Category Archives: Natural Healing

Who were the Naassenes? Early Christian Gnostics?

In the early centuries of Christianity, a diverse array of cults emerged that were considered to be heterodox in the eyes of the early church fathers. One of the most enigmatic of these cults was the Naassenes, a sect of early Gnostic Christians who believed in a complex amalgam of Jewish and Greek traditions. This paper will analyze the rituals, beliefs, and veneration of the snake associated with the Naassenes, and how these elements encapsulate their an unusual Gnostic worldview.

Naassenes veneration of the Serpent Cross

The Naassenes were based in the region of Phrygia, where the cult figure Alexander is thought to have been born and raised. Although little is known of their origins, they exhibit a hybrid of Jewish and Greco-Roman influences. This combination is reflected in their practice of incorporating certain rituals and associated symbols into their beliefs, including the veneration of the snake.

The practice of honoring the snake was incredibly important to the Naassenes, and they saw it as a way to contact the divine. They viewed the snake as a spiritual signpost of sorts, as they held it to be a representation of Adam’s wisdom. They believed that the snake represented the secret knowledge of the imago dei (the divine image) and heavenly perfection, and saw it as a conduit for the flow of the Holy Spirit. As such, veneration of the snake was seen as a way to honor the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge, which was in turn a way to seek spiritual transformation and growth.

Aside from the veneration of the snake, the Naassenes also incorporated other symbolic practices into their ritual. One example was their ritual of water baptism, which was thought to be a symbol of purification and enlightenment. The Naassenes also included rituals associated with fasting, with their members fasting in preparation for meditation and contemplation, as well as spiritual renewal. Interestingly, the Naassenes honored a rather eclectic pantheon of deities, including figures from both the Old and the New Testaments, as well as several Greco-Roman figures, suggesting the inclusion of these gods into the cult’s beliefs.

The veneration of the snake associated with the Naassenes suggests the presence of a unique worldview within the cult. By venerating the snake, the Naassenes could draw on an animistic conception of the spiritual realm, even while also affirming monotheism. Furthermore, the inclusion of Christian and Greco-Roman elements in their rituals and beliefs shows that they were no strangers to syncretic religious practices. Thus, the veneration of the snake combined with the hybrid nature of their religious views indicates that the Naassenes were Gnostics rather than simply a group of Christians who happened to have unusual beliefs.

The Naassenes sect were known only through the writings of Hippolytus of Rome.

Abraxas Stone or Gem from The Gnostics and their remains by Charles W. King, 1887. The letters are “ΙΑΩ” or “Iao” and “ΣΕΜΕΣ ΕΙΛΑΜ”, “Eternal Sun”.

The Naassenes claimed to have been taught their doctrines by Mariamne, a disciple of James the Just. The retention of the Hebrew form shows that their beliefs may represent the earliest stages of Gnosticism. Hippolytus regards them as among the first to be called simply “Gnostics”, alleging that they alone have sounded the depths of knowledge.

Naassene Sermon :
The Naassenes had one or more books out of which Hippolytus of Rome largely quotes in the Philosophumena, which professed to contain heads of discourses communicated by James, the brother of Jesus, to Mariamne. They contained treatises of a mystical, philosophic, devotional, and exegetical character, rather than a cosmological exposition. A very interesting feature of the book seems to have been the specimens it gave of Ophite hymnology.

The writer (or writers) is possibly Greek. He does indeed use the Hebrew words Naas and Caulacau, but these words had already passed into the common Gnostic vocabulary so as to become known to many unacquainted with Hebrew. He shows a great knowledge of the religious mysteries of various nations. For instance, he dilates much on the Phrygian rites, and the whole section seems to be a commentary on a hymn to the Phrygian Attis.

Creation of Adam, Byzantine mosaic in Monreale

First Man

The Naassenes so far agreed with other Ophites that they gave to the first principle the names First Man and Son of Man, calling him in their hymns Adamas.

The First Man (Protanthropos, Adamas); the fundamental being before its differentiation into individuals (cf. Adam Kadmon).

The Son of Man; the same being after it has been individualized into existing things and thus sunk into matter.

Instead, however, of retaining the female principle of the Syrian Ophites, they represented their “Man” as androgynous; and hence one of their hymns runs “From thee, father, through thee, mother, the two immortal names.” They declared that “the beginning of Perfection is the gnosis of Man, but the gnosis of God is perfected Perfection.”

Although the myths of the earlier Ophite system are but lightly touched on, there is some trace of an acquaintance with them, as for example the myth that Adam was brought forth by the Earth spontaneously; he lay without breath, without motion, without stirring, like a statue; being made after the image of the First Man, through the agency of several Archons. In order for them to seize hold of the First Man, there was given unto Adam a soul, that through this soul the image of the First Man above might suffer and be chastened in bondage.

The Naassenes taught that their primary man was, like Geryon, threefold, containing in himself the three natures to noeron, to psychikon, to choikon; and so that in Jesus the three natures were combined, and through him speak to these different classes of men. From the living waters which he supplies each absorbs that for which his nature has attraction. From the same water the olive can draw its oil, and the vine its wine, and in like manner each other plant its special produce: chaff will be attracted by amber, iron only by the magnet, gold only by the prickle of the sea-hawk, so each according to his nature attracts and imbibes a different supply from the same source.

Three classes :
Thus there are three classes of men and three corresponding churches :

  • Material (the Bound)—the heathen chiefly captive under the dominion of matter.
  • Psychic (the Called)—ordinary Christians.
  • Spiritual (the Elect)—out of the many called, the few chosen members of the Naassene sect.

