Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Showing Others the Way

A friend recently shared something on Facebook about the 12 signs of the Zodiac and our purpose in 2020.  The message for my sign of Capricorn said something like this:

Accomplishing the mission of your Soul and showing others how to do the same.

BOOM!  As I find myself at the place of choosing and committing myself to embracing the calling of my Soul to live a monastic-styled life, this is exactly what I feel like I am doing.

I did it.  I got here.  After nearly 55 years, I feel like I am home.  I feel at home within myself and I feel at home within the rhythm and movement of my own style of monasticism.  I feel content and whole after shedding myself of the fears, false perceptions and societal conditioning that stood in the way of my own inner arrival. I doggedly, persistently and tenaciously followed the yearning of my Soul and in doing so, I have found my way home.

I am absolutely certain that I am not the only one who shares this longing.  It may in fact be the universal longing.  Yet few follow the promptings, let alone follow its pursuit.  Fewer still have the resources or tools for helping them get there.  This is where I come in. As I have discovered, the journey to our Soul’s fulfillment is really as simple as choice.  But choice, as we all know, is not so simple.  In order to choose we must:

  • Know what we want (actually, not what WE want, but what our Soul wants).
  • Identify and move through every single resistance to living that truth.
  • Heal the wounds and overcome the past conditioning that says we “can’t” live that truth.

And we must do this over and over and over and over again.

Piece by piece, step by step, we have to peel back the layers of resistance, fear, attachment, societal conditioning, etc. that stand in the way of us living our truth. Understanding what our Soul wants is a journey in an of itself.  But that is nothing compared to the number one reason people either choose not to or quit this journey:

Because of what they might have to GIVE UP!

I can’t tell you how many people enthusiastically enter this journey toward their truth only to run the other way at the first sign of having to give something up.  I can’t really blame them.  I know what I have given up on this journey and it hasn’t been easy:

  • A marriage.
  • My church.
  • The promises of fame.
  • A Steady income.
  • The home in which I was comfortable.
  • A Retirement fund.
  • The Western idea of success.

Embarking on the journey of our Soul is never an easy one and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with any pop culture “Secret,” “Law of Attraction,” or “The Color of Your Parachute.”  (Have you noticed how Eckhart Tolle is no longer one of Oprah’s gurus of the week……I wonder why?????  ? ? ?  ) The journey to our Soul does not guarantee riches, fame or the Western idea of success.  The purpose of our Soul is not necessarily something that can be commoditized, neither will we necessarily make a living doing it (GASP!!!!!).

The journey to our Soul has nothing to do with anything “out there” and everything to do with what is “In HERE.” For each person in each lifetime, the Soul has specific needs and wants and this varies from person to person.  For me it is quite specific and is reflective of my INFJ (Myers-Briggs) personality and Enneagram Type 1 temperament.  It is also related to my passion, my interests and reflective of my unique giftedness.  It is also reflective of my Catholic upbringing and my Irish ancestry and temperament.  Your Soul’s desires will be similarly unique to you and reflective of who you are an where you’ve been.  While you may not be drawn to an interior, introverted, quiet, private yet transparent monastic life, your Soul will (and already is) guiding you to the place within you that feels like home.

The good news is that you do not need to do this journey alone.  I am forever grateful for the resources that came to me in support of my own journey “Home.”  I have then taken these resources and put them into a format that others can use and apply in their own journey.  Additionally, I am available as a one-on-one guide should you need one.  And there is always our online community – a gathering of women and men who have made a similar commitment to their Soul’s calling and who are finding encouragement and support from their sisters and brothers on the journey.

If you are looking for support in the journey of your Soul, check out all the resources Authentic Freedom provides!  All are welcome here.   

 

 

Posted in order of the magdalene, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation

Coming Home

For me, as I suspect is true for all of us, the search for “home” has been a lifelong journey.  I can humbly say that I believe I have found “home” in a place within where I am at peace with myself, one with the God of my understanding, pretty clear on what my gifts are to the world, sharing those gifts to the best of my ability and creating the life rhythm and flow that supports the Home I feel within myself.

