Planet Waves FM :: Of Meteors and Religion

Britt Arnesen, getting ready to take her show on the road.

In tonight’s edition of Planet Waves FM, I look at the symbols associated with the meteor striking Russia, the asteroid flyby, lightning striking St. Peter’s Basilica twice and the Roman earthquake — all in the aftermath of the pope’s resignation.

My main theme seems to be: what do we do with what we’ve been learning about the atrocities of the Roman Catholic church? How do we assess the damage and where to we being the healing process?

I also go over the upcoming confluence of astrology: the Sun conjunct Neptune in Pisces, Mercury stationing retrograde in Pisces and the Virgo Full Moon square Jupiter. In true Mercury retrograde (in Pisces) fashion I have a few extra details to include — though I do cover the basic territory at the top of the program.

Our musical guest is Britt Arnesen, a recording artist originating in Alaska and now living in Montana. She is a force of nature, a magnificent singer, a talented guitar and banjo player and a great writer. Yes, Ms. Arnesen has it all, and she spent today in the recording studio working on her new CD.

You can find her on the Internet here, at her 907Britt website.

Here is her Facebook page.

One thing I neglected to do is read the meteor strike chart. That was silly; it will be easier to do an extra program, adding some Mercury retrograde info, than to edit the flow of the program — so look for that show later in the week, and here is the rather striking chart. This whole pope deal has been all about the centaurs Pholus and Nessus.

Well, they are ALL OVER this chart — Pholus as the highest planet, and Nessus rising in a conjunction with the Sun.

Meteorite strikes Siberia Friday morning.

Here is your program in the Old Player. Note, you can download a compressed file of the program on the Old Player page, which also includes a full archive of Planet Waves FM going back to 2010. More recent programs are collected in the category listing at the top of the blog frame.

With love,
Eric Francis

Did you know that Planet Waves offers you astrological readings for every sign in audio format including birthday reports? You’re invited to check out my other products in our audio store. If you’d like experience my weekly and monthly horoscopes, visit this link to access your free trial to our premium twice-weekly astrology service.

105 thoughts on “Planet Waves FM :: Of Meteors and Religion”

  1. Carrie –
    It sounds like you and your son had a fascinating conversation, and what came out of it – what you’ve written here – is insightful and carries a healing message. It also helps reinforce points that a few people made through the thread, including the importance of context.

    Thank you for taking the time to come back to this with such a fascinating (and so logical) observation.

  2. This IS a fascinating discussion. My son and I were having a discussion the other day about how human beings construct their beliefs in deity/ies. As we discussed, we noticed that geography played a huge role in the way deities were envisioned. In harsh climates the gods were often seen as harsh, vengeful, punishing, rule-making creators who demanded obedience and distinct gender, tribal, class, belief, and people-group-affiliation determinants. Easier climates often had creators who were not as demanding but rather perceived as more loving and forgiving and caring. Perception, then, had some influence in the crafting of a belief system. Of course, tis is a generalization and not universal.

    Also, some belief systems were crafted to help a group of people set themselves apart in a sea of other peoples. They had to make their own god/s, their own rules, their own set of beliefs, their own social structure to be able to solidify themselves as a distinct people among other tribes and groups of people. Many of these groups borrowed various texts, beliefs and ideologies from surrounding groups but tailored them to fit their own group.

    From these and other elements sprung religions and belief systems and origin stories.

    I once read long ago (and have since forgotten the author) that it is posited that when humans realized the connection between sperm and egg, the goddess was supplanted. The article went on to say that in the effort to legitimize these male gods, males had to have blood sacrifice to be equal to females who could bleed and not die and who gave life by shedding blood (blood = life). In that supplanting was born the misogyny of the male-dominated religions. I remember wondering if the female/goddess religion was as imbalanced as out current male/god one is today and if so that meant that males would have been in the same second-class, inferior position that females find themselves in now. That kind of imbalance (if it happened) would have been just as negative as the one we have now. Perhaps, among all the other shifts happening now (the change from capitalism to something else and the change from religion to spirituality to name a few I have heard bandied about) there may be a shift to a more balanced view of deity/ies with both genders represented in an equal way and both human genders valued for both their differences and their similarities.

    We can build on that. As Rafiki said in The Lion King, “The past can hurt but we can either run from it or learn from it.” I hope we humans learn from it and craft a new future.

  3. << Do we blame the religion for that, or that adherent? >>

    In what we call religion, there is a metaphysical level. An institution can be hooked into various agencies (some of which appear in the literature), and the effect is energetic manipulation (largely gained through an unspoken contract committed through via loyalty) and there is a level of intent on the part of the adherents, the priests and the leadership.

    There is also a level of defrauding the public, with MANY expressions (i.e., perpetuating the belief that priests are celibate and therefore in some way pure; and that they have the power to absolve).

    I will give you an example. In honoring the pope, most people believe they are extending and offering their energy to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Nothing — nothing — could be further from reality, as it has been revealed to me (and as has been revealed in various public manifestations of the conduct of the RC church historically and to the present day).

  4. It seems clear that this is an emotive topic! Folk can feel got at and misrepresented. This is exacerbated by cyber-context. This has been a hugely productive thread in my view. This is quite astonishing when one considers the blighted history of bigotry in religious adherents. Do we blame the religion for that, or that adherent? Tolerance of dissent is a huge part of any corrective to power inequalities. That said, we live in a world of power in our day to day relationships and there are rules about how we engage the power base!

    I think it important at this point to thank you Eric, for hosting this space. It is a place crafted lovingly and passionately, with the best interests of our collective productive living firmly at its centre.

    I for one deeply owe gratitude to discovering Planet Waves in 2004 at a critical juncture of my life. Through it I discovered this vast “Inner Space” within. It is difficult when the gods walk among the mortals. The whole show can be both humbling and challenging! We all constantly benefit from learning and growth opportunities provided here.

    It would be a shame if this mighty thread’s rich love and humanity were brought low by misunderstanding and ultimately evisceration..

  5. By “affirmative action” — check the context — I was referring to the acceptance by the Roman Catholics of Mary as being on par with Jesus. I also had in mind the acceptance of Goddess worship openly by the Quakers. I did not mention, nor did I have in mind, Judaism.

  6. Thank you, Green Star Gazer. I genuinely appreciate your comments, and also those of all who have been participating in this rather interesting conversation.

    I don’t know enough about Taoism (or most religions, frankly) to be able to comment on it.

    My opinions about Christianity are not about the religion but the institution and events of history. I hope that has been clear.

    Regarding your observation as to the subtler impact of gender distinction in roles within a religion, I don’t think it’s subtle at all, but I appreciate your tactfulness in calling it that. I did point out earlier that gender reference in relation to God has been eliminated from modern Jewish prayer books (at least in American Reform Judaism), but that was met with a remark comparing the move to “affirmative action,” rather than, perhaps acknowledging it as a manifestation of enlightenment and growth.

  7. Great — so — for people who have misquoted me: would you like me to delete your paragraph containing the quote, or your whole comment? Please contact me BY EMAIL. My default position will be to delete the whole comment.

  8. With respect to the comment: “they fucking hate women in that religion.”

    My impression was that something close to that was said in the recording. Sorry, I don’t have the time stamp.

  9. I am quoting Sam, who I believe was quoting the broadcast that spawned all these comments, not anything in the comment thread itself. If I am in error, I apologize.

  10. My small contribution to this discussion:

    When one lives in a culture that has only one deity of only one gender then half the children growing up in that culture are going to most likely feel empowered and entitled because their physical gender is the same as the deity (who will always be portrayed as a more powerful being than mortal humans) and the other half of the children will feel disenfranchised and confused at best. These children grow up within their culture ( assuming relative isolation from other doctrines) and perpetrate the same stories, beliefs and practices, thus generations of children repeat the same basic schism ad nauseum.

    As long as the culture adheres to a gendered deity, even if the references are subtle and oblique (such as using “he” or “she” as the personal pronoun) and if politics and the rule of law are entwined with that religion, then half of any population is going to be unable to see themselves as empowered and legitimate because of their physical gender while the other half of the population is going to entitled to wield power because of their alignment with the deity who sits at the head of their collective table.

    This is one of the core problems with monotheism. If the teachings of a religion do not model shared power between the genders, between the polarities- whatever they may be, then we humans are bound to struggle against each other and against the teachings. We live in a world saturated in duality, in polarity. I agree with Alex that Taoism is one of the best organizing principals that humans have come up with so far. Many First Nations teachings are also excellent in that they honour all “things” as part of a greater, intelligent whole where humans are a piece of the matrix, but not managers or rulers in any way.

    I am really enjoying this conversation and Alex, my hat is off to you…some of the best writing I’ve seen anywhere on this subject have been your contributions…thank you all for an electrifying conversation. Jinspace, Carecare7, Sam, Eric…everyone…this is such a rich exchange…thank you all!

  11. “simply fantastic beginning” is satire and that is within my editorial policy. Second quote has not been correctly attributed to me. If I said that, show me where — or I am going to delete all references to it. That is to say, I will go through any comment with that quote and remove it, unless it can be proven that am the author. I will do this by the end of the business day today.

    Note, the users to not set editorial policy here. I do. Per our Terms of Service, by continued use of the website, we all agree to that.

  12. “We do have a law currently on the books that states that as punishment for their misdeeds at the dawn of creation, women shall have men as their masters; and that the pain of birthing is part of their punishment. That deserves honest review and reflection.”

    Honest review and reflection require context and, as Alexander so wisely (and calmly) has said, respect. Not sarcastic, inflammatory remarks like “And…we are off to a simply fantastic beginning of life on the planet! Away we go!!!!” or “they fucking hate women in that religion.”