Creation

The Naassene work known to Hippolytus would seem to have been of what we may call a devotional character rather than a formal exposition of doctrine, and this perhaps is why it is difficult to draw from the accounts left us a thoroughly consistent scheme. Thus, as we proceed, we are led to think of the first principle of nature, not as a single threefold being, but as three distinct substances; on the one hand the pre-existent, otherwise spoken of as the Good being, on the other hand the “outpoured Chaos,” intermediate, between these one called Autogenes, and also the Logos. Chaos is naturally destitute of forms or qualities; neither does the preexistent being himself possess form, for though the cause of everything that comes into being, it is itself none of them, but only the seed from which they spring.

Adam and Eve with the Serpent, Michelangelo

The Logos is the mediator which draws forms from above and transfers them to the world below. Yet he seems to have a rival in this work; for we have reference made to a fourth being, whence or how brought into existence we are not told, a “fiery God,” Esaldaios, the father of the idikos kosmos. That is to say, it was this fiery being, the same who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, who gave forms to the choical or purely material parts of nature. It is he who supplies the fiery heat of generation by which these forms are still continued. In this work the Logos had no part, for “all things were made through him, and without him was made nothing.” The “nothing” that was made without him is the kosmos idikos.

On the other hand, it is the Logos, who is identified with the serpent, and this again with the principle of Water, who brings down the pneumatic and psychical elements, so that through him man became a living soul. But he has now to do a greater work, namely, to provide for the release of the higher elements now enslaved under the dominion of matter, and for their restoration to the good God.

Generation

The Mysteries of the ancient world, it is taught, pertained to generation. The Lesser Mysteries pertained to the carnal, and the Greater dealt with the spiritual. Within the seed—sperma—is the Mystery of the Logos, as it is the original cause of all things that exist.

For the restoration of the chosen seed an essential condition is the complete abandonment of sexual intercourse between men and women. The captive people must pass out of Egypt; Egypt is the body, the Red Sea the work of generation; to cross the Red Sea and pass into the wilderness is to arrive at a state where that work of generation has been forsaken. Thus they arrive at the Jordan.

The Cross and Sacred Serpent Christ

This is the Logos through whose streams rolling downward forms had descended from above, and generations of mortal men had taken place; but now Jesus, like his Old Testament namesake, rolls the stream upwards, and then takes place a generation not of men, but of gods, for to this name the new-born seed may lay claim (Psalms 82:6). But if they return to Egypt, that is to carnal intercourse, “they shall die like men.” For that which is born from below is fleshly and mortal, that which is born from above is spiritual and immortal. This is the divine bliss—hidden, and yet revealed—of that which was, is, and will be—the kingdom of heaven to be sought for within.

The specimens already given present but a faint idea of the author’s method of scripture exegesis. Hippolytus declares that the verses of Paul in Romans 1:27 contain the key to their whole system, which he alludes to with a great deal of innuendo:

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

This “unseemly” being their Mystery of divine bliss, he states; “that heavenly, sublime, felicity, that absence of all form which is the real source of every form.” And baptism applied to none save the man who was introduced into this divine bliss, being washed with the Living Water, and “anointed with the Ineffable Chrism from the Horn, like David [was], not from the flask of clay, like Saul, who was fellow citizen with an evil daemon of fleshly desire.”

The Hermetic alchemists asserted that the Great Work was an opus contra naturam; Paul’s use of “against nature” (παρὰ φύσιν, Romans 1:26) may have been given a similar allegorical meaning by the Naassene exegete. It is certainly possible that the Naassenes viewed homosexuality as exemplifying their concept of androgyny. Carl Jung remarked, “such a disposition should not be adjudged negative in all circumstances, in so far as it preserves the archetype of the Original Man, which a one-sided sexual being has, up to a point, lost.” But as to evidence of any “unseemly” acts, Hippolytus writes that in every way, “they are not emasculated, and yet they act as though they were.”

Exegesis

The writer, it will be seen, makes free use of the New Testament. He seems to have used all the four Gospels, but that of which he makes most use is St. John’s. He quotes from Paul’s epistles to the Romans, Corinthians (both letters), Galatians, and Ephesians. There is a copious use also of the Old Testament; and besides we are told there is a use of the Gospel according to the Egyptians, and that of Thomas. But what most characterizes the document under consideration is the abundant use of pagan writings.

For the author’s method of exegesis enables him to find his system in Homer with as much ease as in the Bible. Great part of the extract given by Hippolytus is a commentary on a hymn to the Phrygian Attis, all the epithets applied to whom are shown when etymologically examined, to be aspects of the Logos. One of the first of the titles applied to Attis is papas—here we are taught to recognise him who brought to rest (epause) all the disorderly motion that prevailed before his appearing. To him all things cry paue, paue, ten asymphonian.

Serpent Grail

The serpent

Every temple, naos, shows by its title that it is intended for the honour of the serpent naas as “the Moist Essence,” of the universe, without which “naught at all of existing things, immortal or mortal, animate or inanimate, can hold together.” Furthermore, “all things are subject to Him, and He is Good, and has all things in Him … so that He distributes beauty and bloom to all that exist according to each one’s nature and peculiarity, as though permeating all.”

G.R.S. Mead has suggested that all of this is in reference to the Kundalini:

This is the cosmic Akāsha of the Upaniṣhads, and the Kuṇḍalinī, or serpentine force in man, which when following animal impulse is the force of generation, but when applied to spiritual things makes of a man a god. It is the Waters of Great Jordan flowing downwards (the generation of men) and upwards (the generation of gods); the Akāsha-gangā or Heavenly Ganges of the Purāṇas, the Heavenly Nile of mystic Egypt.

