Sun, Drum, Dance, Community

The Rwandan prescription for Depression: Sun, drum, dance, community. “We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave. They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better, there was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again, there was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy, there was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again. Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.” ~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.

BECOMING NOBODY | Official HD Trailer (2019) | DOCUMENTARY


Film Threat
Published on Jun 8, 2019
BECOMING NOBODY represents the core arc of Ram Dass’ teachings and life: whether as Dr. Richard Alpert, the eminent Harvard psychologist, or as Ram Dass who serves as a bridge between Eastern and Western philosophies, he has defined a generation of inner explorers and seekers of truth and wisdom.

Directed by Jamie Catto.

Becoming Nobody will be released in theaters on September 6, 2019.

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What if Krishna and Christ made love?

What if Christ met Krishna? Christ and Krishna are two of the greatest teachers of love that the world has ever known. Would they speak of love, even make love? This delightful possibility is considered here today in honor of Krishna’s birthday or Janmashtami (Aug. 24, 2019).

“Jesus and Lord Rama” by Alex Donis

Many have noticed the similarities between Christ and the Hindu deity Krishna, but now the two god-men are portrayed as gay lovers in the work of artistic visionaries like artist Alex Donis, whose work appears at right, and poet Brian Day. His poem “Krishna and Jesus in Algonquin Park” is reprinted in full below.

Those who value love, sexuality and interfaith dialogue may find enlightenment by imagining an erotic encounter between Jesus and Krishna.

Like Christ, Krishna is a savior who taught love. Both are believed to be divinely conceived by God and a human woman, making them human AND divine.  Jesus called himself a shepherd and Krishna herded cattle, but both healed the sick, worked miracles and forgave enemies.

One difference between the two is that Jesus is considered celibate in Christian tradition, while Krishna is a fantastic lover who is “all-attractive” to men as well as women. Legends glorify Krishna’s many amorous encounters with all kinds of admirers: female and male, milkmaids and cowboys, human and divine.

The idea of a queer Jesus shocks and offends some traditional Christians, but it can be liberating for LGBTQ people and our allies. The pansexual Krishna may play the same role among Hindus.

People throughout history have pictured Jesus looking like one of them: black Jesus in Africa, white Jesus in the West, and Jesus who looks Asian or Latin American in those parts of the world. It’s OK to add queer Christ to the mix because he taught love for all and embodied God’s wildly inclusive love for everyone, including sexual minorities. Gay Jesus images are needed now because conservatives are using religious rhetoric to justify discrimination against queer people.

Would sparks fly if these two great teachers of love did meet? Toronto teacher Brian Day writes about their ineffable intimacy in “Krishna and Jesus in Algonquin Park,” a poem from his book “The Daring of Paradise.” The book, which explores the commonalities between multiple religions in a homoerotic way, was  released by Guernica Editions in 2013. Algonquin Park is a provincial park in Ontario, Canada.

If Jesus and Krishna met, would there be conflict or kisses? Brian Day’s new poem offers a beautiful glimpse into how they might love each other.

Krishna and Jesus
in Algonquin Park
By Brian Day

They hoist their canoe to the lichened rocks
and face the smooth light they’ve paddled across.

Shucking the weight of their pale-coloured clothes
and plunging to the knuckly cupped hand of the lake,

they meet in the green, share their scents with the water,
feel their bodies enlivened with cool liquid sensation,

and turn in the still black waters of their minds.
As they ripple the mirror between world and world,

each sights the stroking phantoms of the other’s limbs,
and touches skin as papery smooth as birch.

They climb the smoothed ladder of rocks at the shore,
their abdomens slick and quick with their breath,

and lie with their backs baked sweet with stone.
Blue and clouds tumble to creation in their eyes.

Leading each other down pine-cooled trails,
the air sultry with blueberry and warm golden grasses,

they step to the island’s needled shade,
and each scents the lake-sweet on the other’s skin.

When evening has come and their hungers are sated,
their senses warmed by the perch where they sit,

their thoughts float calm as loons on the water—
then plunge to surface, later, someplace else.

Their bodies as languid as the swaying of trees,
they listen to the applause of breeze in the aspens,

know the touch of each star as it plays on their skin,
and lie down in the circling of heavens on earth.

Another Day poetry book, “Conjuring Jesus,” features homoerotic poems about Christ. His book “Azure” includes “The Love Between Krishna and Jesus,” a poem that begins, “They approach one another with cool flowers of language…”

Art shows an interfaith kiss between Jesus and Lord Rama

In a related work, California artist Alex Donis painted a sublime interfaith kiss in “Jesus and Lord Rama.” (Krishna and Rama are both blue-skinned incarnations of Vishnu.) It is part of his “My Cathedral” series of kisses between unlikely same-sex pairs.

