What is Choice? ~ Rupert Spira

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Far More than We Think: Making Sense of Spirituality By Michael Angelo Le Houx

Far More than We Think is an exploration of how spirituality, in its broadest sense, can be the logical solution to the many challenges of everyday modern living. These are wise words, spoken with humility, and the conclusions are surprisingly simple yet deeply profound.

This debut work is a fusion of contemporary and ancient wisdom, scientific fact, and personal experience. The author builds a logical case for spirituality that leads to a conclusion that we really are far more than we think.

If you have ever thought that there must be more to life than your current experience so far, then this book could mark an important turning point. If it does so for you, even to a small extent, then the purpose in sharing these thoughts will have been fulfilled.

Michael Angelo Le Houx was born in the fifties, was a child in the sixties, a teenager in the seventies, a husband and father in the eighties, a business executive in the nineties and into the new millennium, and now writes and speaks about his subsequent personal experience of spirituality. He has tasted the elixir of success and achievement in his life and has also suffered the lonely despair of depression and alcoholism. His reflections on spirituality are well researched and potentially of widespread significance.

He proposes a model for life based on generic spiritual principles that makes a great deal of sense, without being prescriptive or restrictive. He doesn’t claim to be right about anything in particular, but what he does say is that his own life has been transformed by the principles and practices that he describes. His purpose in writing is simply to share what he has learned.

Michael lives and works in Sunning-dale, England.

GODDESS CALLING: Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine Liberation Thealogy

“In ever-increasing numbers women and men are seeking spirituality beyond traditional religious institutions and more and more their new normal includes the deities, ideals and archetypes of the Sacred Feminine. They have a desire to get beyond the patriarchal dogma that often perpetuates sexism, homophobia and the domination of Gaia and all her inhabitants, including the body of Mother Earth. Women in particular are hearing and heeding their calling, stepping forth to take on their mantle of leadership as rabbis, ministers, priestesses, Nuns on the Bus and Womanpriests. They are exercising their spiritual authority in circles at their kitchen tables, in their living rooms and classrooms, in brick and mortar churches and temples, in political arenas and groves. They are flexing their spiritual wings and allowing themselves to be guided by their intuition, innate female wisdom and inner-knowing and they encourage their congregations to know and feel the essence of Goddess and understand what that new knowledge might mean for themselves personally and the world.

Often their shared message is one of female empowerment, social justice and environmental responsibility sometimes referred to as eco-feminist spirituality. The liturgy may contain social, cultural and political messages of liberation thealogy using Goddess mythology, archetypes and metaphors as benchmarks and templates for a more just and sustainable future. Gone altogether or tempered is the message of the strict authoritarian Father whose mythology gives license for a male-dominated society with women in a subordinate role. Nothing less than peace, partnership, justice, equality and care for the planet are at the heart of this Sacred Feminine wisdom.

In answer to this collective call to restore and re-write our values and find a new spiritual path women and men are blazing a trail using their pink handled machetes to find their way. It might manifest in progressive churches using gender neutral names for God in prayer and song. Others include liturgy embracing the Divine Mother in equal partnership alongside the Father. Altars might not be dominated only by male images. Still others give themselves permission to conduct women-only services and exhibit only female images of deity at their gatherings. Congregants worship together in circles rather than in heirarchal configurations with a male intermediary between them and deity. In fact, these groups and gatherings might be leaderless, egalitarian or organizers might share leadership. In case it’s not obvious, there is no one way and no absolute right way to facilitate these gatherings or to worship or interpret deity. These are just some of the new guidelines being tried across the globe as spiritual people come forward to see what works for themselves or their communities.

Yes, there has been a plethora of academic writings restoring knowledge of Goddess and women’s history that has been swept beneath the rug. Some, myself included, have used this knowledge to occasionally re-construct or adapt ancient rituals for a modern context. We have gleaned inspiration from inscriptions and ancient knowledge and turned it into the seasonal ritual. Psychologists have explored the significance of Goddess archetypes. Theologians have examined why Goddess disappeared and patriarchy began to dominate. Some statistics show that when all earth-based or goddess-oriented groups are combined, Pagan, or non-Abrahamic religions is one of the fastest growing groups in the country and books have come out in equal measure to support that growing interest.

