Light is pure force or delight. It is the joy of Thea, and Her breath and spirit. Light is the outpouring of life into existence. All things that exist come from life; they are made and sustained by light.
Though an existing thing appears never so solid, yet its body is made of light. All material things are but consolidated force; and the vibration of force is the whole of their being. Yet material things are far from the source of light. They have become subject to consolidation and restriction. 22. Pure light knows no bounds, but is perfect joy, and breathes its own perfection.
How shall the soul approach to light? Let her make her every act a resplendent creation, and let every outpouring of her strength be a well-made gift for her Lady. Let her not fall into dullness, but be ever creating herself anew in the delight of her strength. Let her not seek for reward, but only for her own perfection; thus the action itself shall become perfect. Let her turn from the transient and find delight in the eternal. For every earthly action is the shadow of some higher form; and the soul must choose whether in her act she shall approach that form, or sink from it into deeper shadows and the morass of illusion. She who rejects the light of the Spirit in this world shall, beyond death, be plunged into darkness and the confusion of bodiless echoes. But every act that is performed in dedication to the Mother is an expression of the soul’s true self, and loosens the chains of her bondage. If the soul lives in light, nothing shall be impossible to her, for her will shall become one with the will of our Lady.
Within many of the world scriptures including those of Christianity, Gnosticism, and Hinduism many statements such as the above exist which seem to denigrate the material world as being not worthy of our concern or interest. Thus we have within the literature of the Medieval Catholic mystics the idea that we should not love the “creatures” and should renounce all material pleasures and joys. We instead should turn only toward the pure light of God. Within Gnosticism the material world itself was not created by God but by an ignorant, power crazed demiurge named Yaldaboath. Within Hinduism the primary goal of religious life as postulated by its theologians is to ultimately escape this material world of the senses and ego in favor of a “liberation” in which the soul is absorbed completely into the Brahman and sees through the illusion of sensory life.
These themes all seem to suggest that at a minimal this life is insufficient, limited, full of suffering and that in comparison to the divine life insignificant. The De’anic scriptures as exemplified by certain statements above and in many other citations through out the scriptures as a whole seem to confirm this perspective. The question for me is what to make of this broad theme within many of the traditional religions. Well lets start with the obvious. This world is an imperfect world which is limited and in which much suffering and violence exist. Furthermore physical death is the end of all things. By contrast within most religious traditions, the divine world of God / the Ultimate is seen as being full of “joy unspeakable and full of glory” as the New Testament says. It is the realm of eternity, bliss, and death has no hold there. That being the case an obvious comparison is set up in which this world obviously suffers by comparison to the divine one. There is no way to escape the truth of this comparison.
However the real questions come with the response which is then urged in response to the dualism between the divine world and this world of pain and suffering. The answer given within the Crystal Tablet is “Let her (the soul) turn from the transient and find delight in the eternal. For every earthly action is the shadow of some higher form; and the soul must choose whether in her act she shall approach that form, or sink from it into deeper shadows and the morass of illusion.” How should we interpret this message? First a few observations, it is one thing to state as most religious traditions do that the divine world is greater than the material world. One can accept this fact while still accepting the reality that one must live within the very real confines of the material world. In fact I think that De’anism and the other major religious traditions with some exceptions all have seen fit to adopt to the realities of material life well because it is necessary.
But still the point remains that we should “turn from the transient and find delight in the eternal” How do we do this when we of necessary must live material lives in a material world? What in fact does it mean that we must turn from the transient? Through out much of human history earnest seekers after the Divine have literally attempted to forsake any interest in or relationship with the material world to the extent that this was possible. Thus at the extreme end medieval Christian Anchorites such as Julian of Norwich had themselves walled away within churches so that even the light of the sun and all the beauties of nature were denied them. Organized Medieval monasticism was a more communal and less extreme attempt to achieve the same end.
The same spirit existed within Islamic Sufism and Judaism even though according to both Islamic and Jewish Law the commandments were clear that persons should norminatively bear and raise children. Monasticism was prohibited. The solution to this was that those who live lifes fully committed to God would perform the minimal necessary to conceive children and exist in the world while ignoring its pleasures.
Within Hinduism the way to achieve renunciation of the world was to seek this renunciation only after ones own children were raised and ones active householder’s life was ended. One then went into the forest and attempted to live as a mendicant. The Buddhists of course tended not to wait and thus the religion was founded on a firm foundation of monasticism. The point of all of this is that many within most religious traditions have attempted to take such advice as literally as possible and have tried to take a multitude of various paths to find the solution.
So now what does it mean within the Deanic tradition of Our Mother God that we should turn from the transient. I would suggest that instead of looking at the more extreme interpretations of such religious injunctions we should look instead at some interpretations which are less extreme. We should also question very closely the meaning and purpose behind the statements within the various traditions that we should turn from the transient. Lets do this examination first.
Does turning from the transient within Deanism mean that the joys of nature, beauty, and human community should be rejected? Evidently it does not because the De’anic Scriptures are filled with references to the beauty of nature and love for it. There are also many scriptures in which it is clear that love, the love of all creatures and love the Dea is at the center of existence. The second half of the Crystal Tablet called the Clew of Love in some variants of the De’anic scriptures is a testament to the importance of love within the De’anic tradition. I will be posting it immediately after this post.
The fact is that De’anism has the same basic ethical mandate as does Christianity that people should live in accordance to love. Thea is love and the world is her creation. She loves it and so must we. With all of this data I think that the answer begins to become clear. Turning away from the world / the transient does not mean a literal turning away from the blessings of matter what it does mean is a turning away from all that is disobedient to Thea’s love, it is a turning away from that which destroys and hurts, which divides that which should not be divided. It also involves an effort to love Dea with all of our heart and soul while obviously loving our neighbor as our self. That all involves a serous balancing act which few ever fulfill very well. But that I think is what we must attempt to do.
Now as to the reason so much in religious tradition emphasizes the language of renunciation and the rejection of the transient. I believe that the answer has more to do with how human beings tend to relate to material things and to the world of material reality. What the prophets and mystics primarily objected to in “the love of the world, of transient things” is that human beings have in general valued things as material possessions and for the power which comes from the ownership of these over love of neighbor as the Bible puts it and over the love of God. Clearly humanity has also tended to place the love / greed for material things over both human love and justice. What complex human societies historically have done repeated is to organize conceptions of “the world” in which the ego identities of dominant groups, classes, or individuals is placed over the needs of others and certainly over the love of God.
I believe that is the ultimate source of the negative critique of matter, manifestation, of creatures, of material wealth. Thus the De’anic statement that “Yet material things are far from the source of light” is a way of expressing this broader conception. So then the question becomes how does a people or a person reject the idolization / greed for possessions and idolization of self. The answer given here is that s/he must “turn from the transient and find delight in the eternal.” I will obviously have more to say about this in future posts.