  13. I am not stating cause and effect — in this discussion, so far. I am putting purported historical developments into the context one another. Then we can assess the circumstantial evidence, and the direct evidence.

    “How did we get here?” is a question I believe we all need to be asking, and religion in any form has a lot to answer for.

    We do have a law currently on the books that states that as punishment for their misdeeds at the dawn of creation, women shall have men as their masters; and that the pain of birthing is part of their punishment. That deserves honest review and reflection. It deserves to be seen as a causative agent — of something. We don’t know what, yet.

    I think that Jesus / Joshua, the teacher-philosopher-prohpet-messiah, actually has very little or nothing to do with Christianity — his teachings seem, in practice, to have no bearing on what the Church does. And it is often Jesus who is attributed with the teaching that we “teach by example.”

  14. Hmm.. this is why I speak of respecting even flawed institutions. Speaking provisionally and reverently is important. This is not to dismiss the role of anger in the piece against institutionally petrified injustices.

    It seems to me that we should call out histories of injustice hiding behind religious facade and yet we must respect and value the good in religious traditions. Is that because they are religious? No! It is because they are repositories of collective human experience in which much good is stored, along with the flaws.

    The worst of all religion/ideology is its adversarial nature and jingoistic consequences. That does not have to be portrayed as the essence of religion exclusively. All ideology of the “this is right, this is wrong” type are implicated too.

  15. “This is the context of how Christianity and Catholicism exploited sexual repression and sexism and ended up as a religion that now has as its primary basis raping children.”

    So the entire history of scandalous, sexual abuse and exploitation perpetrated by the institution of Christianity are somehow the fault of the Jewish people. Even though, as I commented earlier, precisely when the Romans (who were previously pagans, not Jews) began clamping down on sexual freedom and seized control of Christianity by institutionalizing it, the Jews were rethinking older laws and liberalizing the rights of women, including those pertaining to marriage, divorce, spousal abuse, property ownership, inheritance, and, yes, sex. But none of that counts.

    That’s not logical.

  16. What I said is that it’s a religion and a philosophy that, historically, propagates misogyny and in particular the mistrust of women, and as a result, women in this culture have become extremely strong within the family structure.

    This is the context of how Christianity and Catholicism exploited sexual repression and sexism and ended up as a religion that now has as its primary basis raping children. Christianity begins as a sect of a prior religion, of which its messiah is a member (for example, I N R I is inscribed above nearly every crucifix).

    I also reference Shlain’s work on the use of the alphabet and literacy as specifically as a means of suppressing not just women but the feminine aspects of perception, and of creative expression (“graven images,” ALL of which were associated with idolatry). Now that I have the book in my hands, I have much more information about the censoring of goddess and pagan religion long before Catholicism was a twinkle in the eye of YHVH.

  17. Hi Sam. Thank you for your reflections and appraisal. It is indeed difficult to tease apart the tangled thread. But what I would say is this (with a view to lowest common denominators): Faith traditions generally, and the specific “religions of the book” triad of Jewish/Christian/Islamic, make a claim of a Special Revelation of the deity through history, culture and ultimately their prescribed text which purports to describe some underlying essential truth (which philosophers would ultimately describe as a metaphysics and social anthropologists of religion as a cosmology). That is really the basis of their exclusive truth claims.

    Meanwhile, the reality is that humans do religion, they have experiences and write texts. Just because this happened in antiquity does not mean we fail to acknowledge the tensions within these positions. These texts were written by men. Those men wrote female characters within the confessional narrative from a male vantage point. They also wrote G_d from a male point of view. Much as religious adherents would prefer to speak of an objective deity *outside* the text and then like to make that deeply human text confirm their personal theology, the fact remains that G_d is a character in a textually codified story, written by men.

    While I can appreciate Jinspace’s imperative to not equate cultural representations and the deity (even suggesting that G_d is not a being), ultimately this leads to the kind of conceptual gymnastics wherein negative theology ensues, such that any attempts to define G_d become idolatrous and wrong because defining/limiting G_d so that this cannot in fact BE G_d.

    This leads to the kind of difficulty wherein our apologetics become based only in rejecting what G_d is NOT like e.g. not to be seen through Christian filters, not to be seen as some extension of the Greek philosophy of beingness. Therein G_d is known for what G_d is not. Hence to CareCare’s question about transcendent/immanent the logic becomes again “neither” because choosing and discarding would seem to limit G_d, who we also cannot describe as a Being (again to limit). Then one is left only with a human rationalisation of “in my view G_d is both”. This plausible human thinking but again, any time to cite the foundational essence of G_d must be rejected as inconclusive. The truth of G_d is always left in the UNsaid.

    So we really must avoid these intellectual traps. People feel uncomfortable once the stark truth is out that G_d is merely a character in a story.. a story that CANNOT in any credible way be used to define foundational truth and metaphysical certainty.

    The story character of our religious literature actually opens up our possibilities in addressing the question “What is G_d like?” Alas, most folk are disturbed by what that may mean for our sense of certainty and what our own responsibilities are.

    After all, if God is all powerful but with a sensitive ego, might it not be better to leave this whole responsibilties of being a functional adult to that G_d chappy out there? After all, HE knows best!

  18. I’m finding that the question of whether or not the Jews are/were misogynistic is extremely difficult to adequately, substantively answer, for a number of reasons. One of the issues is the problem of how a community uses a text versus the text itself, as mentioned below. The other problem is that Jews haven’t existed as a homogenous group in a few thousand years, and so there’s all kinds of stuff going on culturally and historically. I personally lack adequate knowledge of my own people to respond with great certainty, and I haven’t read anything in this thread that convinces me of the affirmative, and I guess that’s where the burden of proof is, right?

    Of course I’m aware of head shaving, menstrual impurity, etc. However, I reject any suggestion that Orthodox Jews or Hasidism represent some kind of specimen of essential or original Judaism. Well, perhaps those people couldn’t help being so misogynistic, because they were just inspired by their supremely misogynistic text, and therefore anything that springs from that book is of the same ilk. I think the trouble is that we’re grappling with history — why did this book get written in this way? What got written later (for example, Mishna, Talmud, etc.) and where and under what circumstances? Why have these various texts been used in the ways it’s been used and how did that happen? Why do some communities emphasize certain laws above others?

    The alphabet question is quite interesting, particularly as I live in a culture that still uses a non phonetic system for writing. I’m interested in reading the book Eric mentions as well as Alex’s recommendation. But I think we’re also dealing with huge questions of what’s happened to and what’s been done by human beings from the point that the Torah and following books as well as the Christian bible were written up till now. The book is codified, we can lay hands on it, but there’s much that of the historical and anthropological that is known only to some quite scholarly types, who may tend to be more traditional in the questions they ask. I can appreciate this comment thread as an attempt to find and connect the dots. I also appreciate the attempt to discover the deeper forces running through our histories. I also appreciate that this kind of analysis may be very important for some people who are struggling with the misogyny imprinted upon them via family/religion/etc. and who may very much need to radically distance themselves from it’s influence in order to begin any kind of healing process.

  19. Yes, parallel tracks for sure. Although Ong would support a view that language has plasticity. It is not words and language that are problematic so much as writing, which petrifies language. Simple distinctions notable straight away impact on memory. Oral storytelling, for example, is reliant upon an efficient working memory, where writing codifies. Not only is this something which strengthens human memory but new situations can evoke twists and reshapings of stories in new and altered situations and this aids neuroplasticity, as well as memory efficiency. Even on these simple levels it is easy to see that orality offers an open canon that respects the mutability of life, where writing is mired in a fixity which subjugates the life principle.

    I’ll be sure to check your recommendation too.

  20. Yes. However, the conditions at the beginning or what we are told is the beginning are essential to know and recognize and understand.

    Alex, this whole discussion emerges from the larger issue of logocentrism. I am rereading Alphabet/Goddess by Shlain — curious to see the works you recommend, which sound like they are on a similar track. What he says is that society, relationships and the brain were changed, perhaps irrevocably, when language was made mandatory and exclusive.

  21. Eric, on your point about generational preconditioning and systemic misogyny, I of course agree 100% (indeed which thoughtful person could not?) But the same can be asserted about the foods we eat, the work we do, the creativity we express.. most things that we do were inculcated through habituation or omission of habituation when we were yet excluded from conscious choice-making. There is no such thing as an unconditioned person.

    This means that we are left with decisions about what stance to adopt around such givens. For me, the dismantling of oppression comes less from dismantling an archaic theological bent and configuration of text around that and more from re-visioning. For me this is more substantial response to a history of distortion. One could argue for rewriting by women across class and cultural divides (as I did earlier) or even more radical, as you intimate about the Logocentrism of Christianity (and all religions with a book, in reality) attempt to replace it with a new orality.

    Anybody interested in the history of Logocentrism (not just in religion) could do much worse than read Walter J Ong’s “Orality and Literacy” which argues that the advent of writing and its hegemony through time has had profound impact upon human ontology. The very nature of what it is to be human was altered forever. French feminists like Luce Irigaray provide a further vantage point that offers new ways of conceiving – and that is what we sorely need!

    Demolishing the house can lead to implosion if there is no viable extant alternative. This is the whole Saturn/Uranus interdependence meme again..

    Let us honour the distortions of our humanity not by attempting to excise them but by bringing a complementary modality and set of woman-centric values into, say, a new orality of community.

  22. And by the way:

    << Unto the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.' >> {S} 3,17

    And…we are off to a simply fantastic beginning of life on the planet! Away we go!!!!

  23. The early Christians were Jewish. The church didn’t come into being until much later. Here’s a link that describes the Arian heresy, which denied that Jesus is divine.
    You would have to read through each of the councils convened to see the church history, but Constantine recognized the church in 313, and the biblical holy days mandated by God were replaced by Constantine. It was, in my opinion, all about money, or a lot about money.