Eden

The Garden of Eden, in the Naassene system, is the brain, and Paradise the human head, with the four rivers having special significance:

  • Pishon, “that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.”
    • Eyes (because of its dignity and colors that bear witness to what is said)
  • Gihon, “the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.”
    • Hearing (because of its being labyrinthine)
  • Tigris, “that which flows the opposite way to the Assyrians.”
    • Breathing (because “the current of it is very rapid; and it ‘flows the opposite way to the Assyrians,’ because after the breath is breathed out, on breathing in again, the breath that is drawn in from without, from the air, comes in more rapidly, and with greater force.”)
  • Euphrates
    • Mouth (because through prayer and food, a “man is rejoiced, and nourished and expressed.”)

In conclusion, the Naassenes were an early Christian Gnostic cult whose beliefs and practices encompassed a wide range of Jewish and Greco-Roman elements. Of particular importance to the cult was the veneration of the snake, which was seen as a representation of the connection to the divine and an access point to spiritual renewal and growth. This veneration is a clear sign of their complex and syncretic worldview, and shows that the Naassenes were true Gnostics, not just eccentric Christians.

Book by Mark H. Gaffney

Here are some documents and books to look into further in your quest :

  • A Naassene Fragment (quoted by Hippolytus as a summary of the entire Naassene system)
  • The Gospel of Philip (evidently distinct from the Gospel of Philip of the Nag Hammadi Library)
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • The Greek Gospel of the Egyptians

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Apana Mudra

Apana Mudra or Apan Vayu Mudra is a type of energetic hand gesture (mudra) used for relaxation, healing and overall wellbeing by yogis and practitioners of yoga and meditation. The practice has been around for many centuries and its main purpose is to help balance the mind, body and soul.

The practice of Apana Mudra is said to be very beneficial to physical health, as well as mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is believed that this practice can be used to reduce stress, improve energy, and enhance concentration. Additionally, it can also be used to regulate the digestive system and relieve pain in the body.

This paper will discuss the physical and mental benefits of Apana Mudra and the ways that it is traditionally practiced. The paper will also discuss the specific hand movements and mudras associated with this practice and will provide an understanding of the power and efficacy of this ancient practice.

Body :

Apana Mudra is said to be beneficial in promoting a calm and balanced state of wellbeing, as well as for addressing many physical and mental issues. The hand gestures involved in this practice, known as mudras, direct and amplify the energy that is released from the body to the mind. It is believed that this energy can be used to stimulate healing and provide relief from suffering.

The traditional practice of Apana Mudra involves the practitioner sitting in a comfortable position with their spine straight and palms clasped together in front of the body. The thumb and middle finger are then brought together to form the “Apana Mudra.” This mudra is the starting position for all of the physical, mental and emotional benefits that come with the practice.

Physical Benefits :

The practice of Apana Mudra has many physical benefits. It is said to improve blood circulation, and reduce stress, fatigue and muscle tension. Additionally, this practice can help improve digestion and reduce constipation. It is also believed to help reduce the effects of arthritis, headaches, nausea and even depression.

Mental Benefits :

The mental benefits of Apana Mudra include improving concentration, reducing anxiety and increasing mental clarity. Additionally, this practice can help boost creativity and help the mind become more open and relaxed.

Other Benefits :

In addition to the physical and mental benefits, Apana Mudra is also said to have other benefits, including improving the immune system, strengthening the heart and aiding in relaxation, harmony and spiritual growth.

Apana Mudra is an ancient practice with many physical, mental and spiritual benefits. The practice involves specific hand movements and mudras that are designed to direct and amplify the energy in the body to promote healing and relaxation. It is believed that the practice can help reduce stress, improve energy, and enhance concentration. Additionally, it can be used to improve digestion, strengthen the heart and aid in relaxation, harmony and spiritual growth. The practice of Apana Mudra is a powerful form of therapy that can be used to benefit the whole person and provide a sense of wellbeing.

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42 Cheat Codes I wish I knew at 22

