Today Is The Day

Today is The Day

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In my email this morning I found these beautiful and poignant words with targeted relevance for me today. Not surprisingly so, because they come from “Veronica” via April Crawford (http://www.innerwhispers.org/) who consistently delivers these sparkling gems.  April calls herself a channeler, which confuses some people and frightens others.

Simply stated, as eternal and unlimited beings we are all connected to all existence and all knowledge at all times.  It’s just the density and distraction of the lead pancake -the distorted thoughts and expectations – that we drape over ourselves every morning,  courtesy of our enmeshed culture, family, media, society’s institutions etc., that distorts reality for us.  In fact, consider that you have been handed, and tangled in, a version of life and pseudo-reality that’s got just about everything upside down and wrong and then you will be much closer to the truth and also at the doorstep of wholeness and celebration like you have never known.

Channeling is much like the Nursery Rhymes’ “little girl with the little curl right in the middle of her forehead, who when she was good she was very good and when she was bad she was horrid.”  Get it right and it’s a vortex of inspiration, or not, and it can be a blight on your life’s path.  Channeling is nothing that needs to be vetted by your local priest, pastor, rabbi, imam or other guru.  These good and well-meaning souls are simply way-showers of the basics and challenged like the rest of us to participate in their own soul’s progress. They were never intended as pack mules for the spiritually languid and uncommitted who never aspire to more than poking with a stick at matters that connect the transformational present moment with infinity itself.

“Knowing”, “hearing”, from beyond is intuitive, something we all do already to a lesser or greater extent, and increasingly a required skill to be refined and used for the successful negotiating of the changing tides now incumbent on our world and individual daily lives. The final message comes, contrived or in truth, from the authenticity of your connection, transcending that part of us and that part of spiritual reality that has been beleaguered by the crust of life.  Its reliability and resonance is dependent on the degree of purity of our heart and our ability to recognize and hold the light within ourselves.  

So here’s “Veronica” (a collection of souls of a higher awareness) via April Crawford:

                                                  

                                                          TODAY IS THE DAY      

“Today, why not stand still in silence for a Moment and listen to the pulse of your soul?Today, why not speak your truth without fear of how it is received? 

Today, step forward and include your linear participation in your soul’s progress.     

Today, why not become more active in your soul intentions instead of settling for linear costumes?  

Today is the moment you truly reside in.  It is an opportunity to express your self with pure honesty.  A moment to color your perceptions with the clarity of the old soul you are becoming.

Often in the linear, one becomes lost in all the dramas, costumes, and props, while forgetting the true intentions of why they have arrived.

This moment needs joy.  This day will blossom with the intention of joy.  The awareness of all that is possible with clear thought should be continuously tucked within one’s heart.

The linear experience was meant to be fulfilling, while allowing the dense experience to fortify one’s spirit.

Glean as much knowledge and experience as you can.  Embrace the day, becoming one with the vivid experience of the current moment.

Today, be one with our soul.  Today, realize your potential and live it.  Do not allow others to rob you of the awareness of your potential.

It is your gift… your life, your opportunity to be more.

Yes it is difficult to embrace all of this.  Attempt every day to do so.  Do not give up.  Be the person you aspire to be.

Use all the experiences good and bad to achieve this.

Today is the day.”

VERONICA    

                                

                                                                                      

 

 

 

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Micro-Poetry, Black Swans and Steve Jobs: The Art of Imagining and Assembling New Worlds

There is only the dance 

until the swan dies.

                       ~  Bauke Kamstra
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This blog began with this poem and this exchange – Is death the swan’s only song?  – between Bauke (@Wyrde ) and me.  Then my new Twitter friend from Australia, @TP_Hogan, chimed in about swans  and triggered  thoughts on that country’s black swans leading me to dust off and burnish some musings from my archives. 
r.

§                     §                     §

THE BLACK SWAN

The human opportunity is to turn flashes of insight into abiding light.     ~  Huston Smith

Continue reading

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How to See All of Life as Miraculous and Friendly in a “Tragic” and “Unsafe” World

This is my response to Mylène, my Twitter friend – @CopperBronzed –   regarding her request  http://bit.ly/13ZXPhl to comment on a tragedy in Ancaster, Ontario.

