(continued from last post) E.) The Orphic Mysteries of Pythagoras As a descendant of Diony

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(continued from last post) E.) The Orphic Mysteries of Pythagoras As a descendant of Dionysios, Orpheus is the intellectual image of a demi-god, raised to deity by his sufferings in the underworld. His is a perfect symbol for all who follow the paths of the mysteries: imperfect, deficient Humanity raised to sufficiency and perfection by self-sacrifice and the superior knowledge of the priestly caste. Orpheus has the lyre and the gift of music from Apollo, yet ends up like Dionysios, torn apart by Thracian bacchantes. The suffering of Orpheus, who loses Euridice (through fear, the first pitfall of all mystery knowledge -- rational fear has its roots in the instinct for self-preservation and therefore runs counter to the self-sacrificial leitmotif of all Mystery Religions) and is then dismembered by the Maenads; a paradigm of the suffering and rebirth of the sleeping soul. The Orphic mysteries are complex in the extreme. The most important aspect of the Orphic Mysteries was that humanity and the gods are related. At a most subtle and sensitive level a blurring of the edges occurs, an overlapping of human consciousness and divine awareness. "Everything that lives is Holy" becomes a reality in the interaction of the divine and the mundane. It is interesting that as the suffering "imperfect" human becomes "perfected" and "divine," the realization that is at the core of the old Shamanic lifeways comes to the fore: There is no separation between human and divine, Nature is not fallen, but the very body of the Great Mother, and that all life matters. III. CHRISTIANITY VIEWED AS A MYSTERY RELIGION A.) The Foundation of Christianity Christianity is not a single entity, but a hodgepodge of various ideas brought together in a syncrete. There are numerous sects of Christianity, from the elaborate, ritualized Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Anglican traditions; to the less formal Protestant sects; down to the ultra-liberal Unitarian-Universalists and mystic Anthro- sophists, Gnostics, and Swedenborgians. Then, there are also the stricter, more legalistic groups (usually Protestant in origin) that are collectively known as Evangelicals and include, most ominously, Fundamentalists, Christian Identity Churches with their anti-Semitism and Racism fused completely within their dogma, and the Reconstructionists (not to be confused with Reconstruc- tionist Judaism and Reconstructionist Neo-paganism such as Wicca) who believe that the Bible should replace the Constitution and the canon of US Law as the guiding principle of America, to be administered by clergy. Their uniting tenet is that the Bible is to be taken literally, and is to be considered inerrant and directly inspired by the Christian God. There are also Neo-Christian groups, considered by most Christians to be beyond the pale of Christianity, like the Christian Scientists, Mormons, The Native American Church, and the Unification Church of Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Even the Black Muslims quote extensively from the Old and New Testaments along with the Qur'an. These various sects of Christianity disagree far more than they agree. Wars have been fought over even the smallest minutiae of differences in dogma, and even now rival sects blast each other with as much gusto as Sunni Moslems blast Shia Moslems in Beirut. The only thing that truly unites them is a single document: the New Testament of the Bible. (continued next post)

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