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On Sovereignty

Sister Priestess Elayne Kalila Doughty has proclaimed yesterday – America’s Independence Day – an International Day of Sovereignty. And in Sisterhood, I am doing likewise.

I think that when priestesses talk about ‘stepping into your sovereignty’, they mean, owning all parts of yourself and being responsible for them; of making your own choices; of becoming all that you are; of awakening and using all your spiritual gifts.

I say ‘amen’ to all that, but that’s not really the sort of sovereignty I want to discuss.

I also think that priestesses mean that stepping into our sovereignty is stepping out of oppressive structures, and awakening to the ways in which we are oppressed or allow oppression to happen; we may even be oppressors. That’s closer to what I want to say.

I’ve mentioned sovereignty several times in recent posts, as the virus – aren’t you bored of  that as a character in your world? – has put an ultimate question into sharp relief.

I’m not talking old British coins, or our Queen, or a one time chicken factory group.

I’m not even talking about God, although I will.

I’m taking about us vs the state.

Doing a little research, I was intrigued by the phrase Sovereign Citizen, but I could find no website of such proponents, or even a neutral discussion. Each search result was about the fear of ‘enforcement community’ – conglomerate, more like – of such people. America’s Southern Poverty Law Center is actually about hoiking out extremism – but just how exactly is questioning the state’s role attached to poverty?

What search results really show is what the mainstream wants us to think. Sovereign Citizens – I keep thinking of those chickens – are a threat, we’re told. They’re silly. There’s even a false website with a crude message to would-be sovereigns. They’re dangerous. They do harm. They think they’re above the law. (I’ll analyse that statement in another post). The FBI are after them. They have no legal basis – duh! If they don’t believe in the power of law, why would they even seek a legal basis? However, I have read claims to have found it. I’ve always been against anti-extremist laws, for I can see that this term is a wide net to silence dissent, and that it’s been cast and tightened for some time. As long as there are enough incidents, especially of terrorism, we can allow the law to get stricter. In Britain, we have a regime called Prevent where professionals such as teachers are meant to report, on pain of losing their own jobs, anyone coming into contact with them who sound like they might be extremist. Yes, even toddlers have been reported.

Extremism is clearly meant to be tethered with terrorism in our minds. Terrorism is a broad term and it’s used really about enemies of the state. When heinous acts are committed, we are meant to link these bombings with alternative mindsets; so that for example, the work of the Irish Republican Army and Irish Catholic independence went together. Of course they did not, and there were lesser known Protestant pro British equivalents to the IRA; and still less known were that Irish police and British troops – who the news showed us as necessary peacekeepers, if not heroes – were bullying the people. I only learned that two decades after the peacefire in a museum in Free Derry.

We are being encouraged to see those who declare themselves as Free, ie sovereign, as a form of terrorism, although I’m not aware that Sovereign Citizens have bombed anyone or taken up weapons of any kind, or are even an organised group.

I hate that Wikipedia comes up top of search results – I try to switch it off, for it is part of the Bubble we’re meant to live in, the bubble controlled by algorithms and powerful large corporations as well as our governments and those who work for them, who censor non approved narratives. They seem to have an opinion on sovereignty too.

The first result in a box is that sovereignty is a ‘legal doctrine’. I thought that only religions had those. Oh, I forgot that the Rule of Law is one, which thinks it can override our own principles and faith. I suspect that all faiths have had to miss an important holy day due to lockdown, and that deeply upset me that my government thought that it could tell Christians that we had to miss Easter – our central festival, the fulcrum of our faith. I’ve said that I believe that church and state should be separate, and this statement is usually that established religion should not steer the state; but I mean most of all that the state has no power over faith.

One of my issues with the rule of law is that it makes law – an undemocratic, nebulous, arcane and elitist construct – bigger than our God, and our own conscience.

Law is often not about what’s right, but about control. It often suits a few rather than all and it means that our enforcement officers – I’ll be back with more posts on them – spend their days mostly pulling up on petty actions deemed to be ‘offenses’ which often shift. There are people and groups they are encouraged to worry about, but that is about conditioning. When your secret ‘services’ feel that an appropriate response to green activists is to blow them up (the Rainbow Warrior), when you infiltrate these groups long term and have kids with them to learn of their plans, when M15 know Greenpeace’s membership, it says alot [sic] – and not good things – about the values behind who’s running our society.

One of the questions I want to ask us together is what sort of society we have, and even if we have one. We’re meant to assume that we have a state, can’t escape it – I’m struggling to think of a place on Earth that doesn’t, especially who might be able to read this and introduce themselves.

But even saying this might be considered extremism. And that’s wrong. Look how anarchy – a possible cousin of Sovereign Citizens – is seen as ‘lawlessness’ – a state to fear.

But what of fearing the state?

When you read that the opposite of anarchy – which is merely no organised hierarchical rule – is statism, you realise that having a state is a thing. And therefore, you have an option not to have it. It’s especially questionable when again, the easy answers I despise on the net tell me that my country’s state is the sovereign force in it. Parliament is supposed to hold government to account (do note the word for our leadership), but it’s also the sovereign law making body, and of course, we’re meant to live under the law.

——————–

I’ve been looking at law in the Bible recently. What kind of God made all the laws – 7000 odd – that the Jewish people had to live with, controlling every aspect of their lives? I’ll say more for Magdalene day, around the 22nd July; but I want to note how living under the law is about ceding your sovereignty in many aspects of what you do. In a related post offered to the Norwich Radical, I said that who is sovereign and who is accountable go together. I asked that those who are supposed to be civil servants – that’s serving us, not the High Heid’yins – are accountable to the people, not the other way around. I also noted that the services which our government, at any level, provides, almost covers everything we do. Thus by providing it, they also own it and have sway over it. Publicly owned means publicly paid for… for do we really have meaningful say or clout regarding most matters? Think: our streets, our education, our car parks, our pay, who lives with us… all connected to the government: they either provide it, want to know about it, or to give permission for it. They can expect us to ask permission to have chairs outside our cafe and signage outside our church – yet did they ask our permission for new CCTV and other dodgy watching devices? Or even distruptive road works and events?

