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Breaking Down Religious Dogmas & Deciphering The Truth

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Religion is filled with a number of dogmatic concepts yet there are gems that lie underneath the doctrinaires of how to conduct one’s spiritual life. Setting aside religion’s literal depictions of creation and conduct on this earthly plane, one can learn to appreciate the core lessons and values embedded in each belief system without needing a devout subscription to many of religion’s divisive ideologies.

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What matters are the core messages of how to live a happy and peaceful life, while getting more of what you want and helping others do the same through proper moral conduct and harmony with divinity.

The questions that truly concern humanity since its conception are:

  • Who are we?
  • What is the purpose of our lives? What is our role in the cosmos?
  • How and why do we act the way we do toward ourselves and others?
  • What is happening in the world today and why?

Throughout this series we will explore shamanic, polytheist, and monotheistic myths and theologies to uncover and reveal that which is hidden below the exoteric presentation of spirituality in its organized forms. The immediate focus at the beginning of this series will be the ancient traditions, as much of their wisdom serves as the foundation of the modern religions that influence our culture.

This is aimed toward giving you an understanding of how various societies have described the basic laws of moral action, consciousness, and manifestation that pertain to the human condition, while grasping the unique cultural, geographical, and chronological understandings that all point to reasonably similar and useful understandings of governing yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. The applicable wisdom that lies underneath the dogma of modern theologies may provide clarity and guidance toward your journey of ascension.

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The stories and figures are not to be taken literally as they are archetypes, allegories, emblems, parables, and metaphors used to depict an understanding of how reality works in relation to the ethereal which is our microcosm deep and within, our grounded reality, which is our immediate environment, and the divine, which is the macrocosm far and beyond — all of which harmoniously work in accordance with each other.

Back then, without the tools and precision of modern science and mathematics accessible to the masses, as well as the useful level of technological development during those eras, an understanding of reality had to be depicted visually through symbology while engaging the imagination’s ability to add meaning and context to the quality of their stories of creation and conduct. The problem that spurred from this was that people demanded, coerced, and enforced that their word is the Truth. This right brain perspective can run wild, as those who subscribe to the strict ideologies of their faith take every word and depiction of their sacred understandings literally, with no room for practical analysis. This leads to division among people as well as unquestioned obedience to theologies that are tainted with man’s manipulation to control the will of the people.

fall of the giants

“We live in a world of numerous ideologies and belief systems, all competing for the same real estate, your mind.”

– David Snyder

Separate yourself from the superficial and dive deep into the esoteric meanings behind these stories and figureheads, as seeing past those illusions will enable you to reveal a common understanding of divinity and knowledge of self.

Did an enlightened figurehead such as Jesus really exist? It’s quite possible. If he did, was he really able to walk on water and turn it into wine? We can’t prove that. Instead of getting lost in those details, it is more important to understand the core applicable messages of his teachings as well as the other prophetic leaders, and stories told in religious traditions that share a core commonality with many other belief systems.

Our society focuses on the things that divide and separate our religions, which in turn separate us. Perhaps we can benefit from understanding instead what connects us, in relation to our needs and values. So in an attempt to break down the formality of these religions, I’m going to present the core knowledge that leads to a higher understanding of self and environment, as it will translate to better ways of governing oneself from within and navigating one’s journey without.

The word Religion comes from the Latin word “Religare,” meaning to tie back, hold back, or to bind fast. To bind is to thwart or hold back the progress of an opposing force or practitioner. A religion is a fixed point of view of understanding divinity, while holding back perspectives and levels of understanding the fall outside of the established religion. All religions share a core truth that the exoteric elements are holding back and because of this, the grounded esoteric alternatives of many modern religions are more interconnected with the commonalities of all cultures. Religion is a box for consciousness because you’re not seeing the whole picture.