Old Mill Ancaster

The Old Mill Restaurant Ancaster Ontario 
Mylène, this strikes close to home as I have lived on a greenbelt joined to Ancaster and loved to celebrate special days at the Old Mill there five minutes from my home.  Just minutes ago I was talking about the magic forest cover there.

I don’t as a rule follow personal tragedy stories. It can easily fill my life, already challenged in my desire to live beyond the distorted and impoverished template offered by my past world and prevailing culture.  I need my waking & sleeping hours to be primarily focused on calling myself and my current world to be better and more aware selves rather than pursuing the challenge of making sense of the steady feed of more tragic stories.  (For me, personally, this is requiring a deep mind retraining and complete thought reversal as I seem to have had just about everything upside down.) 

In a larger sense and in a balanced universe, including all involved in this unnecessary and sad tragedy, nothing happens to anyone for which they are not already a vibrational match.  What we fear or what we dwell on – good or bad –  will sooner or later manifest in our life whether as perperator, ‘victim’ or beneficiary. Grace offers a significant delay for us to bail harmless from our negative engagements. Nothing happened in this matter that can’t be forgiven and understood for a higher purpose although we can never demand those answers.  Often our ‘knowing’ is at best shrouded in bewilderment and needs to be so.

Each person will respond to this event from an already determined understanding that they live in an always loving, supportive and miraculous world or its opposite.  This viewpoint is arrived at not by logic, but by will and enlightenment.  A little of both, life as miracle, blended with life as a disaster, is becoming an increasingly difficult and painful gap to try to span. The unsettled lives of those who choose to always walk the ‘dangerous’ and ‘sad’ shadow side of the street while feeding on the human pain within and without will eventually merge with the fulfilled, happy lives of those who walk on the sunny and safe side.  This unhappy choice of life experience is unnecessarily tragic in time but ultimately eternally insignificant.

These matters are so.  They can be denied, but not diminished. We don’t get to vote on reality which is already so glorious for all we could only depreciate it with our attempted version of what life is all about and who we are.

My final comment on this for all of us is that we cannot maintain a vacuum in our life.  Absent a mindful choice of humble gratitude for every event, relationship and aspect of our life and a further watchfulness to maintain a positive inner dialogue, we create a vacuum that will draw in a vortex of darkness to upend our life.

And if this happens, no matter.  Our next step out of this ditch, as either observers or participants, is forgiveness which fully processed and understood becomes a realization there was never anything to forgive.  This final understanding takes great wisdom but comes naturally to those who have a desire to walk in an always safe and whole world of invincible love and miracles.

My heart goes out to the dozens and hundreds directly impacted by this sad event and to the tens of thousands more who follow the events in pain, sympathy, anger, fear or judgement.  My comfort is knowing all’s well that ends well and indeed it will end well and it already has because we are not creatures limited to bodies, time and space.  May many have the grace to see it this way.

Hope this helps.

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What Tolstoy, Ghandi and Einstein Knew

TolstoyGhandiEinstein

 

I will publish this blog soon.  The research and processing is taking a little longer than expected.

 

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Giving Up Fables and Labels for Social Authenticity

Birth of a guest blog published first at Guest Blog

Earlier this week one of my Twitter Friends, Ron Tenin, @rpt62960,  posted a blog, on his website with this intriguing title:  Atheists Take Note – You Might Be Wrong. My twitter response led to an invitation from Ron to write this guest blog.

Bishop Milton Wright

Episcopal Bishop Wright was not the first one to get things totally wrong. We should cut him some slack though. 

We should also overlook his paternalistic bent to organize the minds of the faithful on that 1896 Sunday morning in Dayton Ohio, as he delivered truth from on high.  After all, is that not what we need society’s leaders, like bishops, to do?  Should we not leave it to the few who know what’s up to direct and control the lives of the many who don’t, and for their own best interest at that?

“If man was meant to fly,” Bishop Milton Wright declared, “God would have given him wings!”

Like the rest of us who at times claim divine or perhaps self-appointed infallible endorsement for that which we know little or nothing about and, even more, to plead for change in that which seriously frightens us, Bishop Wright, too,  on said subject was more beset with personal haunting fears than divinely chosen to represent Deity.