  1. Use workouts to gain muscle, diet to burn fat and cardio to improve your overall health & longevity.
  2. Eat a high protein diet comprised of whole foods for the best body composition.
  3. When lifting weights, use your mind to muscle connection to increase muscle contraction.
  4. Upon waking drink water before coffee.
  5. Delay coffee for 1-2 hours upon waking. This lets cortisol clear out adenosine, which can lead to sustained energy into the afternoon.
  6. Use your nose for smelling & breathing. Use your mouth for talking, tasting & eating.
  7. Mouth breathing disrupts sleep, ruins oral health & can cause sleep apnea. Mouth taping at night helped me solve this.
  8. Mouthwash is the biggest dental scam. Kills your oral microbiota. Avoid.
  9. Avoid fluoride in your toothpaste. Use ones that have hydroxyapatite.
  10. Sleep at the same time every day. Align your body with the rising & setting of the sun.
  11. The 321 method for better sleep. No eating 3 hours before bed. No liquids 2 hours before. No screens 1 hour before.
  12. If you look at screens at night, wear blue light blockers.
  13. You sleep for 1/3 of your entire life. Learn how to optimize it and make it make it as awesome as possible.
  14. Memory is fallible. When you have a good idea write it down immediately.
  15. Your best ideas come in the shower, walking or in the gym. Keep a notepad ready.
  16. The biggest block in your abundance is not what you do; it’s what you believe.
  17. Close the toilet bowl when flushing to avoid particles of filth sprouting up into your bathroom atmosphere.
  18. The more you criticize others, the more you criticize yourself. If you want to judge yourself less, judge others less.
  19. Stay away from people who always complain. They are energy vampires.
  20. Stay away from people who gossip. They are most likely gossiping about you.
  21. Learn a martial art to increase discipline, confidence & release stress.
  22. Seek rejection daily. This numbs you to the feeling. Also, you only get what you ask for.
  23. Take complete ownership for every result in your life. The only constant in every result is you.
  24. When someone is walking in your path look at their shoulder closest to you. 8 times out of 10 they will move out of the way.
  25. Be in rooms where you’re the dumbest person. Work out at gyms where you’re the least fit person.
  26. When you feel an emotion don’t numb it. It’ll only make it feel worse later. Feel it fully then let it go. Emotion is energy. We must let it pass.
  27. You can tell a lot about someone’s character by how they treat service staff.
  28. Money & alcohol amplify who a person is at their core.
  29. When someone shows you their true colors believe them.
  30. A few months a year go monk mode. Eliminate all distractions & vices and use that energy to build your health & business.
  31. Who you choose as a partner will determine your level of peace, wealth & happiness.
  32. Your perception is reality. If you want a better reality change your perception.
  33. You’ll never be as young as you are now. Do what you feel you’re meant to do.
  34. Your best decisions come from stillness. Stillness is amplified in nature & meditation.
  35. You can only get stronger when you face problems in life. Embrace the fucking struggle.
  36. Show up, do the work & seek ways to grow. Do this every day & watch what happens.
  37. No one cares. Work harder.
  38. Trust people who say “I don’t know” more than the people who have all the answers.
  39. Seek feedback from those in the arena. Not from the ones who are boo’ing from the cheap seats.
  40. Instead of giving your kids what you wish you had, teach them things you wish you knew.
  41. Keep a small circle. It’s better to go narrow & deep than wide & shallow.
  42. True wealth is about being physically & financially healthy while living in a household full of love.

42 Steps to Freedom! 💪 Create a life of Freedom on your own terms! Learn More Here! 🤑

The Elven Priestess Story

Deep in the forest, beneath the trees and under a starry sky, there lived an elven priestess named Lorana. For as long as she could remember, she had been guided on her journey by her spirit animal, the wise owl.

Lorana was a powerful and wise woman in her community. She had long, white hair and beautiful turquoise-colored, almond-shaped eyes, wise beyond her years. Her necklace was carved from wood and it held the secrets of the forest.

Lorana often spent time in the forest, meditating and seeking wisdom. One night, she saw a small owl perched atop a branch. This was her spirit animal, sent to guide her.

The owl went with Lorana everywhere, from the deepest corners of the forest to the highest mountains. It perched on her shoulder while she meditated, and it watched her intently. When she needed guidance and protection, the owl’s intelligent eyes looked upon her and offered her a wise counsel.

With the owl by her side, Lorana continued to learn and to grow. She learned about the natural order of the world and the movement of energies. She dove deep into the mysteries of spiritual wisdom and she studied about herbs and plant medicine.

Lorana eventually realized that she was part of something much bigger than herself. She became a protector of the Earth, a healer of wounds, and a guide to her community. Her knowledge and wisdom was deep, and it was the owl who had helped her to accept her role.

When Lorana decided to disappear, the owl flew away into the night sky, taking her sage knowledge and powerful spirit with it. But her legacy in the forest will remain, as will the bond between her and her spirit animal. And every once in a while, one can hear deep in the forest, the distant cry of the wise owl.

They say.. if you hear the owl’s hoot the Elven Priestess is near by.. and if you please her, she may even reappear, just for you. 🧝🏼‍♀️🦉

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Shirdi Sai Baba

It is said that Shirdi Sai Baba was born in the village of Pathri, India, in 1838. His birth was so mysterious and unlike any other that the villagers of Pathri were full of awe and admiration.

Though much of his early life was shrouded in mystery, there are stories abound of his miraculous powers, which he used to perform healings, bring divine inspiration, and help those in need. He was generous in his giving and offered shelter and food to the destitute. His life was full of goodness and divine blessing.

At the age of 16, Sai Baba left Pathri, traveling across India. Villagers recall him speaking in multiple languages, a sign of his divine connection. He arrived at Shirdi, a town in the state of Maharashtra, and set up shop as an ascetic.

Though he was poor, his divinity and holiness soon attracted people from all walks of life. He instructed his followers to remember God and be kind to all living beings. His beloved presence changed the lives of many and he often spoke of a union of all religions, open to the love of God regardless of one’s faith.

Towards the end of Sai Baba’s life, plenty of devotees surrounded him, singing praises of his life and work. Stories of his divine powers continued to spread across India and beyond, reaching those in need of spiritual guidance and healing.

After leaving this mortal coil in 1918, Sai Baba continues to be revered and his teachings revered around the world. It is said that he is always with us, watching over us in our times of need.

“Trust in me and your prayers shall be answered” -Shirdi Sai Baba

~ Om Sai Ram ~

Art by : Art is Well 🕉️

Can religion be used to justify meat eating?

The practice of killing and eating animals for sustenance has been a part of human existence for thousands of years. Despite this fact, many people today still choose to consume meat and animal products even when presented with alternative options. Much of this decision to maintain a diet of animal products is justified with religious arguments, suggesting that eating meat is acceptable because it is sanctioned by religious beliefs and doctrines. This paper will look at the implications of these arguments and demonstrate that the justification of meat eating based on religion is inaccurate, deeply ignorant and inherently unethical. 