I’m still working on the rhythm and flow piece, but the rest feels pretty well-grounded.  The one piece that is not yet matching the vision that has been with me for the past 26 years (my whole life if I’m really honest) is the COMMUNITY piece.

This is where I need your help!

The overall vision of Authentic Freedom, is, and has always been, TO BE A SPIRITUAL HOME where women and men can gather as companions on this journey of self-discovery and self-actualization – being unconditional, loving support for each other as we try to find our way home – home to ourselves. This is the kind of support that can only be found in the sanctity and refuge of a safe space in which we can be ourselves, where we can share our own individual perspectives, believes and experiences without fear of judgment.  It can also only happen in a space where we can equally share our fears, our struggles and our challenges along the path.  The way can be hard and we often need each other to lift each other up!

This is the exact purpose of the membership options at Authentic Freedom, to create space in which people may gather and connect.  The social network (Plus Membership) and Teacher’s Circle (Premium), especially, lend themselves to connection.

If you have not yet joined our Social Network, please consider doing so.  It’s only $15.00 per month and if even that is outside of your budget, please email me directly lauri@authenticfreedom.love and we will figure something out.  I don’t want to turn away anyone to truly feels called to be in community with those of like mind.

Here are the detail on the membership options:
https://authenticfreedom.love/plans/membership-options/

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email, and I look forward to building this community with you!

With love,

Lauri

copyright Lauri Ann Lumby
Posted in Authentic Freedom, God, Oneness with God, Spiritual Formation, The Divine

How “God” Isn’t God.

An excerpt from the Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  Full content available for Basic – Premium Members.  Learn more HERE. 

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living,
for to him all are alive.”

Lk 20:38

God:  The big “G” word.  So much evil has been done in the name of an “on behalf” of “God” that I am hesitant to even use this word.  At the same time, we don’t have another word in our English language that describes that which cannot be described.

When we look beyond the patriarchal interpretation and manipulation of “God” to the mystical Jewish tradition of which Jesus was most certainly a part, God is understood as this:

  • Ain-Sof: Ain-Sof is the Hebrew word meaning “No-Thing.” Ain-Sof is the limitless Nothing out of which all of creation was brought forth.  Ain-Sof is empty, nothing, void; but at the same time, it holds infinite possibility.  Every possible thing, idea, creation, image, etc. etc. etc. is present within the void.  This is the Source of all that is, and is what existed (or didn’t exist) before the BIG BANG ignited the unfolding creation of the universe.  Ain-Sof would be the highest understanding of that which we might now call “God.”
  • Emanations: Because this Ain-Sof cannot truly be grasped by the human mind, “God” distilled/constricted itself so that it could come into material form.  In the Kabbalistic tradition of Jewish mysticism, these progressively distilled emanations of the Divine are represented on the Tree of Life as the Sefirot.  These are the various aspects of the Divine that are involved in the bringing forth of all that is:  Keter (Light), Chokmah (Wisdom), Da’at (Knowing), Binah (Understanding), Chesed (Mercy/Compassion), Gevurah (Severity), Tiferet (Beauty), Netzach (Victory), Hod (Splendor), Yesod (Creativity), Malchut (Creation/The Word). 
  • Formless, Faceless, Nameless: The ultimate Divine cannot be named, has no form and no face or image can capture its infinite nature.  While human beings continue to create God in our own image, God cannot be contained by our limited perceptions or experiences.  In the Hebrew tradition, this truth is lived out in the titles that are used when referring to God, never daring to utter God’s only name which has been described in four Hebrew letters which illustrate the power and majesty of the Divine.  Titles like “Adonai” or El-Shaddai are used out of respect (and fear/awe) of the nameless, faceless Source.
  • Masculine, Feminine and Everything in Between: In the articulation of the Divine Emanations as described in the Kabbalah, the actions of the Divine are defined in terms of “active” or “receptive.”  These Emanations have been given masculine (active) and feminine (receptive) names to distinguish their active or receptive principles.  Those along the middle column (Keter, Da’at, Tiferet, Malkuth) are neutral as they are that which comes forth out of the balance between the active and receptive principles of life.

