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Friday, October 1, 2010

Gaia Moves to Intrepid Asia

A Javanese volcano protrudes from the clouds on the return journey to Sydney

We completed the journey uneventfully in an airbus A380 which three weeks later blew an engine on the same run causing a major grounding and service replacement on a number of 380s. As of 2014, we are about to set off back to Asia which you can follow in our Intrepid Asia with Flashbacks blog.

Being the only 65 year old in the planet that did an overland through Latin America within a week of getting mugged and hit and run and having a broken hip paid off okay in medical terms as despite the rigours of the journey it had just healed enough by our return to be able to walk carefully unaided and four years in is causing no trouble at all. The broken leg is 6-8 mm shorter (it looks a bit shorter even from the post-operation x-ray although the implant does allow for further compaction to ensure the bones knit), and my shoe needs a rubber pad, but I was out of crutches from the day I returned and could do things like climbing on the roof to repair winter leaks. Had we flown back, we would have likely lost $10,000 US in air and other bookings and ended up doing nothing for three winter months. Continuing was difficult and risky, but it paid off in terms of a great experience and an exciting way to convalesce.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jerusalem Millennium

The Dome of the Rock from the Mount of Olives

Now here's a time travel time warp chapter back 10 years from this year's visit recounted in Twelve Gates to the City to a time before the current intifada, the schizm between Fatah and Hamas and the building of the wall - a hopeful time when you could traverse Israel and the West Bank without undue hindrance.

My previous visit to Jerusalem was during the millennium, to participate in a 12 day teach-in about religion, gender and the future of biodiversity, as an invited speaker participating in millennium celebrations there, so this posting is not just about a tourist visit, but about time spent giving a workshop and performing some subterranean rites of passage designed to set an example of how the apocalyptic quest could lead to an ecosystemic paradisiacal outcome for us all and our descendants, rather than scorched-Earth tumult and religion driven warfare.

In the event, partly because the whole idea of the Millennium is a Christian notion, the big funding fell through and we ended up having a much smaller celebration, which was nevertheless both charming and provocative.

The Russian Orthodox Magdalen Church

The two together from the Mount of Olives

For most of the time I participated in a series of discussion groups at the Academy of Jerusalem invited by Yitzhak Hayut-man, centered on restoring the sacred feminine and engendering a sustainable ecosystemic future for the Earth and its generations, in the face of the violent scorched Earth apocalypses of traditional patriarchal monotheistic religion.

Many of these discussions, with a variety of liberal Rabbis and Jewish female spokespeople, involved the presence of the feminine in Jewish beliefs and traditions, centering on the Kabbalistic notion of the Shekinah as the feminine aspect of the divine, celebrated in matrimonial concord - the abstract remnant of the Goddess known by various names, from ancient Asherah who was thrown out of the temple by Josiah and her sacred tree burned in the Vale of Kidron, through Hochmah or Wisdom of Proverbs, to Sophia of the Early Christians.

Snow falling on the Wailing Wall

Snow on the temple compound and environs

The Academy was a small apartment complex in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City set on a bridge overlooking Chain Street - the main souk running down to the entrance of Al-Aqsa, providing almost 24-hour coverage of the life of the Old City and its diverse inhabitants. You can see several bridge house like this one in the 2010 blog "Twelve gates to the City".

A series of images of the souks

The Gates of Mercy closed with rubble by the Muslims
to prevent the return of the Mashiach

Opening the gates as in Ezekiel

The Muslims have kept the Gates of Mercy closed and filled with rubble for centuries for fear that someone posing as the mashiach, or messiah, might pass through the gates because of a passage in Ezekiel 46. This is because Muslims want to claim that Muhammad is the final seal of the prophets, hence Muslims persecute and kill Bahais and Ahmadis because they claim their prophets conveyed a newer, fresher vision. This failure to let the world and humanity evolve and progress is counterproductive, so I spent some time documenting pronouncing the liberation of this impediment.

Here is one at night outside the Gates:

"This is a piece of bread. This is the bread of life if you like. Now I'm sitting at the portico. There is no exact portico here. There's a small iron wicket fence with some of the grave stones inside. I'm not intruding here. I'm inviting. I'm not transgressing. I am offering. The way of healing for Islam and for the whole world lies in reconciliation. In Ezekiel it says the prince will eat bread in the porch of the gate and come in and go out, pass through by the gate. This passing through is the release of humanity from bondage in liberation."

Now let's follow our way into the centre of the cyclone and have a look inside the old temple compound and the Dome of the Rock.

Muslim worshipers heading down the souk to Al Aqsa for Friday prayers
Up to 250,000 attend. This is substantially a political initiative for Palestine.

A completely veiled niqab-clad woman among the throng

The Dome of the Rock from the temple compound

A young Muslim dude giving a religious diatribe to a crowd of veiled women

The garden of the temple compound is filled with olive trees

Chris with the Gates of Mercy in the background

A series of images of the Dome of the Rock and its interior
made in the arboreal paradigm of paradise by Sufi craftsmen.

The rock itself

Worshipers unroll Torah scrolls at the Wailing Wall

Ultra-orthodox Jewish men and boys dancing in a circle by the Wailing Wall

Machine guns for protection

Images of the Sanctuaries of the flagellation of Jesus

Images of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Images of the Russian Orthodox Magdalen Church on the Mount of Olives

Portrait of Magdalen holding the egg, which had turned red, before the Romans,
supposedly an omen of Jesus' blood.

