however. I am trying to discuss the future as a kind of grand subject.

I like to think about forming the shape of the human and earthly future as well as trying to influence it myself. I am deeply unhappy about many signs of how the future may turn out. However, I am also very optimistic about what is possible. A decent number of historians and antiquarians read futuristic literature and science fiction. Certainly, I have read a great deal of history and seen a lot of antiquities. However, science fiction and futuristic writing have played a big part in the formation of my mind and the filling of the time I have had available to read. It is tru that Styar Wars is a science fiction classic franchise and big money in our time which is set long ago and is full of Biblical and royalist allusions to past societies. But it outlines launches, gravity wells, spaceships, linguistic analysis, imaging systems and countless other things which were new with seeds and roots in the time Lucas began the series andwith fruit and flower in the future as far as we are concerned. A substantial minority of science fiction is set in the past in that sense but in a cyclical sense still maps a reality technicaly set more or less in our foreseeble future. Star Wars is actually less, as some of it is not anywhere near our technical capacity.

One of the intersting things about Michael Crichton the writer of books such as Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, Jurassic Park and State of Fear is that he was a medical doctor. This is why his series ER was so sound in so many ways. There is an authenticity in his imagined science because he was able to live and function in the world of real science in his time. While a devout Roman Catholic, I belong to a struggling old secret society which gives a particular double interpretation to some scripture passages as coded preservations ofsome amazing achievements of Jesus in science and engineering. For us Jesus’s lofty goals and the ideal on which he founded his church are more and not less credible because of the other ways in which he exerted leadership and showed genius in his world. In a certain minimaly similar way writers like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton have some increased appeal as writers of their type of imaginative fiction because they could do real science in the real world.

We often find science fiction refereshing because it is devoid of some of the reminders of religious, national and familial obligations which surround is. That is true even for those who generaly are and seem to be pushers of family, nation and religion with their incumbent obligations. People such as I am still enjoy Dune’s vacation from the Roman Catholic Church to the Orange Catholic Bible. In instances where they are similar there is still no actual Orange Catholic community that either the Protestant House of Orange or the Catholics of our own time have to actually get along with. However, to notice that sense of fictional escape is not to say that tradition, religion and hard nosed reality have nothing to contribute to both the making of science fiction and to its enjoyment by its readers.

It has been also on the promise of really remaking the future that leaders as diverse as Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zhe Dong), Vladimir Lenin, Lech Walensa and Thomas Jefferson have made their claims. Not all to the same dgree but to a greater degree than most leaders who have not lived in the last ten centuries. Contrary to the vast body of modern opinion I would argue that in many ways almost everyone born in the last thousand years shares a basic sense of desperation and insecurity that was far from being the norm prior to that time. Humanity spent a great deal of its early formative period expanding at a walking pace across and from Africa, across Europe and Asia and then across the vastly long journey of the Americas to Patagonia. Then there were crude and slow crafts and dogs and horses that brought in Australia and remote lands and mountains not safely reachable before then. Then the vikings in the tenth and eleventh century to a degree far greater than any history book will ever tell visited large and small islands in all four hemispheres (East and West, North and South) often leaving there only slaves and captives often of mixed ancestry from varied culture with whom some of their genes and technology were mingled. They also drove waves of refugees in ships from burning towns ro new islands in almost every part of the world. All of this happened before 1492 and the age of Discovery. Since about 1100 the Earth has been a fairly old and settled place as far as hunmanity goes. The mythical and infinite earth of great undiscovered creatures and lands with unknown and incaculable potential really died in about 1100. Since then all leaders of all places have sort of known that many of the happiest and most hopeful options for their descendants were foreclosed and that we all had entered a phase of negotiations (whether lethal or peaceful) with other humans. Most humans have never lived on the edge of the unknown lands but their existence did affetct allhumans at some level. Their experience did define the possible for leaders everywhere. Population control, vertical integration, oppression, xenophobia and tedium always had to compete with the whispers of the wild and undiscovered world and the vast genetic and historic cultural ties which linked all humans to the process of discovery. There have always been serious planners and as long as there were truly unpopulated lands around their plans could be different. Since then we live in a different human experience than formed us and only serious colonization of the solar system can address that basic change in a way that preserves some of the best of who we are for the future.

