spirit animals

Day 14

Holy crow, yesterday felt like three days. I worked a solid eleven hours, mostly outdoors, and I can feel a slight crisp on the skin of my face.

I slowly struggled out of bed just now to eat a slightly dried chocolate muffin that I got from a church’s coffee shop. I might have to check out this church in the future; it seems like a pretty nice place. I’ve never consistently gone to church in my adult life, and I only once attended a Mormon service, sort of out of obligation.

Just as recently I had a vision of death, two nights ago I fully connected with my Spirit Council again and was shown something else. Anyway, I wrote a short poem about what happened. It doesn’t have a name.

I have seen the face of my anger
It is a swirling burning thing.
Crimson light bleeds from it
Like an image of an angry sun.
Into the four corners of my life does it spread
A profane cross of impotent rage
Fueled by the fear that hides in my heart.

I haven’t written poetry in a while, and I’m not terribly satisfied with it, but the whole point of this project is to “Learn by Doing.” I’m not only writing when I feel like writing because I’m often unmotivated and tired and too busy seeking other pleasures. I was listening to the book Antifragile, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and he wrote that if he ever procrastinates writing something, he doesn’t ever use it and throws it out. I’m just not like that. I’m busy rekindling my writer’s spirit, and it’s going to take time and practice before this becomes a habit, before it becomes a burning need that I cannot ignore.

I wanted to tell you about my Left today, but I think I will save descriptions of my spirit animals for a later date. Although, without meaning to, I have already introduced one.

Genesis 14

I read this chapter today and didn’t think a whole lot of it. It describes a war between a handful of kings, but Abram and Lot get caught up in this mess. Long story short, at one point, Lot gets snatched up (it seems) while he is in Sodom, and the armies take his stuff.

Then, someone comes and tells Abram, “Hey, so these guys up and kidnapped your nephew, Lot.” Abram mans up and arms his servants and chases the offending army as far north “as Hobah, which is north of Damascus” (Genesis 14:15). That’s a pretty damn long way.

Abram saves Lot and heads back home; it would appear that on his way or upon his return, he is met by a) Bera, the king of Sodom and b) Melchizedek, king of Salem.

Melchizedek is a very interesting character, if he be a character at all. He “brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18). Firstly, he brings bread and wine, which most of us associate with Jesus Christ and the idea of body and blood. Secondly, while Abram and his family have been described as being the righteous ones, Melchizedek, who has no ancestry mentioned thus far, is a holy man, a “priest of God Most High.”

There are a lot of odd mysteries surrounding this name and this person. Some identify him as Shem, descendent of Noah. The Dead Sea Scrolls identify Melchizedek, if not this Melchizedek, as a divine being, sometimes giving unto him the name Elohim, traditionally associated with God. Even his “name” itself may mean “the king [of] righteousness,” from malki tzedek, which contrasts with a mention in the Dead Sea Scrolls of a “Melchi-resha,” which means “king of evil,” the name for an angel of darkness. ¹

Jehovah’s Witnesses – An Aside

I was just interrupted from my work by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who come to my house frequently because I invite them back. Today they invited me to their annual event commemorating the day on which Christ gave His life that we may all live. They also talked to me for a while, and I told them about my project. They told me to pay attention when I get to the story of Joseph (of Technicolor Dreamcoat fame), because he has something to say about interpretation. I want so badly to look ahead but I am reading this Bible chapter by chapter and I will wait. The gentleman today brought his wife, who seemed like a charming lady, and she slipped a hint as to what Joseph says, but I will not yet mention it.

What I will mention, though, is John 17:3.

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

— Jesus Christ, John 17:3

The Witnesses told me essentially that it is Good to study the Bible, that by reading it and learning of it, we can know God and Jesus, and thus gain eternal life. The gentleman said that everything in the Bible tells us about God. Interesting when contrasted with the ideas of, say, the Eastern Orthodox Church, which believes that

“The words do what they can do, but the nature of the Trinity in its fullness remains beyond our comprehension and expression, a Holy Mystery that can only be experienced.”²

Perhaps God is knowable for practical purposes but a Holy Mystery in totality, the way Albert Camus describes man in The Myth of Sisyphus. We can know God and seek union with Him enough to be saved and to know, sense, or feel what He wants for us. But the nature of God? The essence of God? The spiritual form of God that exists in contrast to the material? At least in this lifetime, in these bodies, it cannot be understood.

The King of Sodom

There are but a few verses left in Genesis 14, but before reading about Melchizedek, they were the only thing that interested me. The king of Sodom offers to trade Abram: Abram gives him back the people (his people? Previous subjects? I’m not super clear on this) in exchange for stuff. The stuff is really unimportant; the important part is that Abram says no. Abram vows in the name of God to not take even “a thread [or] a sandal strap” from the king (Genesis 14:23).

Abram remembers God’s promise and realizes that he has no need for these material things. Abram chooses the people because he knows that God has plans to make him rich in spirit, a wealth to which material substances cannot compare.

Peace be upon you.

 

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melchizedek

² http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church#Trinity

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Day 13

No more weird premonitions of death this time around.

This morning just presented me with an amazing dream: think Terminator: Salvation meets Inspector Gadget, by way of The Incredibles. Or something like that.

Last night is a different story. I got upset, I took something personally and my fear and shame became anger. I lost my temper and I blew up for no good reason. I was afraid to say that I’d never do it again, because I was afraid of making a promise I couldn’t keep, but this project has shown me that I have the dedication. In only 1176 more days I’ll have proven it.

The anger served another purpose, though: it allowed me, in my stress and sorrow following the incident, it allowed me to re-connect spiritually inward, and for the first time in a while I had a full “meeting” with my council of spirit animals. I have neither the time nor the inclination to enumerate them here, but interested readers will learn the details soon.

Anyway, I slept poorly last night and now I have a long, long day of work ahead of me. I’m going to crack open this Bible and get on with…

Genesis 13

Abram leaves Egypt with Sarai and Lot. At this point, Pharaoh didn’t bother to take back any of his stuff it seems, probably because God gave him enough trouble for messing with Abram already. So Abram is a wealthy man and returns to his place and his altar mentioned in Gen 12:8.

The new problem here is that Lot and Abram both have lots of stuff and big herds and they can’t live comfortably in the same area. “There was strife” between their respective teams of herdsmen (Genesis 13:7). Abram tells Lot that it’s time for them to go their separate ways; Lot heads east to the plain of Jordan. This was before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, so sayeth Genesis 13:10, and it seems to me that their destruction must have been “common knowledge” at the time, because this event has not yet been mentioned. The plain of Jordan is “well watered everywhere… like the garden of the Lord,” apparently referring to Eden. So Lot dips out.

Abram is once again told by the Lord to look around, and God reaffirms his promise to grant this land to Abram’s descendents. God once again offers his gifts as soon as Abram returns, ready to have faith and accept them.

“And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.”

— God, Genesis 13:16

Once again, Abram settles his tent near the terebinth trees, this time in Hebron.

This guy.

Me again. ¹

So ends Genesis 13, and so begins the rest of my day. Blessings to you all, energy drinks to me…

Peace be upon you.

 

¹ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistacia_palaestina