  24. Here it is, From Genesis, translated as from the Hebrew Bible. We do need to remember that at the time of the gospels, Christianity was a sect of Judaism.

    1,1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 1,2 Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. 1,3 And God said: ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light. 1,4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 1,5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. {P}

    1,6 And God said: ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ 1,7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. 1,8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. {P}

  25. “In the beginning was the Word.”

    Eric, I believe that quote is John 1:1.
    I honestly don’t know what it’s supposed to mean. But I do know it’s a Christian text and perspective, not Jewish.

  26. I appreciate your further thoughts, jinspace… this is a busy comment stream! If I understood you correctly, you intimated that Yahweh *would not* choose to inhabit an object; though with that said, I still don’t get why Yahweh needed a burning bush. I also plan to take these questions to my Religions class. Thanks again PW and everyone participating for how interesting and relevant this discussion is.

  27. Alex, we have a deeper question about the influences in those prejudices (i.e., the desire to be unfree or subjugated). That is misogyny on a systemic level: the preconditioning over the generations, to perceive the world a certain way, starting with one male God, commandments in writing, girls banned from reading and writing, imagery and sculpture banned in a direct attack on pagan and Earth-centered religion.

    Many here have wondered: Where did the Goddess go? The Goddess went out with the Second Commandment. The Goddess does not present humanity with abstract laws in written form. The Goddess speaks intuitively, through nature and through images.

    The realm of the all-male, all supreme God who has the time to worry about the failings of individual mortals, who is inflicted on us by priests, kings, monks, rabbis and various prophets (principal among them Moses, who way back at the beginning of his thing smashes a bull/cow, symbolically ending the Age of Taurus), is all about the written word and written law.

    In the beginning was The Word.

    Oh really?

  28. I have often thought that a study needed to be done (if it has not been already) to compare the prevalence of rape in sub-Saharan Africa before Catholicism saw its meteoric rise in popularity and now. I know very little about African cultures but since there is much in the news lately about how influential the Catholic church has been in that region in recent times it seems that the data ought to be relatively fresh. The statics of rape are appalling in Africa.

    South Africa in particular has the dubious distinction of being the country with the highest rape rate per capita ( 1998-2000) in the world. South Africa also has very high rates of Femicide ( murder committed against women by their intimate partners) and is now part of the ongoing news story of Reeva Steekamp who was killed on Valentines day (that potent astrologically loaded day) by Oscar Pistorius the famous para-Olympian. Ms. Steemkamp had supposedly been scheduled to speak at a rally to raise awareness about Femicide the very day she died….by Femicide (whether accidental or not, the fact remains). I noticed that there were huge Nessus and Pholus influences attached to this event, perhaps these point to a culture/society ready to begin healing around some deep, deep wounds concerning the Feminine.
    It would be interesting to track/trace the correlations between these sets of data.

  29. This is a difficult concept. I don’t mean it in the mathematical sense but in the legal, social and practical ones. I tend to allow a lot of room for equivalency in my idea of equality. What I am really speaking of is: the intent to deny rights and privileges; the intent to exclude.

    So the INTENT is the key in my opinion. If the INTENT is (or can be demonstrated) to create prejudice or bias, then we have a working idea.

    In this context (of rights, etc.), the word is documented to be about 500 years old.

    Remember that words are defined mainly by their usage. In legal terms, that would be usage by the courts and the legislatures, and to some extent by attorneys.

    Here is the text of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, which defines the word with the word we are using, though apparently Alice Paul thought it was a developed enough concept to use the word:

    “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

    Here is the etymology of the term ‘equality’

    late 14c., “evenness of surface, uniformity of size;” c.1400, in reference to amount or number, from Old French equalité (Modern French égalité, which form dates from 17c.), from Latin aequalitatem (nominative aequalitas) “equality, similarity, likeness” (also sometimes with reference to civil rights), from aequalis (see equal). Of privileges, rights, etc., from 1520s.

    The legal term ‘equality’ is a taxation term. ‘Equal opportunity’ is defined:

    equal opportunity 1) n. a right supposedly guaranteed by both federal and many state laws against any discrimination in employment, education, housing or credit rights due to a person’s race, color, sex (or sometimes sexual orientation), religion, national origin, age or handicap.

    That is from here. My Black’s Law Dictionary is in the studio so I am using the Internet.

  30. Eric, there is a big problem here. What is your working definition of “equality”? This is far more significant than a definition of misogyny. What I am sensing is a tabula rasa in your equality concept.

    The way I would highlight the problem involves say considering the equality between a thirty stone man and an eight stone woman. Your equality concept would appear to suggest that 100 KG of food would be equally shared as each party taking 50 KG. I do not believe that to be equality, just as it would not be if the woman were thirty stones in weight and the man only eight.

    What may appear equal, if imposed mathematically, would perpetrate injustice in practice.

    Whether we like it or not, in similar fashion, many women wish to retain their quantitatively unequal roles within religious worldviews. Psychology and choice complicates matters at all points. In short, the attempt to impose a pure equality on all structures and transactions, is not viable or intellectually sustainable – much as it would be nice to dream of such a seemingly utopian world.

    We must respect even the choices we consider to be born of oppression. Sometimes people choose their own poison and do so happily. Any belief in an ultimate truth runs the risk of justifying imposition of equality on those who don’t espouse your version of it.. leading to oppression.

  31. If you’re going to quote me, please do not use direct quote marks unless you’re actually transcribing. If you are paraphrasing, say so. I am noticing some of that going on. Also, if we are gong to discuss a supposedly more accurate version of a particular text, let’s quote that text directly and compare the two versions to see what we get.

    One thing I’m noticing is there seems to be a debate over misogyny when there is no working definition of misogyny in the conversation, that I have seen. That is not possible to do, if you want the discussion to be logical.

    By misogyny, what I mean is any idea, philosophy or practice that systematically does any one or more of the following: 1. defines women as lesser than men, as culpable or as untrustworthy; 2. that denies them personhood in any way; 3. that confines their role in the world to specific roles or customs that restrict privileges allowed to men; 4. or that actively encourages the hatred, degradation, violence toward or mistreatment of women.

    In order to demonstrate that something is potentially not misogynist (though one cannot really prove a negative) we would need to look at the systematic results: equal representation and participation within whatever institution; ideas and practices that uplift or clarify the value of women AND that get results in a way that we can recognize; a positive influence on society, such as inherent respect, equivalent opportunity, pay parity and sexual privileges. We would need to have some confirmation with things like domestic violence statistics, headcount among clergy, headcount among top management, etc.

    Where there is not misogyny, there is no human chattel, though in particular, women are not taken as or treated as chattel property.

    I would challenge everyone here, particularly those participating in our world heavily dominated by Judeo-Christian religion, to sort out the philosophical justifications and actual sources of the mistreatment, violence, rape and systematically enforced lack of equality.

    Like racism, I believe misogyny is a systematic approach — not a case by case thing. It is not ‘prejudice’. Archie Bunker was not racist by this definition, he was prejudiced, bigoted and biased — and perhaps part of something larger that was racist.

  32. Carrie –

    “I have not heard any one of the Jewish faith say whether they thought their deity was transcendent or immanent. So I was curious about your take on it.”

    I did think I addressed our *overall* concept of God in my comments below (reference the one about the flower petal). I realize it doesn’t quite answer your question in the way you’d like it answered, but that’s not possible. Within Judaism there is no single doctrine on that question. It’s a complex religion with many different schools of thought, and it’s more the stuff of debate among rabbinical students (and eventual rabbis). But to the average person being raised with a general Jewish education (me, for example), we dwell mostly on ethics.

    Personally, I can’t accept the premise as an either-or question. I feel a profound connection to ‘all existence’ – I have had extraordinary metaphysica experiences in my life that I can describe as having been spiritual and physical at once, both seeing all things and being a part of all things, all time, all existence. And they have given me an instantaneous, profound understanding of the ‘higher’ nature of existence (also of whole chapters of the Bible). If I absorb that non-physical insight/experience/knowledge and it becomes a part of my visceral being – and that is definitely the feeling of the experience – then it’s both. But that’s me.

  33. “This is not Jewish ideology. There is no bridge, no middleman.”

    Thanks, jinspace. I knew that. I was asking if Judaism as you know it is transcendent or immanent. I only used the two examples to show the difference between how some describe immanence and transcendence. Pagans have many different descriptions of immanence and Christians also have many different descriptions of transcendence. I have not heard any one of the Jewish faith say whether they thought their deity was transcendent or immanent. So I was curious about your take on it.

  34. Jinspace, it is good to see passionate discourse. Especially when it seeks to broker vital corrective, by reference to available knowledge. I seek to be dispassionate because this is cyberspace, home of myriad potential misunderstandings! In 3D, you may find me more energetic.. Taurean or no.. 😉

  35. “It can be especially dangerous when the same text is used by two different cultures because there’s a risk of viewing the original text through the lens of the second culture.”

    Exactly, Sam. In the case of Christianity vs. Judaism, it’s not really the same text because Christian theologians have taken a Jewish text and reworded it to suit different theologies. So to use any non-Jewish version of the Bible to debate points of Jewish theology, culture or history is to start off on the wrong foot.

    Alexander – I always admire your ability to reserve, observe, and comment with balance. I sound off like a loose cannon, and then come back down to Earth to *attempt* rational discourse. Clearly, we are not of the same sign 🙂

    Regarding allowing room for the goddess – this has no place in Judaism, because the concept of God is beyond gender.