The Donis exhibit electrified viewers when it opened in San Francisco in 1997. Heated arguments erupted in the gallery, followed by threatening phone calls and letters, and then physical violence. Vandals threw rocks and traffic barriers through the gallery windows—not once, but twice in three weeks. They smashed two of the artworks: first Jesus and Rama, and then Che Guevara kissing Cesar Chavez. The Christ-Rama image and its harrowing story appear in the book Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More by Q Spirit publisher Kittredge Cherry.

People throughout history have pictured Jesus looking like one of them: black Jesus in Africa, white Jesus in the West, and Jesus who looks Asian or Latin American in those parts of the world. It’s OK to add queer Christ to the mix because he taught love for all and embodied God’s wildly inclusive love for everyone, including sexual minorities. Gay Jesus images are needed now because conservatives are using religious rhetoric to justify discrimination against queer people.

Krishna-like figures are shown in more sexually explicit homoerotic scenes by artist Attila Richard Lukacs. They can be viewed in his “Varieties of Love” series at the following link: Diane Farris Gallery

Here are other popular images that add Buddha to the mix to depict interfaith friendship at the highest level.

“May Loving-Kindness Abound” by VisionWorks (www.changingworld.com)

“May Loving-Kindness Abound” from Changingworld.com shows figures from three religions offering blessings. Jesus holds a lotus blossom as he sits cross-legged between Krishna and Buddha.

Christ, Buddha and Krisha walk together. Artist unknown.

The above image of three religious figures is often posted online with a quote from bisexual spiritual teacher Ram Dass: “We’re all just walking each other home.”

Did Jesus visit India?

Considering love between Krishna and Christ raised the question of whether Jesus visited India. Krishna’s worship dates back 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, so they could not have met in the physical world, but it is possible the Jesus did travel to India. One popular theory suggests that Jesus went to India during his “unknown years” between ages 12 and 30, the period that is not documented in the New Testament. There he learned Hindu and Buddhist wisdom that is similar to his teachings in the Bible.

Most modern scholars reject the theory that Jesus visited India, but the idea has been explored in many books, including the 19th-century volume “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ” (The Life of Saint Issa) by Nicolas Notovitch and “Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion” by Holger Kersten. There is even a movie version, “Jesus in India,” based on the book “King of Travelers: Jesus’ Lost Years in India” by Edward T. Martin.

A thoughtful analysis of the similarities of Hindu-Christian philosophies is presented in “The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism” (Christ the Yogi) by Ravi Ravindra.

Hindu deities have full spectrum of genders

Krishna also plays a central role in another Hindu festival that is especially popular with third-gender people. The Aravan Festival, held in April-May in south India, celebrates the marriage of Krishna and the male deity Iravan, considered the patron god of transgender communities. Iravan’s dying wish was to marry, so Krishna granted his wish by switching to his female Mohini female form and wedding him.

For more info on Krishna and other Hindu deities who transcend sexual and gender norms, visit the Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association at:
http://www.galva108.org

The GALVA website is packed with fascinating material on Hindu saints and deities who embody the full spectrum of gender and sexual diversity, including but not limited to lesbian, gay, “third sex,” deities who are half male and half female, deities who change genders, and deities with same-sex parents.

___
Related book:
Tritiya-Prakriti: People of the Third Sex: Understanding Homosexuality, Transgender Identity, And Intersex Conditions Through Hinduism” by Amara Das Wilhelm.

___
Top image: “Krishna and Christ,” artist unknown. Does anybody know who created the picture of Krishna and Christ at the top of this post? Or the one of Christ, Buddha and Jesus walking together? They are all over the Internet, but I haven’t been able to identify the artists. I would love to honor the artists by name.

“Krishna and Jesus in Algonquin Park” is reprinted with permission from the book “The Daring of Paradise,” published by Guernica Editions.

___
This post is part of the LGBTQ Saints series by Kittredge Cherry. Traditional and alternative saints, people in the Bible, LGBTQ martyrs, authors, theologians, religious leaders, artists, deities and other figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and our allies are covered.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Qspirit.net presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.

Kittredge Cherry
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Kittredge Cherry

Founder at Q Spirit
Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author who writes regularly about LGBTQ spirituality.She holds degrees in religion, journalism and art history.She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer, advocating for LGBTQ rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches.