During the lockdown, most of us round the world have felt that our leadership have tested how far that they can take their sovereignty, in relation to our own. We’ve had our bodies and homes even intruded into; our association and work and places of worship, our special treats and rights of passage – even saying goodbye to people who leave the earth – curtailed or banned. The more we’ve done electronically, the more our transactions have been trackable. Many of us have if not assented, acquiesced by default. We’ve stayed in and 6ft/2m apart and asked our customers to; we’ve queued; we’ve not gone into work or round our neighbours. We’ve followed the arrows (now on pavements!) and stood on the markers, like some game. Indeed, some wonder if this isn’t some prescripted charade we’re participating in…

Recently, some maintenance men wanted to do an annual check. The government expects it, they said. I am sick of the government telling me who I can and cannot have in my home; and why does this stranger, which is quite a nuisance, think that they can come in when my loved ones – save my ‘Bubble Buddy’!! – cannot?

Surely the only person who can really say who comes into my home is…me!

————–

Free Cannabis – yes that’s his name – of Glastonbury, where else? – writes a poem on his website about being given over to the crown at birth via his birth certificate. He couldn’t opt out, not as a bairn nor man. It’s a lifelong non-negotiable contract. Is that legally true? It’s a legitimate way of seeing it – see how law creeps in everywhere? We are kind of slaves to the state, paying into it without choice in return for provision and protection… which sounds very ominous. And we can’t really leave, for the next country, who may not have us, will have its own set of rules and expect sovereignty over us too. Is there anywhere on Earth that we can live in our own sovereignty?

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I want to discuss God and sovereignty. Those with faith have sometimes been seen as suspicious to a different faith or no faith government. It’s because believers believe that their ultimate authority is God and not any human leader. It’s why communist governments fear religion, and why the Anglican church feared Catholics – whose head was a powerful man of another empire – and all the nonconformists who just went straight to the Top – ie God. A pamphlet written in this very city four hundred years and thirty ago was burned, and its readers executed, because Robert Browne stated that a judge didn’t have authority in matters of faith. He asked that believers did not wait for the state to allow them to build new Christian communities, and giving civil authorities such power to violently punish made magistrates into gods and ‘worse than beasts’. This incensed our church/state hybrid, whose central pillar was the elevated power of the judiciary. A Treatise of Reformation Without Tarrying For Anie is still a hard book to get hold of.

In a public extremism consultation in Britain, there were suggestions of who might be extremists, and all the faiths we have here were given as options to tick.

I’m not going to reveal where, lest this site is attacked, but I stumbled upon an American Christian website who argues from law and scripture that we are free – that is, sovereign – citizens. They say that as Christians, God alone is sovereign of our lives.

They say that in their country, sovereignty, whilst delegated to the government, remains with the people; that since Jesus, we are no longer under the law; and that we are foreign – in that Christians are pilgrims passing through Earth, whose real home is in Glory – so that a different legal status can be conferred, via the FSI Act, giving them immunity. There’s advice on how to gain that, and what and what not to do.

Living under the law is slavery, they say. Be Not Conformed Of This World!

I have never heard Romans 12:2 used in that way before, but I love it!

An unlikely ally for me, she who is gay and woo woo friendly, but I do like to find fellowship in wide and unexpected places. Perhaps the very traditional Christians (when I don’t look up some of their other views) are kindred in that they are thinking for themselves and using God alone as their guide. Perhaps that’s why fundamentalism in any religion is literally given a bad press.

The other unexpected Christian ally – found via a nonchristian website – was a Catholic Archbishop, Carlo Vigano. He recently wrote an open letter to Trump d’oiel.

No I do not agree with his idea of what a good citizen is. Family excludes those who don’t have families; I fear that he means the permanent pairing of heterosexuals with values that would make me squeal from here to [titular] Ulpiana. I resented his working to make prosperity for the homeland; but then perhaps this is a clever letter, writing exactly what Trump would like to read whilst being credibly true to Catholic values. I didn’t agree with Carlo’s hell statements either. But I did like that he called out the imbalance of wealth; of creating division; that investigations are showing deliberate use of the virus for nefarious political means by the Deep State.

He even spoke of deep church! Dare I call this man a brother?

He’s awake, and he’s speaking out, against the New World Order, the powers of darkness (not giving you capitals – victory is already given to us, the side of Light), and against those in the church (he means his own, presumably, I mean literally catholic – Universal) who are willing servants by their conformity.

Perhaps in his own words:

I dare to believe that both of us are on the same side in this battle, albeit with different weapons.

——————–

This is a time to regain our sovereignty, not to further give it away.

Our governments’ right and method of ruling must be carefully examined. That isn’t extremism – any who call it so are a fearful, controlling bully of a leadership and their lackeys.

I took my faith apart once. I decided, then, that I could rebuild it as it was, but it felt stronger having been prepared to not rebuild, or to rebuild anew.

I am wary of the role of licensing, which gives the government power over what we can do in many aspects of our life, from film viewing to fishing. I am concerned when decriminalisation amounts to regulation, which really means revenue control. We might want to protect our fish and our film industry, but the real protection is proprietory – these are OUR fish; we want money from OUR film. To be explored more another time. It also shows that what’s legal isn’t about what’s good but what the government and the powerful businesses who steer it want in on, or to have the power to stop.