It wasn’t really his 26 year old son, Orville, that troubled the  bishop so much as it was Orville’s three years older genius brother, Wilbur, who had a mind to catapult himself through the air on little more than a motorized kite with good prospects of killing himself and maybe his too easily led and spell-bound brother as well in the process, thus depriving the bishop of his progeny. Perhaps thundering about his version of what God “wants” from the pulpit might offset the bishop’s feared outcomes regarding his aeronautically inclined sons.

The appeal to infallibility on matters betraying our profound ignorance, disguised personal agenda and fears has become a hallmark signature of modern discourse.  I do not intend to rail against this, however, but suggest – and sincerely so – that we should kindly and gently overlook it.  I assure you, this strange meme is a social deficiency in transition out the door, its demise hastened as we continue to require more and more transparency, authenticity and accountability in our dealings with each other.

In addition to declaring divine endorsement for our opinions we further resort to the curious practice of confirming ‘certainty’ and authority by labeling our enemies and all non – or wrong – believers.  Label it and it is so.  The truth is defended and the enemy –  always those labeled ones with the black cowboy hats – is vanquished.

As a seminary student, a lifetime ago, I was urged to establish (read label) and defend a personal theology to stream me and carry me through life.  This, I was told, should provide a decent living and afterward take me hopefully to heaven if I got it right – albeit, possibly a different heaven to those with different theologies.  Labeling offered the religious community a welcome hammer-lock on the “truth” and a comfortable alternative to the struggle of faith and the soul-wringing quest to accept and embrace the miraculous and divine providence in the joys and sorrows of daily living.

It was apparently important for me to determine whether God was supra or infra-lapsarian, whether I decided that “baptized” babies who were sprinkled with water had the same chance of making heaven as adults who were solidly drenched in a water tank, river or lake. I needed to declare whether eternity was to descend on human history in a pre, post or a-millennial time frame and whether that should indeed come with a side label of mid, pre or post tribulation.  Finally, I needed to avoid the ‘moral failure’ label as determined by the righteous ones (read right-to-us), a designation that came with an automatic life suspension from church leadership and likely loss of a passport for heaven. God and all of heaven’s angels apparently held their breath awaiting my verdict (labels), my luck in getting it right and my pluck in staying the right-to-us course.

Later in life I settled for being a pan-millennial (it will all pan out in the end) and Little Bo Peep theology (leave all of God’s people alone and they will come home wagging their tails behind them.)  In fact I have come to understand that we are all already home.  Not aware of this beautiful truth just yet we still desperately dream and scheme of how to create hell on earth to ensure that our version of a sad, lonely, dangerous, and of course right-to-us, reality is widely adopted.  It is clear that this is the strategy.  What is not as clear is any possible gains that may be realized from this design for self defeat and misery.

As an unenthusiastic champion of religious labels and absent a passionate interest in theology there turned out to be minimal prospect for me to experience and understand life primarily within the benefits and embrace of an ecclesiastical context.

Now, I sincerely said we should cut people some slack who are casting about trying to be “right” when clearly in over their heads.  You would not be angry at someone, who asleep, dreams that they are a pink elephant, would you?

Understand, people are asleep. They are dreaming of being trapped in sin, shortages of every kind and separation from each other and from the All-That-Is. They dream that they are defined and limited by time and space. In this dream they are a body that finds itself possibly among some good but certainly mostly among other bad,  dangerous (and un-right-to-us) bodies.  Their body can hurt, or be hurt by, other bodies. The ‘gladiator’ rules are that the last body standing wins.  In case of a tie, the more beautiful and thinner body gets the trophy although it has not exactly been determined what the trophy is about.  It can’t be about fame because that needs admirers and in this aspired scenario everyone else’s body is dead.  It can’t be heaven because that’s about community and sharing… joy, gratitude, kindness and that stuff.

Add labeling to this contrived context of our self as marginalized, challenged and  isolated this spawns social behaviour and rationale as bizarre as this invented and impoverished construct of life. For example, if you follow and trust U.S. politics you could be forgiven for believing global warming is a derivative of the political will of the people and that it has no reality outside of this scope. If Americans vote into power the Democrat label, global warming is acknowledged and remedial legislation and political initiative is activated to ‘save the world’.  If a majority of people vote the Republican label the problem is instantly solved on election night because there is no global warming.