In short, never in the Hebrew tradition has God been exclusively male – this interpretation is simply a distortion of the patriarchal culture out of which Christianity emerged.  Therefore, Jesus’ understanding of God was not exclusively male.  He is quoted as having called God “Abba/Father,” though it is just as likely he also called God “Amma/Mother.”  While this cannot be proven through scripture, we do know that Jesus found himself to be ONE (John 17: 6-26) with God and in that Oneness, found great peace, contentment and joy.  This “Oneness” Jesus called “Malkut,” inaccurately translated as “Kingdom of God.”  From the perspective of Jewish mysticism, Jesus fulfilled the emanation of the Divine within him by attaining “Malkut” – Oneness with God and the fulfillment of the purpose of the human journey.  This is what Jesus tried to teach his disciples.

Posted in shadow work, Spiritual Formation

Breaking Down to Break Through

The closer we draw to our true nature (which is God/Source/Love), the more inessential parts of our life, nature and personality fall away.  Apparently just saying “yes” to a more monastic life is not enough.  (As if I didn’t already know this!).  As I live into the answer of what it means to be monastic as a 54 year old single mother of two I’m simultaneously finding answers, along with many more questions. At this moment, everything is up for grabs.  Every….single…..thing……I have been offering as my gifts to the world; every….single…..title/role/name I have given to myself; every…..single…..way……I have attempted to describe who I am and what I do is up for debate.  Actually, it is much more than that, every…..single…..thing……is asking to be SET ASIDE.  Maybe not forever, but in this moment, in this snapshot of time, I am no longer teacher, counselor, author, priest, prophet, artist, or writer.  I’m feeling a little like Arya Stark in her stay with at the House of Black and White.

“The Girl is No one.  The Girl has no name.”

As Arya discovered in the end, I will never be without my name.  I will always be Lauri.  But as Arya also learned, some of the roles and responsibilities may need to change.  In the past this would have terrified me, but I’ve been here before.  It’s simply another one of those COMPLETE REWRITES over which I have no control.  It is being done through me, for me, and on my behalf.  So all I can do is SURRENDER to what is and as is appropriate during this Scorpio season, take the deep dive.

The Deep Dive for me has shown up in the form of a profound emptiness.  I find myself with literally nothing to do, and no inspiration for doing.  Yeah, there are tons of things I could be doing, but I have learned not to force things or to push against the energy of the Universe which is clearly telling me to get out of my own way.  (Thank you for your patience Torrie as Lesson 6 is taking its own damn time in being born!)

With nothing to do, I have nothing left but to be.  To be WITH that which is presenting.  1) a book on monasticism by a recovering Catholic divorced mother of two like me. 2) Friends showing up out of nowhere wanting to meet for coffee.  3) My regular meditation and yoga practices. 4) Caring for my children. 5) Being with the breaking down.

Breaking down is proving to be a mash up of life review, revisiting old wounds, witnessing those things that are still in need of transformation.  It is like someone stirred the pond and the muck that had settled on the bottom has come up to the surface to be seen.  The most important part of this stage in the process is to OWN MY OWN SHIT!  No finger pointing.  No blame.  No shame.  No projections.  Instead, it is simply seeing, witnessing and evaluating.  In taking the stance of objective observer, I can simply assess what is coming forth and evaluate its place in my life.  What is working?  What is not.  What is life-giving?  What is not?  What can stay?  What may need to go?  As I am still human, this process is less than perfect, but once I get through the initial emotional reaction, I see more clearly how EVERYTHING is mine.

