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Worshipping, Statues and Diversity

From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Worshipping, Statues and Diversity (was trollspam)
Date: 11 Mar 1999 12:01:18 -0800

49990311 IIIom Jai Ma!

# 	a) idols are not the ideal state toward which one struggles
# 	b) producing the idol is not what the worshipper is doing
# 	c) salvation is an awkward and illusory concept to draw marks
# 	d) statues are not dreams; dreams aren't always manipulatable (mavis/Jjma3):
# ...Being a sacred artist, I create many paintings of gods and 
# goddesses as well as yantras. They can be considered idols, 
# something that someone can put on their altar and worship. 

I have never known a single person to worship an object. I may
intentionally take to doing this to see what the consequences
truly are. Those who mistake the use of statues and pictures for
'worship of idols' are just slamming religious other than their
own style in demonstration of their lack in virtue. I don't see
you doing this, but your language is similar in some ways.

# ...when i paint it is a form of meditation, to get beyond my 
# senses, to merge with the divine mother, to take myself out 
# of my ordinary life. 

why do you want to take yourself out of your ordinary life?

# I do not sit down  with my ego in my hand and say, oh yes, 
# today i am going to make a durga or a kali so everyone
# can see it and hang it on their wall. If they like to they 
# can, but that is not where I am coming from. 

if an artist *does* come from that place, what does it say
about them?

# A diety is used for transcendence

to get beyond the ordinary world?  why?  what is so horrible
about the ordinary world that gods must be used to get away
from it?

I ask because Kali doesn't ask me to leave the world, though
at times She recommends it. no, She asks me to see my way to
forging a grounded and fluid consonance with the world rather
than moving away and returning. that is, She asks me to find
a way to FUCK with Her but good, such that we both have fun.

#> a) idols are not the ideal state toward which one struggles>>>>

# I agree. Idols are just there to help one make a connection with 
# their god and to go beyond that. Actually an idol or a yantra has 
# no power or energy until the worshipper infuses it with their 
# energy thru worship and mantra. 

how can you be sure?  why doesn't a certain statue, by VIRTUE of
having a specific form (say, of a goddess like der Kalima), have
energy coursing through it?  how do you measure this energy? what
gives you the certitude that only the worshipper makes it?

# So what is actually going on here?  Sometimes people get caught 
# in identifying with the idol, that it is god. 

have you EVER known someone to do this?  to actually say to you:

	"oh yes, my statue IS my god! I am doing what it is 
	 asking, I am bowing down before this statue, I will 
	 kill those who slander it, I would do *anything* 
	 for it, and I am building it a suitable altar and 
	 temple to house it!"?  

those with whom I speak sometimes revere the image of the statue, 
but NOT OFTEN ENOUGH do they show me that they have this sort of 
reverence for the actual substance of the statue, the statue 

here's one way to explain the difference in attitude:

	gods are not physical beings primarily, but
	instead transcend the material world by virtue
	of their incomplete existence. it takes human
	beings to make a god present, and this is
	achieved through artistry, worship, and the
	persistent dedication of the devotee. 

	images and descriptions of the god are a part
	of the deity ITSELF, and the sincerely
	devoted revere the manifestation of the god
	as script and painting and metalwork and
	woodwork as a reflection of their divinity,
	if not their divinity itself.

	like with human beings, we may say that the
	person transcends the immediate form with
	which they are identifying (since they are
	comprised of innumerable experiences and
	feelings, being a concrescence of an entire
	lifetime), and so also does the person of a
	god transcend the immediate form with which
	we may identify them. 

	however, this does not mean that an immediate
	identification is unreal, false, mistaken, 
	incorrect, or somehow in error. in fact,
	the devotee encounters the god with and
	through the material 'window' or 'symbol'
	that the statue or picture becomes.  for
	that devotee that statue IS the god, and
	those who have not differentiated between
	the two should be considered blessed with
	a childlike ability to pour their whole
	heart into a unique and miraculous
	experience (true mysticism, an interaction
	with the god in immanent consciousness). 

thus to criticize someone for believing that their idol
(a loaded and condemnatory word as it is used by Judeo-
christislamics today) is their god is like laughing at
the 'poor pitiful primitive who worships a piece of
flotsam or a coke bottle'. we can feel smug and superior
to them if that is what we need to do, but all we do is
demonstrate how far from real spirituality we have
actually shifted, how distant is the religious experience
from our waking, ordinary life, how little we understand
of the breadth of the spectrum of religion.

# And for some that is true, that is just one stage in ones 
# spiritual evolution.  By the mothers grace, one gets beyond 
# this place and starts to manifest her energy and becomes that 
# and then the idol is just a reminder or a stepping stone to
# that place of oneness with her, the idea being to get beyond 
# the duality consciousness. 

Vivekenanda said very well: 

	I do not wish to BECOME sugar, I wish to TASTE sugar.

he was talking about a principle of worship which refuses to
admit of the false hierarchy of 'spiritual evolution' in
which we set ourselves up as 'progressing' through the various
forms of religious worship until we 'arrive' at some abstract
monotheism and forget the 'world of forms' in favor of 'the
Cosmic One'.

this 'spiritual evolution' appears to derive from New Age
circles (Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, perhaps elsewhere) and
is disrespectful of Neopagans and many indigenous religious
who favor the worship of an IMMANENT deity in crude and
aesthetically somatic and luxurious ways.  this includes the
worship of a HUMAN BEING AS GOD OR GODDESS in tantric rites
of romantic dual-devotion, whether integrated into ordinary
life as my partner and I have set about or within certain
special ceremonies designated to inspire this.

# As long as we believe that the idol is god, we are still
# seperate from her.

this is true, but what does it say? if you wish to BECOME your 
god, by all means do not hesitate on my account. I recommend
such extremities and have had such things recommended to me
time and again by mages and mystics. but I don't think that
the value of this identificatory worship need be founded upon
the deprecation of being separate from the god.  this is the
mistake of a different kind of fundamentalism.

what we need, as I see it, is not Single Solutions from which
the 'truly spiritual' will be known not to vary, but a great
DIVERSITY and a number of apologists for all manner of
worship and magical practice who respect that diversity as an
indication of spiritual health.

in being separate from the idol, some find the route to
sublime ecstasies unmatched by any submergent mystic.  in
merging self and god, some find the route to sublime
ecstasies never imagined by any devotee. let us refrain
from mistaking the formula for the Answer, instead coming
to understand that numerous combinations inspire a great
variety of experiences which are impossible to compare
except in terms of their qualitative contents. let's
avoid comparisons of value and ultimate authority and
instead focus on what was done, by whom, and how they
felt when they did it.

namah kali, Queen of Demons
(emailed replies may be posted); cc me your replies
see also

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