Both adventure and resources await our species throughout the solar system. There is little doubt in my mind that we damn ourselves quite seriously if we fail the challenge of securing access to both the adventure and the resources. Yes, I believe God has given the Moon and Mars to Earth’s people as part of our manifest destiny to colonize. It is part of becoming who we are meant to become.

If we had self sustaining and vibrant colonies on the Moon and Mars trading with Earth. Peopled by growing populations and settlers then our lives would resemble that of our human ancestors for long ages past. Most of us would not go to space and would not live their but we would know that we were living in a world of expanding possibilities. Inddeed it would be better than much of the past because almost all could see that were were bringin life where no life had been before. Being both sane and optimistic would again be really possible. The prospect of interstellar travel right now is a near impossibility. The possibility of interstellar travel in the future of a moderately badly run human society with real colonies on the Moon and Mars is substantial. The possibility of interstellar travel in the future of a society descended from us if we have a few centuries of colony driven development on the Earth, the Moon and Mars is very hight indeed. Once honest people can say to their children that our species is on its way to colonizing the worlds around as many stars as it seems right and convenient to colonize then our whole frame of reference will have changed for what the Human race is about and can expect.

We find science fiction in Dante’s Inferno and the rest of the Divina Comedia where the pilgrim with his guide takes a single path down through the center of the Earth where the pits of hell are deepest and the follows the same line past the center of gravity as down becomes up. Now he follows Beatrice through Purgatory to the high mountainous realm of heaven. The science of understanding gravity in a sphere is the central device. We find science fiction in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when Dr. Frankenstein freed from the Medieval prohibition against dismembering corpses is able to put his monster (named Adam after the man God made) together form spare parts and give him life. We find science fiction in bits and pieces in old Greek mythology.It reaches some heights in Jules Vernes fictional depths as Captain Nemo adventures in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. There is a poetic wildness to science fiction in CS Lewis’s Perelandra Trilogy named for its second book. But while I read all hese things I also read the vast body of more hard-core genre science fiction.

CS Lewis wrote of the various reasons for writing science fiction. On class of novelists and short story writers he chose to distinguish from himself were the “engineers” who tried to tell stories set around the use of potentialy useful future technology. Arthur C. Clark who wrote 2001: A Space Oddyssey made famous by the great Hollywood film was many things but certainly he was an engineer writer. His hard science fiction told of communications sattelites, space stations, moon landings, computers of the type we call artificial intelligence and other things before they existed. Besides deiscovering shipwrecks, at least one of which was full of treasure, he wrote many novels and short stories. His treatment of starships in 2001 is sort lost in the presence of working portals, one of which was left on the moon at the dawn of mankind. But in several of his novels he describes human s seeding the stars in ships that travel fro hugely long periods of time run by computers which retrieve crews from suspended animation and then help them rise to new function when they reach the star. He may even discuss the use of frozen embryos in providing the bulk of the population base. This is very far from Star Trek’s warp drive or Star War’s hyperdrive or Dune’s Spacefolding Guildsmen.

I have never published a novel and most of the of the ones I have written could be classified as unfinished. However, I have written several set in the period when the solar system is being colonized. A future I feel should be our focus of attention. I have set one or two in the period when human civilization well established in the whole or much of the solar system is invaded by interstellar aliens. I have written very lirrle about humans going to other stars. Partly this is because I feel science fiction ought to entice us into the right future when it is engineering science fiction and our thoughts should be on colonizing the sloar system. However, in my view of the future I have a pretty good idea of how starships ought to come into play.

The most important factor about interstellar travel initiated by the human race is that it would be by far the best if it came after about 500 years of intense development of the Solar System. When there are thousands of operatiing populated spaceships, a dozen or more space stations and large factories and ports on the Moon and Mars fed by Lunar and Martian farms and with labor and finace experienced in space then interstellar travel and starships will have a different appeal than they can as we live in a world where perhaps none of the things listed above will ever happen. I believe we can begin to envision many of the steps we have to undertake. I have included some drawings and illustrations that I have posted in the Crater Cap Concept Colony Group as milestone on that projected road.