In this stage, the temptation is to then think I have to do something about it.  NO NO NO.  Now is not the time for action.  Now is simply the time of observation and evaluation.  As human beings we are so damned impatient and think we have to be in charge.  When we think we have things all figured out and then hurry to get ‘er done, it usually blows up in our face.  Instead, we are invited to MOVE BEYOND our human nature and WAIT.  What we eventually find is that the Universe has the perfect timing in mind and is orchestrating all necessary change in the perfect way and in the perfect time.  We also find that when we “Let go and let God” the result is usually (mostly) pain free.  The only “pain” that is present is related to how much we are clinging to what has been and what needs to pass away.

Sigh!  Being human is hard.  Being spiritual in a human world is even harder.  But as I am continually reminded, it’s not like I have a choice.  I came here to do one thing and that is LOVE.  Apparently love isn’t done with me yet.

Posted in Divine Revelation, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Is There Any Truth in Scripture?

In a word:  YES, but not in the way many religious institutions would have us believe.  While some (many) have used the Bible to manipulate the masses and to put forth their own hidden (or sometimes not so hidden) agendas, this is not how scripture proves relevant to us today.  I should probably qualify that statement….if our desire is for separation, then using the Bible to put forth dogma, justify separative actions, or to sell the story of a God who wants you to be wealthy, then that is how one will use the Bible.  If, however, our desire is for unity and for humanity to come together in harmony with one another, then we are required to approach scripture in a different way.

While the Bible is the inspired word of God (Truth, Love, The Divine, by whatever name you call the Source and Revelation of all that is), so too is every example of the written word.  As we become increasingly aware of the wisdom traditions and sacred writings of other cultures, we discover an abundantly flowing wellspring of wisdom.  As the Western world grows increasingly disenchanted with institutional Christianity and discovers the compassionate teachings of our friends in the East or from the Native people who were here before the European invasion, the temptation is to exchange the traditions in which we were raised for these “new age ideas.”  The problem is that there is nothing “new” about New Age, neither is there something unique in Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Paganism, or Native traditions that we cannot find in our own traditions.

This is where the rich tradition of Christian contemplative practices proves helpful.  (Note:  there is also nothing unique to the tradition of Christian contemplative practices, expressions of all the practices we call “Christian” can be found in the Jewish faith out of which Christianity emerged, and also within the spiritual practices of the cultures in which Judaism was immersed.) With these practices, we can approach scripture through the lens of inquiry and as a tool through which we can discover and discern our own truth.  In this way, scripture acts like a mirror, reflecting the guidance, insights, learning, comfort and healing we need in the present moment.  Whether we think of God as the Divine Source of all that is, or as a reflection of our highest self, when applying contemplative practices to scripture, “God” is providing us with what we need.  It is through these contemplative practices that we come to know the God of our own understanding while at the same time coming to know ourselves.  In this way, scripture is can be our teacher, our source of guidance and direction, our healer, our counselor and our comforter.

This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  Become a member today and enjoy this, another other offerings:

Posted in Raised Catholic, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

The Chosen or the Choosing?

This is an excerpt from my Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson available for basic to premium memberships.  To learn more about member benefits, click HERE. 

In this week’s letter from Paul to Timothy, we can immediately discard anything exclusionary or rooted in privilege or separation.  Jesus was about bringing people together, not tearing them apart.  Jesus was about unity, not separation.  Jesus did not come to start a new Church – he was trying to remind his community of the truth of Unity and Love hidden within their Jewish tradition.

But, we can embrace the deeper invitation in Paul’s letter – one that speaks to the hearts of many – the deep longing for a quiet and tranquil life – one rooted in contemplation and prayer, simplicity and ease.  This is the longing that was explored in this week’s Authentic Freedom Teacher’s Circle gathering and one that draws many to this great work. It is a life drastically different from the life we have been conditioned to receive.

