" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

December 18, 2017

The Seven Colours of Santa Muerte?

I finished reading Tracey Rollin's book 'Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals. and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death' and have to say that it was an excellent read on many levels.
Santa Muerte: Our Lady of the Holy Death?While Tracey's book  didn't sway me to become a convert to venerating the folk saint it did give me a very good idea of why people do and why the folk saint's popularity is going through the roof at the moment, much to the disapproval of the Roman Catholic Church and maybe with a good reasoning behind it I think.
Reclaiming the Day of the Dead
"According to Andrew Chesnut, author of Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton Saint, this is the fastest growing religion in the Americas, with an estimated 10 to 12 million followers worldwide.
Mr Chesnut says more and more devotees have started incorporating Santa Muerte into Day of the Dead celebrations over the past five years.
Although many Mexicans see no connection between the two, both are thought to stem from Mictecacihuatl, an Aztec goddess who presided over a festival of death every August.
After conquering Mexico in the 16th Century, the Spanish encouraged locals to honour the deceased on All Soul's Day, leading to the emergence of the Day of the Dead as a fusion of Catholic and indigenous beliefs.
Mr Chesnut says devotees have begun to recognise Santa Muerte as the reincarnation of Mictecacihuatl and reclaim the Day of the Dead as her unofficial feast day, provoking what he says is a "huge panic" within the Catholic Church.
The Vatican has repeatedly denounced Santa Muerte in the lead up to the Day of the Dead in recent years, while Catholic bishops in the United States joined in the condemnation for the first time this year."
Why she’s no saint
I think that Santa Muerte a very powerful archetype and that she shouldn't be taken on-board lightly by novices who don't know much about magical practices and the occult.
That said I can certainly see the appeal by common folk who feel marginalized by society and want someone or something to go into bat for them.
What I find interesting about Santa Muerte is the idea that Santa Muerte can be broken down into seven colourful aspects and yet remain whole like some kind of dark rainbow of the underworld emerging into the "real" world.
You can read about those aspects at Tracey's site by clicking on the link below -
The Seven Colors of Santa Muerte
As I was reading through the seven aspects of Santa Muerte I kept thinking about the debate Santa Muerte followers are having about having an "official" feast day for the folk saint and I was thinking why just one day when you could have seven or eight days a year to celebrate such a saint.
Seven seems to be the number associated with Santa Muerte though so eight days might be too many unless one of those days was counted as zero, for instance the black aspect could be counted as the zero aspect since she comes from and returns to the void of death and could be celebrated on the Day of the Dead, the red aspect which deals with love and lust could be celebrated on say St. Valentines Day, the yellow aspect of luck and good fortune could be celebrated on New Years Day, the purple aspect on some royal type of holiday, the green aspect on some day dealing with justice or the like, the blue aspect on maybe a day like Mother's Day, the white aspect on a day of purification and the multi-coloured Santa Muerte maybe on a day for the LBGT community.
What I found interesting in this book of Tracey Rollin's was the mention of the Santa Muerte Rosary and how a lot of practitioners use a rosary or even the rosary to petition Santa Muerte.
Tracey mentions that rosaries for this folk saint have seven decades instead of the standard ten on the Catholic rosary, but a lot of the rosaries I found on line dedicated to Santa Muerte still had ten.
There are even sites and You Tube videos on how to pray the rosary dedicated to Santa Muerte.
How to Pray the Santa Muerte Rosary
Being a Liberal Catholic I've never really used a rosary that much for prayer or meditation, although I can see how the repetition of words would keep the monkey mind busy so the deeper insights could emerge.
Chapter 7 of Tracey's book where she answers the question, "why use meditation beads?" made a lot of sense to me.
Tracey writes, "Meditation beads serve two practical purposes.
The first - and most obvious - is that they are a convenient way of tracking the repetition of a large number of prayers without breaking your concentration.
The act of repeating the same prayer (or reciting the same name) over and over again has the effect of inducing a light trance state, similar to that reached during meditation.
When you are in a light trance state your conscious mind quiets and disengages.
This frees the power of your attention, normally used to occupy your conscious mind....
The second reason meditation beads are so popular and so effective pertains to the light trance state itself.
As you begin reciting your prayers or spells, your conscious mind will sometimes resist being lulled into quiescence.
When you give your hands beads to play with, the body's natural tendency to fidget is pacified, and the inducement of a light trance is not interrupted.
I like the idea of using a rosary to lull the conscious mind into a light trance, but I would prefer to use the traditional Catholic rosary than the one dedicated to a "saint" like Santa Muerte.
The trouble is for me when using the traditional rosary is getting hung up on some of the words that you are meant to sincerely mean, I mean take the Apostles Creed for example,
" I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen."Most of it I could say with no problem if I was thinking in allegorical terms, but not in literal terms.
I mean I don't believe in an everlasting hell and there are a few other things I have a bit of trouble in really believing in that statement, but I sing along with popular songs on the radio without taking those lyrics to heart and wanting to change the lyrics to suit my own views on the matter, so why should I worry about a few words I might not rationally agree with when saying the rosary?
The funny thing was when I used to have to say the Our Father in school I always thought the line about not leading us into temptation sounded something like the devil would do and not God.
Now I see that the Pope wants to change that line after all of these years because he felt the meaning had been translated to give the wrong meaning to that line.
And I have no problem saying Hail Marys where Blessed Virgin Mary is praying for the souls of us "sinners", because to me a sin is just an archery term that means to miss the mark and as long as you are sincerely trying to hit that mark I don't think there would be a problem.
I do believe that karma is a bitch though, but that's a whole other archetype.
I might have to get a traditional rosary and see if Tracey's light trance method calms my monkey mind or just drives it more bananas;-)
I've got to say though that while I find the Day of the Dead to be a great celebration of getting the family together to honour and remember the dead, to me this current popularity in venerating Santa Muerte seems to me like when the book and movie 'The Secret' came out.
People just wanted to skip the hard yards and get right to the case...and that doesn't really work on a consistent basis unless you happen to have written the book. 
And how did Rhonda Byrne get to be #8 on the 'Mind Body Spirit' magazine 2016 top 100 list and above people like Oprah, Matthew Fox and Ram Dass?!
That's a secret I would sure like to know.
As I wrote before, Santa Muerte is not for me, but I did find Tracey's book a fascinating read.
Although if you read the one star reviews of 'Santa Muerte: The History, Rituals. and Magic of Our Lady of the Holy Death' at Amazon there seems to be a bit of disagreement about the folk saint among other devotees.
Santa Muerte sounds like too much high maintenance for my liking, so if I find myself in trouble I think I'll just call on St.Jude if I can't get by with a little help from my friends;-)
I think becoming a devotee of Santa Muerte would end up being the death of me quite frankly:-)