Humanity must perfect the colonization of craters in varied situations.
Robotic ships on Mars starting the process will be a kind of simple practice for interstellar colonization as well as being the basis of much of the future economy.
Craters will become huge complexes of cities and farms in some cases. But robots can start the all-important capping process.
Eventually systems like my catapult idea would tie Earth to continuos and efficient launches into space just as imports fom space colonies and prodution for space in space will create a huge part of the economy.

What we need to do to get to be a species that lives engaged with the universe of our perception is first to dwvlope this solar system. This process will of course vastly impact our societies and culture. Not doing it is already having an impact. I believe this process can involve creation of entire Earethly eco-systems in canyons. It can be largely humane and part of a larger blossoming of human culture. One of my new Facebook friends Shaun Waterford is developing (and has largely developed) asystem of underwater habitats. I think colonizing the Moon and Mars can lead toa great synergy and cross-fertilization of ideas with those who want to explore the great potential of responsibly colonizing the pelagic ocean floor, seamounts and underwater coastal flats. Most problems will be different between spae and the sea. However, a huge number of problems will be the same, similar or have complimentary solutions. So what could life in space be like?

A view from above of a mature crater cap colony. The white sheet is the uppermost of numerous layers in the crater cap. It allows the features to be studied from space. The blue discs are solar power centers. The two railways intersect with a single airlock on the surface sheet. The colony has almost no profile, farms, towns and mines are below the surface.
If colonization is centered in craters there will still be plenty of astronomical observatories, laboratories, pipelines and spaceports which allow the colonists to have an exposure to their unearthly surroundings which over a lifetime amounts to something we can scarcely imagine. However, in the Crater Cap Concept Colonies life could be very much like earth except that it would be lived in an earthly ecosystem and by earhtly pople under conditions of one sixth or one third gravity. There is norassurance it will be well done but if it were done well life could be pretty good there. Good in the minds of ordinary folk who are not as interested in science fiction as I am — is a possibility in space colonies.
Using entranceds to mines that radiate from the crater with its central fertile fields and pure cliff dwellings that draw from traditionms such as the Anasazi and Nabateans beautifula nd functional residences with extra safety from breached caps would not use the fertile floors of the crater colonies. Each country and colony could devlope a unique architecture i each miniature world that a crater would constitute.
Many animals could adapt to life in these crater colonies. Chickens could roost high on the walls and fly though the pressurized air in low g. with their aerating feet and droppings they would help in the phese of turning the floors of regolith into real soil.
Larger crater rims would have parks around some of the more massive foundations of the cap. These parks would be outside themain warm and wet circulation of airin the colony.
This would enable a cooler driier microclimate to make for a more pleasantly diverse living environment.
Fish living in bodies of water on the moon and mars would be able to fill a normal idf assisted ecosystem. Then children vould carry emergency vaccum suits in sealed cans as a weight when venturing into this wilderness area. They would benefit from the incidentla weight training. Adults might be allowed to determin e their own risk and decide to use the suit/weight cases or not.

There is of course a lot more to the future than we can address by looking to space colonization. I am very much aware that John Hope Franklin has died this week. He was a black man and a scholar of African American History as well as being an active leader and scholarly planner
of the civil rights movement. John Hope Franklin died at ripe old age. However, the possibilites for collaboration between various groups and peoples would be much more promising if we were colnizing space and greatly increasing real and potential resources. Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” Frankilin spent a great deal of time trying to figure out ways for varied people to live together in a way that seemed more abundant to him. There is no guaranty that we will act wisely and fairly in a world of objective abundance but objetive abundance is part of what all people of goodwill should be working towards.

Science fiction is one of the arts of our own time and place. We are invited by it to look at what we can do and how e can do it. I do hope though that because somuch of our fiction is interstellar we are not distracted fro the great adventure in our solar system which really is calling to us and which will shape much of our destiny.

The End

Society, Mental Health and Relationships

I think we have quite a few people who voted for Barak Hussein Obama because they were very upset. I think that we have a lot of people yelling at town hall meetings because they are very upset. These two groups of people also wanted to change things but they are certainly upset and the emotional baggage is just as important as the ideas andvalues that they would like to see expressed.

