My Sweetie is catching up on reading the blog entries here, as we’ve been without internet at home for a week. Such is life, living out here “on the edge” – utilities are not taken for granted.
In response to the entry, Help, Sweetie wrote me the following email:
Thinking about the “Help” entry, I think you were lucky. In that you just felt like it was ok to talk to *whoever*.
What I struggled with when I was younger was not so much *whether or not* I was talking to John. (Because I experienced that whole synchronicity thing too, where I was hearing Beatles songs everywhere I went, as well as having song lyrics from various artists drop into my head that would inevitably relate to what I was doing at any given time — not to mention that the things he told me were just obviously not things that I would or could’ve told myself). The thing that I struggled with was whether or not I *should* be talking to John.
I had this inner conflict going on where I was like:
“Am I actually *praying* to John Lennon?”
“…Am I *allowed* to do that?”
“…I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to do that”.
Because in Catholic-land there’s only, like, a few people that you’re really allowed to talk to: there’s Jesus, Mary, God (which is really just Jesus anyway because of the whole Trinity thing), St. Francis, St. Anthony (if you’ve lost something), St. Christopher (if you’re travelling), maybe St. Peter (if you know someone’s on their way to Heaven and you’re worried they might not get in), and the Archangel Michael. That’s really about it. Even Mary’s sort of pushing it because she’s just a mortal woman, not actually a saint at all.
You don’t talk to your cat (and I *did* talk to my cat, he just never talked to me), and definitely not to dead pop stars.
And there was no one I could really ask about this either without outing myself about this (my friends already thought my obsession with him was peculiar and unhealthy), and I couldn’t really ask John himself about it and expect an unbiased answer. So.
And the conflict continued:
“But you’re an athiest! There’s no Hell. There’s no Heaven. There’s no *God* — it doesn’t matter”
“Are you sure? If there’s a Hell, you’re totally going, blasphemer. You’ can’t pray to pop stars. It’s in the Commandments”
“Okay, well I guess I don’t *know* that there isn’t a Hell… I haven’t *been* there. I haven’t died yet, obviously”
“Ok. Well, that’s a gamble, isn’t it?”
You were pretty lucky to not be burdened with any of that stuff. Spirituality is kind of like math, in that it’s intuitively pretty easy to understand as long as you don’t have a lot of people around you telling you that it’s wrong.
Very true, Sweetie. I had a spiritually-priviledged upbringing, indeed. Thank heaven for my hippy parents, who both left formal religion behind before they had children.
Our email conversation continued. This next bit referrs to another reccomendation by John to Sweetie asking her to take another look at the work of “masters” whom she’d written off previously for good reason. He suggested that perhaps, if she looked again, she might find something of value, and here’s one thing:
Diotima (the woman philosopher) in Plato’s Symposium describes spirits as “intermediaries” between the gods and mortals. Like, that’s their role. They send messages to earth from the gods, and they bring human prayers to heaven.
Of COURSE we’re supposed to talk to them!
I will interject here with the words of our eagle friend: “I am a sacred messenger. I bring human prayers to heaven.”
OF COURSE we’re supposed to talk to animals!
So I asked Sweetie, “I don’t understand. Why is it not okay to talk to whoever you want?”
Well, you’re allowed to talk to God. But there’s a sort of understanding that God doesn’t answer in words, it’s just like putting in a work order or something. God will do it if He has time and feels that you’re deserving. (Which was why I was so shocked when John actually *answered* — I’m like, “What?? Oh… you’re here??? Um… HI!” D: )
As for prayers, they’re a form of reverence and as such are reserved for holy figures. Besides which, talking to spirits is a kind of “occult” practice, so that’s a big no-no. Believing in spirits is kind of a no-no. Everyone’s in Heaven — and they love you — but they can’t be reached there.
The thing where you’re not supposed to worship any other gods, or false idols excludes the option of showing the kind of reverence reserved for prayer, to non-holy figures. Especially stuff like life advice — that’s totally God’s domain. (Or this was my understanding of the faith, at any rate).
Which might shed more light on the whole “bigger than Jesus” thing, and why it made people *really* nuts. 😉