Religion and Meat Eating: Different Sects of Belief 

The acceptance of meat eating with regards to religious belief varies widely across different sects. Some religions view meat as a necessary part of a spiritual practice, while others have adopted more moderate stances, tolerating the consumption if it within certain limits. Not all religions consider meat to be a ‘moral’ food, with there being significant variance even within Christianity, for example. Among the various sects of Christianity, there is a complex hierarchy of beliefs and practices related to diet, but there is near-universal agreement that ‘meat’, or sacrifice animals, are improper. 

Given the complexity of such beliefs and the range of different sects, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about how different faiths perceive the consumption of meat. However, the overall consensus among scholars is that, without taking into account the different sects, religion does not necessarily condone the mistreatment of animals or the consumption of meat simply for sustenance. 

Religion and Meat Eating: Views on Animal Welfare 

In addition to the difference in religious beliefs around the consumption of meat, there is also a strong argument against mistreating animals in the name of conscience and ethics. From a religious perspective, it is seen as wrong to treat animals inhumanely and to ignore their suffering. This line of thought is shared among all major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. Furthermore, the Bible specifically prohibits any act that causes suffering or pain to animals (Genesis 9:4). 

In contrast to this explicit command, the practices of industrialized meat production have become increasingly widespread. Such practices are notorious for their maltreatment of animals and disregard for their well-being. This is seen in the methods of factory farming, where animals are forced to live in overcrowded and filthy conditions, treated with extreme neglect, and often made to suffer in terrible conditions. Furthermore, animals in industrialized production are given a growth hormone to boost production which can lead to illnesses and infections, as well as being mutilated without anaesthetic. 

The bottom line is that the practices of industrialized meat production are in direct violation of the ethical guidelines set out by many religions. This means that any attempt to justify meat-eating with religious arguments is hypocritical and ignores the implications of animal suffering.

Religion and Meat Eating: Ignoring the Alternatives 

A final reason why religious justification for meat-eating is ignorant and unethical is that it ignores the many other options for sustenance that are available. It is now possible to obtain a healthy and nutritious diet without relying on meat or animal products. Research has demonstrated that replacing animal foods with plant-based alternatives can help to prevent many chronic illnesses, including heart disease and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, this kind of diet is significantly more sustainable and has far less of an environmental impact. 

Indeed, the potential of sustainable and ethical food sources is an issue that has been addressed by many religions. In Islam, for example, the Qur’an states that consuming plant-based diets is indicative of humanity’s deep relationship with the natural world and an act of responsible custodianship (Qur’an 6:145-146). Therefore, to ignore these ethical and ecologically-friendly options in the name of religious tradition is both ignoring the potential benefit to the environment and to one’s health, and disregarding religious teachings on the natural world.

Overall, the argument that religious sanctioning allows for the consumption of meat is outdated and inaccurate. As has been demonstrated in this paper, the implications of such thinking are deeply ignorant and unethical, as it ignores animal welfare, the environmental consequences, and alternative diets that can be more sustainably and ethically sourced. Therefore, arguments for meat eating in the name of religion are inexcusable and should not be tolerated.

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Magical Herbs & Their Uses

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Therese Neumann, The Catholic Stigmatist ~ from the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda (Chapter 39)

“Return to india. I have waited for you patiently for fifteen years. Soon I shall swim out of the body and on to the Shining Abode. Yogananda, come!”

Sri Yukteswar’s voice sounded startlingly in my inner ear as I sat in meditation at my Mt. Washington headquarters. Traversing ten thousand miles in the twinkling of an eye, his message penetrated my being like a flash of lightning.

Fifteen years! Yes, I realized, now it is 1935; I have spent fifteen years in spreading my guru’s teachings in America. Now he recalls me.

That afternoon I recounted my experience to a visiting disciple. His spiritual development under Kriya Yoga was so remarkable that I often called him “saint,” remembering Babaji’s prophecy that America too would produce men and women of divine realization through the ancient yogic path.

This disciple and a number of others generously insisted on making a donation for my travels. The financial problem thus solved, I made arrangements to sail, via Europe, for India. Busy weeks of preparations at Mount Washington! In March, 1935 I had the Self- Realization Fellowship chartered under the laws of the State of California as a non-profit corporation. To this educational institution go all public donations as well as the revenue from the sale of my books, magazine, written courses, class tuition, and every other source of income.

“I shall be back,” I told my students. “Never shall I forget America.”

At a farewell banquet given to me in Los Angeles by loving friends, I looked long at their faces and thought gratefully, “Lord, he who remembers Thee as the Sole Giver will never lack the sweetness of friendship among mortals.”

I sailed from New York on June 9, 1935 in the Europa. Two students accompanied me: my secretary, Mr. C. Richard Wright, and an elderly lady from Cincinnati, Miss Ettie Bletch. We enjoyed the days of ocean peace, a welcome contrast to the past hurried weeks. Our period of leisure was short-lived; the speed of modern boats has some regrettable features!

THERESE NEUMANNTHERESE NEUMANN

Famous Catholic Stigmatist who inspired my 1935 pilgrimage to Konnersreuth, Bavaria
Like any other group of inquisitive tourists, we walked around the huge and ancient city of London.

The following day I was invited to address a large meeting in Caxton Hall, at which I was introduced to the London audience by Sir Francis Younghusband. Our party spent a pleasant day as guests of Sir Harry Lauder at his estate in Scotland. We soon crossed the English Channel to the continent, for I wanted to make a special pilgrimage to Bavaria.

This would be my only chance, I felt, to visit the great Catholic mystic, Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth.