In the case of a divided vote, tune in your favourite, self-echoing entertainment on Fox News or ESPN and join the label war. The enemy is always the one you paste with negative labels.  Pro Choice/Pro-Life for example are home team shirts while Pro-Abortion/Anti-Abortion are labels pasted by the nasty enemy side for away games.  God or self-as-god is always on your side as you fight against “treachery” or for a cause célèbre, be it liberalism or conservatism, abortion, homosexuality, atheism, pantheism, God-fearing Christians,  immigrants, terrorists, anarchists,  criminals, military supported economics, new agers, libertarians, neo-cons, science, scientism, secularism, humanism, humanitarianism, transhumanism, fundamentalists, libertarians, heathens, the 1%, the unwashed masses, carnivores, vegetarians, more guns or less guns and a host of other issues that divide.

If you are a government, strategic labels like “foreign fighters” or, even more sinister, “insurgents”, are handy to introduce and ingrain for it will allow you to invent whole new illogical and separate systems of legislation and incarceration once those unable and unqualified to lead themselves have bought into the “truth” you have created with these auspicious new labels.  If you are a government official it is imperative that you look straight into the camera when you ‘deliver’ these newly minted labels.  You must look deadly serious without a hint of a smirk or smile.  Using phrases like “read my lips” and “make no mistake” should seal the matter. Studies show wearing a simple and plain red or blue tie will help maximize the authenticity of this construct. Suits will further the cause if, like political truth, they are some shade of darker gray.  Black of course would be too final and might hint that the walls of total depravity have already been breached.

The religious version of this is leveraged by pronouncing God to rhyme with mud, flashing anger in your eyes and imagining those who disagree with your fears in agony of the hell fires they deserve.  Words like smite, punishment, duty, purity and laws are effective, as are also a sprinkling of scripture verses clarifying what God hates… King James version venerated and preferred by some.

I suggest we set aside all this uproar and dramatic finger pointing. Being asleep to reality and believing we are the arbiter of how things really are, we routinely deny the wonder of life and the glory of every single person we have met or ever will meet.

I offer a more enlightened approach that can enliven society and help us escape this madness.  It will also considerably lighten our journey as we can dispose of all labels and their debilitating emotional baggage.

An introduction to this wholeness is found in two defining questions that Albert Einstein posed. First, “Do you believe you are in an always friendly or an always hostile universe?” and, secondly, “Do you believe all of life or none of life is miraculous?”  These are bifurcated issues that cannot be straddled with any more ease or comfort than a tall picket fence nor mashed together with any conceivable survival of credibility, coherence or logic.  A helping of each, though too often opted for, is a recipe for impotence, disaster and confusion.

–  It should be observed that not everyone seeks to eliminate confusion. Confusion is sought by some as a valued strategy to achieve their ends. Having lost their moral compass and a purposed way in life, the goal becomes simply to stay ascendant in the game and win at all costs by deliberately introducing the mayhem of non-logic and grabbing control in the midst of intentionally seeded confusion. –

The real insight into the accelerating change toward social enlightenment and progress that is upon us lies in these  two poignant questions of this sage who left us almost six decades ago; it also lies in a new understanding of the real quarterback of our bodies and a smart society, the human heart.  That is for another blog and until then I leave you to contemplate the wisdom of Albert’s two questions and look forward to hearing from you.

Of course we can also label Albert as a “wayward soul” then we can dismiss our responsibilities for his message of love and quench any light that could brighten our path as a society and reset our errant moral compass.  😉

Most Important Decision

Two Ways Miracle 2

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An Easter Story and An Easter Heritage: Part Two of Three

 

Re-posted from March 30, 2013

The word Pesach in Hebrew means to pass over or to spare with compassion.   Erev Pesach or Passover Eve on Nissan 14 was a day of preparation for the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. They were told to kill a lamb at sunset – the start of Nissan 15 and beginning of Pesach day one of seven –  and put its blood on the sides and top of the doorposts of each home.  Seeing the blood the angel of death that was to pass through the land to kill every firstborn of the people and domestic animals would pass over that household and spare them this tenth plague which would break Pharaoh’s final resistance to letting the Hebrews leave Egypt. The meal was to be eaten in haste – shoes on, robe tucked into the belt and staff in hand.

At midnight, around 1300 BC or about year 2400 on the Jewish Calendar, an anguished cry went up across the land and a distraught Pharaoh summonsed Moses demanding he take his people out of Egypt immediately.  They left in the middle of the night by the light of the full moon, a band of slaves about to become a nation on their way to a promised land of their own, never to return to Egypt.