Esoteric traditions were more grounded in the here and now while instilling the divine Will in one’s current plane of existence rather than seeking it only in the next life. The divine Will was to maintain balance and order so that everything that works within the system of creation continued to function. This form of order was not coercive authoritarian driven, it was an order that lent itself to responsibly maintaining the harmony and balance through systems and cycles that prevented chaos. Likewise hell on earth can exist within and without if proper balance and order are not maintained, as well as failing to resolve one’s karmic challenges in the present.

In marvel of the heavens, many belief systems are intimately connected with some form of astrotheology, which was the worship of astronomical bodies as Deities. To this day, very high levels of the Catholic church own some of the most expensive and powerful telescopes in the world, yet to the masses below those power structures of Catholicism, studying the night sky or even dabbling in one’s Horoscope is forbidden, as it is considered to be blasphemous. The study of the planets, stars, sun, and moon, as well as their relation to the cycles that repeat, such as their orbits and sequential seasons, intervolving solstices and equinoxes, are incorporated into the esoteric laws of analogy.

as above so below

The laws of analogy are very present in our understanding of the physical word, meaning, at different levels of reality, the same patterns and cycles repeat themselves; as above, so below; so within, so without. In light of astronomy and horoscopes, the word horoscope, which pertains to one’s life path in relation to the cycles around the sun, is derived from the name Horus, an ancient Egyptian sun God and later adapted into Greek language as Horos.

The ancient Egyptian culture and mythology, which has influence other religions, fundamentally subscribed to a sun worshiping religion. In many cultures the sun was their first astrological body, or higher power to be depicted as a deity. It was bright and luminous, it allowed one to see, and it gave life. One could feel the sun’s warmth and was starkly aware of its power to incinerate. It is tangible enough to be seen and felt, yet it was impossibly out of reach, as its presence and power were above those who marveled at it, making one an insignificant spec in comparison to it. Association with the Sun has laid the basic premise for the duality of many belief systems that integrate the polarities of light and darkness, a concept that will repeat itself much throughout this series as we explore other belief systems and ideologies.

Horus was the sun God, depicted as the golden falcon who rises in the east, flies across the sky in a solar ark until he reaches the west and Sets. He makes his trek across the sky daily across the horizon. The word Horizon means “the zone of Horus.” Hori is the generative word for Horus, Zon refers to the zone of Horus, thus it is the horizon of Horus, which is where Horus appears on the horizon. It is his arc, his flight path across the sky.

Horus is also named Amen-Ra. Amen is the name ancient Egyptians said after a prayer to evoke the sun God Amen-Ra. Amen-Ra represents the sun (Horus) at its zenith, which is the sun at its highest point. The zenith is the highest point in its arc across the sky. The highest point of Horus’s flight path, at 12 noon, is called Amen-Ra.

Horus is depicted as the savior who is anointed with the light, vision, and wisdom. He is the son of the creator God who brings wisdom by knowing what is seen with the light.

Horus has 3 main family members — a mother, father, and brother. His mother Isis is the moon Goddess of the night sky. At night she is the queen of the heavens who rules the night sky, while her husband Osiris is the creator God and ruler of the heavens. In ancient Egyptian mythology, Isis gives birth to the rising sun each day, which is the solar God Horus, who is given divine right by Osiris to rule and give light to the earth during his horizon.

After his trek across the horizon, his brother Set conquers Horus as his fall from the sky Sets into the underworld of darkness. (In other Egyptian stories Set is also depicted as his uncle, but either role has little consequence over the major role he plays as the dark pillar of duality.) Set is considered the dark figure, who is in a state of ignorance because he does not posses the light to see. He lives entirely in the shadows of darkness and ignorance, yet he is the conqueror of the light at night. Set represents chaos, death, and sin, and is somewhat of a devilish figure among the mythology of ancient Egypt. However, he is not entirely depicted as evil because the ancient Egyptians understood that his darkness was necessary for Horus’s light to exist. His bad qualities were more understood as an accepted duality between light and dark, good and evil, positive and negative.

Horus and Set were originally expressions of innate duality, the two aspects of creation playing a role throughout the cycles of the day-sky and night-sky.