It’s the last of these – about places of worship – that I’ll address before my round up.

In the late 17th Century in Britain, after over a century of persecution (and after Robert Browne), forbidden new – ie dissenting – churches were at last ‘allowed’ to meet openly. They were, as the law called it, generously tolerated. But they needed a license for their chapels, from the state, which was the Anglican church. (Catholics had to wait until the 19th century). Thus the Church of England patrolled its rivals, as its men had done, seeking secret services, breaking up, imprisoning, fining, torturing. Thus it was using fear and punishment to gain full sway, expecting tithes and maintenance by force from those who were not worshipping with it. It meant that it showed itself as sovereign, even though some people had opted out.

In Communist regimes, churches which weren’t banned also required a license, such as in China today. It again means that an all-seeing government feels it must give permission for people to express their beliefs and meet together, and if you give, you can take away – as in the book of Job (he’ll be a sermon soon). But it’s the state, not the Lord, who can hoik back, and make conditions, and inspect us to decide if we’re meeting its standards, and shut us down if not, and thus we are not free.

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Another thing that those priestess sisters did was to withdraw consent for all injustice. It began with the awful racist police killings in May, but now we’re asking about the very inequality and bias behind such acts that underpin society.

I like the idea of withdrawing consent.

I even better like what She-Ra – there’s a sermon in her – said:

I will not co-operate with evil.

I wonder how we can show that – and that means enforcement officers and judges; people who could report or litigate or punish something that actually is about prejudice and not fairness. So if you’re tempted to report this or other people’s social media remarks or speeches, think: what am I consenting to and encouraging to happen? (Hint: secular heresy).

When I call a sovereign citizen a dangerous freak to be stopped and weeded out, have I stopped to ask what sovereign citizenry might mean? Have I thought that this attitude of labelling nonconformity as ‘extremism’ is the state protecting itself? Am I suspicious that the remit of all English-speaking spy groups is to uphold capitalism? (Check their websites). Have I considered history or philosophy, psychology or spirituality before I made that critical statement, let alone that arrest or sentence?

So…I withdraw my consent from all the things I’ve spoken out against already.

I withdraw it from a fear based, self perpetuating status quo, from being unable to question, from a nebulous law and state pyramid which is afraid that it’s crumbling, or about to be inverted. (Hear the Magnificat). I withdraw my consent from all isms, and yes, assumed statism is one, and demonising those who dare query it is another.

I am sovereign, under God and the Double Commandment, and so are you.

Listen at https://yourlisten.com/BetweenTheStools/on-sovereignty

The next planned sermon will be for Magdalene day

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Will the real God please stand up? I can’t believe you’re in this story

A sermon for Petertide 2020

I was ironing this morning, listening to an online broadcast of the Bible. I was letting the beautifully read words tumble round me, as a housework-doing lullaby, until my attention was caught. Now I quite like to hear (and better yet, read out myself) about some Old Testament smiting, but this story from Numbers 16 swiftly wound me up.

It’s thrown out my day!

For morning prayer soon become Morning Jaw Grind.

I’d forgotten this story of Moses and the Children of Israel. Wasn’t Korah right to question why all the leading of this nomadic tribe was done by one person, and his brother? According to the Jewish Midrash, which has extra details, there were many laws that Korah and others wondered about. Were all these procedures necessary?

And so what is usually spoken about as a rebellion occurs. Korah whips up considerable support.

And I felt myself wanting to join him. Had God really ordained only two nepotistic leaders out of this people?

Moses says that God says (mm) to gather before the Lord and he’ll show you. Only the right incense will burn. And then, to really prove it’s God, he’ll zap the offending parties by swallowing them into the ground.

This apparently is merciful: God at first wants to kill the whole tribe, sans Moses, who intervenes and says: will you destroy us all because of one person?

So God just isolates the trouble makers.

We’re supposed to gleefully glean: don’t disobey God then, and don’t question your leaders and the many rules you may have. What God ordains is how it should be.

The Midrash adds a bit about Aaron’s staff flourishing in the holy of holies, to extra prove the point.

I suspect that religious leaders love this story and would like their own staff (or mitres) to be put somewhere special for a miracle to occur. What a great support for theocracy! And for status quo.

But I felt really angry at this and once again wondered: who is this god of the Old Testament, and some of the new?! Why would I bother with him? He’s an unjust bully with none of the qualities that I’d expect in a real god.

Note that I don’t give that deity – if that he be – a capital letter, any more than I will the established church, which I recently publicly left.

I’ve got cross with this leading character in the Hebrew part of the Bible so often that I find it a hard book to read.

So I snapped to God whilst I pressed down on my clothes extra hard and swerved about with extra vigour, why did you do that?

And God said, That wasn’t me.

Phew, I thought so.

So who is this Yahweh of the Bible? I’ve long wondered if the two Hebrew names for God in the OT relate to two different deities, or sets of them. Elohim means Gods, plural, although I was always taught that of course there is but one God, triune and super powerful. But I’m wondering… Elohim is used when in English we see “God”. And then the other secret Jewish name is Yahweh or Jehovah, denoted by Lord in small capitals. Do these behave differently in the text? Are they the same God?

In my research, I am finding a picture that doesn’t fit with the monotheistic one.

The God of Israel sounds more tribal and local, just like everyone else’s god.

He sounds like the pantheons of gods in Xena: Warrior Princess – self serving, fickle and not entirely effective. And as I eat from bowls other than mainstream Christianity, I’m meeting various goddesses, sometimes with different names in different cultures. And the Christian/Jewish God has more in common with Zeus and Ares at times.

How would it be to follow a god who needed placating and who put many rules on you?

A god you couldn’t question or you’d publicly be executed?