We also live in a world where increasingly large numbers of people take medicines to relieve symptoms of emotional discomfort if they have access to them. I do not object to people taking medicines that relieve emotional symptoms and I also am able to accept the expression of emotion in politics.  However, I think we as a human race have a need for emotional bonding in communities and families. I think we have a need to be able to call on emotional reserves to sacrifice in our striving for greatness in may challenges we face. Sadly but certainly peoples and nations need to have healthy agressive emotions to fight for their defense, integrity and survival.

Because I think that all these energies are important I cannot accept the idea that emotional states are sort of irelevant. Nor do I think that people should be governed simply and purely by their emotions. So as I think about all this I return to a post from last summer. It reminds me that emotional health can be seen as part of a larger social architecture.  

The following post was originaly posted on my page on Facebook on July 12, 2008.

Most of all my life I have had the sense that “things” were generally very bad. I have usually felt that that there was a sort of waking nightmare that had taken over the world. There is no doubt that I also had many dreams come true and many moments of joy. But I was forced to confront both the possibility that I was defectively attuned to bad things going on and also the possibility that the overall tone of things on Earth in my time was not very good.

At a very basic level, there have been many people in human history who have had worse days and seasons than most people reading this note will be having on the day that they first read it. That is almost guaranteed to be true. However, the overall tone of things can be bleak and unpromising and that could still be true.

Let us consider all the things that have been developed to help people make it through the challenge of relating to one another. Obviously we cannot really examine a significant percentage of those methods used for working things out in all cultures throughout the world. Instead we will consider a representative sample of half a dozen technologies for coping with and resolving interpersonal stress.

Lets discuss:
1. Jesus’s directions for dealing with conflict in the Church.
2.Dueling
3. The pracitce of Penance as it existed in the medieval Catholic Church.
4. Freudian Psychoanalysis.
5. That body of disciplines known as Wu Shu, Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan.
6. Carnival, Mardi Gras and festivals generally.

While we discuss these six topics in a ridiculously brief note we will also look at some of the other issues and institutions that impinge on our discussion. A sort of main point will be that getting along with other people is a challenge that has often commanded very serious attention. A certain tone of casual informality can be as freakishly wierd as anything else humans have ever done.

1. Jesus’s words are distinctly out of sync with the unbalanced teaching on forgiveness which has dominated much Christian preaching for a long time. In Matthew 18:15-19 is a teaching which is quite in accord with the teaching of Christ Jesus elsewhere during his ministry. The steps are roughly outlined below:
First someone in the church must sin against you. Then you must notice it and decide to act. Then you must confront the Christian privately face-to-face. The person must refuse the remedy you see as just. Then you must select two Christian witnesses (who have also heard a correct doctrine of patience and forgiveness) and tbey must agree to go with you to the offender. Then the three of you must confront the offender. Then the offender must reject the remedy you see as just. Then you as the offended Christian must bring the case before the Church and if the church finds against the offender and he refuses to do the just thing then they shall excommunicate that Christian. This is a very active, formal process which has almost nothing to do with just struggling to internally bear with slings and missiles of outrageous fortune. Forgiveness makes things better because it comes when they are better. Many will not forgive when amends are made, Christians must do so. Very slim evidence in recognized serious Christian thought or Holy Scripture supports a general teaching of the kind of unilateral forgiveness that is preached as the remedy for everything.

2. Skipping right ahead and out of context, there was a vast institution of dueling which made up an enormous force in shaping polite society throughout many countries and during many centuries. Dueling was very common in Louisiana up until the end of the War Between the States, or the the Civil War or the War for Southern Independence or the War of Northern Agression. This custom made it possible for men with large egos and refined sensibilities to get along despite all the evils of a given time and place. It certainly allowed for evils of its own but at its best it was far from a license for wide open bloodletting on a wholesale basis. Some say that in late antebellum Louisiana on in 400 challenges resulted in a homicide. Lots of steps — published challenges, choice of seconds, interviews between seconds, choice of grounds, time and weapons and the hiring of an attending physisican — stood between potentialy mortal offense and mortality. Abolishing duelling has not stopped people killing eachother but it has eliminated a huge and complex infrastructure for working out grievances.