In the picture below, Horus is touching the pharaoh on the right temple, and his dark brother set is touching the left temple. This represents the duality of consciousness. Horus is the right mind, wisdom, moral action, order, and peace. horus-and-set ramses

The left side is the God of darkness, deception, storms, chaos, anger, domination, control, and war.

Eventually Horus and Set reconciled and negotiated their conduct so that one wasn’t selfishly looking out for himself or having to defend against the other’s transgression. A trusting relationship was formed in which both sides began to understand the importance of their complimentary existence. Without this balance of opposites, Horus would not be able to uphold the balance of Ma’at. This balance gave Horus the ability to fight chaos, which was represented as well by the God Apep, who was even more of a personification of evil left unchecked prior to Horus becoming Ra. Set manifested chaos within, while Apep manifested chaos in the external environment. Since Horus, who was the light, represented the peace while being the God of war who instills Ma’at’s order over the chaos, one could speculate that the tactics of combat were consulted with Set since he had lived much of his life in affliction. It was during this time of balance with Set that Horus was able to reach his highest point, becoming Ra to fight Apep and instill the will of Ma’at on earth as it is in heaven.

maat-balance

Fighting the chaos of Apep was inspired by the will of Ma’at. Ma’at is the Goddess or conception of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. She carried out order in the heavens and on earth by regulating the stars, seasons, and regulating moral action of Gods and Pharoahs. Carrying out the karmic order and natural laws of the heavens was done on the earthly plane by fighting the external physical chaos of those who had abandoned truth, justice, and equality. Just as people who deal with the devil become ego-absorbed demon archetypes, people who were imbalanced in the ways of Set became Apeps. Foreign invaders who threatened the balance were also considered Apeps. Other forms of chaos beyond human acts on the earth plane were also considered to be influenced by the spirit of Apep. The union of Horus and Set is a lesson to Egypt’s citizens to reconcile the internal chaos within by accepting the parts of themselves that need the light’s guidance. As long as there was chaos within, the threat of chaos (Apep) existing in the external environment was imminent. Apep’s external chaos threatened to provoke the actions of Set within, making it more difficult to restore order and balance throughout the land and the people.

Both Horus and Set whisper in the ears of the pharaoh while the pharaoh has free will to decide who he listens to and what action to take. It was intended that he carry out the will of Ma’at upon his kingdom by creating balance within his inner kingdom. Pharoahs are frequently depicted with the emblems of Ma’at to emphasize their role of upholding divine order. Through the ruling of the Pharaoh, Egyptian citizens were expected to follow this legitimate form of order that is aligned with the principles of moral action, growth, and sustainability.

This was important to uphold because a disturbance in the force of cosmic harmony could have a significant impact on the individual and the state. A Pharoah self absorbed in ego could bring about disaster and chaos. In addition, the actions and judgments of the Pharoah were meant to guide the citizens through the ambiguous moments of reality, simplifying the principles of Ma’at so that choices of the citizens are made with the highest integrity and care. Obeying the order was not servitude to selfish authority figures, it was doing your part to integrate into the wholeness of an ordered, balanced, natural divinity, which is why authority and compassion were integrated into the foundation of ancient Egyptians.

The degree to which one obeys Ma’at will determine the karmic consequences weighing on the heart of the individual. The heart could only be rewarded for its devotion to Ma’at if it embodied the light, not only in its weightlessness but also in its luminosity to see the truth of proper action.

The ancient Egyptians used these myths and analogies to depict that each of these archetypes exist within us and the symbology of them is meant to remind us of their presence in our daily lives. They are moral, orderly, and divine symbolic analogies, an expression of consciousness, not to be taken as physical Gods.

They represent the pillars of duality: the light and darkness within ourselves that we must reconcile in order to make proper actions. The dark elements help us understand our fears and desires, and with this understanding we cycle back into the light of wisdom. They are Gods within us that influence our actions. Without balance the light and darkness are continually at war, battling for dominance over our behavior. To try and extinguish the darkness would only cause Set to resist with war. Negotiation was the only way because complete annihilation of the darker elements within was beyond our mortal capabilities.

