Thanksgiving & Religious Freedom for All, Even Heretics & Heathens!

This article I am enclosing below might seem corny to some. But you know, esoteric Christians have been persecuted for time out of mind and the USA is one place where we can worship any way we want.  Alternative spiritualities thrive; “heretics” and “heathens” found our own legal churches. So many of the original settlers from Europe were called heretics back in Europe and were persecuted as such.  

Think about the esotericists who founded this country, George Washington the freemason — freemasonry being very much into esoterica and deep inner Christianity.  Don’t forget what religious liberal (apostate, heretic) Thomas Jefferson did — took scissors to the New Testament to remove all verses he thought were written by men with agendas.  Below are quotes from these two spiritually unusual founders about Thanksgiving.  The words are archaic and you might be tempted to throw out baby AND bathwater with the cry, “this is patriarchal Christianity!” but try to read with an open mind and claim this part of our past for ALL beneficiaries of religious freedom.  For ALL of us, including you and me who work and live in the alternative spirituality realm. Christianity is OURS, TOO.  We are the beneficiaries of religious freedom bought by our foremothers and forefathers at great price.  We can claim Christianity, roots and all.  Our version is healthier by far than the mainstream Christianity.  We have our differences.  But whether esoteric or exoteric, it is all still Judeo-Christianity and we should celebrate any common ground we have with our exoteric spiritual cousins rather than obsess over the differences.  With such un-divisiveness we might actually help many of our loved ones, neighbors, fellow humans, to see the great, sublime inner tradition — the underground stream that feeds all faiths whether they know it yet or not.

Sincerely, Katia   (Okay, here’s the article, and my excruciatingly sincere apologies to Newt Gingrich for my “little” additions in brackets.  Newt: I am a big fan of your and your wife’s work. I read your column weekly, watch you on Fox News, own your books.  It’s just that I also happen to be an unusual, unorthodox Judeo-Christian believer… wincing grin… so puh-leese don’t be upset…)

What Every Child Should Know About Thanksgiving

by  Newt Gingrich


Second only to Independence Day, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. And as an American holiday, it is rooted deeply — like our nation — in faith in God. [we can add here, “and God-ess”.  We can even change the words “faith in God” to DESIRE FOR COMMUNION WITH THE DIVINE]

The earliest Thanksgivings were celebrated by Americans who were keenly aware that their blessings — like their rights — came from God [instead of just “God” we could say “and God-ess” or FROM A DIVINE SOURCE]. In times of hardship unimaginable to us today, they took time to give thanks to their Creator. [CREATORS]

Throughout early American history, when they suffered from drought, famine or war, Americans paused, not to seek vengeance or to question their faith, but to give thanks to God [AND GOD-ESS] for the blessings they still had.

At a time when the economic news seems to get worse every day, it’s important to remember the humble faith [AND STEADFASTNESS TO THEIR CHOSEN SPIRITUALITY IN SPITE OF EUROPEAN CRIES OF HERESY] of these early Americans. They didn’t just give thanks when times were good, they gave thanks when times were bad — especially when times were bad.

Radical Secularists Deny the Central Role of Religion [INCLUDING ESOTERICISM AND ANY KIND OF SPIRITUALITY] in American History

Today is a decidedly different time in America.

Not only have many Americans forgotten or never learned the historic origins of our Thanksgiving — to pause and give thanks to God for our abundance — but radical secularists are intent on removing God and faith [AND SPIRITUALITY OF ANY STAMP] from our national life altogether.

Many of the entertainment and political elite seem to be threatened by religious faith [AND BELIEF IN THE TRANSCENDENT].

Others seem intent on denying or whitewashing the central role that religious faith has played in American history, such as the attempt to whitewash God out of the Capitol Visitor’s Center (view the video and petition my wife, Callista, and I have created to ask Congress to ensure the Capitol Visitor’s Center is historically accurate about America’s Godly heritage.)