Entering the Great Mother Portal of Visions and Dreams


Matthew Stelzner
Published on Sep 3, 2019

Very Special Alignment Today and Tomorrow

Tonight and tomorrow night between sunset and midnight look for a beautiful Half Moon (at the first quarter phase of the lunar cycle) in a tight conjunction with the planet Jupiter. This should be very easy to see if you have a clear sky in your area. Even before sunset it should be easy to see the half Moon at the highest point in its movement through the sky (astrologers call this the Midheaven), and as the light fades Jupiter will become more and more brilliant in its embrace by the Moon. It will be beautiful to observe this alignment until it sets around midnight.

The thing that is very unique about this alignment is that it is activating the “Super Portal” alignment that I discussed in my last email and video. The very rare “harmonic convergence” of all the inner planets that happened at the New Moon is still very powerful, and in fact, the whole thing is more precisely aligned with Neptune and Jupiter, forming what is called a “T square” pattern. As the Moon is joining this configuration today and tomorrow it involves 7 of the 10 major planetary bodies that astrologers work with, all in very dynamic and precise alignment with each other.

On the one hand we still have the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in a strong conjunction, and they are all opposite the planet Neptune. So we have the Sun-Neptune cycle of time peaking with its mystical, dreamy, spiritual self-exploration themes emphasized, and its activation of the light body. The Venus-Neptune cycle of time is also at its peak, with its heart chakra, Kuan Yin, soul friendship, and sacred music themes streaming towards us. The Mercury-Neptune cycle of time is also at its yearly climax, bearing the fruit of its gifts for spiritual learning, psychic downloads, telepathic communion and the joy of the divinatory arts.

Adding force and energy to all of this, the Mars-Neptune cycle of time is at its once-in-two-year climax, giving its gifts for magical flow states, spiritual courage, inspired movement, and adventures in consciousness. We learn to be surfers of consciousness at the pace of the Mars-Neptune cycle of time, and now we come to our bi-annual surfing competition with an opportunity to show off our moves. These are big pleasure waves, though, and we catch the ones that are the perfect waves for our skill level.

So, can you feel it? Imagine it is sunset and you are looking towards the Sun. Directly behind the Sun is Mercury, then Venus, then Mars, all in conjunction. Now, as you are looking directly towards those four planetary bodies, know that directly behind you, way out in space, the planet Neptune is rising over the eastern horizon. You are in the middle between all of these oppositions, Sun-Neptune. Mercury-Neptune, Venus-Neptune, and Mars-Neptune.

Now here’s the part that is making all of this even more potent. Jupiter has been 90 degrees square to Neptune since last November, and will continue to be so until this November. Jupiter makes things bigger, grander, richer, more joyful, more fortunate, more hopeful. With Neptune this is the cycle of time where we learn to dream a little bigger, have a little more faith, and move onto the timelines of abundance consciousness.

This is the closing square for the Jupiter-Neptune cycle of time, and this is the “crossroads of integration” for these themes. So this has been a year of really learning to integrate and celebrate all of our big spiritual growth and all of our successes on the spiritual path over the last 9-10 years (since the start of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle of time with the conjunction of February 2009 until March of 2010).

So if you add the power of the Jupiter-Neptune cycle of time to all of these other Neptune cycle alignments, and then you also add the Moon-Jupiter conjunction today and tomorrow, you can understand that this is a powerful moment to ritualize. The Moon-Jupiter conjunction brings the Great Mother and her caring generosity into the story, and this is a night for praying to the Mother. As the Sun sets look up to the Moon and Jupiter and feel a vision forming. Now pray to the Mother that your vision may be manifested through her grace.

There is one shadow potential to be mindful of, and this is the potential to have a vision that is stretched too large, but the Great Mother will help you find a “Middle Path Vision,” a vision that is grounded within your limitations and yet still opens you to joyful timelines beyond anything you may have dared imagine before.

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Your Horoscopes — Week Of September 3, 2019 (theonion.com)

Virgo | Aug. 23 to Sept. 22

Despite several of face-to-face meetings and a series of concessions on your part, the ants still will refuse to recognize your truce.

Libra | Sept. 23 to Oct. 22

Remember: Your grandfather is more than just a member of the family, he’s a living time machine to the incredibly confused past!

Scorpio | Oct. 23 to Nov. 21

Your job may not help to save any lives or cure people of fatal diseases, which is a problem, as you’re a highly regarded heart surgeon.

Sagittarius | Nov. 22 to Dec. 21

A courageous time traveler will journey back in time this week to save your poorly thought-out student film from a lack of ending.