Beyond our inner universe and the grounded earth, Isfet was the chaos of the heavens that threatened the stability of the heavens, which is the absence of light and order, injustice, chaos, violence, and evil, all of which threatened to trickle down into the earthly plane of form which interacts with the inner world of the Pharoah and his people.

On all levels of reality, this balancing cycle of order and harmony must be upheld to maintain the structure above and below. If the balance of Ma’at was not maintained, the ignorance of order would manifest as Isfet, which is chaos in the heavens, chaos in Apep who will disrupt the earthly realm, and chaos within Set, who will affect the Pharoahs and citizens from within. Isfet is more of an abstract concept with no known God attached to it to give its understanding a more relatable nature. It is seen more as the absence of structure and balance, which means that there is more responsibility on the part of Ma’at to maintain structure, rather than to blame external circumstances. It was pretty much all on Ma’at to balance the heavens.

Set’s chaotic and warlike qualities were reconciled to fight chaos outside of his temple. The Pharoah would fight manifestations of Apep through the actions of Horus, the emotions of Set, and the Instruction of Ma’at. As long as he was balanced with Horus, Isfet would not destroy their temple. The destructive force of Set was still useful when fighting an enemy of Ma’at. In the heavens, on the other hand, Ma’at was threatened by the absence of responsibility if she did not maintain order, not by an opposing deity who continually aspired to disrupt her. Lack of order in the heavens would cause a lack of order on the earth plane, causing irritability within Apep and Set.

Polarity and balance are the main concepts to understand in the Egyptian myths shared in this article. The Creator God Osiris gives man free choice to govern his actions, as both light and dark are his children, Horus and Set. In religion, dualism means the belief in two supreme opposed powers — Gods or sets of divine or demonic beings — that influence the world, which has had an important presence in the history of thought and religion.

Dualism can also denote a co-eternal binary opposition to indicate a system which contains two essential parts. Moral dualism is the belief of the great complement or conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work. Some of these dualities imply harmony in which one balances the other, such as yin and yang, while other forms of duality imply rivalry and opposition, such as good and evil.

The process of reconciling between these two opposites will resurface throughout this series. It is important to have a foundational understanding and acceptance of the duality that exists within and outside of man in order to grasp the more detailed concepts of future teachings. In this case we talked about light and darkness as it relates to Horus and Set, brothers of the same father, one representing good, the other representing bad. It is only when we balance these two that we can become stable from within. This is not to say that darkness can have equal control over us. To balance the dark is to bring it into the light of consciousness so that it no longer controls you. The sight and understanding of that darkness will reduce its influence that threatens Ma’at’s inner and environmental stability. As we build our temple from within we must be aware of Horus and Set on either sides of our temple.

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Marianne Williamson Admits “The System Is More Corrupt Than I Knew”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Marianne Williamson stated in an interview on Fox and Friends that she did not realize the political system was as corrupt as it is.

  • Reflect On:

    This is an important revelation of how leaders often don't quite see the full truth of our system at hand. Through them and their experience, we can learn a lot about what is truly going on. Is it time to let go of the systems we have?

About a week ago Marianne Williamson told the New Yorker, I know this sounds naïve, but I didn’t think the left was so mean. I didn’t think the left lied like this.” In a segment I did on CETV, I discussed the fact that Williamson is doing a great job of bringing a bit more of a conscious conversation into the mix here, which is very important, but seems to not quite understand what politics is really about and how things function in our world.

In my article about this statement I stated:

Some have suggested that Marianne already knows these truths, and she may, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is only uncovering these things now. I say this as I belong to a group that communicates regularly that contains many high profile conscious industry leaders like Williamson and other big authors, speakers etc. Many of them are great with spirituality but seem to struggle to see how politics truly functions. I have witnessed this first hand and this is why I’m so passionate about what I do as I feel bringing together both personal transformation and hard truth is imperative.