    Graffiti Grammarian –
    “(Carol Gilligan’s) book looks at the patriarchy established by the ancient Romans — and boy were they suppressing sex all over the place! Once the Roman Republic was killed off by the emperors, they started passing all kinds of laws that criminalized adultery, and then any kind of sex outside of marriage.

    And it was this patriarchal regime that eventual morphed into the institution of Christianity, which in turn morphed into the Catholic church.”

    What I understand is that it didn’t so much morph as happen by design. I have read that Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the new official religion of Rome because its growing popularity was too much of a threat to the empire. As head of the state religion, he trumped a theological trend.

    Something quite striking about this moment in history is that it is precisely when the Jewish lawmakers began to expand the rights of women. The new laws included (among other things) guarantees of protection, financial support and honor within marriage; the right to have sex (by law, a husband could neither force his wife to have sex nor withhold it from her); the right to initiate a divorce in the event of spousal abuse, or to receive the assistance of the rabbinical court to do so on her behalf; and broadened rights regarding property ownership, including issues relating to dowry and inheritance. That’s not too shabby for two thousand years ago, and it’s the short list.

    Carrie –
    “…the Christian ideology of god as a creator which created everything but was separate and transcendent from its creation. The creation needed a bridge to reach the creator so the creator sent Jesus as the bridge; the creation had to go through Jesus to be able to get to the creator.”

    This is not Jewish ideology. There is no bridge, no middleman.

  36. Just watched the HBO doc…..must be the heavy Pisces and my Catholic upbringing, but this was a Sunday morning of tears. Deep tears. It disgusts me so much-of course because the abuse of children….but I shared the doc with my parents (who barely attend Church anymore, but who have not completely denounced it) and all I can feel is utter compassion. I knew as a child that the shit was bogus and could see through the phoniness of the services and Priests, but they were suckers who bought it for a long time. Ugh. Major ugh.

  37. I haven’t listened to this podcast yet, but I heard the previous one in which Eric said something like “They hate women in that religion” — referring to Judaism. I was going to write at the time and ask for some context for that statement — who is the they and what precisely does he mean by Judaism. It looks like Eric is clarifying that some in this comment thread — that he’s primarily referring to the Jewish texts.

    I was in a Chan Buddhist convent a few days ago (as a tourist) and got into an argument with a disciple of the abbess there about Tibetan Buddhism. My point was simple — that it’s hard to know what is going on in there without having been there yourself from the start or without or getting as close as you can — basically I was arguing for the anthropological approach. Texts do speak for themselves but they don’t tell the whole story. Especially it’s important to consider the attitude of the group/culture toward the texts and how they are used. It can be especially dangerous when the same text is used by two different cultures because there’s a risk of viewing the original text through the lens of the second culture.

    I personally think that the linear historical view of Judaism leading to Christianity is highly problematic. It might be that the Christians use the same book, it might be that this Jesus fellow was a Jew, but those who would go on to comprise the Christian universe were not very Jewish. Yes the texts are linked, but that’s actually a construction. Jesus and his disciples could have started a whole new deal and thrown out the old book. There is the trail of texts but there is also the trail of peoples to follow.

    Finally, I would like to make the point that this is why education is necessary and also, of course, potentially harmful. As Jinspace mentioned, children are not just locked in a room with the Tanach and told to read it. Someone who is supposedly an expert is supposed to explain it to you and put it in context — they could do that in an interesting way, in a horrible way, or in a boring way. I don’t think we really paid much attention to Genesis in Hebrew school. It was way more about the people from Abraham onward. Perhaps Christians are more fixated on Genesis? I don’t know. And of course there’s a lot of different kinds of Jews out there.

    By the way, you can also find this in the Tanach:

    Like an apple tree in the forest, is my love to me among the young men. I adore my seat in his shade and his fruit is sweet on my tongue.

    I am pretty sure we read some of that in 7th grade.

  38. All theology is merely cosmology in fancy dress. People who practice religion with any sort of reflective component are seeking to make their conceptual universe harmonious. But imbibing pre-packaged doctrines is not quite the same as that. It is not really coherent to suggest what Judaism’s concept of G_d is, nor any other ism’s.. that is just sectarianism dressed up as definitive truth (actually, it is simply man made doctrine NOT authentic foundational ‘truth’).

    Although it is important for cultural diversity to have a good grasp of religious cosmologies it is a mistake to get bogged down in tradition-specific debates that create the false impression that the truth of any religious view can be separated from the experiences of its many practitioners. Every adherent enters the piece not with some pristine relationship to a metaphysical truth but with a set of life experiences they have correlated to some religious metanarrative.

    Strictly speaking there are only theologies not A theology. Purists here deny the reality of cosmology, which is always, ultimately, personal.

    The reason why critique is necessary of all monolithic positions should be fairly obvious to anyone who does not like to be oppressed (by a god-concept as much as any other source). This is where the intrinsically pluralistic essence of astrology helps us hygely, as a vehicle for critical dialogue. There are no sacred cows, much as we may like there to be.

    We should try to respect all stated views that the religious espouse; but that does not mean accepting the false premise implicit often, that my personal cosmology is the same as what I claim to be foundational religious ‘truth’. If people can’t live with uncertainty or mystery then that is their problem!
    When G_d can no longer surprise you then that g_d is the real expression of idolatry (namely turning oneself and one’s ideas into the totality of everything).

    Taoism is the most alive of all spiritualities to this human tendency toward self-idolatry. It makes very clear that eternal Tao precedes G_d.. and is very clear about the decay into righteousness and morality that always ensues. The very best of the mono traditions always seemed to evidence the sanctity of human consciousness when it suggested that G_d looks upon the heart. Now that makes sense!

  39. jinspace,

    Would you say the god of Judaism is a transcendent god or an immanent one? My Hindu friends say their god-concept is of the immanent type and most Christians I know say their god-concept is of the transcendent type.

    In case anyone reading isn’t aware of what the difference is; transcendent deity is one that is separate from its creation whereas immanent deity is one which is in the creation so each part of the creation is part of the deity like a skin cell on my little finger is part of me. One sees the creator as a separate being with which the created communicates. The other sees the created and creator as one and the same but the created is often unaware that they are part of the creator which causes suffering.

    Alan Watts once wrote a fun story about immanence which explained it this way; suppose god hides itself in all the universe in order to experience every sense of being; rocks, trees, humans, aliens, planets, stars, etc. When the beings it is hidden in wake up and realize they are part of god, the game is up and it can be started all over again.

    A therapist once explained the Chrsitian ideology of god as a creator which created everything but was separate and transcendent from its creation. The creation needed a bridge to reach the creator so the creator sent Jesus as the bridge; the creation had to go through Jesus to be able to get to the creator.

    Interesting ways of seeing deity.

  40. SpencerWrites –

    “We were taught that in Hinduism, an “idol” is viewed as a vessel that a god/dess energy might choose to *inhabit* on an incidental or ongoing basis. The idol is not the deity itself – the idol is a “medium” in the sense that it *facilitates* communication and contact”

    That’s fine, but that’s Hinduism, not Judaism. Judaism first of all believes in one god, which is neither male nor female nor tangible in any way. God inhabits everything, but not in the way you’re suggesting. For example, Jewish teaching encourages seeing and appreciating the beauty of all things, even down to the minutest detail, to the point of being able to lose yourself in them. My grandfather, who was a painter, would stop dead in his tracks, point out a single vein in a flower petal and marvel, “look how beautiful that is!” He was right. That beautiful little detail – a tiny streak of red on a pale pink petal – in Jewish thought, is an expression of God, but it is not God. Nor is it a creation of man (unlike an idol), but something that exists in nature.

    That said, there is a distinction between being taught to appreciate the beauty (or ugliness) of something tangible and to worship it outright. Because if God is in the details, then God is in me. That’s what is meant in the words that God created Man in his own image. But man, lest he think that’s an invitation to worship himself, is taught instead to be awed, and humbled, by the mere fact of our being here on Earth. That, in turn, engenders respect for all beings.

    In Judaism, many physical objects (especially edible ones) are imbued with symbolism, too, but only of *qualities* – joy, renewal, the cycle of life, sweetness, tears, bitterness, purity, etc., even the eternal presence of God – but never, never of God. It’s just a different way of seeing things.

    But there’s another reason for having no middleman: every person is then alone with God, which not only encourages feeling intimately connected to the very essence of all existence, but also a way of saying/implying you are alone with your conscience.

    Diva Carla – I smiled at your comments re Chagall and Shahn (you’re not alone). And I hope you’ve had a chance to take a look at the link I posted about the history of Jewish art.

    Mimi – I had the same “that’s stupid” reaction you did to the Bible. But I’m also a Leo.

  41. I found myself strongly rejecting jin’s/your suggestion that Yahweh had a noble purpose – to “eliminate the middleman” – expressed via his attitude and actions against idols. Yahweh admits right out in Exodus 20:4-5 that he is “a jealous god.” Yahweh “owns it” – and so should the rest of us.

    Additionally, I’m a 50-year old part-time college student and taking a World Religions class (among others) this semester. We touched directly on the topic of idols during the Hinduism unit of the class. We were taught that in Hinduism, an “idol” is viewed as a vessel that a god/dess energy might choose to *inhabit* on an incidental or ongoing basis. The idol is not the deity itself – the idol is a “medium” in the sense that it *facilitates* communication and contact, just as my computer and internet connection facilitate my contact with PW readers. Considered in this sense, the “burning bush” of Exodus chapter 3 could also be considered an “idol,” in that it functioned specifically as a “medium,” a focal point, where a deity energy interfaced with a human.

