Wednesday, January 20, 2010

and in the end...

I wish I could say that my journey took me to exotic places but it did not.  I didn’t go on retreat to India nor to Tibet.  I didn’t go to Macchu Picchu or climb the holy mountains.  I didn’t even go to Native American pow wows.  I was married to my first husband then and I had to work since he would not.  So, although my body did not travel, my mind soared.  I read.

I read about the Findhorn Garden and the amazing communication that went on there.  I read The Secret Life Of Plants by Peter Tompkins which served to confirm my experience that trees and plants were sentient beings.  The empty slate of my belief system began to fill with love and respect for the earth and all the forms of life on it.  I became committed to an organic lifestyle, to nurture and protect instead of use and abuse.  I stopped killing things.  Creatures who found themselves trapped in the house were caught and released.  When I began to garden in later years, I was mindful, letting the plant go through it’s entire cycle.  I read up on herbal medicene and, much later, alternate forms of healing.  

A fan of science fiction, I had read Microscopic God and More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon, Nightfall by Issac Asimov, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.  I had started reading Greek Mythology when I was in the 3rd grade and continued with myths and legends of many cultures.  I checked The Golden Bough out of the library repeatedly.  I read about Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen, Taoism and Native American beliefs.  I embraced karma and many years later, reincarnation.  I read Life After Life by Raymond Moody.  

When I became pregnant at 26 I became even more interested in religion.  Having seen many kids get sucked into cults when I was in college, I wanted a foundation for my own whether they stayed with it or not.  Since I had married a Jewish man, I went to conversion classes to educate myself and was surprised to find that most of what I heard, I had already come to.  I liked that it was was a religion that focused on life, not death as Christianity did, that you lived a good life because it was the right thing to do, not for the reward of heaven or fear of the punishment of hell if you did not, neither concept being a part of Jewish theology.  I raised my children as Jews and went to Torah study.  It was a good home for me while I continued my journey.

I became very interested in the origins of religion, the religions of ancient cultures and the evolution of religion.  I read Sarah The Priestess by Savina Teubal, When God Was A Woman and Ancient Mirrors Of Womanhood by Merlin Stone among others.  I railed against the Patriarchy, embraced the Matriarchy, learned how inheritance rights shaped religion.  I read in the Kaballah.  I pissed off the old men in Torah Study.  Eventually I grew away from Judaism as well.

I read about the millions murdered and burned who would not convert, the millions killed and burned in the name of holy war.  I learned that religion was a man made institution whose purpose it was to control men and most especially women.  I learned that when conqueror’s came the first thing they did was demonize the local dieties, destroy the holy places and usurp the holy days for their own ends.  I learned that the dead and risen god was ancient long before christianity came on the scene.

I read Carl Jung and finally found equality.  I read Joseph Campbell.  I read The Time Falling Bodies Take To Light by William Thompson, I read about the power of the sub-conscious mind and New Age mysticism.  I read about Theosophy and The Consciousness Of The Atom.  I read Jane Roberts’ amazing channeling of the spirit Seth.  I read about how we create physical reality, not only our own but the nature of physical reality as well, that there is no Evil in the world, only things we do not fully understand or comprehend, that some thing that is good for one person, can be devastating for another.  I learned that thought is energy and energy becomes manifest.  That what you put out there is what you get in return.

The specific books mentioned are, of course, just some of the very many.  Through 30 years of reading and perusing, questioning and pondering, my understanding evolved, my belief system emerged.

So what DO I believe?  This was my comment on Bonnie’s post :

Here's the thing. God is the sum total. God is the good AND the bad. As compassionate beings we should try to relieve suffering when we come across it. But God cannot 'do' anything about evil or suffering since it is part of the sum total. The All That Is. And the all that is is the full range of existence. God is existence, from the smallest mite to the grandeur of the cosmos and everything in between. It is the black as well as the white.

There is so much more, of course, to what I perceive to be the nature of god/dess and the universe from grand concepts to the smallest details but it would take many more pages.  We are the Dream.  We, and by we I mean every mote of physical existence, are the Avatars by which the Source is manifest.  It is to this Source that we return when we are done on the physical plane.

...the love you take is equal to the love you make.


  1. Beautifully written synopsis of how you acquired your understanding of life, energy, the divine. I followed much the same route. Thank you for sharing your journey and your learnings with us in this abbreviated form. We would all be more comfortable with our beliefs and place in the cosmos if we actively did research as you did.

  2. I knew you were a smart chica, and now I know why.... you're so damn well read.

    Love this post, Ellen. It is so wise. Although I disagree that Christianity is all about death, I get your meaning. I get the comparison. I love how you educated me in this post and more than anything, I loved your comment on Bonnie's post. That pretty much "sums" up the way I feel too.

    You are gifted.

  3. Beautiful words !! What a amazing post !! Thanks for sharing !

  4. Beautifully written & expressed. You've given me food for thought & a list of books to read to help me on my journey.

    Like most humans I want there to be a reason for my existence. The teachings of Christ are a good road map to follow; it's what Christians have done to this that is twisted.

    "The love you take is equal to the love you make" is similar if not the same as: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    My journey continues...

  5. Thanks for sharing this. Faith, in some form, is so important, partly in the guideposts is provides for us. My husband and I raised our children fully in our faith, and I can see now, as adults, how they tap into that wealth of knowledge in their living.