Years earlier I had read an amazing account of Therese. Information given in the article was as follows:

(1) Therese, born in 1898, had been injured in an accident at the age of twenty; she became blind and paralyzed.

(2) She miraculously regained her sight in 1923 through prayers to St. Teresa, “The Little Flower.” Later Therese Neumann’s limbs were instantaneously healed.

(3) From 1923 onward, Therese has abstained completely from food and drink, except for the daily swallowing of one small consecrated wafer.

(4) The stigmata, or sacred wounds of Christ, appeared in 1926 on Therese’s head, breast, hands, and feet. On Friday of every week thereafter, she has passed through the Passion of Christ, suffering in her own body all his historic agonies.

(5) Knowing ordinarily only the simple German of her village, during her Friday trances Therese utters phrases which scholars have identified as ancient Aramaic. At appropriate times in her vision, she speaks Hebrew or Greek.

(6) By ecclesiastical permission, Therese has several times been under close scientific observation. Dr. Fritz Gerlick, editor of a Protestant German newspaper, went to Konnersreuth to “expose the Catholic fraud,” but ended up by reverently writing her biography.

As always, whether in East or West, I was eager to meet a saint. I rejoiced as our little party entered, on July 16th, the quaint village of Konnersreuth. The Bavarian peasants exhibited lively interest in our Ford automobile (brought with us from America) and its assorted group-an American young man, an elderly lady, and an olive-hued Oriental with long hair tucked under his coat collar.

Therese’s little cottage, clean and neat, with geraniums blooming by a primitive well, was alas! silently closed. The neighbors, and even the village postman who passed by, could give us no information. Rain began to fall; my companions suggested that we leave.

“No,” I said stubbornly, “I will stay here until I find some clue leading to Therese.”

Two hours later we were still sitting in our car amidst the dismal rain. “Lord,” I sighed complainingly, “why didst Thou lead me here if she has disappeared?”

An English-speaking man halted beside us, politely offering his aid.

“I don’t know for certain where Therese is,” he said, “but she often visits at the home of Professor Wurz, a seminary master of Eichstatt, eighty miles from here.”

The following morning our party motored to the quiet village of Eichstatt, narrowly lined with cobblestoned streets. Dr. Wurz greeted us cordially at his home; “Yes, Therese is here.” He sent her word of the visitors. A messenger soon appeared with her reply.

“Though the bishop has asked me to see no one without his permission, I will receive the man of God from India.”

Deeply touched at these words, I followed Dr. Wurz upstairs to the sitting room. Therese entered immediately, radiating an aura of peace and joy.

She wore a black gown and spotless white head dress. Although her age was thirty-seven at this time, she seemed much younger, possessing indeed a childlike freshness and charm. Healthy, well- formed, rosy-cheeked, and cheerful, this is the saint that does not eat!

Therese greeted me with a very gentle handshaking. We both beamed in silent communion, each knowing the other to be a lover of God.

Dr. Wurz kindly offered to serve as interpreter. As we seated ourselves, I noticed that Therese was glancing at me with naive curiosity; evidently Hindus had been rare in Bavaria.

“Don’t you eat anything?” I wanted to hear the answer from her own lips.

“No, except a consecrated rice-flour wafer, once every morning at six o’clock.”

“How large is the wafer?”

“It is paper-thin, the size of a small coin.” She added, “I take it for sacramental reasons; if it is unconsecrated, I am unable to swallow it.”

“Certainly you could not have lived on that, for twelve whole years?”

“I live by God’s light.” How simple her reply, how Einsteinian!

“I see you realize that energy flows to your body from the ether, sun, and air.”

A swift smile broke over her face. “I am so happy to know you understand how I live.”

“Your sacred life is a daily demonstration of the truth uttered by Christ: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”

Again she showed joy at my explanation. “It is indeed so. One of the reasons I am here on earth today is to prove that man can live by God’s invisible light, and not by food only.”

“Can you teach others how to live without food?”
She appeared a trifle shocked. “I cannot do that; God does not wish it.”

As my gaze fell on her strong, graceful hands, Therese showed me a little, square, freshly healed wound on each of her palms. On the back of each hand, she pointed out a smaller, crescent-shaped wound, freshly healed. Each wound went straight through the hand. The sight brought to my mind distinct recollection of the large square iron nails with crescent-tipped ends, still used in the Orient, but which I do not recall having seen in the West.

The saint told me something of her weekly trances. “As a helpless onlooker, I observe the whole Passion of Christ.” Each week, from Thursday midnight until Friday afternoon at one o’clock, her wounds open and bleed; she loses ten pounds of her ordinary 121-pound weight. Suffering intensely in her sympathetic love, Therese yet looks forward joyously to these weekly visions of her Lord.

I realized at once that her strange life is intended by God to reassure all Christians of the historical authenticity of Jesus’ life and crucifixion as recorded in the New Testament, and to dramatically display the ever-living bond between the Galilean Master and his devotees.

Professor Wurz related some of his experiences with the saint.

“Several of us, including Therese, often travel for days on sight- seeing trips throughout Germany,” he told me. “It is a striking contrast-while we have three meals a day, Therese eats nothing. She remains as fresh as a rose, untouched by the fatigue which the trips cause us. As we grow hungry and hunt for wayside inns, she laughs merrily.”

The professor added some interesting physiological details: “Because Therese takes no food, her stomach has shrunk. She has no excretions, but her perspiration glands function; her skin is always soft and firm.”

At the time of parting, I expressed to Therese my desire to be present at her trance.