Some felt that my analysis was off and that Williamson is just ‘playing naive,’ but to me, this did not feel true nor did it seem to be the case. While some might view this as an unimportant detail, it’s very important as for society to truly begin to shift we must not only personally transform but also realize the true nature of the world we live in.

As outlined in the CE Protocol, the formula I built to help awaken and shift the masses, the very first step is Breaking The Illusion about our programmed reality and understand what’s truly going on. From there, personal transformation becomes key.

Williamson Admits She Was Unaware

Here we are a week later and Williamson has stated what I observed in my previous segment, she did not quite realize how corrupt our political system truly is. In an interview on Fox and Friends Williamson stated:

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“I would say that I feel that I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I knew and people are even more wonderful than I hoped,

I want to state this isn’t about picking on anyone as much as it is about understanding the importance behind seeing the full picture of the change that needs to take place here. For 10 years now I have built CE to include both personal transformation and truth seeking for the reason that either one of those topics on their own doesn’t create the change we all know is possible in our hearts.

I’ve seen many ‘spiritual leaders’ still deeply support the dysfunctional nature of our systems because they believe there is truth to them when in reality they belong to a consciousness we are shifting away from.

Our political system is built and exists within a system designed for a very limited state of consciousness, some call this 3D consciousness. The goal isn’t to shift our political system, it’s to let it go. Collectively we are shifting and the new state of consciousness emerging doesn’t support the political system at hand. Hence why the chaos around it is increasing, because it’s acting as a mirror for us to see how it doesn’t resonate with our emerging consciousness.

It’s like trying to install Windows on a Mac or vice versa, the systems aren’t designed for the operating system. Humanity is faced with a challenge of ‘letting go of the old,’ not trying to fix the old.

In a brand new segment of The CE Show I did on YouTube and CETV, I discuss Marianne’s latest comments and what I feel we all must realize as we move forward in this journey of shifting ourselves and our world.

The CE Show airs multiple times per week on CETV. Membership proceeds from CETV go towards supporting our journalism and future broadcasts. You can start a free 7 day trial here.

The Takeaway

I feel that we have become addicted to the systems of a state of consciousness that we are moving away from. The choice is up to us, we stop resisting and holding onto things of the old, move through the process of watching these old systems fall away, or we continue to fight tooth and nail under the belief that we must hold up the old systems, and suffer along the way.

Ask yourself within, do you truly feel that this is about changing our current political system to be more open and evolved? Or is it about letting go of the rigidity of our current systems and creating new ones that are birthed from a  new state of consciousness, not one that is centuries old…

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Pisces: Navigating Ideals

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We are having a Full Moon in Pisces which will be exact at 4:33am Universal Time on September 14th 2019. It will appear the fullest on the night of the 13th for most of the world and on the night of the 14th for the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Virgo. The energies of it build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.

Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Pisces and Sun in Virgo. It can reflect either a conflict or integration of both signs. We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Virgo side and others expressing the Pisces side.

Pisces is associated with sensitivity, compassion, creativity, and oneness. It is spiritually conductive, mystical, energy oriented, dreamy, flowy, imaginative, idealistic, and empathic. Negatively, it can be delusional, lazy, intoxicated, deceptive, confused/confusing, elusive, flaky, and lack critical thinking. Pisces energy is the least compatible with the mundane world and is associated with escapism in its many forms.

Virgo is about productivity, duties, service, physical health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, conscientious, skillful, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, and practical. Negatively, Virgo energy can also be overly critical, too cautious, fault-finding, irritable, discriminating, and overly perfectionist.

Full Moon Aligned with Neptune in T-Square with Jupiter and Mars

This Full Moon is close to Neptune which has many of the same qualities of Pisces that were mentioned above. It is viewed as a modern ruler of that sign and it amplifies its energies even more so during this period. Neptune is also associated with glamour, romance, and addiction. It has a dissolving, flooding, and watery energy that doesn’t comprehend boundaries.