Some 1300 years later, around the year 3795 on the Jewish calendar a young Rabbi sat down with a dozen shaken and confused followers to commemorate the Passover feast. He declared that he was God’s Paschal lamb, that he would die in place of these men and all humanity but then step out of the grave overcoming death forever.  This resurrection life was available to all, accessible through each individual’s heart of faith, to join him as equals.

I do not know if there was a full, partial or no moon later that night when he prayed alone and then was arrested. It may not have been that important because his was not an external engagement of Pharaoh’s chariots or his pending Roman captors but rather an internal struggle and agony of soul seeking to embrace for himself the reality of Light over belief in darkness and the truth of Life and Love over the perception of death and fear.

By the full moon’s light on the dark and bitterly cold February night of 1184 sombre bands streamed into Old Uppsala from all over Sweden, caravans traveling with horses, cows, oxen, rams, pigs, dogs and cats arriving for the Great Mid-Winter (human and animal) Sacrifice held every eight years in the sacred grove surrounding the Viking Temple in Old Uppsala. This temple was dedicated to Frey, the god of fertility and weather. Three huge mounds dating back some six hundred years or more dominated the sacred groves and were positioned much like Stonehenge or Mayan Yucatan Pyramids, huge edifice calendars to exactly capture seasonal light pinpointing the arrival of the “lamplighting” January/February full moon.  This was the full moon that was required to enable travel across the nation during the short winter days to attend and supply the sacrifice.

It was believed Frey, whose statue reigned over the sacred grove and temple grounds, was entombed in one of these mounds. Frey’s day – Friday – had remained unchallenged over the centuries until this new Good/Long Friday, granted by the tradition of a Semitic people and an obscure rogue Rabbi of a millenium ago, now threatened to unseat him.

Each day for 9 days one man and seven domestic animals chosen from every province in the land were hung from the “holy” trees until 72 bodies were swinging in the wintery wind and allowed to decay while birds and rats ate the corpses as this sacrificial life’s sustenance was intended to nurture the trees of the sacred grove. The satisfied gods would then cede national blessing for another period.

Led by the King of Sweden, who faithfully presided over the ceremonies, this event anchored success in national affairs, trade, commerce and warfare.  Known regionally for their prowess these Swedish Vikings for hundreds of years were sought for their laws, administrative acumen, business shrewdness and fierce battle skills throughout the great river lands of Russia, Ukraine and across  the Black Sea, embracing the Byzantine Empire where they served as the legendary personal Varangian “Swiss Guard” for  a series of  emperors in Constantinople.

They were known throughout the region as the “Ryss”, old Swedish for rowers. Some claim they were more predominantly known as the “Russ” Vikings from “Rusiori” which was ancient Greek for Blond.  The lands they rowed through and engaged became known as “Ryssland”, the Swedish name for Russia today.  At local request they built and stayed to rule mighty cities like Kiev and Novogorod.  Upon the Byzantine emperor’s death, in gratitude for their services, each member of this vaunted guard was honoured to  enter into the royal treasure room and take for himself gold, coins and gems, as much as they could bear at a single time.  Thus, from this repatriated treasure, Uppland today still uncovers more era Byzantine coins than anywhere else in the world.

The Uppsala Vikings had no inclination to raid Europe or ply the Atlantic waters to Vineland in the New world, that was the lot of their Norwegian and Danish cousins, also empowered by the pleasure of their gods appeased by the dark rituals of their regional sacred groves scattered throughout ancient Scandinavia. Theirs was the promise, mystery, business and treasure of the vast lands to the east and to the south, the gateway to a splendid national franchise for the Near Orient and beyond.

Varangian_routes

Trade Routes from Uppsala of the Swedish (Varangian) Vikings from the 9th Century

It was the king’s duty to maintain this national welfare and ascendency by ensuring the trails converging on Old Uppsala, lit by the February full moon, were filled with living votive gifts and sober witnesses to satisfy the gods and secure yet another eight years of their pleasure and support for national prosperity.