Capricorn | Dec. 22 to Jan. 19

Nobody really understands you like your husband does, except maybe for every single American who’s ever read a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Aquarius | Jan. 20 to Feb. 18

A backyard barbecue this week will smell a lot more fun than it actually is.

Pisces | Feb. 19 to March 20

After years of keeping the secret to yourself, you will finally break your silence this week on that one thing nobody really cares about.

Aries | March 21 to April 19

Your life’s story will soon play out in front of movie theater audiences across the country, though it’ll only last about 30 seconds and advertise free soft drink refills in the main lobby.

Taurus | April 20 to May 20

The rise of Jupiter in your sign indicates that, Jesus Christ, come on now, get your goddamn finances in order already.

Gemini | May 21 to June 20

In retrospect, you should have paid more attention to the obvious warning signs, which were of course placed there by the Department of Transportation for just that purpose.

Cancer | June 21 to July 22

A number of amazing breakthroughs will be made this week in the field of electroshock therapy, though researchers will be laughing way too hard to officially announce them.

Leo | July 23 to Aug. 22

A strange feeling will soon come over you when doctors pull a smaller screaming woman out of you, a larger screaming woman.

This incredible meditation will help solve your existential dread

Existential dread, meet astronomical wonder.

Ken Crawford

The Veil Nebula

  • The universe is huge, and we’re not. This fact has given rise to countless existential crises.
  • You don’t have to be left in dread after looking at the night sky, however.
  • Astronomer Michelle Thaller has an excellent meditation on why the vastness of space can be revitalizing.

Who hasn’t looked up at the night sky and felt small? The vastness of space and the sudden realization of our own insignificance is enough to spark anxiety in anyone.

It doesn’t have to leave you in a pit of existential despair, though. Just ask NASA Astronomer and the star of Big Think’s Ask an Astronomer series, Michelle Thaller.

A meditation on cosmic insignificance.

Dr. Thaller recently appeared in an episode of the Meditative Story podcast. For those who haven’t heard of it, it is a series that combines guided mindfulness meditation with a well-told story about a transformative experience in someone’s life. In this episode, Dr. Thaller explains her childhood interest in the night sky and how she balances living a full life with the knowledge that the vast cosmos above us dwarfs us into irrelevance.

She then discusses the joy she finds in looking at the heavens by describing a typical night at the observatory:

“I walk back through the woods and look back up at the sky, I feel unequal to the task of even trying to understand what that means. In one evening, a dozen star systems, complete with any planets or life around them, came to a violent and sudden end, blown to bits. A dozen. In a few hours. This goes on around us every night, every day, every hour.

And from the debris of that death comes every thing, literally every atom, we need for life. Spreading their nuclear-furnaced debris back into space, the galaxy now has more of the stuff of life to work with. I wouldn’t be here tonight had many millions of stars not died before. Some atoms in my body were formed, literally, a hundred thousand trillion miles away from where I sit tonight. I am vast. Me. And I am alive. And I’m soaked to the core of my existence in death; unimaginably vast death. Birth and death bonded together cheek to jowl, so tightly that one leaks into the other, across a galaxy. That is what I am. That is what you are.”

Of course, even an astronomer can be overwhelmed by the cosmos. Dr. Thaller offers us some advice for when this happens:

“Often, I feel overwhelmed with even my small, limited perception of the larger universe and my deep connection to it. Sometimes, I honestly can only deal with it by letting go. At this scale, so large and so small, there are no expectations. Everything can drop away. Everything about you has been here for the entirety of time, and everything that you are will utterly vanish in the blink of an eye.

This is what you are; there is nothing to do about it. To be so significant and yet so insignificant all at once is the essence and the balance of what it means to be alive.”

Can meditation really help deal with cosmic anxiety?

Yes, and it can help you deal with regular anxiety, too, as David Goleman explains in this clip.

Besides Thaller, plenty of other thinkers have looked up at the heavens, considered how small we are compared to it, and written about the anxiety it can produce.

Carl Sagan, the ever-loved educator of millions, knew as well as anybody how tiny we are compared to the vastness of space and somehow managed to make this anxiety a source of inspiration:

“The size and age of the cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.”

The French-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus understood that the heavens could be the cause of a person suddenly feeling small and meaningless. In the novel The Stranger, he has the main character explain:

“Gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.”

Camus’ philosophy of Absurdism centers around human attempts to find meaning in an utterly meaningless, indifferent cosmos that accidentally foils our efforts to make sense of it. While the vast heavens aren’t out to crush our attempts to find meaning, considering the vastness of space is a pretty easy way to conclude that nothing you do really matters. If that doesn’t cause anxiety, nothing will.

