Monday, February 17, 2020

About Angels

I'm reprising a popular blog of mine from back in 2011 on Angels.

Although I've made no secret of my Buddhist orientation at this point in my life, I was raised Catholic. I've always been fascinated by Angels. In my own way. I love the series films with Christopher Walken called, "The Prophesy". I've always found Angels as badasses. Great  not religious, but sci fi fodder.

Powerful, frightening, entertaining, but righteous in their dedication to what is right. Rr what they think their God wants. Or more interestingly, what they think may be right, even when they're wrong. It's a paradigm ripe for drama and intensity.

I have used them at least twice in my writings. Once in my book, "Death of heaven" where they are both a central force in the story and yet not there at all. I also used them in my novella, "The Unwritten" (as yet unpublished). In the latter story, I had no clue they were to be characters until nearly the end of the story and then, they became a powerful force and locus of the novella. It was fun to write. Pure weirdness. Both are, even if I say so myself, fascinating stories.

Christian mythology is fun. Vampires are afraid of a Crucifix, where Holy Water affects them and protects the poor Mortals. Push-button resolutions against terrifying odds.

I'm writing a novel where there is a character that has a relationship with an Angel. So I had to do some research. There is a thriving industry of commerce, in the world, on the internet. People claiming to speak for the Angels, selling online and in books and video, aspects of myth and information filling that void some people have in their lives for some connection to their Supreme Being, their God. Some even worship the Angels, but why you would want to worship anything other than the top dog, sorry, Top God, is beyond me.

Demons and Angels even come from the same beginning. The words for Demon and Angel have similar origins, and one can assume many of the demons mentioned were originally Angels Fallen Angels. And that is a consideration fascinating enough in itself and has been the focus of many interesting tales. What is an Angel's morality? Are they above it? Aside from it?

Here is what I found. There are many ways to interpret the literature, and so, this is my interpretation of what I found.
"ASSUMPTION of the VIRGIN" by Francesco Botticini showing the choirs of angels in the three Spheres.
There are three levels of Angels. The Top Choir, is the highest rank of Angels. They attend to God directly. They are his Holy Servants. Ezekial talks about Cherubin carrying God and his chariot. They were the defenders of God. Cherubin stand outside the Garden of Eden so Adam and Eve can't get back in. A Cherub is not a cute baby with wings, that thought came up in the Renaissance, they are not somebody to meet on a dark lane, as they could turn rather nasty. Don't screw with a Cherubin. This top tier includes the Seraphim, Cherubin, and Thrones.

Saraphim are always depicted in red, symbolizing Devine Love; Cherubin are always depicted in blue, representing Wisdom. According to Christy Kenneally, host of the Smithsonian Channel show, "Decoding Christianity": "Cherubs as cute babies are a Baroque and Renaissance fabrication. Angels didn't have wings in the beginning, because of possible confusion with the ancient Gods, like Mercury who also had wings. Artists had gotten things pretty close to correct up till then, when they kind of went off the deep end.

Once Humans started to become "enlightened" they lost their inner eye for that of science and began to lose their connection for that of speculation. There are no such thing as baby Angels. Cherubs were then reduced to the lowest level of the Angelic ladder. But they are one of the three most powerful and fearsome of all Angels."

The Second Choir are those in charge of the Universe. The Overseers of Nature and Fate and are: The Dominions, the Powers, and the Virtues.

The Third Choir are the Human intermediaries who deal with us mere mortals. They are our first and initial connection to God, going first through them, then through the rest of the hierarchy. These include: The Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels.

By Gustave Doré - Alighieri, Dante; Cary, Henry Francis (ed) (1892) "Canto XXXI" in The Divine Comedy by Dante, Illustrated, Complete, London, Paris & Melbourne: Cassell & Company Retrieved on 13 July 2009., Public Domain
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote a book on Angels because there were so many questions during his lifetime about them. Do they eat, do they procreate, do they wear clothing? Do they have gender?

Rafael will blow the trumpet that heralds judgment day and of the end of the World to Muslims. To Jews and Christians, he is the Angel of Healing.

Gabriel is God's Messenger. To Jews he destroyed the city of Sodom. In Islam he brings the Koran to Mohammad.

Michael, is the most powerful Angel of all. To Jews he is the guardian Angel of Israel. In Islam he brought thunder and lightning to earth. In Christianity, he flung Satan and his army of rebel Angels into Hell.

Angels appear to a person as their greatest embodiment of their expectations, therefore, in the past they were always male angels, but now people are not so entrenched in a patriarchal society and angels can appear as male or female, but always as the greatest beauty in expectation of that individual's beliefs.