These radical secularists seek to portray those who acknowledge this historical fact as theocrats intent on imposing their religion on others. [WHEN IN FACT, AS HERETICS AND/OR DESCENDANTS OF HERETICS, WE KNOW WE DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO PROSELYTIZERS. IMPOSING RELIGION ON OTHERS ISN’T TOLERATED IN AMERICA.]

In fact, to acknowledge the centrality of God in American history is to acknowledge America’s great freedom of religion — the freedom to worship and the freedom not to worship. Many Americans have taken advantage of this freedom by drawing closer to their Creator[s]. They understand, even if so many of our media and political elites don’t, that religious freedom is the cornerstone of all of our freedoms.

Voices From Thanksgivings Past

The centrality of God [AND A HINT OF THE FEMININE DIVINE] in Thanksgiving in America comes through in the words of some of our greatest national leaders:

Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson, in 1779:

[I] appoint … a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God … to [ask] Him that He would … pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would … spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth … and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue.

President George Washington’s first federal Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.… Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 … that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.

President Abraham Lincoln, making Thanksgiving an annual national holiday in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War:

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.

“Let Us Be Thankful For a Land That Will For Such Religion Stand”

Our leaders have not been alone in celebrating God’s gifts at Thanksgiving, of course.

I conclude today with a poem by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer, an African-American poet writing at the turn of the 20th century. Her generous, hopeful view of Thanksgiving is made even more remarkable by the suffering and discrimination she endured as an African-American in the late 19th and early 20th century.


Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later ’twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o’er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

May you and your family have a happy, healthy, and blessed Thanksgiving.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

Are Evil People Born Without souls?

Are evil people born without souls?  One of our long-time Seminarians, a smart fella, played Anne Frank’s father in a dramatic production recently.  He wrote me today with a theory that maybe Hitler was born without a soul.

Rev. Randy wrote:

As to the Holocaust, I truly believe there are those out there who are born without a soul.  My Priest always said “even Hitler could be forgiven since all our tickets were already punched,” (spoken like a true Episcopalian).  But I don’t buy it, I think the SOB was born without a soul.  It’s the only explanation how anyone could be that unfeeling.  Of course there are those who would say I could say the same things of slave owners, but to me it’s still different. Charles Manson falls in that category also. How’s that for Esoterica LOL.  Yeah, I know your Right Reverendness is cringing.

I wrote back:

Oh, not cringing at all!  I spend a lot of time pondering what as you know, philosophy and theology dub, “The Problem of Evil”.  See earlier blog posts like this one for such ponderings and gripings.  Well.   The theory that some are born without souls does speak to the Problem of Evil.   Hmmmm.  Will have to ponder that…  I already chew on the way people get souls in the first place.  Are they reincarnated? Or are they newly stirred clumps of drops of soul-stuff — like everytime you pour a glass of water you get drops that may not have yet been together in the same place before.  So much water has been thru the atoms-created-in-stars, evaporation/rain back down system.  Maybe souls are made of soul-stuff and we are a hodgepodge of a bunch of other people, I sometimes wonder, not the same exact soul passed down.  Maybe reincarnation doesn’t happen, but we have ancestral memories in our DNA and therefore we have all kinds of “flashes” of DNA memory of people in “past lives”.  Okay, so if a person is born without a soul…. how does that happen, how does he live, etc.  Wow.  Food for thought.

Eckhart Tolle, whose work we are now requiring for our most advanced Seminarians (those in the Holy Orders program) says evil people are buried in layers and layers of dark unconscious ego.  Their false mind-made self (the ego) is running their body and resorts to violence and perversion to keep its control.  When such a one gets in power like Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, heads roll.  Unconsciousness, complete lack of awareness, complete lack of sensing the Presence, causes this crap. I am currently designing a study course of his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.  This book is chock full of our type of alternative, esoteric “Zen” Christianity. Love it, love it.

Tolle’s earlier book is The Power of Now, but I recommend reading A New Earth first and then The Power of Now.  The goal of a Seminary student is to become a spiritual teacher, A New Earth is truly a manual for spiritual teachers.


