Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Enlightenment in New Mexico July 31, 2012

It’s such an honor to present today’s post. It’s a review of my new book written by guest blogger, N.M. Freeman. It first appeared last week on her blog. Here’s the link. Natasha is the author of the award-nominated The Story of Q. (inspired by actual events). This book blew me away! You can read what I wrote about it in January of this year in a post titled Questioning Religion. The Story of Q contains historical facts about the origins of the Christian scriptures found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible and is recognized for contributing to the growth, further education and enlightenment of humanity. I hope you’ll check it out! And now, Natasha’s post, which she titled Enlightenment in New Mexico:

As promised, here’s my review of Dr. Jean Benedict Raffa’s stunning new book: Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other and the World. Brilliantly executed, this book is a thought provoking pleasure to read – never mind that it can, for some, be life changing. Highly, highly recommended. This review can be found in full in the Summer 2012 edition of Radical Grace (a publication for the center for action and contemplation based in Albuquerque, New Mexico). The theme of the summer edition is Unitive Consciousness.

Dr. Jean Benedict Raffa’s new book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World looks at the difference between religion and God through the lens of Jungian psychology, and speaks to the deepest spiritual seekings of the human heart.

The power in this book lies not in its ability to reveal a recognizable truth, but in the way it communicates this truth. Through memory, psychology, emotion, and the powerfully secret relevance of our dreams.

With gentle brilliance, Raffa walks us through the first 3 Epochs of psycho-spiritual development in accordance with Jungian psychology. Incredibly, each Epoch is so identifiable that we immediately recognize our own space on the development scale. This type of self-reflection is, as Raffa iterates, crucial to our ever coming to know the wholeness of God as we are born to know it.

Refreshingly, Healing the Sacred Divide tackles topics often left to the university classroom in such a way that makes them generously accessible to the mind as well as the soul. Engaging a powerful conversation about the evolution of our God-image (where it comes from and how it came to be what it is today), Raffa reveals the dysfunctions associated with the image, the how and why it often feels incomplete when presented through the orthodox and especially the fundamental religious lens. In this sense, as we learn more about ourselves, we also become powerfully privy to the truth and effect behind the reality that our patriarchal God view is as much constructed as our gender divisions – both resulting in an inability to experience wholeness on the human journey or, in a spiritual sense, as children of God.

With beautiful, bravely intelligent prose, Raffa loosens the divisions between masculine and feminine thought and reveals them for what they are: 2 realities that apart leave a disjointed experience (emotionally, psychologically, spiritually) but together make a whole. It is in the union of these two spheres or rather divisions of thought, that a sacred space is created within which spiritual growth can occur in abundance. This fascinating expose challenges us to transcend dangerous divisions of thought that can distract from our spiritual relationship with ourselves, each other, and the world, but most of all God.

Eloquently and far from overwhelmingly Raffa explores these topics within the context of our own experiences. In anecdotal form, she lays the foundation from which to explore the topics of self, ego, and even the shadow parts of our personalities (which we might not want to admit we have).

Ultimately, Healing the Sacred Divide shows us how we are already in a relationship with God – born whole – with only our fears, ego based religions, and desire or fear to conform to societal norms standing in the way. Better yet, the text invites us to not only heal, but to bridge that divide.

The psychological speak has the potential to become tedious but it never does. Raffa has woven ourselves through the text so that you spend the book understanding, reflecting, recognizing, feeling love, wisdom, and the comfort of knowing healing the sacred divide is realistic, possible. Here. Now.

On a personal note, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so moved by a book and the truth it proclaims, which is purely identifiable in and by the human experience. (And I have read many a book on this topic.)

An extremely important book, Raffa’s work/insight is the very mandorla of which she speaks.

For all, from every background and every religion, this is easily one of the most important books of 2012…and the future.

 

Questioning Religion January 6, 2012

During 2011 I did something on this blog that I have rarely done before: speak openly about my progressive religious views. Both of my parents came from families that were deeply religious in orthodox, literalist ways. My mother’s brother remained true to the conservative beliefs of his Baptist church until the day he died. Late in their lives my mother and her sister dared to ask themselves a few shocking questions, like, “Were Adam and Eve real people? Is Satan real? Are Eden and Hell real places?” but they too remained closely tied to their churches to the end.

My father’s parents were strict Baptists. To my knowledge, Daddy was not religious in their way, but he did attend church and sing in the choir. And I have no doubt whatsoever that his gnawing guilt over having blatantly broken the 7th Commandment had something to do with his death from a heart attack at the age of 43.

Being raised in this kind of environment naturally had an effect on me. Completely unaware of the negative side effects of my religion, I became deeply “religious” at the age of 17. But the unresolved issues of parents are always passed down to their children, and the more unconscious these issues are, the more powerfully they seek resolution in those who inherit them.

Thus, in retrospect I can see that my most pressing issues are all about trying to heal my parents and rectify their mistakes. The themes of my work are empowering femininity, (my mother aligned herself with the masculine values of “tunneling through the mountain” while repressing her feminine, feeling and nurturing, “river going around the mountain” side); and uniting masculinity and femininity (my parents divorced, after all) in my psyche, relationships, and God-image.

Anyway, back to this blog. When I finally found the courage to write openly and honestly, I discovered to my great surprise that my progressive thinking was not only accepted, but the posts from 2011 receiving the highest number of views were almost always about religion! In fact, my Dec. 14th post titled “How’s Your God-Image Working For You?” received an all-time high of 257 views in one day! Being surrounded by religious literalists for most of my life had pretty much convinced me that my views would be perceived as heretical by most people, yet every single comment in response to my religious posts has been overwhelmingly positive!

I can’t adequately express just how affirming, freeing and empowering this is. It has given me the confidence to recommend an extraordinary book I’ve just finished. I don’t do this often, but this one is simply a must-read for anyone questioning traditional religious beliefs. Written by N.M. Freeman it’s titled “The Story of Q” and is about the many ways in which people are effected by religion. It’s deceptively simple on the surface, but deeply profound, and although a fictional novel, it’s based on actual historical events. This book is truly mind-expanding and I suspect will be life-changing for many who read it. Why? Because in language anyone can understand, it blasts religious literalism right out of the water and reveals the true, historical, underlying meaning of the Bible and all religious scriptures, showing them not to be about “right belief,” but about opening to the soul’s journey through life.

If this sounds at all interesting to you, I hope you’ll give yourself a special gift this year and read “The Story of Q.” (I’ve already ordered six more copies for gifts.) And please let me know how it touches your soul. Happy New Year, dear friends, and thank you for your readership!

 

 
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