December 17, 2017

It's Already Been 50 Years Since Mr.Eternity Died?!

I wrote about the ideas of "now" and "eternity" in my last post -
Minimalising Mental-clutter?
and realized after writing that post that the man responsible for writing the word "eternity" all around Sydney last century has been dead for 50 years this year.
Mr Eternity: Arthur Stace
"Arthur Malcolm Stace (9 February 1885 – 30 July 1967), known as Mr Eternity, was an Australian soldier.
He gained fame as a reformed alcoholic who converted to Christianity and spread his message by writing the word "Eternity" in copperplate writing with chalk on footpaths in and around Sydney, from Martin Place to Parramatta for about 35 years, from 1932 to 1967"
Being a bit of a Beatles fan I couldn't help noticing that Arthur Stace passed away a few months after
'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' was released, but a few months before 'Magical Mystery Tour' was released.
Bit of a coincidence? 
Or nothing really when we are talking in terms of forever?-)
It's all a bit of a mystery I think.
At least Paul's not dead, right?-)
I saw the new Pixar movie 'Coco' recently and noticed that the main dead character Ernesto that the movie centres around often has his name written in a very similar style to Arthur Stace's Eternity script.

Minimalising Mental-clutter?

I came across The Minimalists Podcast after watching a movie on Netflix Australia called 'Minimalism'.
I first thought this movie was probably about paintings and art, but I watched the trailer and saw that Sam Harris was in it and that was a name on my radar at the time -
Sam Harris and 'Is Life Actually Worth Living?'
But as I was watching 'Minimalism' there was a segment where Josh is standing in the desert reading his book aloud to the camera where he talks about losing his mum to lung cancer, getting divorced and losing his job.
Well it sounded like Josh was reading out a list of events from my life there as my mother has lung cancer in a late stage, although still managing to fight it, while my father passed away last year from Alzheimer's/pneumonia.
I was divorced recently and was retrenched from two jobs one of which was a furniture store I worksd in for 24+ years and never want to hear that four letter name again ever (my ex-wife's name is also a four letter word and I can think of a few more four letter words as substitutes for her name, too;-)
But Josh in that movie has to go through one of that companies catalogues to show us all the things we buy and don't have to.
So it was a bit like descending into hell and getting a life review on everything that I don't like about what happened in my life and the events, people and places that I never want in my life ever again.
That doesn't include the co-workers I liked and got along with in my old jobs, but it sure does include a certain Swedish furniture store, some ex-bosses and an ex-spouse and her mother.
But for that sort of mental-clutter I think I would need a lobotomy to clear those annoying thoughts from my brain.
Josh sure had my attention from that point on in the movie though.
I knew that in a few more years that I would probably sell my current place and move to another Australian state, so I should streamline my possessions and practice living a minimalist type of lifestyle, but still hold on to the things that really matter to me.
I've already written a post about going through my bookcases and giving away books that I probably wouldn't read again -
The Book Angel (of Death?) and the Shadow Side of Life?
So, I have been practicing minimalisim without even knowing I was, but to me it was decluttering so I could move less of the things that I didn't really need to be carrying around with me in my life anymore.
But I still have a lot of books that I know I'm not finished with yet (there are another three full bookcases upstairs).
To me minimalism is like the words in that Kenny Rodgers song 'The Gambler', where he sings,
"Now ev'ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin' 
Is knowin' what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.
Oddly enough that last line above,
"And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep."
brings my thoughts back to the Sam Harris podcast where David Benatar basically argues that dying in your sleep would be the best thing you and the planet could hope for.
Although, I don't agree with David because to me as nasty as life seems, all the world is a stage like Shakespeare says and we need somewhere to play out our collective dramas, don't we?
Unlike David I see the picture being much bigger when it comes to life and what's in the wings.
"And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.
You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done."
Is Life Actually Worth Living?
"In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Benatar about his philosophy of “anti-natalism.”
They discuss the asymmetry between the good and bad things in life, the ethics of existential risk, the moral landscape, the limits and paradoxes of introspection, the “experience machine” thought experiment, population ethics, and other topics.
David Benatar is Professor of Philosophy at University of Cape Town, South Africa.
He is the author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence and The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions."