  42. Recently saw a lovely film about a young Saudi Arabian girl called “Wajda”. When she was learning to read the Coran, the girls were taught that if they have their period, they cannot touch the book. They had to use a tissue to hold it and turn the pages.
    Interesting, isn’t it, the similarities between the Jewish and Islamic traditions regarding women? And what about nuns? The old fashioned ones?!

  43. I’ve been journaling and processing with an amazing clarity and tenacity for the last couple of weeks, doubtless this has to do with the Centaur energies i’ve been feeling through my chart.
    I got to a basic “am I really loved?” place which is closely related to a “I’m guilty for existing” place.
    Now, in bed with a cold and flu like symptoms (from the processing?!) I just listened to this podcast. Thank you, Eric, for bringing the impact of the church on myself and countless previous generations to the foreground. I see now that it is not only my own ‘stuff’ I’m dealing with here. Rather, it is centuries of manipulation, control and imposed conformity to survive, implicit in our society, much of it, that I carry. It is this excruciating self betrayal, ages old, in order to survive, that amazes me.
    Done with it. I choose freedom, creativity and joy! What a wild time to be alive!

  44. Eric, thank you for a most incisive and provocative podcast this week. Wow. I will be thinking about this one long past its debut date. I have a really complicated history with Catholicism, and with religion and spirituality in general. I’ve been neo-pagan since 1999, but realized as you spoke that I had some cord-severing, myself, to do as well. This isn’t a new topic for me – I realized some time ago that I tend to use my “Catholic cred” (baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church) as a social safety net. A lot of this week’s podcast also ties in, for me, with some of the things you talked about in the Libra annual edition (holistic!). I also realized to what extent the Church uses “projection” (in the psychological sense) to hide itself. Extending your thought about about how a sex-hating church has basically been running a child trafficking operation for centuries, I also realized the the Catholic Church is guilty of more Black Magic than every woman ever burned as a witch. They need to keep those exorcists around for a reason.

  45. This isn’t related at all to the discussion below (sorry!), but I wanted to comment on The Mystical Traveler. I remember reading a past post by Elisa that mentioned a Traveler with a capital T and I wondered at the time if this was a specific reference or a typo. Now I know! I’d love to hear more about The Travelers. I’m insanely curious. Great podcast.

  46. Thank you Mimi, and Alexander, I take note of your thoughts. Thank you all for bearing witness to me through these comments. I come here to be naked, and witnessed, because the space is held.

    Alexander, it is really important to keep calling out the perpetrators, the predators and the liars. They are surely dying, but they are still very dangerous. People are hurting in their sleep, and one way to help them wake up is to call to their pain. Yes, I focus on what I am creating, what WE collectively are creating. And I’ve had a rich spiritual journey once I stepped beyond the boundaries. I write a bit about is below, if anyone cares to know me better.

    Mimi, I would envy you your LEO rebellion, if it weren’t so sweet to be me ;o). I did rebel, eventually, but in the passive-aggressive way I learned from my mother and other southern women in my family. I just waited till after my children were born to get married!

    The 10 year old girl rant is just one insider view of what it’s like to grow up sensitive and serious in that milieu. If I had not been exposed since before birth, I might have had more a sense of self when my intellect kicked in. I spent a lot of energy trying to make things fit. I became a regular apologist for Christianity in the culture, while other kids were out playing, or making out.

    My first venture away from the church was in college, where I dropped New Testament studies for Old Testament. Hebrew, Jewish history, religion, and literature, and ART! I was an art major too. And I looked hard for Jewish imagery in contemporary art, beyond Shahn, and Chagall. Which is why I was equally embarrassed and delighted to have attracted Jinspace’s attention with my 30 word summary. I decided against a PhD track and ran away to New York to be an artist. I had those babies, and settled in for a long winter’s nap, raising kids and processing my own feelings of guilt and shame. Hiding out.

    In my own spiritual life I have found embrace in Native American ceremony, where Jesus is by my side through every dance and sweat lodge. My teacher is a Pueblo Indian, and is a mystic visionary. Divine is regularly addressed as Mother/Father, and the principal diety of his culture is Female. In my readings of indigenous creation stories, the creator frequently feminine, and often a grandmother, or a female who matures from infancy to elder in the course of the story. Just as often, there are two, male and female, and it is a quest to come to earth as human.

    I’ve also received initiation with a priestess of pre-Egyptian sacred sexuality, which informs everything, even my childhood devotion to Jesus… or whatever it was. It seems at the heart of it to have been something that I still cannot name, but I worship within. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable with the Feminine as Divine. I knew I’d internalized it when I offered blessing at my mother’s dinner table to Mother Father god. Surprised even me.

    So that’s my update. All I can say is I love being 58 (in 2 weeks) and still growing and glowing. Life is sweet.

  47. Lizzy, Karen Armstrong is possibly the utmost source for balanced evaluations of religion in a contemporary frame. It is always a pleasure to see her work referenced. The kind of sane and human treatment that helps people through the jungle of ideology and counter-ideology. Thanks for citing..

  48. “I was that 10 year old girl in a world of man gods and man saviours, and as a protestant we didn’t even have Mary, except at Christmas. I was reading my own King James version of the Bible before I started school. Worse than male gods was the absence of flesh and blood female leadership spiritual role models. It’s not that the 10 year old is thinking, god doesn’t look like me. It is the absence of the feminine, and the active damnation of the feminine.”

    I was, too. Except after drawing the same conclusion, thought “you’re stupid” in that way that pre-pubescent girls do. (“you” being the Church). Leos are like that. Especially ones with Aries Rising. Isn’t it fascinating how similar events can have widely different impacts?

    Diva Carla, I wish you much peace and healing.

  49. “This is what the world (and ultimate reality) is like” would summarise nicely the essence of the religious drive/objective, regardless of the specific religious tradition or school one is considering. The goal is to unify the lens through which different practitioners (essentially disciples) view AND approach the world.

    The ultimate goal is not individuation but unifying force. All institutions, old and new, recognise that action requires a focus of attention. Diversity and plurality working in practice, do not foster a unification for action mentality. In the case of the mono religions in particular, such mentalities sponsor conserving energies around action and ultimately war to defend a parochial ideal of truth.

    Spiritual practice grounded in the diverse and plural tend not to be jingoistic but instead consciousness raising. They essentially recognise human growth as grounded in a model if wisdom for living, whose ethical sufficiency comes not from authority but harmonious values.

    The dominant paradigms in the west reflect a history of human struggle that is at odds with those emanating from the east. No wonder that westerners seeking alternative modalities for living often turn to eastern systems. Even the current debate constitutes the age old struggle to establish dominance of a specific perspective. This IS the history of religious struggle.

    Anyone wishing to make progress in such matters would do well to remember the caveats about attempting to dismantle the master’s house using the master’s tools..

    Religion is a soft target. If you consider it too problematic to ignore, you would be better making choices to embrace a pluralistic paradigm above rejecting a monolithic one. The world needs constructive spirituality based on a knowledge which has thoroughly learned the painful lessons of the past, not reactive critique which may be accurate but provides little scope for sustainable change within the prevailing world views we inhabit.

    I would recommend Taoism as the most ecologically, woman and child friendly, point of critical yet constructive departure. Bashing specific traditions can be entertaining but accomplishes nothing if a positive engagement with the problem of human sense-making through religious enquiry is not effected as a result!

  50. I was that 10 year old girl in a world of man gods and man saviours, and as a protestant we didn’t even have Mary, except at Christmas. I was reading my own King James version of the Bible before I started school. Worse than male gods was the absence of flesh and blood female leadership spiritual role models. It’s not that the 10 year old is thinking, god doesn’t look like me. It is the absence of the feminine, and the active damnation of the feminine.

    I was not a rebellious child in my heart. I bought what they were telling me… I was afraid of eternal separation from God, hellfire being the least of it. and I was afraid of my grandfather’s razor strop, so I towed the line. It did not seem fair to me that Eve had to take the fall for the Fall. That hit home. I did not rebel, I took it into myself, at a cellular unconscious level. The women of the Bible were Ruth and Naomi, and Sarah and Rebekah, and Deborah and Miriam, and a few other virtuous wives and daughters in the old testament, but the colorful ones were the harlots: Jezebel, Delilah, Lot’s wife, and even Bathsheba, who was somehow blamed for David going off his rocker into murder. They all suffered violent and “just” deaths. (very recently I’ve learned that these women, especially Jezebel, were priestesses of the displaced goddess religion– that was their sin)

    I took it personally that sin came into the world through a woman, so that I felt personally responsible for Jesus’ death and unworthy of grace and god’s love, or any love. It comes home to roost at puberty, or when lust activates, because all you learned about sex the guilt and shame, and then you really feel unworthy, because now you know what sin is. I took it seriously because that is how my Pisces soul is wired. I loved Jesus, and I loved King David the poet, because he knew God lived in Nature. And because somehow, they were both hunks. My love for God was erotic, though I wouldn’t have known to say it that way.

    The Bible as we know it now is a literary hodgepodge edited to serve the politics of the time. Who got edited out? the majority of the powerful women in spiritual leadership, and any reference that God or other men loved and revered them. Who else got edited out? the Divine Feminine, Wisdom, Sophia, and I know this, Her wisdom is expressed sexually. They had to restrict sex in order to restrict women.

    Who’s ever religion it is that says that the male principle is the creator of the world without any participation of the female principle is ridiculous. And toxic. Lethal. A rapist. And I am thinking of Earth, not just women.

    This is the Book that millions believe, as I was taught, that is the holy and only word of God and that it is literally true. Dangerous.

    I am not going to talk about anyone else’s religion, but looking through my personal experience of old time religion, I am in Eric’s camp.

    always wondered what a virgin birth meant.