What has been missing, however, is an abundance of inspirational writings that pulls all of these aforementioned areas of focus together between two covers and puts it into an easy-to-understand and user-friendly book of sacred feminine liberation thealogy. Yes, thealogy, not theology. The meaning of Goddess, as deity, archetype and ideal and her relationship to humanity, the planet and its species. Going beyond the wheel of the year, examining Goddess mythology and ideals of the Sacred Feminine that would reshape values, society and culture, from cradle to grave, and in pre-school to the voting booth. Goddess ideals actually do provide a template for a more just and sustainable future and with this book, I hope I’ve managed to directly connect the dots between the Great She and liberation from the oppression of our patriarchal world.

This book is designed to give individuals or those desiring to serve their communities a springboard to offer what I remember were called “sermons from the pulpit” in my early days as a Catholic, with ideas to create a format for a regular gathering or service. Easy to digest and sometimes gently following the seasons of the year and holidays already on most people’s calendars, these messages and meditations use Goddess archetypes, ideals and mythology to provide content for education, inspiration and contemplation for anyone seeking to incorporate a feminine face of god within their spirituality, no matter their faith – and the messages and meditations have been field-tested

Following one of the messages within this book, Trust in the Journey, these collective words of inspiration and guidance accumulated over time as I was called on as an ordained minister to speak about the Sacred Feminine. Yes, these messages and meditations have already been successfully shared and embraced by congregations where I have been invited to present papers, guest minister or lead salons or services for Goddess temples, Unitarian Universalist congregations, the American Academy of Religion or at Sacred Sundays, the latter being inter-faith services offered in the Los Angeles community for several years, which lends this book it’s title. Those experiences have provided the framework for this book and the suggestions herein for readers to find personal inspiration or ready-made material to facilitate your community circles. ”

An independent scholar, speaker, radio show host, published author, and and social justice activist, Karen’s body of work blends her experiences of women-centered multiculturalism evident in archaeology, anthropology and mythology with her unique academic and literary talents and travel experience throughout the world.

Her first book, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations has garnered prestigious endorsements, while her second book, Walking an Ancient Path, Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, was a finalist in the National Best Books of 2008 Awards. Tate’s work has been highlighted in the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times and other major newspapers.

Her new book, Goddess Calling, Inspirational Messages and Meditations of Sacred Feminine LIberation Thealogy is due out in early 2014. She is interviewed regularly in print, on television and on national public radio and hosts her own radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine considered a treasure trove of insight and wisdom for our time. Her work has segued into writing, producing and consulting on projects which bring the ideals and awareness of the Sacred Feminine into the mainstream world through television and film. She can be seen in the new documentary, Femme, Women Healing the World, produced by Wonderland Entertainment.

Karen spends much of her time giving interviews, teaching, and lecturing at private and public educational and spiritual institutions, temples and churches; such as Joseph Campbell Roundtables, The Gaia Festival, Loyola Marymont College and the American Academy of Religion. She guest ministers at Unitarian Universalist Churches, The Goddess Center of So. California and Sacred Sundays. She has received acclaim for reviving the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum as well as the Rise UP and Call Her Name course.

Her published articles have appeared in both domestic and international publications since 1995. She is on the Editorial Board of the journal, Goddess Theology and a founding Board of Directors member of the Institute for Theology and Theosophy. She is currently a contributing writer to Sacred History Magazine, Mystic Pop, Circle News, the Beltane Papers, and other domestic and international print and online magazines. Karen is a contributing writer to the follwing books: Heart of a Woman in Business, Waters of Life, Goddess Guide to Business Bliss and Jesus Through Pagan Eyes.

An independent scholar of the Sacred Feminine for over twenty-five years, an ordained minister, and graduate of The Women’s Theological Institute, specializing in Goddess and Women’s Spirituality, Karen’s particular emphasis is on the roles of women and the study of comparative religions and ancient cultures in a modern or reconstructed context. For her significant contributions in bringing the Sacred Feminine to both academia and the lived experiences of women and men through active ministry, sacred tours, books and radio, Ocean Seminary College proudly conferred upon Rev. Karen Tate a Doctorate of Ministry in Thealogy. It is no surprise then that she is the Founder of the educational, art, and cultural organization, The Isis Ancient Cultures Society, which organized public events around the Los Angeles area for more than ten years. She is also a Founder of Sacred Sundays and Wisdom Circles.