Michael's name means "he who is most like God". When Lucifer said, "I am like unto God." Michael merely responds with his own name, saying: "Michael (Who is like God?)." And at that moment, the war between the Angels begins. It is a spiritual warfare, a spiritual struggle.

Lucifer is then cast into Hell and named Satan. He is depicted as the Dragon, the beast. But Satan has a history that comes to us from preChristian origins. He gets his horns, his cloven hooves and some of his character from Pan. Pan the bisexual. For Christians, Satan represents the evil of paganism. In defeating a Pan-like Satan, Michael can also be seen as defeating the old Gods.

Michael, had a pagan ancestor too, the Roman God, Mercury. Monuments and churches dedicated to the Archangel Michael were almost always built on high places, and almost always on the ruins of the of temples dedicated to the God Mercury. Like Mercury, Michael always watched over commerce, communication and has healing powers.

In the 6th century, there was a plague. Pope Gregory prayed for help and there was a vision of Michael at what is now, Castle St. Angelo, on a site that was once a temple to Mercury. It was then that they began to call him "Saint Michael", or "Sant Angelo" ("Sainted Angel"). It seems to me an odd concept to Saint an Angel.

It was in the 5th Century, that St. Jerome expressed the concept of each and every person alive having their own "Guardian Angel" when he said: "how great the dignity of the soul, since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it." (Comm. in Matt., xviii, lib. II).

I personally see that as somewhat limiting in an Angel's scope and power, but hey, it makes people feel better. The concept of intermediaries between we poor mortals and the Supreme Being, kind of makes sense. But one has to consider whether these are separate entities or simply minor manifestations of that Supreme Being.

When you consider according to Christian doctrine that God split himself in two, or three, being that also of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, why couldn't this "Supreme" Being split up in millions of ways? Even unto condensing elements into individual mortals such as we are?

It's an interesting consideration. Not only this, but all of the Angel concept. And it makes for great storytelling. Which I will soon be adding to, once I have completed this new novel. I can only hope that the fun in reading it will come through from the fun I'm having in writing it.

Monday, February 10, 2020

A Once Fair and Equal Plan No Longer

When there is a plan set up to be fair and equal and one side gets tired of losing, impeaches their leader (Clinton) on the other side and he still wins the next election, then they discover or simply decide to stoop to anything in order to win, at any or all costs to themselves, or to anyone, and when they do begin to win, does it not make the once fair and equal plan if nothing else, unequal. If not outright broken? Then to soothe their disheveled egos they merely point away and blame the other side for actions they themselves initiated and prefer time and again.

So how is the other side to adjust?

Stoop to underhanded, and similar even at times illegal means, or try to regain the upper hand through the old and accepted, that is, once considered honest methods?

Even when those methods no longer seem to function?

And what do you say when the ideology of the other side was so warped that it made their opponents appear at least to them, skewed, dishonest, untenable? Even those most of the rest of the entire world disagrees with them?

IF they then decide out of, if nothing else, sheer frustration to stoop to the actions of their now no longer opponents but simple enemies, then what is there left for everyone?

Anarchy and winner take all? That is what the first side chose.

Does that mean that now everyone has to live by their unfair and untenable rules? In a once fair and equal plan now no longer functional?

For then all those between and all those beneath will really be the true losers.

But how in such a post-truth society, does the more fair and honest side even attempt to try to restore equilibrium? When their actions will decrease the other side unfairly winning, who will then blame the fairer side for using underhanded means? When they are merely trying to restore a functioning system and a fair plan where merit should win and the powerful should have their place?

Is then restoring sanity and fairness, equality even if it had been unequal, to be again functional, even possible any longer?

Or, was that the unfair side's point in the first place? To break, to end, to raise up a new aristocracy, a new autocracy, a new kleptocracy that is openly vain and greedy, and accepted first by their supporters knowledgeable in their complicity, then by their supporters ignorant of their having cast the weight into those had always had been their enemies, until finally accepted eventually by all in simply no longer having any other choice?

What exactly do we really want to be?

Monday, February 3, 2020

Welcome to "Ugly" America Down the Rabbit Hole

Senate Republicans and their questionable leader have not cemented in the reality that a much "uglier" America is being led by a very, very "ugly American" and following his illiberal lead, some other "ugly" Americans.

Welcome to today's world where governments are being forced down a path by foolish "leaders" of an electorate based on a movement of self-perceived hurt egos in the realm of white supremacies, ignorance, greed, and foolishness.

It may not be bigotry and race war that is at the base of this movement greater than America, but it is a similar base of thinking in cognitive dissonance, in the abandonment of cognitive powers. Where they are turned against both the individual as well as the society at large. 

With little care, but with a great passion to continue the path one's on, regardless of the damage to themselves or anyone. Because they wish to believe, against all reality.

