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          By: Dan Holdgreiwe 
            To: Adrienne 
            Re: Dangers of Deity? 
            ----------------------- 

             
            In the presence of the Goddess, Adrienne said to Dan Holdgreiwe: 
             
            PH> ...to suggest that the human psyche, confronted with the Divine PH> presence
            without being built up to sustain that impact, can frag       ment. 
             
            DH> I don't buy it, at least not in those terms. This sort of thing     makes for
            impressive sermons, but it does not correspond to the     Divine reality that I have
            experienced. 
             
              Ae> Then you're lucky.  I'm with Paul Hume on this one. 
             
            Well, I've been rethinking this myself, mostly because I realized that in other
            contexts I make a big deal about the "dangers" of confronting the Divine.  So why
            was I so critical of the dangers espoused by Paul and others? 
             
            A major reason, I beleive is that I was taking their statements too literally. I
            can't take the image of God as a high voltage line seriously.  For that matter, I
            find myself more and more disatisfied the the electrical metaphor that so permiates
            modern discussions of magic.  Words such as "charging," "grounding," and "energy"
            capture only one side -- and not the most important side -- of ritual work.  My over
            literal reading of their posts conjured up a ridiculous image in my mind, which I
            emphatically rejected. 
             
            Let me say instead that the dangers of encounter with the Divine are not electrical,
            but rather are moral and intellectual.  If one demands a relationship with Deity
            which exceeds one's moral maturity, one does indeed face serious risks.  I suspect
            that most of these risks are related to self-deception and self-indulgence, but I
            suppose that in extreme cases the damage to the personality could be more rapid. 
            All this, of course, presumes a basically healthy psyche. 
             
            On the other hand, approaching Deity often feels much more dangerous than it is.  We
            are likely to feel a great deal of fear as our pretensions and denials are stripped
            away by the appraoch of the Divine presence.  This feeling of fear is necessary and
            good, but it is fear of change as much as fear of real danger. 
             
              Ae> Traumatic not just for the unwilling.  I recently had a pries          tess of
            mine who did the Drawing Down for the first time and she        was profoundly
            disturbed by it.  Not in an unpleasant way, but         she's well trained and she
            still found the whole experience hard        to deal with on an emotional level.
            Some people can shrug it           off, others find it hard to incorporate into
            themselves.  Kinda        like losing one's virginity... 
             
            I wasn't thinking that "emotionally hard to deal with" was what Paul et al. meant by
            "zapped" or "crispy."  Certainly such experiences can be emotionally hard to deal
            with (although I have never found them so myself). 
             
              Ae> To be blunt, bullsh*t.  Sure it can.  The Gods sometimes force         us to
            prove our mettle, *especially* if we ask them to.  If we         are strong
            enough,fine.  If not... 
             
            Prove our mettle at what exactly?  Lightning bolts at fifty paces?  I probably agree
            with you, but I reject the idea that we are tested like transistors -- turn on the
            juice and throw away the ones that burn out. 


                                                                                           1822
          

           
            Ae> Besides, the biggest danger isn't in the presence of the Divine.        It's
            when the mage/priest *thinks* the Divine is there and is          deluded.  The
            unconscious mind will happily produce all sorts of        fantasies if you ask. 
             
            This I agree with 100% 
             
              Ae> It isn't a case of how effective the participants are, rather,         how
            ineffective.  Delusion is a stock in trade for the occult          arts. 
             
            Here you seem to have come around to my side.  Most dangers come not from the
            presence of the Gods, but rather from their absence.  An imaginary power line isn't
            dangerous, but an imaginary like with God/dess is. 
             
            Blessed Be 
            Dan 
             
            By: Paul Hume 
            To: Dan Holdgreiwe 
            Re: Re: Dangers of Deity? 
            ---------------------------- 
             
            Dan - 
             
            The zapped or crispy metaphor (hmmm, more Divine Electricity imagery) could include
            "emotional discomfort," though I find that to be so basic an element in dealing with
            Divine encounters (in my *vast* experience (g)), as the ego tries to relate to what
            has just happened, that I don't really consider it at issue. 
             
            Someone who shrugs and mutters "No big deal," whether they've Drawn Down a God for
            the first or five hundredth time has more of a problem, in my arrogant opinion, than
            someone who throws shrieking fits in the wake of the experience (assuming they get
            to stop screaming, eventually). 
             