3. While the pracitice of reconciliation as a modern Catholic Christian rite is rooted in our secttion on Jesus’s practice for resolving dispute, and in apostolic words related the “mysterion”, “semaeion” of healing the sickand praying for their healing in the Middle Ages of Europe Penance reached a kind of apogee. It was tied to a culture that understood the Doctrine of the Two Swords. It was tied to well-defined and developed practices of Exorcism and Interdict and it was tied to the rich culture of pilgrimage of which Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales gives us some idea. It was also tied to all the glory, horror and productive dialog of the Crusader and Jihadi. The energy of this vast complex of institutions lagely came from the fact of humans taking offense at the behavior of other humans and taking seriously the need to resolve the conflict and right the wrong.

4. A recent means for dealing with the injuries arising from civilization and its discontents is the psychoanalysis of Freud. This arose from the glorious last gasp of the Hapsburg Empire and its community of elite Jewish intellectuals. Psychoanalysis was often known as “the talking cure” in its early days. Whilre the Austrian, Austro-Hungarian and greater Hapsburg Empires knew many moments of glory in war, exploration, and invention they were a great power built more on diplomacy, marriage and legal procedure. While jews served in the armed forces and had guards they were the largest ethnic group without regimantal status in the Imperial military at any time. Perhaps it is natural that from them should have emerged a man who found talking things out to resolve internal conflict very important. But it must be remembered that Freud sought to free people to live a life more fully in the open and more expressively as themselves. Further his professional, therapeutic and literary edifice built on the sense of human injury was immense.

5. Leaping quickly elsewhere, we come to examine Wu Shu, Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan. Internal meditation,physical fitness, religious education, warrior training, and a basis for self-assertion have been developed into a single complex of disciplines in China. From China they have diseminated to the rest of North East Asia ,then evolved and expanded directly from China as well as from Japan and Korea. It seems that this whole complex of knowledge and skill falls neatly into the category of dealing w the interanl causes of conflict and the resolution of actual conflict. A vast amount of very productive effort is spent to gain or create self-mastery and then teach those with self-control to handle the conflicts which arise between them and others. Good health, balance, artistic motion, and deterrent against attack all belong to the practitioner of Kung Fu.

6. Humans have always sort of known that no matter what we do with our serious and formal efforts to organize ourselve and our societies the result will not be totally fair or entirely decent. Therefore wise societies find ways to combine inversion of normal rules and status norms with new kinds of commerce,uninhibited dancing and loosening of moral sensibilities. This behavior occurs at Mardi Gras, carnivals and Festivals. Many people in the modern world seldom experience one of these. Arguably few of us get a reasonable dose of these events. Therefore we live trapped in the full-time observation of our particular social absurdities. I actually am a sincere conservative who values the contribution of the community in Hollywood, New York,  Cinecitta, Ballywood and many other places who bring us carnival like experiences on discs, in film and on the airwaves. Nonetheless, There are values in the mixture of marketing products of hard work to visitors and religious prayer on the one hand with street dancing, sexual naughtiness and  spectacle on the other hand which will never be reproduced on artificial media. The movies and TV can help but festivals and carnivals really do some of the basic work of individual and community healing. Like all these listed techniques there are risks in this one that I may visit in another  post but I do think that this feature of life has real importance. 

What I would say is that lots of folks are miserable because the world they live in is really bad. they are miserable because people feel free to do great harm to them and others all their life without consequence. They are miserable because the means for dealing with problems make them worse and those in charge of normalcy are entirely nuts.

I think it is time for change bigger than most of us can dream of, I really do. But I do not think it likely that I will live to see it. I am not sure it will come at all, only sure that it is needed.