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Neptune is completing its last of three squares with Jupiter in Sagittarius which will be exact on September 21st and will be strong into the following week. It began last January and peaked again this past June. At best, this can be an expansive period in a spiritual, creative, or compassionate way.

However, it can also be a time of confusion or lack of discernment around beliefs, ideologies, education, and teachers. It can also be a time in which we become aware of us being like that previously. We can be more excessive when it comes to how we express Piscean/Neptunian energies mentioned above.

At the time of the Full Moon, Mars in Virgo is also involved in this configuration along with the opposition of the Sun and Moon, forming a T-square aspect. This can be good for asserting ourselves towards our ideals or with a different Jupiter-Neptune approach (mentioned above). However this can also make our actions scattered, less assertive/direct, and make it harder to apply ourselves with practicality.

Full Moon Sextile Pluto Near Saturn and South Node, Saturn Going Direct

This Full Moon is in a tight sextile with Pluto which is near Saturn and the South Node. This could trigger some of the themes of the previous Lunar Eclipse (that is still reflecting this period) in a more harmonious way. Purging aspects of our past that are getting in the way of us moving forward. This can help to facilitate empowerment through some sort of release or transformation.

Saturn will be finishing its retrograde on September 18th and will move towards its final conjunction with the South Node which will peak at the end of the month and early October. This energy was also strong in mid Spring and part of it in early Summer.

Saturnian themes get amplified and we can be dealing with limitations, obstacles, restrictions, or perhaps issues around boundaries. We may feel a need to make changes around responsibilities, commitments, career, and structures in our lives. Similarly to the last Lunar Eclipse, there can be a sort of ending playing out around how an area of our lives is being expressed.

Full Moon Opposing Mercury and Venus Conjunction As They Change Signs

At the time of this Full Moon, Mercury and Venus are in a conjunction at the very end of Virgo, (Mercury’s sign). They will then be moving into Libra (Venus’ sign) in the hours following with the Full Moon triggering after it begins to wane.

This can be a time of heightened interactions, catching up with friends and other relationships. While it is in Virgo it could lean more towards its themes connected to work, service, fault finding, etc. For some people there can be a feeling of some sort of urgency.

After this conjunction moves into Libra, especially a day after the Full Moon,  it becomes more pleasant, social, and creative. Our interactions can be more harmonious, diplomatic, and less critical. We can more easily see both sides to something, find balance, and a great time to discuss relationship matters.

As a result of both of these planets transitioning near the same time, some people may experience some sort of significant shift in other areas of their lives within a few days following the Full Moon.

Things To Consider During This Period

How can you better balance the mundane aspects of life with your ideals, creativity, or spirituality? How have your beliefs been impacted this year and what is the conclusion to your experiences? Is it possible that you may have been confused about some aspects of newly or previously acquired perspectives?

What themes are coming up for you now that have been playing out since last April? What do you need to release? What changes do you need to make when it comes to your work, responsibilities, commitments, structures, or boundaries?
These are just some examples of what could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out. If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime after the peak of the Full Moon when it begins to wane until the next New Moon in two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on September 14th at 4:33am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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Consciousness

Marie Palmer Recounts Her Escape From The ‘Children Of God’ Sex Cult In New Book

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Marie Palmer recounts her escape from the 'Children of God' cult and the long journey of healing she went through afterwards in her book 'The Gift of Will.'

  • Reflect On:

    Can we see that one of the keys to our own liberation from the past is forgiveness?

Marie Palmer did not choose to be part of the ‘Children of God’ cult that was founded in California in 1968 by a former Christian pastor named David Brant Berg. She was born into it. And as such, her entire worldview was founded on the inexorable indoctrination and brainwashing that was used. In itself this is even more tragic than the plight of those hippies like her father that had joined the movement as adults, and who believed, ironically, that they had found a path of greater liberation and truth.