Podcast 019 | Mentalclutter
I listened to the above podcast on mental-clutter after contemplating throwing out the above fridge magnet right at the top of this post.
I bought it years ago from a store called REMO as a reminder to keep focused on the things that matter in my life in terms of quality not quantity
As far as throwing fridge magnets out go though I feel that they are all important to me at the moment, including the one that I was going to part with right at the top of this post.
The magnets are all pieces of the puzzle that makes up my life and help keep my thoughts on track at the moment.
As far as clothes go though I need to get this wardrobe sorted as I don't and probably won't wear half of these clothes.
Podcast 056 | Clothing
Podcast 058 | Home
And as far as "Home" goes I have another post coming up soon about my thoughts on just what "Home" means to me.
We all tend to focus on the "BIG STUFF" in our lives, but it is the accumulation of all of the "small stuff" in our lives that really makes us who we are now.
Buy sorting through the "small stuff" we accumulate in our lives we get a better picture of the "BIG STUFF" that is really important in our lives.
Podcast 103 | Masks
I have a mask hanging on my wall that I asked my youngest son to bring back from Bali when he and his girlfriend went over there.
It hangs in a prominent place in my house and I like to see it as a metaphor for looking fear in the face and not being paralyzed by doing so and living my life around it.
We need to have fears in our life to stop us from doing stupid things that could hurt us or even kill us, but at the same time fears can be paralyzing when you have to make a move in your life and no one should be a deer in the headlights of life.
Which doesn't mean you should be reckless with your life and go looking for trouble either.
But we all have to strike a balance between our fears and living our lives and I find that mask a good reminder to do so.
Hanabeth Luke assists Tom Singer outside the Sari Club
As fate would have it I ran into a survivor of the Bali bombing when my son was over in Bali and I expressed my fears to her about my son being over there and Hanabeth told me not to worry as Bali is overall a safe place.
Unknown Things?
I remember looking into Hanabeth's eyes when she was telling me this and it was one of those surreal life moments (for me anyway) where two souls cross paths just at the right time to effect each other's lives on some deeper spiritual level.
When I look at that mask hanging on the wall and look into its eyes I see Hanabeth's eyes staring back at me too and I wonder what my life would be like now if my own son had never come back from Bali and I wonder what Hanabeth's life would be like now if she never had gone to the nightclub that night...and did life even give her a real choice.
Hard to know from down here I guess.
Just more mental-clutter for my mind? 
These 'The Minimalists' podcasts have great topics to meditate on, which is why I love listening to them without even planning to become a "minimalist".
I was listening to podcast #19 'Mentalclutter' and had to laugh at the very Zen thing Josh says to a guy who asked about the inevitability of his own demise and any tips they could give him to stop worrying about it.
And Josh says "on a long enough timeline everything ends".
The trouble with Josh's statement is that there is no timeline long enough for everything to end, it all just keeps transforming.
Remember that infinity goes both ways, as far back as it goes forward, so in a way we are all smack bang right in the middle of eternity NOW.
I'm not a mathematician, but I'm sure there is some kind of formula like - 
Now = The Past x The Future divided by The Present.
Probably needs some tweaking, but it's probably not too far off.
So I think Josh is getting a bit ahead of himself when he says "nothing lasts forever".
No thing may last forever, but forever lasts forever, so just try and sit and think about that one;-)
If it is always NOW then you can't ever get to the end of ETERNITY.
It's a Zen like oxymoron to say "it's always NOW, but nothing lasts FOREVER".
It's right up there with
"what's the sound of one hand clapping?"
Everything is transforming every second in the NOW and none of us are the same person we were last week or who we will be next week, but we will still be right here in the NOW.
If you are here then you are already halfway there when it comes to eternity.
NOW, I have some mental decluttering to do and I don't have all day;-)