Images of the all night celebration above the Mount of Olives on Millennium Eve

On the night during which Millennium Eve began at midnight, Yitzhak Hayutman, Devorah Brous and others organized a beautiful all-night celebration with Hebrew folk music and recitations from each of the assembled circle, culminating in blowing the shofar at dawn, and releasing balloons with peace messages over the Old City. Again the theme was the sacred feminine, Shekhinah and the perrennial reflowering of the Tree of Life for Earths future.

I sang the Hymn to the Epoch, which was recut in Jerusalem, with the addition of Tania Suskind on violin and Jane King and Sarah Tov on background vocals.

The Gates of Compassion, temple compound and Dome from the celebration site

Spontaneous incantations. Top Right: Devorah Brous on unity "1+1=1 One is to one as one".
Bottom left: Eliyahu's blessing of the collective mashiach. Bottom right: The anointing reading.

Jane and I made a poetic scriptural incantation, transforming the Isaiah 61 passage which Jesus read in his first sermon at Nazareth into a sacred marriage rite, whose theme, in the shadow of Isaiah's own words is the ecosystemic restoration of the old wastes and the renewal of the perennial garden of paradise:

The anointing reading set to the "Gaia Suite" by Rohan King in mp3

The spirit of God is upon us
the spirit of Gaia is within us
because they hath anointed us
to sing good tidings unto the meek
they hath sent us to bind up the brokenhearted
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and the opening of prison to them that are bound
to proclaim the acceptable year
to comfort all that mourn
to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion
in Palestine, in Sidon, in Syria, Arabia and the world
to give unto them beauty for ashes
the oil of joy for mourning
the garments of love for the spirit of heaviness
that they might be called trees of compassion
the planting of the divine
that all might be glorified
in the abundance of wisdom
and we shall renew the old wastes
and we shall restore the former desolations
and we shall repair the waste cities
the desolations of many generations
they hath clothed us with the garments of salvation
and I as a bridegroom decketh myself with ornaments
and I as a bride adorneth myself with jewels
for as the Earth bringeth forth her bud
and as the garden causeth the things that are sewn in it to spring forth
so shall harmony and fulfillment spring forth
among all the nations
this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Amen Ah woman!

Eliyahu McLean, before blowing the shofar at dawn, pronounced the collective Mashiach in all of us:

“We are here together the collective mashiach and our vision here tonight will spread peace in our hearts and peace on the City of Peace below Yeru-shalom Jerusalem and bisrata shem in Jah Allah we’ll be as a light and a source for peace in the whole world and in the whole universe”

Three audio tracks from the Celebration:
Hymn to the Epoch with Incantations and Eiyahu's blessing

Fire Juggling

Candles for the dawn

Millennium Eve sunrise

Yitzhak Hayut-man greeting the new dawn

Chris at a dance party Millennium Eve night

Palestinian children giving the V on the Mount of Olives millennium night

One small rocket flash over the Old City at Midnight
viewed from the Mount of Olives hypothetical 'ascension site'.

Wild celebration in Bethlehem including, releasing 1000 doves who were
smashing into the buildings to avoid the fireworks
and were summarily feathered and eaten by the residents.

The Garden of Gethsemane (left) on the Mount of Olives

Making our procession to declare the Gates of Mercy open

On the Epiphany, Yitzhak, Jane and I, together with a small party of 13 others pronounced the conceptual opening of the Gates of Mercy below the blocked portico:

'And your gates shall be open continually
they shall not be closed day or night
the glory of Lebanon shall come to you
the juniper the box tree and the cypress together’ (Isa 60)

Jane and I pronouncing the sacred marriage at the Wailing Wall

We then proceeded through the souks to the Wailing Wall where we pronounced the sacred union in the words of the Song of Songs:

I sleep but my heart waketh : it is the voice of of my beloved that knocketh,
saying open to me my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled :
for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
My beloved put his hand in the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
I rose up to open to my beloved and my hands dropped with myrrh,
and my fingers with sweet-smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm:
for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave:
the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.

Giving a talk on the sacred marriage and the future of biodiversity at the Academy of Jerusalem

In the evening I gave a seminar on the future of biodiversity and the paradigm of the tree of life.

You can see a version of the scientific gist of this talk in the Biocosmology seminar on YouTube.

There is a natural progression from this to the Cosmology of Sexual Paradox talk in Jerusalem 2010.

In the evening I gave a talk about the evolutionary future of the planet's biodiversity, the threat to it from scorched Earth religion and business as usual exploitation, and its relationship to restoring the mutual sovereignty in sexual, and social relationships between women and men.

The environs of Miriam's well with wildlife

Later Hanna-Elise took us to the environs of Miriam's well on the outskirts of Jerusalem where there was abundant wildlife, including a mongoose and hence snakes, crocuses, wild asparagus, hawthorn, cyclamen and other plants.

A 1000 fold women's celebration of Ella the Goddess which Jane attended while we were there.

Jane attended a 1000 strong celebration of Ella - the ancient word for Goddess just as El stands for "God".