Yet some believe we’re waking up to our own inner divinity and that we can do what gods can too, so there isn’t this unequal power balance out in the universe: serve me, or else.

I also believe that what Woo Woo people call Source or Spirit is the real God and the person whom Christians, Jews, and Muslims address. I think He/She picks up the phone to whomever dials.

But we have a holy book all about the shenanigans of someone else. In my second novel I say that we have to discern when God is speaking and when not. I hadn’t yet come up with the notion that there may be more than one god at work. I was aware that the human telling of God’s escapades is to self suit: so these sort of tales – and the Bible has many – appeal to autocratic governance, from justifying why Aaron was such a jobhog to 17th Century English Bibles, allegedly authorised by the king, who was established as head of the church as well as the state.

As we come to Petertide, when most ordinations take place, I am aware of two lessons from this dreadful story of Korah.

One is that many see humans as ascending, via this virus and proceeding problems. I’d like ‘don’t rise up and question authority’ leadership to be outmoded. We speak of living in democracy, but what we really have is a sham elected oligarchy, plutocracy and… I fear the attempts at technocracy. Korah was asking for a more people-led society where we all can participate. Not one where shows of strength silence dissent and that we claim we’re acting on the orders of someone or something intangible and unquestionable, and also dodging blame from us to either god or the tyranny of community (my phrase).

Petertide reminds me of the timing of my leaving the established church. I chose an ordination as my swansong service. The message I applied to my bosom, like Cleopatra’s asp, was The Priesthood of All Believers. This is what Korah seems to believe in too. Not just two out of a whole tribe who get to do all the talking to God and disseminate to the group, no questions allowed. So whereas this isn’t an attack on individuals and certainly not those I call friends, I do reject the notion of priesthood. And that also means ordination as priestess, for I do not believe that the hands of another – or their pronouncements or bits of paper – give me and not you permission to serve God in an especial way and to need a licence from someone in authority to speak or read publicly or wave my hands or pick up bread and wine. (I do believe in training for ministry, just not the bit of paper and the passing of authority.) I don’t believe in licenses, for anything.

I also recognise a bit of Aaron and Moses’s side. They were called, so the Bible says, and they had their share of suffering and courage to go from bulrushes to court of Pharaoh to burning bush and plagues and now live in the desert with all these challenges.

I’m thinking of my own long cherished vision to set up a new church and movement – not a chain, as I don’t do those – and that having the original idea, I hope from God, makes the baby feel all the more that it’s mine. I can see why Moses would resent someone coming to him, and with others behind him, and saying: We want in. We question what you’re doing.

I hope I would be willing to listen, especially to the questioning of the fiddly procedures. My group will be the opposite – I will resist as many procedures and rules as I can. I hope I would be willing for wide participation – that is an important precept of Between The Stools.

However, sharing the chair and being pushed off my perch are quite different. If you join a group, you accept its flavours and its leaders. You can influence, you can speak out, you can show your willingness to have a go. But the director – in this case, me – remains. I’ll not expect a flowering staff or swallowing ground to support me, and – unlike this God in Numbers – I’ll not ever do harm or judgement. (I don’t mean that leaders remain if they do harm… I think there is a time to stand down when a leader has behaved badly, but that’s not what we’re discussing here).

A mature leadership in that story would have tried to avoid the bubbling that led to the rebellion anyway, and those who wished to rebel would have shown earlier warning signs. They should have had a discussion – not been told that the Lord, their highest authority, wanted to see them for a sign of judgement, without appeal or even trial.

Who this God is will be a topic for further discussion, but this is not the God of All. Swift to Smite is not a god worth worshipping, or a very developed deity. Perhaps, when so many of us are still tempted to do likewise, it’s good that we don’t yet know our own power.

You can listen to me preach this (replete with smiting sounds) at

http://yourlisten.com/BetweenTheStools/will-the-real-god-please-stand-up-korah-for-petertide

I’ll be looking at Peter and who I think ought to be the real founder of the church on July 22nd.

Next week will be a kick arse sermon on sovereignty for independence day – yours and mine

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Ascension – from Larry Norman to ET to Atlantis and back

A year ago, to avoid a noisy outdoor concert, I attended my first Ascension church service. Previously, I’d been vaguely aware of this event in the Christian calendar, 6 weeks from Easter, which remembers that Jesus left the earth, not via his death on the cross, but by an ET style lift off shared by only two others in history.

Coming from an Evangelical Nonconformist background, I didn’t realise that it was so big on the traditional church calendar, a compulsory attendance day. Not that I felt compelled by any clergy to go anywhere – I was just glad to be away from the pounding bass and my sweaty home, lured by the possibility of a party – I love to meet new people, possible recruits for this community?

The very mature people’s knees up finished by 930 – yes it was (and always is) a Thursday, but only octogenarians in the C of E would end a party so early. Not great for concert avoiding – another 2 hours to go!

Hearing ‘Ascension’ immediately brings that evening to mind. I confess that I enjoyed the deanery plenary service more as it slid down the candle. I am also pleased to report that I was told off for ‘unseemly laughter’. You’ll hear it soon – yes even and especially whilst leading church services. Holiness does not preclude naughtiness.

This year, I’m aware of a different sort of ascension. Hanging out in woo woo circles, I hear the phrase all the time. We’re in the process of it – not just a moveable May mass – but a chronic collective take off, now accelerating. Some would say that the ET analogy isn’t far out.

I just read on website In 5D that some of us are off to another Earth, or there might be a 3rd earth holding pen for those not quite ready for this full Higher Self living! I’m not interested in blasting off from a forest clearing to John Barry and leaving Eliots and Drew Barrymores behind to cope with the ‘3D world’ and its mess whilst I enjoy elevated living on a parallel planet. Nor do I wish to be Eliot or his sister Gertie – those who tasted other things, know that much is wrong with our world, and yet have to carry on living in it… or it that the point – that they became lightworkers, touched by ET’s brief presence?