  51. What an interesting discussion.

    The problem with broad-brush generalizations which are then applied to specific judgements is that they generally don’t work if one is trying to cast blame or make pronouncements. To begin a sentence with “The Church has _______ ” (insert horrific crime of choice) or to say “Jewish Law says ______ ” (insert quote that supposedly supports the argument) is simply never going to be accurate. The “Church” is an organization made up of millions of people over hundreds of years doing tens of thousands of thing, both good and bad, to cultures and individuals all over the planet thru a very long period of time. Same with people who are Jewish, by religion or culture, or “Americans” or any other large diverse group of individuals operating under a single label.

    I will agree that there have been horrendous abuses done within the institution that here is being referred to as “The Church”, but much good has also been given to history and our collective thru this portal….Without “The Church” would we have the Sistine Chapel or St. Francis or Mother Theresa for example?

    If we want to use a very broad brush however, might I suggest this one as a more useful paradigm: cultures which worship/revere Life, ALL life will generally be more respectful of the Divine Feminine as they see it in their world (generally in all the plant and animals upon which they survive) and they will also have an appropriate respect for the Divine Masculine so that both girls and boys can see themselves as an intrinsic part of the fabric of the Universe and thus a part of the Divine order. When a culture (or an individual) begins to understand that we are not separate from any other living thing, then we learn to love, respect and protect ourselves, each other and our environment.

    However, when a culture turns away from respecting life and embraces a worship of Death and power-over-others then systems become distorted, polarity wars rage and everybody looses except those with the willingness to stop at nothing for their own gains. But even they must die and face their own Soul at the point of transition.

    Re: Eric’s comment that the Bible contains no reference to artists… I am no Biblical scholar but as I recall, some of the passages themselves are quite revered as Poetry, are they not? But we also must think of the context of the times of the original writings…they were most likely a collection of teaching stories… and as such would therefore not be focused on the great achievements of artists of the times but of warriors and kings since that is what most folk were fixated on back then. The “good” (Ha!) Book as we know it now has been re-written so many times (most frequently for political gain and always by men) that we have no idea what the original was truly saying. When I was a 13 year old girl and tried to read it for the first time, I did EXACTLY as Eric said… concluded that God must hate me and that I, as girl was doomed to be a second-class human…. however rather than take this distortion on-board as “truth”, I began seeking Spiritual guidance elsewhere. Fortunately I discovered that there are many other Sacred texts out there that have more holistic lines of thinking!

    Our western culture has been immersed in a series of cultural experiments over time. First we tried tribalism, then a long experiment in Matriarchal cultures (evidence of which exists but is not well understood because they generally pre-dated writing) then another long experiment in Patriarchal cultures, mostly rising out of the desert tribes of Abraham’s descendants. Now the pendulum is swinging again. We have come to realize that we are whole beings and need to have cultures, belief systems and laws that are anchored in the middle ground, the Sacred Space that is the Mandorla otherwise known as the Vesica Pisces (Hey! We’re back to “Pisces” in the discussion!) which is the place that is both/and rather than either/or.

    Either/or is so yesterday!

  52. We are not over them as long as religiously motivated politicians and lawyers are going after women’s sovereignty over their bodies, justifying their actions based on some alleged Biblical mandate.

    I am not sure what you’re defending here. I have never seen the rights of women, and I do mean the sanctity of their bodies, under such vicious attack like I’ve see them now.

    I am not the one hung up on the past. I treat women like the human beings that they are, with full prerogative over their bodies and minds. I am exposing something that I see. I am not a 10 year old girl but I am certainly entitled to consider how life impacts them.

  53. You are not a contemporary ten-year-old girl, and they are generally not so impressionable – or sophisticated – that they’re going to think “Men hate me. God hates me” personally, from reading Genesis. Let’s keep things in perspective.

    The Torah is not My Little Pony. It was not written to sugar-coat life, but to show it in its goodness and rottenness and to grapple with the nature of existence and the importance of developing and maintaining a solid and unwavering ethical foundation. That said, very young children don’t study the Torah directly, because it is not considered children’s literature.

    And that said, all children know that life has a very dark side, and they value literature that validates that.

    Alexander is right – the story would certainly be different had it been written by women, but it wasn’t. The laws you are referring to are ancient. We’re over them. You can be, too.

  54. I am not here to discuss the position of Jews relative to other communities. I am here to discuss the impact of Jewish law on women — and how this has transposed into some critical women’s issues that we are dealing with today, in a more demanding way than ever.

  55. I see what Eric is getting at; I also see what jinspace is getting at. The interesting thing is; both are in essence saying that words can cause great wrongs and the rise of ideas, societies, and stereotypes if misused. For example; the words in Genesis have been used for centuries to keep females in a second-class status which allowed (and still allows) them to be tortured, murdered, and excluded from power and influence in some places. Words have also been used to keep Jews in a second class status which allowed (and may still allow in some places) them to be tortured, murdered, and excluded from power and influence. This is why both of you have a point. Just thought I would mention that.

  56. The irony in the whole premise of left brain = masculine and right brain = feminine is this: females are often steered to communicatuion ( so-called “left-brained” activity) and males are often steered into specialization (a so-called “right-brain” activity). The stereotypes abound about women being better communicators and better at language and men being better at spatial reasoning and specialization. Studies have shown that these stereotypes are false; both genders are able to do either well with most differences coming from environment not nature.

  57. “because someone’s bound to start muttering about Jews and money.”

    About that…. (yes, I am going to go there) I learned something in my cultural anthropology class. What most people never read about in school history class is “why” the Jewish people ended up being connected with money. You have to go far enough back into history to see the attitudes of the early Christian church about both Jews and money. There was a time in the early church when the handling of money (known as ‘filthy lucre”) was considered unclean. Early Christians saw the Jews as unclean (they never seemed to recall that their avatar, Jesus, was a Jew) so the only work the Jews in Europe at that time could get was handling money. Back then, Jews were akin to the Hindu Untouchables and as such were not allowed to work at any “decent Christian” business or home. So they were pushed off into handling that dirty stuff; money. Yep. Fast forward several centuries and you can see why the connection between Jews and money is now made but for all the wrong reasons; they HAD to deal with money because not doing so back then meant starvation and death. I really wish kids in high school were exposed to that particular part of history; it would help stave off a lot of resentment and stereotyping.

  58. Yes, the text dominates the piece. A group of contemporary, white, middle class western women rewriting from their perspective would be different than a non-western, non-white, working class woman in a traditional setting point of view.

    It seems to me that both would bring the distortions inherent within a limiting perspectivalism. For me, women need to collaborate across the divides and reach a consensus through process.

    Now, such a thoroughly woman-centric reconstruction would honour the child perspective too. Such a view rewriting the text would balance out the male-centric textual frame and allow readers to enter a more rounded world.

    This would be radical, in the sense you invoke it.

  59. Preconceived or impressionistic. When I consider the Book of Genesis from the viewpoint of, say, a contemporary 10 year old girl who has been told this is a very serious book, I get the feeling: Men hate me. God hates me.

  60. Eric, that is what I said when I made the point about the history of conscious reception and appropriation. The past is the past in the sense that the biblical texts cannot be unwritten.

    They can be re-written and that would require credible attempts at reconstruction. Dominant interpretations are festering in people’s wiring matrices. And this is why we require rewriting.. Popular interpretation will always misappropriate, according to preconceived notions about the literalness of textuality..

  61. One thing to add. The notion of a kind of “affirmative action” on male/female divinity is a reaction to religious memes and laws that seemed created specifically to suppress women.

    If those memes and laws did not exist, and were not enforced at gunpoint or on threat of being burned alive, or going to hell, or some form of excommunication, I believe that power, wealth, influence, art and philosophy would be much more evenly distributed, and everyone’s role honored.

    Alex, the past is the past, unless past ideas and ways of thinking are fully occupying someone’s neurology, or embraced without question or dissent by a society — and if what was past has no effects today. Otherwise, the past is very much the present, which seems to be Metaphysical Problem One — for example, how do we find the present, and what do we do about karma?

  62. Specialist textual interpretation and popular reception are entirely different creatures. But what gains currency in practice is rarely the specialist perspective. All literary texts are expressions of the world view that produces them. And regardless of theological and literary sophistication of hermeneutics, biblical texts in every case were written by men. Even portrayals of significant female figures in Jewish religious history are male written.

    I do not believe that this discredits a religion per se; it was merely a product of its time and culture. But we must be vigilant to the implications not simply of contemporary interpretaton of ancient texts, but also the history of conscious reception and appropriation of those texts. What is past is past.

    What might be of interest in this arena is the project of a re-telling of biblical history from a woman-centred perspective. This is not really a matter so much of the correctness of interpretation within a religious frame as the consequences/possibilities for reconstruction within a holistic and truly eclectic cultural and humanitarian lens.

  63. What I mean by Goddess is a concept of prime creator that reveals and honors the feminine as co-equal to any masculine notion of God. That could include Earth, or many other possibilities. If God/dess is to be some form of hermaphrodite, that would need to be revealed and expressed directly.

    If there is a Goddess in my view it would be a recognizable feminine form of divinity, co-equal to any notion of God, that a pre-literate girl could recognize as such.

    In modern Quakerism, to give an example, we state openly that Goddess worship is explicitly included, if that is what you’re into. There is no question and there is none implied or left lurking.

    The mere fact that that the children of God were told to subdue the Earth would be considered misogynist by many modern feminist thinkers.

  64. Sorry, I read just the beginning of your comment.

    Last thing, then I leave space to others. What do you mean by the goddess? in Jewish religion God is man and woman, is everything.
    Yes, it has always assumed ‘male’ characteristics, but the core essence is that.

    That said, I agree that it’s a delicate matter.