Hebrew Inscription Fuels Debate Over Historicity of Old Testament

I am glad when they unearth stuff like this particular inscription because it shows that although the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible doesn’t “read like a newspaper” as one of the archaeologists says in this article, it DOES contain lots of historical, literal, factual elements.  (Yeah, like the Queen of Heaven the Old Testament describes in more than one place!) Too bad this inscription only mentions a “king”.  But then we know ancient patriarchies are so annoyingly predictable, just kings and slaves, with queens and women being pawns and property.  Too bad we still have such patriarchies strangleholding their subjects (not even allowed to be called citizens) in so many Islamic countries today… Heck, supposedly enlightened India is full of patriarchy even though their goddesses have never been suppressed. Wonder what the deal is.  Thank god-ess the West has figured out balance is best in the godhead.  “West is best” goes the saying… — Katia,2933,445132,00.html  (Click link to see photos of inscription, etc.)  Here’s text of article:


Oldest Possibly Hebrew Inscription Possibly Found

Friday , October 31, 2008



An Israeli archaeologist digging at a hilltop south of Jerusalem believes a ceramic shard found in the ruins of an ancient town bears the oldest Hebrew inscription ever discovered, a find that could provide an important glimpse into the culture and language of the Holy Land at the time of the Bible.

The five lines of faded characters written 3,000 years ago, and the ruins of the fortified settlement where they were found, are indications that a powerful Israelite kingdom existed at the time of the Old Testament’s King David, says Yossi Garfinkel, the Hebrew University archaeologist in charge of the new dig at Hirbet Qeiyafa.

Other scholars are hesitant to embrace Garfinkel’s interpretation of the finds, made public on Thursday.

The discoveries are already being wielded in a vigorous and ongoing argument over whether the Bible’s account of events and geography is meant to be taken literally.

Hirbet Qeiyafa sits near the modern Israeli city of Beit Shemesh in the Judean foothills, an area that was once the frontier between the hill-dwelling Israelites and their enemies, the coastal Philistines.

The site overlooks the Elah Valley, said to be the scene of the slingshot showdown between David and the Philistine giant Goliath, and lies near the ruins of Goliath’s hometown in the Philistine metropolis of Gath.

A teenage volunteer found the curved pottery shard, 6 inches by 6 inches (15 centimeters by 15 centimeters), in July near the stairs and stone washtub of an excavated home.

It was later discovered to bear five lines of characters known as proto-Canaanite, a precursor of the Hebrew alphabet.

Carbon-14 analysis of burnt olive pits found in the same layer of the site dated them to between 1,000 and 975 B.C., the same time as the Biblical golden age of David’s rule in Jerusalem.

Scholars have identified other, smaller Hebrew fragments from the 10th century B.C., but the script, which

Garfinkel suggests might be part of a letter, predates the next significant Hebrew inscription by between 100 and 200 years.

History’s best-known Hebrew texts, the Dead Sea scrolls, were penned on parchment beginning 850 years later.

The shard is now kept in a university safe while philologists translate it, a task expected to take months.

But several words have already been tentatively identified, including ones meaning “judge,” “slave” and “king.”

The Israelites were not the only ones using proto-Canaanite characters, and other scholars suggest it is difficult — perhaps impossible — to conclude the text is Hebrew and not a related tongue spoken in the area at the time.

Garfinkel bases his identification on a three-letter verb from the inscription meaning “to do,” a word he said existed only in Hebrew.

“That leads us to believe that this is Hebrew, and that this is the oldest Hebrew inscription that has been found,” he said.

Other prominent Biblical archaeologists warned against jumping to conclusions.

Hebrew University archaeologist Amihai Mazar said the inscription was “very important,” as it is the longest proto-Canaanite text ever found. But he suggested that calling the text Hebrew might be going too far.

“It’s proto-Canaanite,” he said. “The differentiation between the scripts, and between the languages themselves in that period, remains unclear.”