As the Los Angeles Women’s and Goddess Spirituality columnist for The Examiner she regularly covers events in Southern California related to spirituality, women’s issues, political activism and arts and culture. As a spiritual tour leader, sacred journeys she has led and organized have itineraries that circle the globe and she continues bringing the like-minded to sacred sites to experience the joy of purposeful travel.

With this deep well of experience and rich tapestry of scholarship fueling her passions, Karen has segued to the next level in her career as a writer/producer/creative consultant on projects introducing ideals and awareness of the Sacred Feminine to the mainstream world. Recognizing the importance of the vital and vibrant vehicle that is television and film, Karen uses this new canvas to responsibly influence contemporary thought geared toward life-affirming mythology that encourages discussion and raises awareness, the goal of mythologists of the new millennium.

Tate’s insatiable curiosity, scholastic achievements and special interests help define her focus of building bridges between cultural and spiritual communities and promoting ideals of partnership, inclusivity, compassion and continuing education.

An Adepta within the International Fellowship of Isis, Karen was ordained by one of the founders, Lady Olivia Robertson, at Clonegal Castle in Ireland. More than a decade ago, Karen began the Iseum of Isis Navigatum, a hearth of the Goddess within the FOI, which continues to fulfill her calling to help mid-wife the rebirth of the Divine Feminine in contemporary society.

Karen and her husband, Roy, her life partner for more than twenty-eight years, are the creators, artists, and caretakers of the Isis Temple of Thanksgiving and Sekhmet’s Mountain Grotto.

Karen was nominated for the Pagan Pride

Karen Tate Interview on the Sacred Feminine & Goddess!.wmv

Laura Carrillo interviews Karen Tate, an expert on the history of Goddess who has written “Sacred Places of Goddess” and “Walking an Ancient Path”. We discuss Goddess Culture and it’s historical Arc…

Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness by James Baraz, Shoshana Alexander

View the updated version HERE

The Sufi Path of Annihilation In the Tradition of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and Hasan Lutfi Shushud By (author) Nevit O. Ergin

Estimated release date: 4/14/14.

About The Sufi Path of Annihilation

An exploration of the profound Sufi practice of Itlak Yolu

• Examines the three main facets of this practice: zikr or breathing exercises, fasting, and mental suffering

• Shares new Sufi parables, the sayings of Sufi master Hasan Lutfi Shushud, and Rumi’s philosophy on annihilation of the Self

• Reveals how once the Self is annihilated higher levels of perception are reached

In this exploration of the profound spiritual practice of Itlak Yolu, the Sufi path of annihilation, Nevit Ergin examines the three main facets of this path: zikr or breathing exercises, fasting, and mental suffering. Sharing experiences and discussions with Hasan Lutfi Shushud, renowned Sufi saint and final guide of Gurdjieff’s disciple J. G. Bennett, the author illustrates how suffering–“the searing fire of contrition”–is the most effective instrument of spiritual progress, for it is suffering that burns the Self. He explains how faithful practice of zikr and fasting will bring on this kind of suffering when the student is ready and will make the suffering tolerable. He shows how once the Self is annihilated higher levels of perception take hold and one finds oneself on the path to sainthood and immortality.

Interwoven throughout with sayings by Shushud, Sufi parables, and poems by Rumi, Ergin shares the unique Itlak perspective on the major questions of every seeker: the true nature of love and religion, life and death, and other major spiritual questions. The book also includes an essay on annihilation and absence in Rumi’s philosophy and biographical portraits of Hasan Lufti Shushud by other aspirants who met with him.

Nevit O. Ergin is the English translator of the complete Divan-i Kebir–all 44,829 verses of Rumi’s opus. He is the author of Tales of a Modern Sufi and coauthor, with Will Johnson, of The Forbidden Rumi and The Rubais of Rumi. A Turkish-born surgeon, Ergin has been an initiate in the Itlak path of Sufism under the tutelage of Sufi master Hasan Lutfi Shushud since 1955. He lives in California.

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