            Yes, the crispness of the unprepared is, in fact, a metaphor for psychological
            disintegration, an explosion of "mundane consciousness" in the wake of an experience
            which blows the underpinnings out from under it. In a not uncommon example,
            priesthood who begin to expect, to demand, the reverence shown them when they are
            vessels of the Divine be shown them when they are not exercising their theurgic
            office. Whether it is a Wiccan HPS or a Catholic monsignor (or 
            what you will), this is a typical poison that can breed in the wake of the Divine
            invocation. 
             


                                                                                           1823
          


          Psychically, the Gods ARE high-voltage lines, whether you accept them as "real" or
            "mere archetypes," or whatever. They, by definition, function on a level of
            consciousness that is tremendously potent in the context of day-to-day awareness.
            And they may be as solicitous of humans as a human is when caring for a small and
            fragile animal, but They also do not exercise the same controls on humans that
            humans do on animals, and rarely force us to turn away from danger, though They try
            and protect us when we think to ask for it. 
             
            The fact that humanity contains (in my view) Divine potential in its own right
            allows for humans to confront Deity on its own plane, even at the cost of the
            present incarnation. 
             
            Paul 
             
            By: Dan Holdgreiwe 
            To: Paul Hume 
            Re: Re: Dangers of Deity? 
            -------------------------- 

            In the presence of the Goddess, Paul Hume said to Dan Holdgreiwe: 
             
              PH> The zapped or crispy metaphor (hmmm, more Divine Electricity          
            imagery) could include "emotional discomfort," though I find           that to be so
            basic an element in dealing with Divine encounters        (in my *vast* experience
            (g)), as the ego tries to relate to           what has just happened, that I don't
            really consider it at             issue. 
             
            Really?  My own experience has included more than a little emotional 
            discomfort, but almost all of it was in those periods when I wasn't receiving
            palpable confirmation that the work was acomplishing anything.  Breaking through to
            the Divine, on the other hand, is usually a joyful, ecstatic experience for me. 
             
            Part of this may be training (I spent about 10 unpleasant but productive years under
            the disipline of a very demanding spiritual group) and part of it may be a matter of
            pre-stripping the ego in anticipation of contact with the Divine (a less than common
            practice among Pagans, who tend tobe suspicious of anything that smacks of humility-
            ). 
             
              PH> Someone who shrugs and mutters "No big deal," whether they've          Drawn
            Down a God for the first or five hundredth time has more         of a problem, in my
            arrogant opinion, than someone who throws         shrieking fits in the wake of the
            experience (assuming they get        to stop screaming, eventually). 
             
            I would agree, but I find the more common reaction to be along the lines of "Oh,
            wow!" or even "Mmmmmmmmmmm, yes!"  Perhaps this means I'm not "plugged in" to the
            high-amp Deities (like maybe Cthulu). <g> 
             
            On a more serious note, I probably use an egregore that mediates the 
            relationship with God/dess in ways that make screaming fits less likely -- thought I
            suppose it could be disputed whether this was good or bad. 
             


                                                                                           1824
          


            PH> Yes, the crispness of the unprepared is, in fact, a metaphor for      
            psychological disintegration, an explosion of "mundane con            sciousness" in
            the wake of an experience which blows the under         pinnings out from under it.
            In a not uncommon example, pries           thood who begin to expect, to demand, the
            reverence shown them         when they are vessels of the Divine be shown them when
            they are        not exercising their theurgic office. Whether it is a Wiccan HPS     
              or a Catholic monsignor (or what you will), this is a typical          poison that
            can breed in the wake of the Divine invocation. 
             
            Ah, this is where your metaphor confuses me. You speak of an "explosion" but your
            example is more akin to a cancer -- not a dramatic shattering of the personality,
            but a gradual corruption.  The latter is a danger that I readily acknowledge. 
             
              PH> Psychically, the Gods ARE high-voltage lines, whether you accept       them as
            "real" or "mere archetypes," or whatever. They, by       definition, function on a
            level of consciousness that is treme      ndously potent in the context of
            day-to-day awareness. 
             
              PH> The fact that humanity contains (in my view) Divine potential in       its own
            right allows for humans to confront Deity on its own       plane, even at the cost
            of the present incarnation. 
             
            The Lord and Lady are indeed potent, but their energy is wisely controlled.  Each of
            us, hoever, is a high-voltage line in much less capable hands.  I believe it is not
            God/dess, but our own Divine potential which will "zap" us if we are careless in its
            use. 
             
            Blessed Be 
            Dan 
             


                                                                                           1825


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