In a reference to Boris Johnson in the UK, an older woman caller from Wales said to David Dimbleby, Journalist and Podcast Host of "The Sun King", where Johnson's intentions in Brexit would financially harm Wales and this elder woman... her explanation was thus...and so very explanatory of what is also going on in the right of American politics:

"Cuz he's a liar! He's a liar."
"Why do you like him because he's a liar?"
"Because it means he's human. And he's got balls of steel."

What's that all about? Identity.

What's white supremacy about?

White Identity. And ignorance. And adhering to beliefs regardless of reality, because of assuaging perceived pain.

What's going on? A revulsion against politicians' divisiveness.
Lies behind painted faces.

This is what many think Trump supporters aren't seeing but feel is painfully clear. Maybe it will work out. But what we have is a delicate thing. As we've been warned time and again and time again.

"There are a variety of ways to gain power. There are illegal means to gain power through brute force; one can also gain power legally by winning a majority in an election. There are revolutions, Putsches, uprisings. But each of these methods requires a political group to win the sympathies of the broad masses, if it wishes over the long run to maintain is power. But the sympathy of the people does not come of itself; it must be won.
The means of gaining that support is propaganda. The task of propaganda is not to discover a theory or to develop a program, but rather to translate that theory and program into the language of the people, to make them comprehensible to the broad masses of the people. The goal of propaganda is to make what the theorists have discovered clear to the broad masses."
- Joseph GoebbelsWill and Way 1931

What is the solution voters, mostly right-wing voters have taken?

Just elect an outright liar. One you (mostly incorrectly) perceive to be lying FOR YOU. Rationalizing through incorrect beliefs in the economy, or whatever you can drum up to support you, to give you a perceived reason to be passionate, against all reason and at times, too many times, sometimes all the time, against all decency.

Alice (1988)
We have submerged beyond the rim of a rabbit hole it will take many years to extract ourselves from while many of us sit by a nearby tree, in the shade of reality, and wonder aghast, in pain, while those who were in pain, now feeling freed of that pain. [come on, follow along this is an Alice in Wonderland reference...rabbit hole, Alice, her sister waiting by the tree...nevermind...]


Because opiates, whether chemical or political or emotional, assuage one's pain, even if we should die because of it. Even when we are aware we cannot stop it.

And so, screw the rest.

Finally a bit of anonymous humor and a feeling for what's going on.

To end, just thought a little humor injected into this mess might help and offer some feeling for how this Senate "trial" is being perceived by many. From a friend of a friend of a friend:

ALL THE WITNESSES: Ok we all agree. This is what happened.
Republicans: None of you were in the room!
BOLTON: *raises hand* Well I was in the...
Republicans: Who asked you?! Shut up! You’re a liberal pawn!
BOLTON: Um... I’m actually I’m a lifelong Republican and I was literally Trump’s national security advi...
Republicans: Shut your mustache! Somebody bring back the first national security advisor.
FLYNN: *in orange jumpsuit* Hey sorry guys I’m in jail lol.
Republicans: What? Why?
FLYNN: For lying to the FBI about the Russia investigation.
Republicans: Well what idiot told you to do that?!
FLYNN: The Pres...
Republicans: Shut up! No one believes either of you!
KELLY: *raises hand* I believe them. And I was Trump’s Chief of sta...
Republicans: Shut up! Let’s talk to the real chief of staff. Who is he?
MULVANEY: *raises hand* It’s me.
Republicans: Shit. Never mind.
PARNAS: *raises hand* I was also in the room. In fact, here’s a cell phone video of the President saying that...
Republicans: Wait what?! How in hell did you sneak a cell phone into a meeting with the President?
PARNAS: It was easy I just walked right in and...
Republicans: Shut up! You’re a criminal!
PARNAS: Correct. And I just walked right into...
Donald John Trump: I don’t know him.
PARNAS: And here’s 500 pictures of me with the President because we’re besties.
Republicans: Wait... What idiot introduced you to the President??
PARNAS: His personal lawyer.
Republicans: Cohen??
COHEN: *also in orange jumpsuit* Hey no sorry guys I’m in jail too.
Republicans: Why?
COHEN: For campaign finance violations.
Republicans: Who’s campaign?
COHEN: The Pres...
Republicans: Shut up!
PARNAS: It was Giuliani.
YOVANOVITCH: Giuliani! That’s the guy who had me fired from my job!
Republicans: Who are you??
YOVANOVITCH: I was the ambassador to Ukraine.
Republicans: Wait, you had her fired? Do you work for the government??
Republicans: Well who is the ambassador to the European Union??
SONDLAND: *raises hand* Me. I was also in the roo...
Republicans: F@$&!!!
Mafia and Russian Boss Vladimir Putin: *rubs his bare chest*