Does ET come back with a bigger craft and collect people on another run, or does he hope that his short stay was sufficient to be a catalyst for change?

In my native Christian circles, we believed that not ET, but Jesus will return, with not a bigger spaceship but an angel train. Traditionally, he team picks those who are ready/deserving (aren’t they the same, and isn’t that what the new age is really saying?). As a child I recall a song on Mum’s record player, The King is Coming, a bit 50s croony sounding, with trumpets in the chorus:

The market place is empty,

there’s no traffic in the street

All the builders’ tools are silent [we wish!]

No more time to harvest wheat

Busy housewives cease their labors [no U, I’m sure this is American – it is, by Bill Gaither]

In the court/stateroom, no debate [rush through the other sort of bills as you please]

Work on earth is all suspended…

The King is Coming…

Praise God… He’s coming for me

Soon into my teens, I wrote one of my own first songs, “The King is Coming Back.” Again, it was about God coming in Glory, for me. I had assurance of my place in Heaven, but others didn’t. I could face death without fear, I didn’t worry about signs of the times – surely what we’re in now matches those eschatological prophecies (as well as the lyrics just quoted) – but others may have other, ahem, less joyful after parties to go to. Unless they swiftly got an invite from the King.

Larry Norman, a Christian rock singer (shock noise!) had a similar sentiment in a song I heard about the time I wrote mine: I Wish We’d All Been Ready. This included other images of people being suddenly taken whilst others by them were left behind. We had a duty to spread such ideas so that the spaceship was as loaded as possible at lift off and that there were not Gertie and Eliots, certainly among our own acquaintance. There was a little fear that like Spielberg’s lovable alien, we might be stranded.

Some time after the new Millennium, I stopped believing in Hell and judgement, but not in the second coming. By the time of a special date into that new century, I was engaged in a very different – and yet, not so different – spirituality.

On 21st Dec 2012, I joined in an online meet at that moment that some saw as Rapture, the take off event at end of the Mayan calendar. I let the dulcet tones of energy worker Jo Dunning lead me and thousands of others round the world into an awakening of a new era, the age of Aquarius.

I didn’t go anywhere, but I realised that it was an invisible awakening. I didn’t take that Biblical notion literally now of being collected off the street whilst my companion stayed. As it says in the movie Evan Almighty, perhaps this promised phenomena was about consciousness.

I’ve read many books and blog posts which say, we’re waking up, more and more of us. Aquarius has been a slow dawn following a dark long night, but it’s here.

I have to say I’m 5Ded out, as much as I am loved out. Do I like the sound of this paradigm that all the hippies are talking about, any more than the invasive technology with almost the same name?

When I’m told to focus on love not fear regarding the world situation, it means – don’t speak out about what’s really happening, but accept. Then I have to ask what is this passive state that they call love which does nothing and sees nothing? A love that allows us and generations who come after to live in a controlled drudgery of no privacy? ‘Love’ that says we deserve our poverty, that someone else deserves welfare and charity more than I (benefits are being stopped during lockdown!) and that earning – by any means, any job – gives us value.

I preached a sermon called The Wisdom of the Smurfs – which will get a reprise – about ideal society and doing the work you love. I said and I do again:

We Are Not Valuable For The Taxable Income We Generate.

Adding to GDP is not what makes us a good citizen and contribute to society.

It’s not just whether you do a service job, or you volunteer in recognised ways.

I’m asking big questions about the kind of way that we organise ourselves and the assumptions that we make. One of those is: do we have money?

Some people who claim to be spiritual see that earning big money is a sign that you are ‘living in alignment’. Not earning much shows lower energy stuckness.

A priestess I otherwise like sends many emails about her expensive training program, telling me that I have to be ready in all ways for her to consider me – including financially. Which means, we’re not doing concessions and we won’t be impressed if you can’t keep up your instalments. For wealth is a sign of spiritual maturity, sister.

No it isn’t.

Another ‘spiritual entrepeneur’ and show host got my goat today. She says that she doesn’t have clients who struggle – she wants peppy high energy (read, earners) who don’t question. I’ve seen her push people off a live call when they don’t respond to her and her guest with, Wow (sob) I’m so healed and grateful. I felt it was time for me to get off the call, for if that’s her dealbreaker, that is mine.

She spoke of her healthy 6 – and now she’s on a 7 – figure salary; of struggling to get beyond the 5 figures A MONTH ceiling (because you’re not manifesting right, something’s holding you back). How about some basic economics and lack of greed?

In Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, it says that only 1%, the world’s wealthy, know and apply the Secret of the Law of Attraction. The rest of us say: Occupy Movement –      We are the 99!

The green minded – I mean philosophically – say that our imbalance is caused by taking without thought, of growth without caring about the consequences, so it surprises me how many people got off a corporate ladder to find God/Spirit to only just add corporate to God/ Spirit. Oh, I was on the streets (well, living in my car, actually, a caravan park…. oh not quite homeless, but not yet in my mansion)…. when I only charged £50 an hour for my services (now it’s 10 times that because I love myself enough)…. but now I’m rich again. In fact, I don’t have a job as such, a Millionaire Woman told me. I sit on the beach ‘cus I can’t stand the office. I make a more lowly wench (surely Rosemary the Operator to my Hong Kong Fuey) go into the office and run my vast wealthy business, then she comes out to me each day and brings me flowers and the phone. I do about 2 hours work and then sunbathe. The rest of my prosperity portfolio is all investments, and inheritance.