Some scholars and archeologists argue that the Bible’s account of David’s time inflates his importance and that of his kingdom, and is essentially myth, perhaps rooted in a shred of fact.

But if Garfinkel’s claim is borne out, it would bolster the case for the Bible’s accuracy by indicating the Israelites could record events as they happened, transmitting the history that was later written down in the Old

Testament several hundred years later.

It also would mean that the settlement — a fortified town with a 30-foot-wide (10-meter-wide) monumental gate, a central fortress and a wall running 770 yards (700 meters) in circumference — was probably inhabited by Israelites.

The finds have not yet established who the residents were, says Aren Maier, a Bar Ilan University archaeologist who is digging at nearby Gath.

It will become more clear if, for example, evidence of the local diet is found, he said: Excavations have shown that Philistines ate dogs and pigs, while Israelites did not.

The nature of the ceramic shards found at the site suggest residents might have been neither Israelites nor Philistines but members of a third, forgotten people, he said.

If the inscription is Hebrew, it would indicate a connection to the Israelites and make the text “one of the most important texts, without a doubt, in the corpus of Hebrew inscriptions,” Maier said.

But it has great importance whatever the language turns out to be, he added.

Saar Ganor, an Israel Antiquities Authority ranger, noticed the unusual scale of the walls while patrolling the area in 2003.

Three years later he interested Garfinkel, and after a preliminary dig they began work in earnest this summer.

They have excavated only 4 percent of the six-acre settlement so far.

Archaeology has turned up only scant finds from David’s time in the early 10th century B.C., leading some scholars to suggest his kingdom may have been little more than a small chiefdom or that he might not have existed at all.

Garfinkel believes building fortifications like those at Hirbet Qeiyafa could not have been a local initiative: The walls would have required moving 200,000 tons of stone, a task too big for the 500 or so people who lived there. Instead, it would have required an organized kingdom like the one the Bible says David ruled.

Modern Zionism has traditionally seen archaeology as a way of strengthening the Jewish claim to Israel and regarded David’s kingdom as the glorious ancestor of the new Jewish state. So finding evidence of his rule has importance beyond its interest to scholars.

The dig is partially funded by Foundation Stone, a Jewish educational organization, which hopes to bring volunteers to work there as a way of teaching them a national and historical lesson.

“When I stand here, I understand that I’m on the front lines of the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines,” said Rabbi Barnea Levi Selavan, the group’s director. “I open my Bible and read about David and Goliath, and I understand that I’m in the Biblical context.”

While the site could be useful to scholars, archaeologist Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University urged adhering to the strict boundaries of science.

Finkelstein, who has not visited the dig but attended a presentation of the findings, warned against what he said was a “revival in the belief that what’s written in the Bible is accurate like a newspaper.”

That style of archaeology was favored by 19th century European diggers who trolled the Holy Land for physical traces of Biblical stories, their motivation and methods more romantic than scientific.

“This can be seen as part of this phenomenon,” Finkelstein said.,2933,445132,00.html  (Click link to see photos of inscription on pottery shard)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Katia Romanoff
Esoteric Mystery School

Jesus’ Mystery Teachings require eagerness for Oneness

In my morning devotions I came across this gem in one of my favorite little books (with a big title!), Christian Zen, the Essential Teachings of Jesus Christ: The Secret Sayings of Jesus as Related in the Gospel of Thomas:

Jesus said, “I will disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries.” – Gospel of Thomas verse 62


To understand and live in advaita [absolute Oneness] requires a certain ripeness or maturity. Again, Jesus exhorts his followers to keep the teaching esoteric, and to share it only with those who are ready and eager for it.

* * * * *

The commentary is by the compiler of the book, Robert Powell, a cool Sophianic author whose work I enjoy.