In the Western world, driving, striving, achieving, and doing are greatly favored over quiet tranquility.  In fact, we are in danger of being judged as “lazy” for yearning for a gentler life.  Quiet, tranquil and gentle are not the means to achievement and success – at least not as the Western world defines success.  In our culture, achievement and success are defined by money, power and fame which we are told can only be attained by HARD WORK.  You know……lots and lots of doing.  We see it everywhere.  In our schools.  In our work environments.  In our families.  In our peer groups.  On TV.  Hard work = success.  At least that is the capitalistic lie we’ve been told.  Talk to any single parent trying to care for a family of 3 if they are getting rich on their hard work.  9.9 times out of 10, the answer will be NO.

Like those who believe Catholicism holds a monopoly on the Truth (as Paul would have us believe), we’ve been sold a lie.  Hard work does not guarantee success.  A bigger question arises in this exploration – do we even want success as it is defined by the Western world?  If we have to kill ourselves to get there and if killing ourselves through doing doesn’t even guarantee success, is it worth it?  For me, and many I know, the answer is no.  No amount of driving to succeed is worth the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual cost of all that doing.

Here, Paul was right.  We yearn for and have an opportunity to seek after a quiet and tranquil life.  As he also hints at, it is in cultivating a quiet and simply life that we can find God.  The Kingdom of God about which Jesus spoke can only be found within.  We find it in our meditation, contemplation and prayer.  We also find it in the simple pleasures of life – a walk in the woods; the meditative acts of gardening, cooking and cleaning; playing with our children; spending time with close friends; and any other activity that allows us to detach from our worries and concerns and find peace in the present moment.

Then here is how we are saved.  Not by “proclaiming Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior” or declaring our path as the only path to Truth/God.  Instead, salvation is found in those moments of quiet tranquility and where are one within ourselves, one with all around us and in this, One with God.  This is the salvation Jesus promised.  Right here.  Right now.  In this lived experience.  For those who choose it.

In this, we are not the “chosen ones.”  We are the choosing ones.

 

What are you going to choose?

Posted in Mary Magdalene, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation

Fall Reading List – Mary Magdalene

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, is the author of seven books, most of which were given to her by Mary Magdalene.  Directly given to Lauri or inspired by the work and mission of Mary Magdalene, these books provide the foundation and practices she learned through and with Jesus and which she was empowered to continue to share in his stead.  If Mary Magdalene and the journey toward self-actualization are topics of interest to you, consider adding these to your fall reading list:

 

 

Song of the Beloved Book

Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene is a provocative retelling of the Jesus story from the perspective of Mary Magdalene.  After fourteen years of suffering the debilitating effects of trauma, Mary is healed by Jesus.  She then becomes his most enthusiastic and devoted disciple; later becoming his companion, co-minister, beloved and wife.  Designated the Magdalene, Mary is appointed to carry on Jesus’ ministry after his death.

A great work of fiction, inspired by scripture, historical documents and ancient sacred texts, Song of the Beloved provides nourishment and inspiration for those in search of a relevant Christianity – with Jesus and Mary as two who lived the fullness of the human experience while teaching us how to love.

 

Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy transcends centuries of dogma to reveal the powerful and life-changing message at the heart of Jesus’ teachings and the universal truths at the core of every religion. The book’s unique approach offers an opportunity for the reader to heal the separation they feel within themselves, with God and with each other, ultimately revealing the truth of Oneness. Built upon the compelling integration of Eastern Energy Medicine and the 2000-year-old tradition of Christian, contemplative spiritual practices, Authentic Freedom reveals a Dynamic and unifying path of spiritual transformation that speaks to people of all traditions and beliefs.

Authentic Freedom is the process Mary Magdalene was led through and learned from Jesus.  This is the process that empowered her to become co-equal with Jesus and which allowed her to assist him in rising from the dead and which made her worthy to continue Jesus’ work in his stead.

Only Love – the Secret Teaching of Mary Magdalene is a collection of writings received by Lauri Ann Lumby on behalf of Mary Magdalene. The ultimate purpose of these teachings is to support the world as it moves out of the fear that has held it imprisoned to the Love that is its original nature. Thank you for being a vessel through which you, and then the world, shall know that even in the human experience, there is Only Love.