Camus suggests that we embrace this conflict between our desire for meaning and the indifference of the heavens. How to go about doing that is another problem.

Not everyone has seen this vastness as a good or even neutral thing though. H.P. Lovecraft used the vast, uncaring cosmos as a source of horror and madness in his stories. His characters often find themselves face to face with the cosmic insignificance of humanity and rarely come out of it whole.

Contrast his quote with Thaller’s:

“Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. To me there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form—and the local human passions and conditions and standards—are depicted as native to other worlds or other universes.”

Not quite as optimistic, is he?

The universe is unfathomably vast, filled with ageless stars that will live for uncompromisable eons and then die in cataclysmic explosions. We are small creatures that will live for the cosmic blink of an eye, and yet we are connected to the universe that at once thinks nothing of us and comprises us.

If these thoughts don’t help ease the anxiety of being so small compared to everything else, I don’t know what does.

To hear the podcast, follow the link here.

Thousands of Russians demonstrate for free elections, defying ban

Alexander Nemenov, AFP | People take part in an opposition unauthorized rally in central Moscow on August 31, 2019.

Text by:NEWS WIRES

A few thousand Russians took to the streets of central Moscow on Saturday to demand free elections to the capital’s city legislature on Sept. 8, defying a ban which has been enforced with violent detentions during previous protests.

Weeks of demonstrations over elections for the city legislature have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.

Chanting “Russia will be free!” and “This is our city!”, protesters marched through one of Moscow’s thoroughfares. Reuters witnesses estimated their number at a few thousand, while Moscow police said only 750 attended the event, which has not been sanctioned by the government, making it illegal.

The demonstrators have been demanding that opposition candidates be allowed to stand in the election. Around 30 of them – mostly running as independents – have been dropped from the race by the election commission which said they had too many fake voter signatures.

The city council is dominated by President Vladimir Putin’s allies.

Protesters are now also calling for the release of activists detained over earlier rallies, and opposition activist Lyubov Sobol on Saturday described the arrests as “mayhem” blaming it on the city government and Putin’s office.

“Sobyanin must resign,” she said at the rally, referring to Moscow mayor and Putin ally Sergei Sobyanin.

The Kremlin has shrugged off the protests as insignificant, but supported the heavy-handed police response. Russia’s state communications watchdog this month asked Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events” on its YouTube video platform.

Although the protests have failed to achieve their main objective, those who showed up on Saturday said they were important as an expression of further civil resistance.

“If we stop going out (and protesting) there will be no hope left at all,” said protester Alexandra Rossius, 23.

“We must show the authorities we are not just going to give up and accept the fact that innocent people are being jailed and elections are being stolen.”

Artyom, a 16-year-old school student, said it was “indignation and fear” that brought him to the rally.

“I do not want … to have my legs broken, to be killed, to be thrown in prison,” he said. “The authorities are refusing to compromise, they have started dispersing people, throwing them in jail. I think this is unacceptable.”

Saturday’s protest, the last before the vote, was smaller than some of the previous ones attended by tens of thousands of people. Although police asked the protesters through loudspeakers to disperse, they made no attempt to detain them.

(REUTERS)

Book: “She: Understanding Feminine Psychology”

She: Understanding Feminine Psychology

She: Understanding Feminine Psychology

What does it mean to be a woman? What is the pathway to mature femininity? And what of the masculine components of a woman’s personality? Robert A. Johnson explores these questions in this new edition of She, updated to reflect the growth of his thinking on these subjects.

Many writers and scholars have long considered that the ancient myth of Amor and Psyche is really the story of a woman’s task of becoming whole, complete, and individuated. Here, examining this ancient story in depth and lightening up the details, Johnson has produced an arresting and perceptive exploration of what it means to become a woman. You will not read these pages without understanding the important women in your life and a good deal more about yourself as a woman.

(Goodreads.com)

Heather’s Sunday Meeting on September 8

You are invited to take a break from your busy week-end and join me for a one hour talk exploring how the crazy, tumultuous world around us is guiding us ever closer to our True Identity as Consciousness. You are the ability to create and govern thought! Come to my next PROSPEROS SUNDAY MEETING! Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 11:00 am PST.
Online Computer Link: https://zoom.us/j/848372474
Online Phone Links:
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+16699006833,,848372474# US (San Jose)
+19292056099,,848372474# US (New York)


Dial by your location
        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 848 372 474
Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aoRqiholN

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