“Yes, please come to Konnersreuth next Friday,” she said graciously. “The bishop will give you a permit. I am very happy you sought me out in Eichstatt.”

Therese shook hands gently, many times, and walked with our party to the gate. Mr. Wright turned on the automobile radio; the saint examined it with little enthusiastic chuckles. Such a large crowd of youngsters gathered that Therese retreated into the house. We saw her at a window, where she peered at us, childlike, waving her hand.

From a conversation the next day with two of Therese’s brothers, very kind and amiable, we learned that the saint sleeps only one or two hours at night. In spite of the many wounds in her body, she is active and full of energy. She loves birds, looks after an aquarium of fish, and works often in her garden. Her correspondence is large; Catholic devotees write her for prayers and healing blessings. Many seekers have been cured through her of serious diseases.

Her brother Ferdinand, about twenty-three, explained that Therese has the power, through prayer, of working out on her own body the ailments of others. The saint’s abstinence from food dates from a time when she prayed that the throat disease of a young man of her parish, then preparing to enter holy orders, be transferred to her own throat.

On Thursday afternoon our party drove to the home of the bishop, who looked at my flowing locks with some surprise. He readily wrote out the necessary permit. There was no fee; the rule made by the Church is simply to protect Therese from the onrush of casual tourists, who in previous years had flocked on Fridays by the thousands.

We arrived Friday morning about nine-thirty in Konnersreuth. I noticed that Therese’s little cottage possesses a special glass-roofed section to afford her plenty of light. We were glad to see the doors no longer closed, but wide-open in hospitable cheer. There was a line of about twenty visitors, armed with their permits. Many had come from great distances to view the mystic trance.

Therese had passed my first test at the professor’s house by her intuitive knowledge that I wanted to see her for spiritual reasons, and not just to satisfy a passing curiosity.

My second test was connected with the fact that, just before I went upstairs to her room, I put myself into a yogic trance state in order to be one with her in telepathic and televisic rapport. I entered her chamber, filled with visitors; she was lying in a white robe on the bed. With Mr. Wright following closely behind me, I halted just inside the threshold, awestruck at a strange and most frightful spectacle.

Blood flowed thinly and continuously in an inch-wide stream from Therese’s lower eyelids. Her gaze was focused upward on the spiritual eye within the central forehead. The cloth wrapped around her head was drenched in blood from the stigmata wounds of the crown of thorns. The white garment was redly splotched over her heart from the wound in her side at the spot where Christ’s body, long ages ago, had suffered the final indignity of the soldier’s spear-thrust.

Therese’s hands were extended in a gesture maternal, pleading; her face wore an expression both tortured and divine. She appeared thinner, changed in many subtle as well as outward ways. Murmuring words in a foreign tongue, she spoke with slightly quivering lips to persons visible before her inner sight.

As I was in attunement with her, I began to see the scenes of her vision. She was watching Jesus as he carried the cross amidst the jeering multitude.

Suddenly she lifted her head in consternation: the Lord had fallen under the cruel weight. The vision disappeared. In the exhaustion of fervid pity, Therese sank heavily against her pillow.

At this moment I heard a loud thud behind me. Turning my head for a second, I saw two men carrying out a prostrate body. But because I was coming out of the deep superconscious state, I did not immediately recognize the fallen person. Again I fixed my eyes on Therese’s face, deathly pale under the rivulets of blood, but now calm, radiating purity and holiness. I glanced behind me later and saw Mr. Wright standing with his hand against his cheek, from which blood was trickling.

“Dick,” I inquired anxiously, “were you the one who fell?”

“Yes, I fainted at the terrifying spectacle.”
“Well,” I said consolingly, “you are brave to return and look upon the sight again.”

Remembering the patiently waiting line of pilgrims, Mr. Wright and I silently bade farewell to Therese and left her sacred presence.

The following day our little group motored south, thankful that we were not dependent on trains, but could stop the Ford wherever we chose throughout the countryside. We enjoyed every minute of a tour through Germany, Holland, France, and the Swiss Alps. In Italy we made a special trip to Assisi to honor the apostle of humility, St. Francis. The European tour ended in Greece, where we viewed the Athenian temples, and saw the prison in which the gentle Socrates had drunk his death potion.

One is filled with admiration for the artistry with which the Greeks have everywhere wrought their very fancies in alabaster.

We took ship over the sunny Mediterranean, disembarking at Palestine. Wandering day after day over the Holy Land, I was more than ever convinced of the value of pilgrimage. The spirit of Christ is all- pervasive in Palestine; I walked reverently by his side at Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary, the holy Mount of Olives, and by the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.

Our little party visited the Birth Manger, Joseph’s carpenter shop, the tomb of Lazarus, the house of Martha and Mary, the hall of the Last Supper. Antiquity unfolded; scene by scene, I saw the divine drama that Christ once played for the ages.

On to Egypt, with its modern Cairo and ancient pyramids. Then a boat down the narrow Red Sea, over the vasty Arabian Sea; lo, India.

Vegetarian to Vegan by Sarah Taylor (Book Review)

This book really opened my eyes. I was already vegan and well aware of the horrific abuse of animals in factory farms, but this book helped me really see and understand just how serious the situation is from a health perspective, animal abuse perspective, and environmental crisis perspective as well. Sarah Taylor cites important peer reviewed research to give you the information needed to understand WHY? & HOW? to go from Vegetarian to Vegan.

I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much.” 