I’ve heard this – that real wealth is passive income, in money that’s just sitting there, and property where you do very little in return for your monthly return. Their wealth causes others poverty and stress.

Hence I get very cross with those who judge the ‘poor’, especially when they are mean with their money and see people in need but decide that they’re not deserving. I’ve heard these people haggle lower earners down, although they could afford full price.

I’ve stopped drawing a line between work and play. I deeply question ‘hard work’ as a quality. I don’t see rest as something that has to be earned, on the other side of earning. I question what activities get you money, and what doesn’t. Although I’m not a socialist, I also point out the huge disparity in pay, reflecting what we value.

I’d like to do a whole service on this another time.

In woo woo circles, in the ring above ‘I was in Corporate Land (and Spirit found me)’, I’ve heard it said that work is part of the old paradigm. It’s not just AI – which I deplore – making us wonder if we’ll need basic incomes because there won’t be the need to work. There’s also suggestion that money is part of this lower frequency world that I hope we are about to grow out of.

In medieval Wales, they had no money – in the first Cadfael book, an English abbot tries to pay off his neighbours, who are confused and insulted. Pre Roman Britain also didn’t understand loans – the Celts thought that giving was simply a gift, no strings.

And they were right.

I note that in Britain, after four centuries of uninvited rulers who imposed cities as well as taxes, that we resumed our more agrarian tribal living. Historians used to call those mysterious centuries til the Normans arrived The Dark Ages. The ignorance was truly theirs, for the society was simply different to and in some ways more enlightened than the city building conquerors. I wonder if it’s comparable to the difference between Lemuria and Atlantis, two ancient mythologised lost continents. Lemurians are like the native Celts, living more simply in one way, but with deep understanding of spirit and nature; the Atlanteans, like Romans, were the advanced people, in technology – but were they spiritually and emotionally mature? Weren’t they the ones whose advancement caused an explosion which destroyed them and endangered the rest of the planet with them? The warning to us should be evident.

Are the Lemurians/Celts closer to Ascension?

I’m almost done. So really I’m talking about two things under the same word: personal maturity, and the next stage of the world’s history.

I’m noting – in myself too – how that spiritual leaders can have contradictions in their beliefs and behaviours. As a priestess sister said, we can be juicy red apples on one side and green with wormholes on the other – and I think that holding red and green is part of maturity. Ascension is not about being red all over. It doesn’t make some emotions unacceptable – SARK says to feel everything in your emotional family, and live in the marvellous messy middle. To me, that’s not leaving this world (including for the holding pen) nor letting it worsen, nor reigning in my cackle and smoothing everything with meaningless love and premature forgiveness – more on these topics another time. But I do see that contradictions can also mean comprimise in integrity, and that’s worth watching for, and I include myself in that as much as holding others to account.

I’m converging threads about two different faiths and two different shades of those faiths. Evangelical Christians expect a literal Second Coming of the Lord, ending our Earth dwelling as we know it; and more high (but often liberal) Christians made more of the feast on Thursday, but without perhaps believing that their Lord did lift off in the ET sense. I like to think that he did, and he didn’t need a spacecraft.

Believers in Atlantis say that our forebears had flying machines and that UFOs like our friend ET are evolved beings, perhaps angels, perhaps remnants of those lost races. And that they’re here to help us by passing on knowledge and are especially ready to assist us in this crucial time.

There are shades of woo woo too. There’s those who accept all that we’re being told about the virus, and those who promote what they believe to be an alternative truth. Some of those critiquing the new laws being rushed through and medical propaganda do so without reference to spiritual beliefs, and I feel that their telling is not complete without being aware of energy and spirit. There are the woo woo-ers who expect ascension to be a literal leaving of this planet, so it’s not Jesus (or ET) we’re waiting for, but ourselves. Yet both Larry Norman and the Gaia gang believe that people will be left behind, and see a great danger if we don’t soon act.

Much of my lifetime has had The Book of Revelation fulfilment potential. But never have I felt on such a cusp of a watershed as now.

I’ve long stopped preaching to make people see religion my way for fear that they will go to hell and I will get a rap for letting them. But I am not so laissez fair about politics. Not the party kind, but the what’s happening in the world kind. I see that there is an evil – perhaps not Satan, but that there are principalities and powers at work, and that they are manifesting right now. And being uncovered, ready for transmutation or defeat. I do believe that we have an all powerful Saviour, so that we don’t have to do this alone. I think we are all Eliots and Gerties, that having been shown the truth, we need to continue his work – those from spaceships and He who doesn’t need one – and that we too ascend, out of the Matrix and into the Aquarian age.

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Green Pastilles, blue clothing: in remembrance of my Mum’s 10th anniversary

Ten years ago, I lost my Mum. I want to share some thoughts and two pictures inspired by her.

(You can hear me reading this on https://yourlisten.com/BetweenTheStools)

This was painted on the first anniversary of her death – it’s called

“Ascent of the Duzzy Heron”.

Ascent of the Duzzy Heron

The heron had elicited two strong but opposing reactions from our family. Granddad saw it as a fish taker. He referred to it as “duzzy” – a local gentle expletive, since, as evangelicals, we can’t say fuckin’. (Yes, I know…Would Jesus like to hear me say that?)

For Granddad, then, the bird was a menace.

But for Mum, it was a source of joy. Mum would watch this heron, often from the window, and await the moment when the slim leggy bird spread its vast wings. Its whole presence expanded and it truly was a magnificent – but elusive and fleeting – sight. She would often call us over as the unfurling began, but I always missed the show. The heron was a wide eyebrow shaped mark in the air, rapidly disappearing, by the time I viewed it.

On the day of Mum’s funeral, I returned home alone and I saw, for the first time, the heron as it rose with the grace and span of Isaiah’s eagles and flew up into the heavens.