Since we run an online Mystery School and Interfaith Seminary that teaches esoteric mysteries, the above quote really speaks to our mission.  An ‘eagerness’ for the mysteries and for Oneness should be observed before the mysteries are imparted.  Staff members take note, please! <laugh> 

Headed out the door here soon for our weekly Eckhart Tolle teachings gathering.  Tolle imparts a Zen quality to Christianity too…  Put Jesus, Zen, Gnosticism and Tolle’s teachings all together with Magdalene and the sacred union (Oneness), and wow, what more is there? <grin>

If you click on the little book Christian Zen you can read several pages inside. Each page is a different saying from Gospel of Thomas with the Zen interpretation under it — a complete nugget all on its own.  See which page in the Look Inside feature comes up for you.


Why do Innocents Suffer? We are God, The Shack, etc.

Thanks to all of you who commented on my previous entry about the suffering of children and the Problem of Evil.  I appreciate all your thoughts on this perplexing mind-bending theological, theodicy, philosophical (annoying!) cosmic question. I often ruminate on this puzzle, more-so lately, and so it came up last night at the weekly Eckhart Tolle meeting I attend.

There was a new guy at our meeting, a new author named Carlos Garcia who has just published a SciFi book called Unknown Contact where he converses with a god-like being via cellphone text messaging(!) and discusses cosmic questions, kinda like Conversations With God, but in a fiction setting with a Sci-Fi attitude.  Carlos was easy and fun to talk to and our group got into quite a gab session around the table, waving our arms, completing each others’ sentences, etc. Two laptops looked mutely on.  One belonging to Tad the shaman played a very cool video of Peruvian Shamans protecting Barack Obama with awesome dancing, smudging, and skull rattling(!).  And my laptop showed a paused Eckhart Tolle talking to Oprah.  (But I am still voting for the other guy, because despite my religious liberal progressiveness, I seem to be anti-big-government and mistrusting of anyone friendly to Marxism or terrorist “causes”.  Just don’t like bomb-throwers or Big Brother and will never understand why anyone would want to sympathize with, shake hands with, or even sit at a table with bomb-throwers to “Let them have their turn to speak, they are people, too” Ick.  But I digress…)

As I was animatedly putting forth my Big Question about suffering children, putting it forth like I did in the blog post before this one, Carlos interrupted, or rather completed my sentence, with something profound. He voiced a solution I already knew, something simple and obvious, but yet … one I hadn’t let sink in, was resisting.  You know how it is when you are grappling with something like this for years and answers to your pain just won’t click until suddenly after all the blows to the rock with no results, the 100th blow breaks the rock. (I think that’s a Shankara metaphor).

Here’s how my simple epiphany went. I was saying something like, there’s a little girl in the children’s hospital terminal ward with maybe cancer or some other fatal wasting-away painful disease.  She is one of dozens of suffering innocents in hospital.  She’s crying and full of IV tubes, and knows which substances sting when they come thru the IV tube and which ones don’t.  Once pretty hair she used to like looking at in the mirror while her mother combed it and put cute little hair ties in, is all gone.  She is in a lot of pain today and is sick of taking the painkillers, and had to turn the TV off because it showed kids running around doing kid things now denied her.  Sometimes she likes to watch kids playing and being “normal”, but not today.  She says to her mother sadly, “Oh I was thinking, I sure wish I could go to school tomorrow.  I miss Mrs. Johnson (her teacher) and the rest of my class, especially Jill, Chelsea, and Debbie who sit at my table. I miss school, it is so fun. Even riding on the bus is fun.”  Her parents think, but don’t say, “Mrs. Johnson was your teacher 2 years ago, her class has long ago moved on.  You’ve been here suffering far too long. But yeah, how nice it was when life was more like you and we hoped it would be.”   The small girl tries to be brave, her parents try to be brave — and do a damn good job of it. (I have witnessed this kind of exchange many times during my several visits to various childrens hospitals these past 5 years with my kidney-disease daughter, age 5, who has never had to stay more than a week, thank god-ess, and is going to be just fine).