Chances are if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or know anyone who is you’ve heard or even said this before.  No doubt, you’ve thought it before.  Cheese and other dairy products are everywhere in the American diet and that’s the way we love it.  We add it to our eggs, our sandwiches, our cakes; we fry it, grill it, cream it, and even string it.  It has embedded itself into our culture, become a staple of comfort in our diet and adopted the term “American”.  But is it really good; not just for us, but for those that produce it?

Cheese is not the only dairy product we’re obsessed with, though it may be the only one with its own category of addiction (cheese addiction being an actual issue now), eggs and milk have become a mainstay of our diets as well.

Just learning about how horribly the animals are treated, abused, tortured and murdered should be reason enough to stop contributing to this madness, but Sarah gives compelling research showing how this animal agriculture business is literally destroying our environment at accelerated levels everyday. The demand for meat and dairy is just not sustainable.

After all the research she shares about why you should go vegan from vegetarian and then how, which is dealing with the health benefits and how to start replacing dairy and eggs with healthful vegan options, she ends the book with many great recipes by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.

In the very beginning of her book Vegetarian to Vegan, Sarah Taylor makes a point of giving vegetarians credit for the ways their food choices help animals. And she should know, having been a vegetarian herself until 2002.

That’s when Sarah read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. His groundbreaking indictment of how America’s milk and egg producers were torturing dairy animals and chickens while destroying the environment persuaded her to go vegan overnight.

She wrote Vegetarian to Vegan to give anyone wanting to make the same switch “a strong enough reason to do it.”

Without brow-beating the reader, Taylor specifically details the short, painful lives and cruel deaths of dairy cows and egg-laying chickens.

Of dairy cows, she writes that between 1950 and 2000, their numbers decreased by half — yet the amount of milk they produced more than tripled. The brutal facts?

Dairy cows live with no access to pasture.

They’re separated from their calves within two hours of giving birth.

They’re also milked by machine several times a day.

Having to yield such an excessive amount of milk is unsafe and unsanitary. Most dairy cows live lives of misery before heading to slaughter at just four years old.

Taylor’s description of egg farms reminded me of the endless stacks of crammed-full cages I’ve seen when visiting them. The hens on lower levels were covered in urine and feces. The smell was unbearable — and unforgettable.

But I’ve also seen so-called “cage-free” chickens living in terrible conditions, with dead hens littering their enclosure’s floor.

What’s worse, Taylor writes, is that egg-laying chickens often turn on each other:

“Cannibalism [among chickens] is a major problem in battery cage systems, but is even worse in free-range and cage-free systems as the hens have greater access to each other and are harder to control.”

In the book’s Part 1, Taylor also bolsters her argument for making the vegetarian-to-vegan switch by pointing out the health and environmental benefits that come from giving up dairy and eggs:

“The truth is that these products are terrible for your health, terrible for our environment, and in almost all cases, are unconscionably cruel to animals.”

In Part 2, she moves on to covering all the bases of making the change. This is where you’ll find info on:

• Learning to tell healthy from junk vegan foods.

• Getting enough protein, calcium and Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet.

• Eating out and entertaining vegan-style.

• Staying vegan away from home.

• Vegan substitutes for eggs, dairy foods and honey.

Part 3 is devoted to cooking vegan, with an extensive collection of recipes and tips by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.

For any vegetarian struggling to give up dairy and eggs, this book is one of the most important that plant-based literature has to offer!

I highly recommend this book to anyone, wherever they are in their journey, whether meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. It’s thoroughly researched and filled with data that is undeniable in consideration of the impact we all have individually with our eating and spending choices.

To your health, peace to the planet and may all beings be happy and at peace.

~Sakshi Zion

Green Tara – Mother Gaia

A new Earth is being born.

Mother Nature is a conscious, sentient Being. She is our Cosmic Mother. She has many names. Some call her Green Tara. Our modern civilizations lost respect for the Mother Creator. Our disconnect from Divine Mother was our true fall from grace. Now, in order to heal our own lives, we need to reconnect with Mother Nature.

Earth Healers and Guardians are stepping up to their most important mission to restore the sacred relationship with the Earth.

The time has come for the Mother’s ascension. Her electromagnetic frequency is rising. And with that, we are also ascending. It is time to align with the Mother again. The more we attune our lives with her energy, the more blissful the process will be. This is the most radical transformation of human existence. It is time to love Goddess Life again. She is our true savior.

Green Tara mantra: Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Svāhā
(Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha)

Tara, whose name means “star” or “she who ferries across,” is a Bodhisattva of compassion. In Tibetan, Tara is known as “Dölma” (Sgrol-ma), or “She Who Saves.” In particular she represents compassion in action, since she’s in the process of stepping from her lotus throne in order to help sentient beings.

Literal translation

This mantra (or at least most of it) has a literal meaning. Here are the meanings of the various parts of it:

The syllable Om has no conceptual meaning, and is a sound representing the potential for awakening that resides in all living beings. (You can read more about Om on the page discussing the Om shanti shanti shanti mantra.)

“Tare” is the vocative form of Tara, so it means “O Tara!” (The vocative form of a noun is where the person or thing is being addressed or called upon.)

“Tu” is an exclamation that can mean “Pray! I beg! I entreat!” and so “tuttare” means something like “I pray to you, O Tara,” “I entreat you, O Tara,” or “I beg you, O Tara.”

“Tura” is an adjective meaning “quick, willing, prompt.” As a noun, “tura would mean “swift one.” “Ture” would be the vocative form of the noun, and so “ture” would mean something like “O swift one!”
Svāhā means: “Hail!”, “Hail to!” or “May a blessing rest on!”

So the Green Tara mantra could be translated as “OM! O Tara! I entreat you, O Tara! O swift one! Hail!”