Werewolves

 

These posts were first published in a Facebook group known as Why Are People So Fascinated By The Strange/Macabre/Horrifying/Alien???? , this group was founded by a very young woman who’s name is preserved in the open group. However, I am now one the administrators and she has moved on to greener pastures. Are you interested in werewolves? If so this is short… 

Post #1
You wroteon February 9, 2009 at 1:41pm
I think that whole it is perfectly acceptable to have a group like this that lumps a variety of phenomena trogether and it is true that all of them seem alien to modern urban life the actual answers to these questions must each be different. People are interested in anything that coud be dangerous and is unusual because despite the impression some might have the failure to be interested in such things would be complete insanity.

As with many other things on the list the tradition of werewolves must be approached from two sides that are very far apart. One side is the very ancient roots of the phenoenon and the belief in the phenomenon and the pother is modern popular culture and other learning based on a very long tradition that includes much of fiction.

In this post I am going to deal with the very remote origins of lycanthropy or werewolfism as it once changed the world. At one time many hunter-gatherer bands were often nearly starving and stagnating during the winters trapped in valleys surrounded by other tribes, clan and bansd or were otherwise isolated. During hard times killing and eating one another led to the roots of other legends such as vampires.

Then suddenly the first people to believe in werewolves were attacked on a full moon. The ice sheet reflected the lightas groups of of wolves and wild dogs pulled sleds of warriors into a circle around their camp . Wolves killed warriors as they were driven by men who howled and wore wolf skins. Many in the band were killed as these wolfpeople showed superior power in so many ways.

But the he wolfpeople subjugated and in a sense taxed the band. Secrets known to the wolfmen were guarded. The band now recieved trade goods by leaving them with wolf men and then there were carried far and fast to othere bands. Slaves and brides and warriors were sometimes blindfolded but only the learned were given access to hunting packs and sled wolves. Many had seen enough to know that these were not ordinary people but people who could become wolves.

When times were bad people ate some of the wolves. There were fewer bad times and canabalism was discouraged. The bodies of enemies were fed to the wolves and some part of each wolf man but burial rites signified liberation from canabalism. However, when the wolves were eaten werewolf priests and Shamanic leaders would remember that they had eaten men and that man became wolf and wolf became man. In time dogs would become ordinary in alll of these ancient tribes and the wolf rites, traditions and cults would appeal more to a group of mostly warriors in those peoples. However in some areas that original era of 100% real werewolves running things lasted for longer than we have had priniting presses.

My next post in this topic will be on lycanthropy since those early days. But the first phase is where the deep and powerful energy of the subject comes from.

Post #2
You wrote on February 10, 2009 at 8:29am
Over centuries as knowledge of wolves and dogs diffused among people who found little significance in these animals. Those warrior groups and other societies that preserved the secret knowledge of these early werewolves relied more on rituals, storie, secrecy and other esoteric elements to preserve their identity. People as humans have learned a huge amount from empathizing with, imitating and collaborating with animals. These societites would be in competition with horsemen/centaurs/early knights and some gorups of witches and others that used familiar animals.

So werewolf prospects were soon defined as those with warrior ability, a knack with anuimals and people who had a definable affinity with wolves. This “wolf in the man” (or “wolf in the woman” in some societies whiich had member of both sexes) began to be the basis of the individual centered disease/curse/gift kind of lycanthropy which is the basis of most books and movies. Through channeling and cultivating their wolf like qualities these people could reach parts of their human nature that were otherwise cut off from modern humans. They also caaried on a tradition related to the original phase.

These warrior societies occurred in many place where a dog-pulled travois could never be as fast as a dog sled and where large wolves were rare or unavailable. So in most places and times the groups shrunk and became less important. The tradition diffused and the werewolves survived as an increasingly shadowy phenomenon in most places relying on theatricality and attracting people who were more comfortable with dogs or wolves than people , who were violent outlaws and who had certain physical-mental conditions for which the old werewolf disciplines provided help and a cure.In most cases it was such small groups or individuals who provided the basis for ever richher stories as werewolves could not object anymore effiectively. While some more or less ancient werewolves survived the fiction and literature of all kinds was mostly based on these decaying and troubled forms. That does not mean they were all poor and insignificant. The silver bullet associated with killing werewolves in early modern times is the same projectile that was believed necessary to kill and a good and true king. Royal and noble families often were last bastions of older forms of lycanthropy.