  6. Beautifully stated.. wise .. wonderful and real.

  7. What can I say ...
    You've got it all figured out

  8. Beautifully written. Your thoughts on organized religion strike many chords with me. My journey has not taken me quite as far as yours, but I've come far enough to understand that what we know is only a tiny part of all that there is.

  9. Ellen, I loved reading these rich posts and to your conclusion, I say, Well done. And YES

    I replied to your comment on my blog --the nature one -- in the comments... and essentially think the same even though I may not have expressed it very well. I was talking with some people about Haiti and it came up that one of them saw God there too... in all of it.

    I don't know if you ever read Elizabeth Lesser's fabulous book called The Seekers Guide. I think you'd like her. She writes like a friend sending you letters.

  10. Wow, ellen, quite a journey...

    Love one another, so simple yet so hard.

    Peace ~ Rene

  11. I belong to your religion, absolutely yes I do!

    As for travel, you do not need to go to the mountaintop in order to be enlightened.


  12. Wow, Ellen! I've just caught up on your last few posts. I was riveted. You expressed your journey so well and left me with much to ponder, not to mention a great list of books to go on my list. Thank you for being so honest and open. It was a joy to read.

  13. Yes, I find organized religion often deeply disturbing
    brought up a rather austere anglican
    then jungian
    lived in a muslim country
    taught in a jewish community
    hate where the big 3 religions position women ( enough said)
    if everyone behaved with a modicum of kindness.....
    wouldn't things be much improved....

  14. You and I believe very differently, but I am still very fascinated with your journey and where it has brought you.
    Thanks for sharing it!

  15. You have traveled and much farther than I have in some areas. I have read much about religion,belief, psychology and science. I am constantly creating and destroying my system of beliefs and I am fairly certain that rigid beliefs are dangerous. But I am willing to be flexible on that point.

  16. Thanks for sharing more of your journey. Lots of familiar books there. My intellectual/spiritual journey has had some of the same stops on the way (especially the archetypal/mythic material) - then I landed with the Quakers as a place of open-minded community that has been a resilient home. Very congruent! - Thanks.

  17. Most interesting, and beautifully articulated.

    I wonder if many amongst us seek religion for to derive meaning in living as well as of living and if we might not be better served instead to live and let live, a cornerstone of any religion.

  18. WOWZERS, Ellen!!!! So rich, so deep, so thoughtful, so enlightened. That connectedness is what is buzzing around in my being. I am sitting with the concept that we are all the stuff of star dust, motes as you so eloquently stated. I also feel the connectedness of contrasts, joy and sorrow, for example, and how embracing the duality (or multiplicity) is key to deeper, rich understanding of the Divine. I must do some catch up, I see, and soak in more of your wisdom and observations.

  19. Oh, and thanks for using my photo! I'm honored. It just blew me away when I spotted the yin-yang in that stream.

  20. Hi Ellen

    thanks for your precis of your spiritual quest. I also have travelled a similar path, and reached similar conclusions.

    If, as the Christian bible says,
    God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omni-powerful then every little mote is in there and all one...all connected and all inclusive....the whole shebang..

    Happy days Ellen

  21. Gorgeous writing. And I hope our son has the same high level of interest in reading as we do.

    I love that you ended it with a Beatles lyric, too.

  22. Without meaning to be challenged, why capitalize Source? If God is all there is, and all there is is God, and the two are indistinguishable, what, in your mind, is the difference between a capital and a small case?

  23. Did I say challenged? A Froggian slip, no doubt. I meant challenging. I meant that I am curious as opposed to insistent or demanding. You--as I--present the pantheist viewpoint, but the difference, as I understand it, between pantheism and atheism is not in what one conceives as the content of the universe but in how one feels about what one conceives as the content of the universe.

  24. You didn't mention that God is a waitress at Danny's Coffee Shop. ;-)

  25. I liked reading about your journey. I think we're in a similar place, except that I spent about 40 years in Christianity, a few years in the wilderness, and then the last six years looking for the spirituality beneath religion - something I wanted to do as a 7-year-old but couldn't with my Baptist minister father.

    I don't know what/who God is. I think about her/him as Life.

    I try to create heaven on earth and stop feeding the parasite (have you read Ruiz?).

  26. This is as good a place as any to say: I love this series of posts. They resonate with and parallel my journey on the spiritual path. Thanks for sharing.

  27. This is an interesting journey and I can certainly understand it. I am still on my path, but you are helping. I can via POTW.

  28. What an incredible journey you've taken and are obviously still on. Congrats on POTW mention!

  29. I think women are far more likely to seek out many avenues of understanding, because so much organized religion was not merely about the subjugation of the population in general, it targets women in particular.

    Congratulations on your mention for the post of the week.

    I don't know that there are any universal truths, but rather individual ones. The conclusion you come to are the right conclusions for you, the conclusions I draw are the right answers for me.

    A lot of suffering has resulted in the world by trying to impose individual truth as being universal.

    I'm in no way criticizing your post, by the way. It's lovely, and deeply thoughtful. I greatly enjoyed reading it. Congratulations on the post of the week mention over at Hilary's :-)

  30. That was so brilliant. I adored reading that. :)

  31. Very profound. I enjoyed this post a lot and it mirrors a lot of my philosophy, as well. I found your blog through Hilary's...congratulations on achieving POTW!! Well deserved.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.