So anyway back to last night’s meeting. I get to the part where I say, Why does this little girl have to suffer? No human being made a free will choice that caused her suffering, such as when a vicious predator tortures and kills a child.  Much physical suffering of innocents was caused by a flook of nature, not by mankind.  She just happened to be born with this, like my own daughter was born with destroying cysts on her kidney.  Why is pain and fear happening to this innocent kid full of IV tubes and body wracked with pain?

It’s her Karma, some say. She “chose” this in another life.  Although this looks to you like a sweet little girl, an innocent human being, it’s really someone who has lived before and done selfish or bad things….  I was saying all this at the meeting last night, and was about to say the line I used in my previous blog entry, which is: this isn’t really an innocent person you are looking at, this “girl” was a guilty person in a previous lifetime, did awful things, so she came back and decided to suffer this time to pay that karmic debt. But I never got that line out because the new guy, Carlos, completed my sentence by blurting out just after I said, “this is not a sweet innocent little girl you are looking at”,

“Right, SHE IS ALMIGHTY GOD,” and nodded his head like we were in perfect agreement, like this was common consensus.  I stopped for a half-second (amazing to render me speechless for even a half-second!) as the innocent victim’s godhood sunk in. I said, “Omg, yeah. You’ve really helped me with this puzzle.”

We all of us went on to discuss how each person is a fragment, a holographic miniature expression, of the Absolute (aka God).  We humans decided and re-decide to incarnate as all these many billion people to express our (divine) consciousness, our (divine) self-ness, or something(!) thru ourselves.  We are God.  We are God, the Universe, having relationships, becoming conscious and aware of Itself.  We are the One, the Divine One, blasphemous as that sounds.  That fits in with what Eckhart Tolle teaches in his book, his “Bible”, the best “scripture” of our time, in my opinion, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

I also badgered the guys at the meeting (I was the only woman there last night for some reason) about individual reincarnation, which I am not sure I believe in. They gave impassioned answers, and the two hours fled by.  I think we individual “souls”, individual fragments of the Divine ONE, all get stirred up together after death, and so different and unique pieces break off of the whole each time and “re-incarnate” into bodies of new babies.  There is no specific Cleopatra piece, no separate Napoleon piece that keeps getting reborn. The Cleopatra pieces are all stirred up and mixed with other pieces of the Whole. It is like water molecules, perhaps.  They evaporate out of oceans and rivers, rain down to the soil, join the aquifer, enter your well, or the water supply, and several clumps of these water molecules end up in separate glasses of water on your dinner table.  They will never be in the same glass again after this. Those water molecules don’t go away, as the laws of physics prove, but they don’t “incarnate” in exactly the same glass (personality structure) ever again.  Yet each day we are pouring more glasses of water, there is an endless supply of soul-stuff, but it doesn’t appear in the same exact chunks.

We ALL have been Cleopatra, Napoleon and even Jesus, said Carlos and Tad the shaman at the meeting last night.

Once I got home and my family all went to bed, I picked up and read an entire Christian fiction book called The Shack. If you have lost a child, or like me you ponder the problem of innocents suffering, the Problem of Evil, you must read The Shack. It has swept the Christian circuit.

It’s also a good read for people who view God as a woman, the Holy Spirit as a woman, and ponder the existence of Sophia. It is a mainstream Christian book, yet approximately half of Christian pastors call The Shack blasphemy and dangerous, and the other half of Christian pastors (the progressive liberal Christians!) think the book is awesome.  I tend to agree with the latter, and found a lot to validate my alternative beliefs, and much to help me with solving the suffering-of-children dilemma.  I enjoyed The Shack immensely, altho some of the author’s treatment of Jesus was a bit corny for me, “sophisticated” alternative esoteric Christian that I am. <snort>  I just reminded myself the author was using metaphor and most of all allegory, wonderful colorful allegory, to get his point across. Since he does it so masterfully, I can suspend judgement thru the few corny parts to get to the cosmic questions, the theological, philosophical “meat” I so crave.