“We are in an exciting time in the evolution of human consciousness. If you have found yourself drawn to these words, it is because you agreed to incarnate on the earth plane at this time to help usher in the age of Love.  You have agreed to this on behalf of the Divine intention of Love and for the sake of all of humanity.  As you know, this has been no easy task.  In order to support humanity in its next stage of evolution you have first had to do it for yourself.”

Union BookMary Magdalene is many things to many people, but to the initiated, she is the Beloved of Christ, his co-equal partner, and guardian of the mystical teachings and practices of the Western spiritual tradition. More than any other disciple, Mary understood the mystical, gnostic, and alchemical teachings of Jesus.  Mary came to embody these teachings and was empowered by Christ to deliver these teachings to the Western world.

Union – a Year of Spiritual Lessons and Practices with Mary Magdalene is a collection of lessons which when diligently applied, empowers the reader to experience the truth of Oneness (Union) that Jesus taught and which Mary Magdalene came to embody. These lessons were revealed to Lauri Ann Lumby through her intimate partnership with the Magdalene/Christ and support the reader’s journey toward remembering their original nature as Love.

 

All of Lauri’s books are available in paperback or Kindle through Amazon.com.  Buy them HERE.  Please also watch this site for announcements on the audio versions of Lauri’s books.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Formation

Re-Visioning Church

(What We Used to Call Church)

Having been raised Catholic, completed nearly 12 years of Catholic school, receiving my ministry training through the Catholic Church and then working for 15 years as a pastoral minister in the Church, I have had a front seat view of all that is magnificent as well as malevolent within Catholicism.  The final conclusion I have drawn is that for the past 2000 years, immediately after the apostles discarded Jesus’ embrace of the feminine in favor of the patriarchal and hierarchical status quo, the Church has needed to be reformed.

I used to believe this reform could come from within.  I have since learned otherwise.  I also used to believe that perhaps the answer was a whole new church altogether – as was the result of the Protestant Reformation, and more recently in Evangelical Christianity and even closer to home, in the off-shoot Catholic denominations.  While a more traditional form of “Church” might work for some, I have increasingly come to understand that as we grow toward union, anything that separates – religion, denomination, even atheism, will not serve.  Instead, the awakened world is looking for a way to connect that is accepting of all beliefs, and embraces the Truth that is inherent within every single belief system – even those which has grown past the idea of “the old man in the sky god.”

Enter Authentic Freedom…here we provide everything that Church was originally intended to do, only without doctrine, dogma or any form of prosthelytizing:

Education

On-Going Spiritual Formation

Social Network/Community

Individualized Support

Empowerment

Publishing

Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is a community of women and men who are responding to the calling of their Soul to discover their own unique giftedness and how they are called to find fulfillment in these gifts while being supported and empowered in the use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

You can become a part of our community by:

Subscribing to our Blog.  It is always free!

Following us on Facebook.

Enrolling in a class or two (or three).

Subscribing to our weekly Authentic Freedom lesson by registering for a Basic Membership.

Increasing your involvement with a Plus Membership which gives you access to our Private Social Network.

Connecting with other leaders in the human evolution movement by joining our Teacher’s Circle with a Premium membership.

Authentic Freedom has come about because we long for a more loving, more compassionate, more tolerant, more accepting and gentler world where the needs of all are met for the common good and where all of humankind can once again live in harmony, peace and understanding.

If you have found yourself here, you are either just beginning to hear the rumblings of your Soul, or have already come to know that you are among those who are being hospice to the dying world while midwifing the new world that is coming into form and are looking for people of like-mind with whom you can share this challenging and exciting calling!

We are changemakers, wayshowers, sh.t-disturbers, mystics and rebels. And here we are safe to question, explore, discover, be empowered and supported for our own unique giftedness and for how we are called to exercise these gifts in our world.

 

Join us in whatever way you are able and welcome!