And I felt it was a sign of Mum, and so involuntarily, I saluted it.

It was thus a natural focus for an anniversary painting. The heron, more iridescent silver than grey, represented Mum, rising from the murky waters of her illness – a subject much in our collective minds at present; the green is the trees behind, although this is also about growth and new life; and blue, her favourite colour, and white flecked with light, symbolises her new celestial home. For she and I absolutely believe in paradise, and the transcendence over death however it comes for us.

In the heron’s beak is a green pastille.

It may seem unremarkable that I ate one that day. But I was 15 before I tasted one; and for the last eighteen months of Mum’s life, all greens had to be handed over to my mother with a partiality for the little sugary round Rowntree sweets.

In church as children, during long sermons, Mum opened the silvery wrapper and passed it along to us in the pew, but the green ones were extracted before being proffered. Green ones were snatched by right until we earned and were able to buy our own confectionary and eat them away from Mum’s eyes.

In my teens, there was a deliciousness in discovery of a rather nice hitherto unchewed flavour. I hadn’t minded giving over the again green pastilles when Mum got ill – it was affection as much as deference, a willing sacrifice.

On the bedside table, beside a stripped mattress that once carried our matriarch, was a single green pastille.

And, like Eve, I did take and ate it. (She’d have hated that wrongful grammar).

It felt deliberate, like an invitation to take the red pill of The Matrix, to step into life’s fullness – a final gift, as if the woman who bore me gave me life a second time.

 

The other painting is called “She Is Our Clothing”. It comes from a quote from Mother Julian’s’ Revelation of Divine Love. Julian wrote “He is our clothing”, but her constant reference to God as Mother – which I have long believed – made  this a natural title choice. Mum died close to the anniversary of Julian’s visions, which is celebrated in my city, where Julian lived. I had kept both something Mum bought me and something she wore, and I used them in this artwork. The navy shirt – Mum’s favourite colour and one she was glad to see on our backs as well as her own – got ripped in place that Jesus was torn. Across the painting, the arms of this smock and those of a hoodie of Mum’s are wrapped, enfolding us. The painting itself has imagery from Julian’s medieval book: the hazelnut, the soul as a city – naturally, I’ve drawn this one – are in the Vesica Pisces shape often seen in medieval seals, but this has another, ahem, relevant thought to the title of the piece. Around it is He is Our Ground, The Purse!! (Julian said it, I painted it!), Knitting, and further maternal imagery that is currently covered up! (one for another sermon – Mum wouldn’t have liked that any more than my duzzy translation). There is also the Devil and flames which Julian was taught not to fear, as they are already overcome by our Lord. And that as the hazelnut tells us – everything that is made, is held by God.

In my own life and the collective life of the world, I felt need of being reminded of God’s nurturing, sustenance, love, and power over all; that his arms enfold us, as a Mum, as I remember and celebrate the life of mine. Yes, I’m eating green pastilles in her memory.

I have seven of them lined up to eat ceremonially at the moment of her passing.

She is Our Clothing photos by me1

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Easter 2020 sermon

‘Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and others came to the tomb while it was still dark’ and every year for over twenty years, I have risen at daybreak – not a natural act for me – and gone outside to a special place to commemorate those women’s silent bravery and the first hope of Easter. This year I am on hill overlooking my city.

Usually, I replay my 7 Sayings compositions for Good Friday and add my Easter Day piece, and then later join with other Christians. But of course, I can’t attend worship with others this year – and it seems incredible that churches have been told not to open on their most holy day, the fulcrum of our faith.

This year, more than ever, I felt the need to speak about the meaning of Easter, and this year it will be physically, visibly felt. We are still in the tomb, for most of us round the world can’t meet to celebrate this feast, but we can prepare for the bursting forth in subversive victory by planning for it in our collective cocoon, doing the inner work until the outer can physically manifest.

I’m proud that there are Particular Baptists and Priestesses listening to this, and I’m glad to have brought you together, for this is a common purpose that we need to work towards.

Whether we recognise the phrase, we are all Lightworkers, here to usher in a new kingdom.

God has especially intervened in his – or her – relationship with humans three times: when he first made us; when he sent Jesus; and…now. The New Age isn’t a ducky hippy fantasy – it is here. I believe there are three covenants that God made with us: one with a particular people, although I think God has always been broader than that; and then he opened to the door to the Gentiles in the new testament, so that inclusion was through belief in Jesus… and now I think God is saying: open the door.

Perhaps the Particulars will particularly flinch at the suggestion, or I think assertion, that there is but one God; and whatever we call Her, that we are using different dialling codes to the same exchange.

I have come to understand that God’s essence isn’t judgement and exclusion. His prime attribute isn’t holiness, or even power… it’s love, Love with a capital L. And today we don’t proclaim good news because you have to accept serious bad news first. It’s not – believe or else; feel guilty and let that dictate your acceptance of God’s gift with not just strings attached, but thick cords. That cannot be grace – or a healthy relationship.

Today, the temple curtain in our sadly empty churches is rent in two: God isn’t held in the Holy of Holies for priests – or priestesses – alone. She’s not even in buildings, beautiful as they often are, which can be shows of strength and privilege, and doors that can exclude as well as give sanctuary. God is out in the world, within our walls and yet beyond them.

And God is birthing, through us, not 5G – the next level of technological connectivity, which very much concerns me – but 5D, the 5th dimension. For me, higher D is about living in a consciously soulful place, seeing one’s story arc from an authorial point of view, more and more in tune with what SARK calls “your inner wise self”, or Spirit, and not what traditional Christians would call ‘worldly values.’ It is a greater focus on the unseen and immeasurable.