  65. Paola, head shaving or hair cropping (and then wearing a wig) is basic to many orthodox Jews, or it was until very recently. These traditions do not just vanish.

    There are predominantly secular, sometimes atheist, reform Jews in the United States for whom none of this matters. I am talking about the long and deep traditions; the inherent structural setup from “creation” as it carries forward across the centuries, into culture, and into derivative sects.

    To begin with, we are talking about a religion that bans the goddess from the outset. This carries into Christianity; Mary was not accepted as co-equal to Jesus until very recently.

  66. ‘women as chattel, the mandate to shave the head’ Where?????????
    Even if it’s written in the Bible somewhere, which I never heard of, the context is important, as Jinspace said! Even the most strict and observant religious Jewish are aware that some of the precepts in the Bible are not actual any more. You can’t take sentences like those and use them to criticize a religion ‘in toto’, now.
    Maybe you can say “Judaism at the beginning prescribed that… and therefore women were…. ” etc. I could accept that.
    I am not saying that the role and position of women in Judaism is ideal, it’s a very controversilal matter in my opinion, and one that caused me doubts and difficult thoughts. But NOT as you are describing it.

    That’s my opinion, of course.

  67. I am a little confused here. Laws that treat women as chattel, and myths that portray them as responsible for “the fall” are somehow not misogynist? Maybe I don’t understand misogyny. Perhaps my error is in that I am thinking in a ‘radical’ way — going to the roots, in an effort to understand what came later.

    And what came later is not pretty.

    Paola, I am not infallible, thank you. But if I am wrong about something, that should be obvious and easy to correct. Also, there is perhaps a matter of interpretation involved. But I don’t see how anything so distinctly patriarchal cannot also be inherently misogynist, and this carries through to Catholicism and to Islam.

  68. Eric,
    not entering in the merit of your last comment, which I don’t have time to do right now, just one thing comes to my mind: you have rightly stopped discussions on this blog time ago, because you said that so many people read it and it is exposed to so many eyes, judgements, minds, people – which I agree with.
    And now you write these things, that seem quite dangerously near to a very thin line to me, between correctness and uncorrectness, information and misinformation, prejudice on a ‘boling’ matter. I am quite amazed. Yes, it’s personal. I feel threatened when such subjects arise and are treated in this way.

  69. Jinspace

    None of this addresses the core theme of systematic misogyny in practice, which includes segregation, women as chattel, the mandate to shave the head or cut the hair so as not to be considered attractive, and other issues.

    I have read Jewish laws which are profoundly mistrustful of even the sight of women. Is there any corresponding law referring to how dangerous it is to see a man’s lips?

    Or let’s consider the ancient law of b’khor – from what I understand the daughters are not permissible heirs to their parents’ fortunes under this law.

    And how is it that girls did not generally read? Literacy holds the keys to power — under patriarchy. Judaism is matrilineal and patriarchal.

    Regarding my own work: writing is always balanced and accentuated with images that tell the story. Written word is interwoven with spoken word.

    I am an artist and I have included my visual art (and that of many other artists) with Planet Waves from he first days.

    Astrology is often balanced with tarot, and the astrology is used imagistically as it is logically and as narrative (all of these being about balance). I play and study music, and all of my teachers and therapists have been musicians and composers. What makes Planet Waves what it is is left-right, male-female balance.


  70. Eric –
    I must take exception to your interpretations, which are seriously flawed, in part because you apparently don’t know about the nature of Jewish study itself. All biblical stories, and the later (and vast) commentary on them, are taught in context both of the time they were written, and of the time at which they are being studied. Throughout the centuries there is constant analysis and reassessment.

    This way, Judaism rejects rote learning of some fossilized set of rules, choosing instead to gain insight into how earlier scholars thought, to determine whether their ideas still make sense, to learn from their wisdom but also to actively question it.

    It would help if as a reference you had a Jewish Bible, not the King James Version. Right out of the gate, the translation is twisted to serve another theological perspective. But let’s address your comments:

    “Let’s see: to start with, the God of Genesis, who is a man, thinks so little of women that he doesn’t bother to create one at the beginning of the world…”

    God is a man and invented man first? To a modern Jewish thinker, all that means is that a man wrote those lines from his own perspective thousands of years ago. Nothing more. We got way past worrying about that one a long time ago. I don’t know about other countries, but in the United States, mainstream Jewish prayer books are gender neutral when referring to God.

    “We don’t really know about Lilith; there is conflicting information and what we know is mostly from medieval times. In any event, she doesn’t appear as the co-created in the Torah. Then as an afterthought, God creates a woman. And in this story, the woman is the origin of sin and temptation; of the downfall of man and man(kind). The whole story has at its inception mistrust of women, who don’t really even belong here…”

    And are you suggesting that all other religions created man and woman at the exact same time? Are Jews to be held to some higher standard? I reiterate, the story was devised in an attempt to make sense – in their day and in their way – of conflicting passages in Genesis about the creation of man and woman. Her vilification goes overboard – that’s the lore about her – but for Pete’s sake, it was written by some man in the eighth century, hardly an age of enlightenment. To gain insight into the story, you have to examine the social conditions in Jewish society of the 8th century.

    “If you’re a girl reading this – you are told your place.”

    When the story of Lilith was invented, girls didn’t generally read, and those who did learned at home, not in rabbinical school where this story was discussed. Yes, formal education (i.e. outside of the home) hundreds of years ago was reserved for men. That said, other than in Orthodoxy (which is what it is), Jewish women have served as rabbis and cantors since the 1930’s, and they are ordained with equal status to men. There was even one Hasidic woman rabbi in the 1800’s, though I grant you that seems nothing short of miraculous. In the political arena, the first woman prime minister in the world was Golda Meir, a Jewish woman. I’d say she knew her place, and so did the men who elected her to office.

    Regarding creativity: can you please cite who the biblical artist is, what the passage actually says, and what is the textual/historical context? Is it in the Torah, or in a later book, or in your King James Version? I’ve never heard of it. I don’t say this as a religious expert (hardly), but as a person who can assure you, having been raised in the Jewish culture and religion, if “no art!” were somehow considered a core value of mainstream Judaism, it would be common knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    “The commandment against graven images involved idolatry; and that in turn bans most forms of visual representation.”

    Paola is correct in her explanation. Again, the scholarly interpretations were and are still that the graven image bit was a specific ban against worshiping figurative inanimate objects (thereby imbuing them with godlike status), not “most forms of visual representation,” *in a very specific moment in history and for a very specific purpose*: to create order in a society that had been ripped apart by slavery, famine, and flight, and was in chaos. It didn’t last.

    Literacy, numeracy, philosophy, logic, ethics. Yes, that’s all very left brain. So is music. Albert Einstein relaxed by playing the violin. From the left brain comes harmony, literally and figuratively.

    “Literacy is extolled at the expense of sensitivity to visual representation.”

    You write about literacy here as if it were somehow a bad thing. This is no small irony coming from a prolific writer and teacher. Again, this assumption makes a huge leap in logic at the expense of the guiding principle behind the Jewish imperative that one become literate and numerate: to thereby be able to learn, think and reason, and become a contributing member of society. Better to be able “to read the word of god” for yourself than to sit there in ignorance, the easier to be subjugated.

    To extract one or two passages from a Christianized version of the Jewish sacred text, pull them from context, ignore or distort how they are interpreted by their own followers, and make that the entire basis of a hostile argument against Judaism is to fall into lockstep with Jehovah’s Witnesses and all the other Apocalyptic bible thumpers you so loudly decry in political context. As for their teaching methods – I’ll take the printed word over comic books any day.

    If I am so deeply disturbed by your comments it’s because you, as a teacher and journalist whose work I respect and have followed for more years than I can remember, are generally diligent about checking your facts, consulting experts, and quoting your sources. For some reason, in matters of a theology and culture you’ve shown you know very little about but apparently hold in great disregard, you didn’t seem to feel any of that was necessary.

  71. Diva Carla – I thank you for your apology, and I also appreciate your taking the time to look up the mikvah link, which shows your willingness to learn. I hope people will read it, and know, too, that the article fails to mention that men also attend mikvah. (Eric’s question was only about mikva in relation to menstruation).

  72. Let’s come back to the original question.

    Who are the artists in the Bible? All those books…the that great literary work…humans have a passion for art going back to the most ancient days on our planet; it is what distinguishes us from the other animals. Where are the artists?

    Here is the full text of the Second Commandment.

    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    — Exodus 20:4-6 (KJV)

  73. ‘Literacy is extolled at the expense of sensitivity to visual representation, which is associated with sacrilege, evil and idolatry’.
    In my opinion this affirmation is not entirely correct.
    Yes, the Torah does not have illustrations (!) and the visual representation of God is forbidden – not all visual representation of everything, but *of God*.
    And yes, on the contrary the name of God is written many times in the Torah, which is a verbal expression of the same thing (God).
    But it’s also forbidden to *pronounce* the name of God (left brain), and in the spoken language some Jewish don’t even pronounce or write the word ‘God’ but say and wtite G-d or similar, not to entirely write even that.

  74. My statement about creativity was about identifying an artist in the Bible – someone who did art for its own sake. I explained that the commandment against graven images involved idolatry; and that in turn bans most forms of visual representation. That is said to be a right brain experience, as we’ve been told by science, the feminine brain; the left brain (based on what I’ve read) handles written language, which is what the Bible is preserved in, and which is the language of patriarchal law and the notion that it is the “word of god.” This literacy is a mandate of actually being Jewish; demonstrating literacy and the ability to read the “word of god” is the whole point of the Bar Mitzvah. Literacy is extolled at the expense of sensitivity to visual representation, which is associated with sacrilege, evil and idolatry.