The light of Christianity had become increasingly disruptive by 1084 creating uncertainty and jeopardy for this cult fountainhead of national well-being.  Already it had been necessary for the local Uppland power elite, who funded and directed the king in national affairs, to dethrone the previous king. A convert himself to Christianity, he had refused to lead this exchange of human and animal life for national prosperity in the very preceding Mid-Winter Sacrifice of 1076. As Christianity was spreading, more and more leaders across the country obligated by law to attend the sacrifice were refusing to participate in this event despite the heavy fines imposed on them.

In fact, this 1084 occasion was to be the last national sacrifice in this holdout national cult center against the rising tide of Christianity in the country and by 1164 the eclipsed sacred grove and burial mounds were triumphantly transferred to the Swedish Archbishopric.

Nearby what had been perhaps Scandinavia’s most dominant cult center for human enslavement, the tallest church in Scandinavia was erected within two centuries. Shortly after, the first Scandinavian University and one of the earliest in Europe was founded in Uppsala to pioneer  many of the foundational pillars in academic progress. Today this institution and city is a Mecca for the former client lands and trading partners of the Uppland Vikings.  These former Soviet Union countries , bordering the Baltic Sea and beyond come to Uppsala to seek access to stable government models and innovative economic and industry systems.

Dom Kyrkan

13th Century Uppsala Cathedral (Domkyrka) Built Under Roman Catholicism Taken Over by the Lutheran Church at the Reformation Served as Cornation and Burial Place for Swedish Kings for over 500 years.

So what have these annual Easter/Passover birthdays meant to me over the years?  I have spent nights on the farm as an adult and walked the streets of Uppsala and Old Uppsala enjoying for the most part penetrating, unusual beauty and peace.  I have lived briefly and intimately on three occasions in the land promised to the people of the Pesach exodus and naively been caught in the literal cross-fire of Abraham’s son’s ongoing grievance with each other, forced to maintain a cool head to extricate myself from bullets and stones of an ancient war…to be concluded.

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An Easter Story and an Easter Heritage : Part One of Three

Re-posted from March 29, 2013

Today is my birthday… sort of.  You see I have three birthdays every year, a Viking, Christian and Jewish birthday.  In the year I was born all three came on the same day: April 4, Good Friday and the eve/first day of the Jewish Pesach (Passover) week.

A person can be born on Christmas day and count on it always being December 25.   My life has usually been a little less predictable than that, not the least of which is the story of my birth ‘trifecta’ day.

For clarity, I will briefly separate the component parts dating my birthdays.  Rolled together they take on an air of complexity but in reality simply reflect a combination of many different ingredients, kind of like Indian cuisine, which becomes delightfully palatable when allowed to be what it is and trusted by all dinner guests to be divinely prepared.  Though always substantially more, it is, however, never less than all its ingredients.

So what does Good Friday/Pesach and the Jewish/Christian/Viking head of the calendar and spiritual year mean for me today. What clues to celebration of life and inner freedom does it hold for all of us.

My three birthdays all converge on the same day only once every several centuries.  Being unwilling to miss out on their separate flavours I am content to celebrate the  unique aspect of each of them every year in their own profound and beautiful aspects.  To my mind multiple birthdays rock, anyways.

My life began in tiny farm community just outside Uppsala Sweden that had been celebrating Påsk – Swedish for Easter (derived from Pesach) – by then for almost 900 years. The rest of Sweden had more readily adopted Christianity decades earlier.  The core heart of the Viking culture, centered in Old Uppsala, just 10 miles beyond our farm, and radiating into the surrounding Uppland region, however, was more resistant to ceding to the new ways accompanying this ‘intrusive’ faith that had filtered into their country in the decades surrounding the turn of the first millennium.  Some decades later, however, these local holdouts joined in with the rest of the country.

The Viking temple at the corner of our farm , where my paternal grandparents now rest, needed a new function and was conveniently re-designated and sanctioned as a church. Annual local Påsk celebrations subsequently commenced there, sometime during the  1100’s, marking the head of the Christian calendar.

Jumkils_kyrka_-_kmb.16000200121636

Jumkil’s Kyrka, a Viking Temple Until the 1100’s,  From the Corner of Our Farm    (Photo http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jumkils_kyrka_-_kmb.16000200121636.jpg )

The first of my three birthdays, April 4, is shared with my Dad as we had the same earth arrival day.  I call this my Viking birthday. As an eldest son I often consider how my Dad, himself an eldest son, passed on a readiness and understanding of life received  from his Viking and devout Christian heritage to those in and beyond his family.  I am also aware that this, in some aspect and on some level, is now mine to carry on as my Dad passed forward the baton some years ago.