With love,

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

Authentic Freedom (dot)Love

 

 

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, Jesus, Spiritual Formation

When Approaching Scripture – Perspective is Everything

…when it comes to scripture; there will always be disagreement – especially if we are looking for objective truth. But again, this was not Jesus’ goal; neither should it be our own. For the purpose of our spiritual growth and development, all we can look for is how scripture is reflecting or revealing our own truth.  Case in point, the scripture passage below can be taken any number of ways, depending on our point of view, or on the agenda of one who is interpreting this passage for us.  Let’s start with a single line:

“Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him.”

For some, this passage points to exclusivity. God will ONLY love those who keep Jesus’ word.  For others this passage speaks of reward and punishment.  IF we keep Jesus’ word (what word exactly are we to keep?), God will love us, implying that if we do not keep Jesus’ word, God will no longer love us.  This one tiny line from John’s gospel has been used for two millennia to establish so-called Christian privilege and to justify persecution, condemnation and even the wholesale slaughter of “non-believers.”  Is this really what Jesus meant in these words?  If we believe that Jesus’ overriding message was of Love and of a Divine parent who loves without condition, then no, Jesus could not have meant these words to privilege anyone or to deny anyone of the unconditional and unmerited love of God.  But human beings, through their limited perspective chose otherwise.

The above is an excerpt from my (dot) Love weekly message.  Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

Posted in priestess training, self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

A New/Original Vision of Priesthood

For the past 2000-5000 years, priesthood (across religions) has meant one thing: a position of power and authority held by men acting as an intermediary between the undeserving flock and their god. These men have been given themselves the power to interpret the word of their god and to dictate doctrine around their interpretation of that word.  They have appointed themselves determiners of who is saved and who is not and have created rituals and practices to be practiced by the undeserving so that they might earn the “love” of a jealous and fickle god and therefore their heavenly reward after death.  These men have used the threat of eternal damnation to manipulate those they “serve” and have benefitted from a culture based in fear. These men have been held as separate, more important and more powerful than the people they “serve” and have benefitted from this separation, given places of honor and becoming rich on the backs of those who are expected to pay, pray and obey.

Whereas not every man who has followed the call to be “priest” (or woman who has taken on this kind of priesthood) has lived their priesthood in this way, all are complicit in a culture and a structure that places one in a position of power over those they are meant to serve. The current structure of the priesthood – especially as it is expressed in the Catholic Church in which I was raised, is a culture of (often white) privilege rooted in separation lived out through power and control.  I can’t help but believe that this is not what Jesus had in mind.  In fact, it seemed that Jesus spoke openly against those who placed themselves in positions of authority and who lauded their power over others.  Instead, Jesus provided a completely different model of what priesthood might be which seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.

In order to understand the kind of priesthood that Jesus lived and then modeled for those who spent time in his company, we don’t have to look very far. Scripture is quite clear about the priesthood that Jesus embodied – one of healing, comforting, teaching and empowering with Jesus hanging out, not at the top of the pyramid, but at the bottom of an inverted triangle upholding and uplifting those he sought to serve.  In this, Jesus created a container in which those to whom he ministered might be supported in doing what Jesus did – coming to know themselves as One with God in love, and in this oneness coming to know their own unique giftedness and then supported and empowered in the development of and then sharing of these gifts – for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

This is the priesthood that Jesus embodied and the priesthood that Mary Magdalene was empowered to embrace. When we turn to those scriptures that didn’t make the cut of the emerging hierarchical/patriarchal institution that became Christianity, we clearly see Mary in this role:  comforting, healing, teaching and empowering the other disciples to go forth and continue the work that Jesus empowered them to do.  In this, Mary was living not as a priest within an institutional church, but as High Priest in the spirit of the ancient tradition of mystery schools which served to support women and men in achieving the fullness of their personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual development.  In short, Mary, like Jesus, did the work to support what modern-day psychologists call self-actualization.

What would our world look like if we lived priesthood in this way – coming to know our own self-actualization and then empowering others to do the same?

 

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