Marie was brought up as a child in an environment that on the one hand promoted an unhealthy lack of boundaries, but in other ways was dangerously restrictive. The toxic and twisted principles that emerged from the mind of founder David Berg were laced with enough pseudo-validation from Christian scripture to convince many lost and downtrodden souls that they were actually on the right path to God and salvation–in fact the ONLY true path, for many of its devotees.

What has emerged over time, marked by the testimony of ex-members like actress Rose McGowan and the tragic murder-suicide of Ricky Rodriguez, whom Berg dubbed ‘Davidito’ and was grooming as the heir-apparent to his throne, is that the psychological and emotional disorientation and trauma brought upon children born into this cult was so extreme that it was difficult or impossible for many of them to survive in the world, let alone establish a normal life.

Marie Palmer has written a book entitled ‘The Gift of Will,’ which explores the impact of the brainwashing of the ‘Children of God’ cult on her personally, her escape from the cult, and the long and difficult journey she has been on to overcome the trauma and confusion she had been beset with. It was after reading this book that I felt it would be worthwhile for CE to go down to Oregon to talk to Marie in person so that we could provide a full 4-part interview of her story for our members on CETV. You can watch it when you sign up for a free 7-day trial HERE.

The ‘Children Of God’ Cult

Marie was able to escape from the cult as a teen, out of an intense and very real fear of getting pregnant, and an inner rebelliousness that she didn’t really understand or get a handle on until much later. Having now been out of the cult for decades, Marie has been able to see in retrospect how the emergence and rapid popularity of the cult was likely a product of the times founded on some positive intentions, at least initially:

“Maybe it started as a sincere desire to help the lost hippie generation. Maybe it was his obsession with the Bible and his evangelical background that gave him a platform from which to easily build upon. Maybe it was timing. He believed he could create a new type of hippie culture that still held itself true to the ideals of freedom and free love but in the context of following the representation of Jesus in the Bible. He wanted the security of knowing his ideas were based on something real and true. Free love for the sake of free love was fun but flighty. Free love in the name of Jesus Christ–there was everlasting power in that.”

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“I can see how that era created opportunity for its youth to find peace and solace in the form of spirituality. I can see how being considered an outcast could be enticing, especially one that had purpose, was following the creator. They could be dropouts and still feel a sense of comradery, family, have a place to call home. Mo provided a way for these lonely youth to be crazy, wild and revolutionary, to burn their old ideas along with their bras, to be free from drugs and street life but hold true to their inner rebel against what they called “the system” and he created this utopia in the name of Jesus.”–The Gift of Will, pp 56–57

However, it seems clear that the basic principles that the ‘Children of God’ cult was founded on morphed over time to accommodate greater control and the sexual predispositions of founder David Berg and his inner circle. One particularly effective vehicle for indoctrination was the famed ‘Mo letters,’ (‘Mo’ being short for Berg’s moniker ‘Moses David’) which often used vivid cartoon graphics portraying sexuality to draw one’s attention and drive the message home.

The way in which sexuality was portrayed certainly had a lot of appeal to adult members of the hippie movement who were convinced that their freedom in relation to sexuality was bringing them closer to God and to their community. In the early years, the technique of ‘Flirty Fishing,’ where women would go out and recruit men into the organization through openly inviting them to have sex, was highly successful, bringing hundreds of thousands of men into them movement. The justification for this, as seen in the Mo Letter illustration below, was that the ends justified the means, and the end was supposedly to bring more people in to experience the ‘Love of God.’

Fear And Wrath

Ultimately, though, power is the name of the game, and David Berg’s personal motivations were far from ‘unselfish, pure sacrificial love.’ As the cult grew, more and more emphasis was put on the need for people to stay in the cult, and that meant using fear and the wrath of God to dissuade people from considering leaving the organization, with quotations cherry-picked from the Bible to garner legitimacy.