Påsk in Sweden had its narrow aspects over its initial years when life was more uncertain and difficult and its people more pessimistic and seriously minded.   Långfredagen –that is Long or Good Friday, also my Christian and second birthday- was an occasion, among other rites, for the devout householder to whip his spouse, children and servants for greater awareness and sobriety in preparation for the somber occasion and fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.  Aroused in the heightened spiritual ethers emanating from overlapping Easter and Spring Solstice ritual celebrations, local ‘believers’  became inflamed to purge “Satan” from the community. He was most often “discovered” in the form of clairvoyant and telepathic women, who became known as a påskkärringar (Easter-bitches), and deemed  to be witches in league with the very Deceiver himself, thus  ‘deserving’ of most horrific barbarian ‘remedies’.

These grim practices and quests tended over time to be challenged and softened by the sheer joy of welcoming Spring’s delights, reborn once again. The beatings evolved into neighbours playfully switching each other with new Spring birch branches and leaves wishing each other good health and good fortune. The witches’ legacy has become a Halloween type celebration with Swedish children dressed as witches knocking on neighbours doors ‘spooking’ them to offer up sweets.

The church from 325 AD had arranged that the newly adopted Gregorian calendar would ensure that Easter Week would always come in the Spring culminating on Easter Sunday. This would fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after Spring Equinox.  Some 800 years later and faithful to the tradition of their Jewish Lord and Saviour, the erstwhile Uppland Vikings and now newly minted Christians, embraced the themes and symbolism of a Middle Eastern people, and doubtlessly also former trading partners, the first of whom would not arrive in Sweden until some five hundred years after the conversion of the local Jumkil Viking temple to Christian purposes.

I was not born on one Jewish calendar day because before April 4th of that year was out it had actually become two Jewish calendar days straddling Nissan 14 and Nissan 15, 5708.  This is my third, and my Jewish birthday.  I said this would be a little complex –  like an Indian meal, remember? –  Actually it is no more complex than the fact that Western calendar days start at midnight and Jewish days at sundown.

Now, the 5708 part is easy;  it is the continuous years since the traditional Jewish date of the creation of the earth that this Jewish calendar sets at 3761 BC.

That is easy of course unless you were Bishop Ussher and it also tends to be easier if you are a conservative Jew than if you are a conservative Christian. Let me explain. The Irish Bishop Ussher in the 1600’s, using the King James Bible, pinpointed creation to have occurred just before nightfall preceding October 23, 4004 BC, a date which still resonates more or less with conservative Christian scholars and their extended community –  dinosaurs, geological fossil and carbon-14 dating notwithstanding.

Ussher’s rigid calculations of course assume 24 hour days, a point which even the most conservative Jewish scholar or believer would tend to concede as not being set in stone.  This difference is mainly so because Jews are much less left brain oriented than their occidental neighbours in both matters of faith and understanding how life in general works.  They also tend not to be troubled by the suggestion that the dates and space of history can logically be trumped by spirit.

This is not to say that the reliable seasonal point of the most important celebration of the year was any less important for the Jews than the Christians. Since these respective ‘top of the year’ holy days  were indexed to the very  same Spring moon, two of my birthdays happened to overlap.

For the Jews, Passover was the defining event of their history that transformed a million or two desperate, hardscrabbled offspring from a handful of quarrelsome sojourners in Egypt, into an epic nation en-route to their own Promised Land. The 29½ day lunar Jewish calendar month, unadjusted, would soon skew this glorious annual celebration time of new life and new beginnings to fall in the midst of the dark and cold of winter if not tweaked and indexed to both the moon and solar year of Spring Equinox.  Thus, with several adjustments, the Jewish calendar became a Solilunar Calendar ensuring that my Jewish birthday of Nissan 14, would always fall on the first full moon after Spring Equinox.

There is a very important reason why this day has to fall on a full moon that I will disclose in my next blog.  It has to do with the full moon, dangerous travel cross-country, at night, by foot without flashlights… for an emerging Jewish nation and, interestingly, coincident with full moon mandatory nighttime  cross- country travel two millennia later by the ascendant Swedish Vikings…. to be continued

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