  75. I have been justly called out by Jinspace and Luckydriver. A 30 word summary of art and religious history interwoven can mean nothing but an expression of my emotional response to certain eras in that history and are simply incorrect.
    I view the sweep of history through my rejection of Bible Belt Protestantism, which is a weed in the garden of the monotheist traditions. I am distressed by what I’ve learned that through the ages, when power shifts, imagery is destroyed. Not Art. Art cannot be destroyed, ever.

    Rereading my insomniac post, I don’t even know what I was thinking when I used the phrase creative impulse. That can’t be destroyed either.

    My words are offensive and I apologize.

  76. Happen to be reading a book that’s relevant — Carol Gilligan’s “Deepening Darkness — Patriarchy, Resistance and Democracy’s Future.”

    Carol Gilligan is the one who wrote that groundbreaking study about how girls suddenly drop off a cliff at age 13 in terms of self-esteem.

    Highly recommend this later book to all who found Eric’s podcast interesting. This book looks at the patriarchy established by the ancient Romans — and boy were they suppressing sex all over the place! Once the Roman Republic was killed off by the emperors, they started passing all kinds of laws that criminalized adultery, and then any kind of sex outside of marriage.

    And it was this patriarchal regime that eventual morphed into the institution of Christianity, which in turn morphed into the Catholic church.

  77. Let’s see: to start with, the God of Genesis, who is a man, thinks so little of women that he doesn’t bother to create one at the beginning of the world. We don’t really know about Lilith; there is conflicting information and what we know is mostly from medieval times. In any event, she doesn’t appear as the co-created in the Torah.

    Then as an afterthought, God creates a woman. And in this story, the woman is the origin of sin and temptation; of the downfall of man and man(kind). The whole story has at its inception mistrust of women, who don’t really even belong here.

    This is not subtle. Especially if you’re a girl reading — you are told your place.

    The end is written in the beginning.

  78. “Hebraic religion destroyed art, and the creative impulse. Ironically, art returned with Catholicism, and was destroyed again by Protestantism, the ultimate anti artists, and restored again by the Capitalists.”

    Jinspace addressed this statement with regard to Hebraic art, and I would like to add a brief comment about Protestantism and art. Protestants were never anti-artists; that idea is a vast oversimplification of their objections to the role of art within religion. While they certainly did remove art from churches in order to prohibit idolatry, even these actions were not uniformly adopted because of schisms between various factions of Protestant schools.

    It is accurate to claim that Protestantism certainly revolutionized the content of visual arts and, in actuality, gave artists a bit more freedom to determine and express their own subject matter (which seems quite “pro-art” to me). Instead of Christian imagery, artists ventured into painting landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, etc., and even certain religious narratives were encouraged as long as they depicted Protestant theology. The Reformation is truly a watershed moment in art history and gave the world Durer, Bruegel, and many others who ushered in new ways of depicting daily existence while also taking advantage of new technologies such as the printing press.

    Maybe this is all a bit of an aside because I have not heard Eric’s broadcast yet, but I wanted to point out that there is in fact quite a rich history between Protestantism and art.

  79. Before everyone starts to think it’s open season on “The Jews” and “Hebraic religion” – an earnest question: through whose filter have you received your information?

    Here’s a (very) brief history of Jewish women:

    Alongside their patriarchs, The People of Israel – i.e. “The Jews” – have four matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel. As the wives and mothers of the patriarchs, these women are also right there early on in the book of Genesis, just a few chapters into the story. In Jewish tradition and teaching they are held in great esteem and considered of no lesser importance than the patriarchs. They had different, not less valuable, roles than the men.

    Jewish women have not “become strong” as a result of “5,000 years of repression and misogyny” from within their religion (I’m paraphrasing – I don’t recall the exact quote, but that was the gist and not the 1st time it’s been said on PW FM). Jewish women ARE strong and have always been so – according to Jewish tradition, since the very first woman: Lilith. She left Adam in the Garden of Eden because she wasn’t interested in having sex only the way he wanted it. When God insisted she go back to Adam, she told God’s messengers to fuck off. That tale was developed in the 8th century as a means to explain away a couple of discrepancies in the story of Genesis. It’s a huge leap from what’s actually written. You think it didn’t reflect the strength of Jewish women of the day?

    The Torah (which Christians call The Old Testament or The “Hebrew Bible”) and documented history are brimming with stories of women who were strong, smart, generous, courageous, influential and respected by men as much as by women.

    Miriam thought fast and hid her baby brother to save him from being killed; he grew up and led his people out of slavery in ancient Egypt. That would be Moses. Judith was a prophet and judge. Deborah was a judge and a military strategist.
    Esther saved her entire people from being killed by foiling a genocidal plot against them by the ancient Persians. How? Brains and guts. She’s got a holiday of her own, Purim, which happens to be this weekend.

    Gracia Mendes Nasi was a fearless and brilliant Portuguese conversa (a Jew forced by law to convert to Christianity) of the 16th century who created an underground railroad that saved the lives of hundreds of conversos who would otherwise have been murdered by the Inquisition. She also rose to prominence in politics. I hesitate to say she was a brilliant businesswoman and financier, because someone’s bound to start muttering about Jews and money.

    As for art.
    DivaCarla – I must take exception with your comments. ‘Hebraic’ religion ‘destroyed art’? Eric’s explanation of the Mosaic law against graven images is incorrect. It was not a law meant to stifle creativity, it was specifically to break from idol worship and teach newly freed slaves to tap directly into their God. It was about eliminating the religious middle man, or idol, as the case may be. (For those who don’t know, a rabbi is a teacher, not a spiritual intermediary. In Judaism, there is no such thing.)

    The Jewish culture has a long and beautiful tradition of making art, music, literature, poetry, theater, and dance. Hebrew texts are counted among the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, which during that era was where visual arts were focused. If that isn’t widely known, well, for one thing, the Jewish population was smaller than the Christian, so there wasn’t as much of it to begin with. For another, with the expansion of The Church, Jewish people were increasingly prohibited from practicing their professions, and that specifically included working in the arts. But the real reason there’s so little of it is that most Jewish art – along with books, synagogues, millions of human beings, and even their cemeteries – was destroyed first by the Spanish Inquisition (The Church), and later by the Nazis – with the complicity of The Church.

    That The Church is a corrupt organization guilty of ongoing crimes against humanity throughout its history is a fair and valid statement, well known, and based in documented facts. The Jewish people have suffered horribly at the hands or with the blessing of that same organization. This is also fully documented. Tossing biased statements and factoids against Jews and Judaism into the mix – especially in this context – serves no good purpose and is beneath the dignity of this publication.

  80. Green is my best preferred color, and I would like to look at my suitcase too, ready to take my show on the road… except that I don’t play the guitar and I don’t have a show right now.

  81. Eric,

    This piece and the article in in The New York Times this morning prompted me to do some research. Msgr. William Genuario was a close family friend. He grew up with my mother and was ordained a priest the same day I was born. He was vicar general (second to the bishop) for the diocese of Bridgeport and was in charge of the sexual abuse cases in the diocese. In addition, the church settled complaint(s) against him for sexual abuse. In addition to teachers my brothers and I knew from attending Catholic school, Msgr. Genuario was part of our family. With th death of my parents I had not stayed in touch. Amazing.

  82. Eric – thank you for this edition of PWFM. I don’t believe you read the channeling last week as I would have remembered such a powerful reading as this. i’ve been a PW member for two yrs. now and I can’t believe I didn’t know you were raised Catholic. Now it all makes sense why you have the passion to explore deeply the subject of sexuality and to persue your own healing.

    I went to an all girls Catholic school my whole life and I am now in my 60’s and am a successful provider of tantric healing work. It took many decades of receiving healing to get to this point. I’ve appreciated all the times you’ve opened up on your show, the topics of sexuality and healing, abuse and religion. It has filled in some things for me in my journey with it. And I’m sure, introduced many listeners to an area of themselves they might not have even touched upon before. This is your gift to the world as an astrologer and healer. Thank you again.

  83. One of the lead stories in the New York Times today is about Msgr. Kevin Wallin, a priest charged with being a drug dealer. His story involves all sorts of illegal and deviant behavior. He was pastor of a church in Bridgeport, CT, the area where I grew up. My brothers were alter boys and attended Fairfield Prep, part of Fairfield Universiy, run by the Jesuits. Priests who visited our home were convicted of sex abuse. So much is coming out these days – a revelation!

  84. Britt, really really enjoy/d your music. Thank you for sharing here.

    Eric, thanks for connecting with Britt and sharing. Really nice.

  85. Thank you, Eric. Really vital podcast.

    Thanks too for the tidbit on language – having just brought up conversation a couple days ago w friends re the differences in how different written languages (representative vs not) potentially affects the brain differently. In high-school I modified our alphabet to write/read both left to right and right to left; makes it much easier on my eyes and brain… -I’ve read that our brain processes information differently if we watch a film that is projected vs back-lit, for example. Wonder what shifts in “thinking” we are promoting now with phonetic text-speak widespread. You were referring to content of course, but seems the method of delivery has an impact too. (Of course Hebrew is vertical right to left). Anyway, I’m no linguist nor scholar, would love input for further self-study on this subject from anyone who is. Personally I’m certain that how/what we speak influences us tremendously.

    (I love that written Astrology is a circular language using glyphs that portray the visual and/or energy of the object/s!)

  86. Listening now. King David was an artist, granted a poet, but also an architect, and of course, sex got him in big trouble with his Lord. An exception that proves the rule. Hebraic religion destroyed art, and the creative impulse. Ironically, art returned with Catholicism, and was destroyed again by Protestantism, the ultimate anti artists, and restored again by the Capitalists. Art follows money? Thank you for speaking out your passion on this broadcast.

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