One method of control was the systematic suppression of worldly knowledge. In fact, a general tenet of the cult was that anything ‘worldly’ was evil. In this clip from our interview, Marie Palmer explains how as a child she really got no formal education, and had no idea about how the outer world worked. She was only ‘schooled’ in the cult’s indoctrination, which preached that children should trust and obey their elders and not ask questions:

Watch the full 4-part interview of Marie’s story on CETV by starting a free 7 day trial HERE.

As she mentions, young girls in the cult were expected to share themselves with older men who pursued them, as well as providing for those ‘in need’ of intimacy and comfort, under the guise that the whole community was ‘in this together’ and sex should have no boundaries. It wasn’t as though they were violently forced to have sex within the cult, but the psychological pressures, amid efforts to normalize sex between children and adults, led to countless sexual encounters that were undoubtedly traumatic and a source of complete disorientation for the young members:

I know that kids experiment with their sexuality when they are young, usually it’s with kids their own age. There are no words to explain how confusing it is when you are a child that’s expected to experiment sexually with adults. They are your role models. They have all the power. The power to shame you. To discipline you. To give you grace. To provide for you. To give you direction. Every child has the innate desire to please those who rule over them. Disappointing our parents and guardians is a hard thing to face. This makes children ideal victims for abusers.” —The Gift of Will, (p. 65)

Perhaps David Berg did not initially set out to create an organization that actively and openly practiced pedophilia. But the reactions of young members such as Davidito stand as a sobering testament to the volatile and damaging impact of such practices. Davidito had a burning rage against the nannies who were both his guardians and his sexual partners, a rage that was immortalized in this confessional video he made just before his murder/suicide that lays bare his deep resentment and hopelessness.

If there is any debate remaining as to whether it is healthy for children to have any kind of sexual relationships with adults, which some powerful forces have slowly tried to normalize in society, it is laid to rest with the testimony of brave survivors who were brought up in the ‘Children of God’ cult like Marie Palmer.

Healing

What is remarkable and also most important about Marie Palmer’s story is that she has found a way to heal herself from her past. Going through a long stretch after escaping from the cult in which she had absolutely no sense of self or understanding about how to deal with the rage, confusion, depression or sorrow that followed her around constantly, she eventually developed a great hunger for knowledge and for learning. What was especially exciting for her was to learn about spirituality and the Divine in ways that were liberating rather than restrictive. In this way, she could come to grips with the flaws in the Berg philosophy and let go of its influence. Further, she learned forgiveness as the only true way to reconcile the past:

Many religions, especially patriarchal ones, teach that we are either good or evil. And, they teach us further that if we aren’t submissive to this strand of teaching – the cross, the blood, and outside source bringing redemption – we are fatally flawed, crippled from the cradle to the grave.

By understanding and practicing Buddhism, I’ve been able to detach myself from the concept of good versus evil. I’ve been able to study the mechanisms that make my soul tick. I’ve been able to accept that as a human being, I experience light and shadow and it’s all OK.

Sometimes the light may blind me. Sometimes the shadow may darken my horizon. Regardless I am comprised of both; we all are. So, for me, there is no redemption by blood. There is no sense of retaliation or shame projected onto us by any God. Just as there is no need for retaliation for my experiences as a child. I was a victim of the shadows. But, I was graced with the ability to find and choose the light. —The Gift of Will, (p. 142)

The Takeaway

Marie’s journey reminds all of us that only through forgiveness is there liberation from the past. What she has accomplished is inspiring, because she has so much more to forgive than most of us. And she sees that once we are willing to forgive those who had the most power over us, those who caused us the most suffering, something opens up that can change our overall perception forever.

Once I decided to forgive my parents, I could see clearly to forgive just about everyone in the world. I began to see the world through the eyes of compassion, mercy, and Grace. I was also able to forgive myself for not being a better sister to my brother, and all the other naïve and ignorant things I have done to others and myself. I was able to begin the journey of loving myself. To have the upmost compassion for myself and respect for my own identity.” —The Gift of Will, (pp. 155-156)

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