Events over the last year have started to push me out of the 3D world, the ‘lower energies’ as those card carriers of the woo woo community (like me) would say. I’ve discovered that even having a lifelong faith doesn’t mean you’re always living at a higher level, just as those who don’t consciously have a faith, especially not my faith, can walk a higher path.

I believe, with many others, that this is the time when our old structures will fall, to be replaced by ones which are rooted in different values.

I was asking myself what I would do if I was tasked with responding to the virus. And my first thought was: breathe, then pray. I don’t know how many world leaders did that, but it’s something we’re not encouraged to talk about. We’re also not expected to talk about feelings, especially not love, in politics or business or education or health. We disregard the nonquantitive, non empirical, the non corporeal. And I think this is where we have gone wrong.

I was first drawn to the Green Party – of which I now consider myself ‘a candid friend’ – because the first policy document of theirs I read 10 years ago hinted at spirituality, and it also began by asserting the equality and value of all living things.

We’re so used to systems where not everyone matters and not everyone wins. We are run by wanting money in one way or the other, by what we own and who owns us.

This time has brought up the issue of personal sovereignty versus the executive powers of the state – even to close the churches on this most holy holiday. Although it is largely voluntarily to stop the spread of the virus, I am mindful that there are times when churches have been closed on government orders purely because they were disapproved of. I am not advocating selfishness and lack of responsibility, but I vociferously believe in our own agency especially over our own bodies, homes, and the healthcare we choose, and our right to worship, our right to think for ourselves, and I do advocate doubting until personally satisfied.

I think it’s vital that we remain aware and that what emerges out of this cocoon time is not a new normal where we no longer meet in person, mingle in groups or crowds, that everything we do is electronic which can be traced, with even greater reliance on technologies that are harmful to our health; that we remain compliant out of fear, and even begin to fear each other.

I want there to be an openness to ancient ways as well as new, to diversity and divergence. I’m reminded of that film and book trilogy by Veronica Roth about a dystopian post traumatic city which is divided into factions, according to personal traits. The leaders are desperate to keep everyone in their factions, and despise and fear those who live outside the neat systems put in place by the city fathers. But – plot spoiler alert – our heroine, who is one of the dreaded Divergents who don’t fit, discovers that the city fathers designed this system so that society matured when it realised that Divergents were the key, not the enemy.

Those who didn’t fit the system didn’t threaten it, they completed it.

I think this is a lesson our world needs, for it is in the throes of hoiking out our divergents for fear of the new world that they especially might midwife. But we need to celebrate those we formerly thought of as aberrations, not fix and suppress them.

In traditional Easter theology, this is a time for overcoming the Enemy, and this year, more than ever, it’s a time to remember that our God has overcome death, fear, illness, and evil.

In Tom Robbins’ novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, he says that the enemy is not all the ‘others’ – other nations and ethnicities, the other sex, the other class, the other sexualities, the other faiths, and whatever else we may divide ourselves into and want to blame and set ourselves against. He says ‘the enemy is the tyranny of the dull mind’.

Philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote of ‘the banality of evil’ – that the ultimate darkness is not often charismatic or potent, but simply dull conformity. For her, it was the inability to think which made the execution of evil possible. And I would argue, to feel…. Outrage at injustice, but also love, a love that can’t allow injustice but that can still love those who do it, and have so much love that it pulls perpetrators out of their actions into wholeness, out of our own dullness into awareness.

I began by mentioning Mary Magdalene – and I’m almost done. Mary has become more and more important to me over the years, especially when I began embracing the Priestess path along side the Christian one. Elayne Kalila Doughty calls the priestess path ‘the vow to walk as love’. I have taken that, and realise I can live that without a dog collar or a torque.

I’ve learned, or am learning, that the telos of love is to love without needing a response; that love can take many forms, and at this time of ascension, that we are especially called to expand our expressions of love beyond the factions laid out for us by old paradigms – for perhaps those who laid them out also had the notion that the ultimate maturity was when we learned to live beyond them. Much of our love, like our law, is possessive, exclusive, right and wrong, win and lose; it requires permission, it has territories, it’s proprietary.

I believe that today we celebrate the rising of the One who burst all that. I think his relationship with Mary Magdalene was one that defied categories. Jesus isn’t to me just the Christ Conscious one; for me, he is God, who rose in physical form, and what he embodied and taught is something we can share in, as Mary did – for she best understood him and preached his message. I see her as a special messenger, perhaps being to the Trinity what the RAC claimed to be to the emergency services. (Yes I did just say that the Trinity is a 4 leaf clover).

I’ve been watching Xena: Warrior Princess. I see myself as Warrior Priestess. Xena and her companion Gabrielle – whose love also defies categorisation – commit to following the Way of love and light, overcoming darkness in the world and themselves. They knowingly go to their crucifixon, followed by an incredible act of love and forgiveness, transformation and resurrection – just as we remember at Easter. I’m more convinced than ever that death is not the end and that and Love goes on, not just for Jesus, but all of us.

The Easter sermon that I best remember is from Durham Cathedral in 2005: that when Mary asked Jesus if he was the gardener, she was kind of right. Jesus is making a new creation and asking us to be part of landscaping, planting, weeding, watering and hoeing… for soon we shall be picking. I know I’ve barely quoted the Bible – and I enjoy biblical exposition – but I’m seeing that we’re called now to a faith beyond just the Book, beyond the words we call God. So as we awaken this Easter Day 2020, let us awaken in all senses, and have clear vision, and courage to love, to be the change in the world we seek, and with Jesus and Mary, be bringers of a new age.

Listen at https://yourlisten.com/BetweenTheStools/easter-2020-with-music and https://artradio.tv/elspeth-rushbrook (yes this site is safe but a warning comes up if you click this link direct from WordPress)

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