Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians

A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.

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At the moment of death, you understand Everything.  Completely.  Clearly.  Purely.  But you are totally incapable of communicating it to anybody else.  It is in this moment that many spiritually-minded souls form a compulsion to come back into this world, because they desire to share with others what they finally know.  But it's a delusion - because, for most of us, reincarnating in a physical body makes us forget 50% of what we wanted to reveal!  And here begins another cycle of frustration - spending an entire lifetime trying to get that knowledge back again.  

One of the questions resolved at death is whether Satan, Lucifer, Iblis and Mara are names of an actual entity or just a metaphor.  Paramhansa Yogananda and M. Scott Peck testify in print that they actually saw the embodied figure of ultimate malice and evil; Peck heard it speak.  However, each of these reliable witnesses saw something different.  So what, in fact, did they see - a real entity or the embodiment of a metaphor?  

Pagans do not believe in Satan.  Neither do Rosicrucians.  Neither does A Course in Miracles or Conversations with God or most New Thought churches.  They do believe in human error and demonically primitive brain centers - which Dr. Morbius, in the classic sci-fi movie Forbidden Planet, calls "Monsters from the Id" - which cause  misperceptions and account for all of man's inhumanity to man.  Everyone acknowledges that psychopathic killers live among us.  We know that the Nazis and innumerable Inquisitions, Pogroms, Crusades, Jihads and armies of conquest cruelly slaughtered innocent civilians throughout history; these things really did happen.  In every case the perpetrators believed they were on the side of Right; most of them even thought that God wanted them to do it!  But history judges that such episodes are a blot on the human record, a mass hypnosis by some insidious sort of evil.  The question is, was that evil a conscious entity that opposes God and His creation, or merely a conglomerate of the shadowy anxieties of the human Id - imperfections of childhood that will be left behind, as Gene Roddenberry and Arthur C. Clarke believed, when the human race has finally grown up? 

Practitioners of the ancient Nature religions talk about walking between the worlds.  I truly do that today, in that I walk between two worlds of Belief - those who believe the Devil is real and those who do not. 

In Islam, the Devil Iblis has only the power to cast evil suggestions into the heart of man; man has full power to decide whether to act on those suggestions.  The same is true of the Buddhist Mara, the tempter.  In contrast to the Christian Satan who can drag men's souls down into the depths of hell for all eternity, Buddhists tend to look upon Mara as more of an annoyance - a distraction on the spiritual path.  Mara is described variously as a real entity having a literal existence, and also as a primarily psychological force - a metaphor for various processes of doubt and temptation that obstruct spiritual practice. 

My personal belief is that whatever It was that appeared to Christ in the wilderness when he was preparing for his mission, tempting him with all the political power of the world to make him swerve from his path (if, indeed, the story is true), had to have been the same Mara that appeared to the Buddha 500 years earlier, when he was in meditation and about to attain enlightenment.  Failing to tempt Siddhartha with fleshly lusts, Mara tried to frighten him off by presenting illusions of physical destruction, which didn’t work, either.  But I believe that it doesn't matter whether the tempter is an individual being or a function of the human psyche.  The message here is that anyone can be tempted by it - even a Buddha; even a Christ; and even, my friends, a Pagan.  We succumb to the temptation of that Whatever-It-Is when we behave in ways contrary to our principles.   

I have heard well-intentioned Pagans rant on and on like broken records, heaping bitter accusations upon the Christian Church for its historical persecution of people with our beliefs, in terms so vitriolic and hateful that it makes me think the Church had good justification for it!  Since we supposedly believe in the Law of Three and in Harming None, surely the way to prove the Church was wrong about Pagans is to display an enlightened wisdom and forgiveness of past errors!  But it's all-too-easy to hate; and hatred turns us into the very thing we resent, making us no better than it was!  The rules apply to us, too:  If you use evil's methods to combat evil, you become evil yourself and evil wins. 

And if evil wins, my friend, does it matter whether it had a name and a face - when its names and faces will become ours?  You tell me.



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A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) taught Yoga for 37 years until retiring in 2013. For 26 years he was adjunct faculty for the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges, teaching Gentle Yoga and Meditation & Wellness. Raised in the Methodist Church but drawn to Rosicrucianism, Hinduism and Buddhist philosophy, he is a devotee of the Goddess in all Her forms. Ted has been a Shakespearean actor, a Masonic ritualist and an Interfaith wedding officiant. He is the author of several books, none of which made any money and two of which are available as .pdf files. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona. Their shared dream is to someday relocate to Glastonbury, England.


  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Saturday, 02 May 2015

    Perfect! Good for you. Keep writing your truth! People need to hear it.

    In fact, let me ascend my soapbox: Ahem! Evil does take many forms.

    And when we think we're exempt from our own evil, we fall prey to it. That includes we Pagans. Eg when we angrily take a supposed high moral ground, we become blind to our own wrongdoing.

    It hurts my heart that many Pagans have a knee-jerk reaction against the idea of there being etheric evil beings. Christianity's bastardizing the concept into an oppressive tool has caused some of us to mindlessly go to the opposite extreme. Good and evil are everywhere, even in the land of the fey. Faerie lore is that there is an Unseelie court, bent on doing humans harm.

    It is so sad when a Pagan follows any bright light that comes her or his way, in the illusion that forsaking discretion constitutes wild abandon. Instead, that person becomes enslaved by evil within and without.

    I do not use the word enslaved lightly. I have repeatedly seen people trapped by ego, addition, and misery, because they followed a beautiful bright light that was accompanied by brilliant deceptive rhetoric of freedom. Luckily, people do find their way out, if not in this lifetime then in the next.

    Okay, I'll get down off my soapbox now. You just happened to touch on one of my favorite rants, LOL. Keep on truth speaking!

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Saturday, 02 May 2015

    Thank you, m'dear. I knew you would understand my rant in the spirit in which it was intended.

    By the way - any new developments in selling your house and moving?

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Saturday, 02 May 2015

    The move has been temporarily delayed. For a number of reasons. For one thing, there was an ice dam on the roof, which caused leaking, and we had to do some major repair. A house is not appealing to buyers when it has a leaking roof and construction workers coming in and out, LOL. I'm also rethinking the parameters of the move, eg i'm no longer sure it's going to be to California, and I might have to wait till next year. But move I will. Thank you for asking!

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