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Friday, October 27, 2017

cathartic

The word cathartic is from a Greek verb meaning to cleanse as well as to purge, which is based on an adjective meaning pure. As a noun, cathartic means a medicine that purges. This ties in with being holy and the idea of holiness being lost in the bowels of history as referring to a state of emptiness. This may also shed some light upon the etymology of the Christian sect known as Cathars who were persecuted, massacred, and driven underground by the Inquisitors of the medieval Catholic Church. 

The Ayahuasca experience as I have detailed in my writings is supremely cathartic in mind and body. There is a physical element of purging and within this element comes a feeling of releasing mental states and blockages that are holding you back or no longer serving you. At the forefront of my experiences has always been the Great Goddess. It has been hard to not notice in my progress that the more I emptied my mind the more the medicine could and would help. When I did not quiet my mind the experience tended towards the dark and chaotic. This had a tendency to repeat over and over in ceremonies, akin to getting hit on the head with a hammer repeatedly until you finally stop doing it. 

The idea of being pure and holy has taken a few years to grasp. My western cultural roots are grounded in Judaeo-Christian values and beliefs and the exhortation towards holiness conjured thoughts and images of an impossibly pious and chaste life. The Semitic root of holy found in the Old Testament is qodesh and in the Levant qodesh can also refer to a goddess. This goddess, known as Qudshu, shares many attributes that have as their ultimate derivation the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor.

Qudshu wearing the headdress of Hathor
CC BY-SA 2.0 fr
Artist Unknown Description Stele featuring Egyptian and foreign gods: Qetesh (Syria), Min (Egypt), Resheph (Egypt) [1] Painting of limestome Dimensions 31.50 cm high, 18.80 cm wide, 6.50 cm deep Current location (Inventory)Louvre Museum   Native name Musée du Louvre Location Paris Coordinates 48° 51′ 37″ N, 2° 20′ 15″ E    Established 1793 Website www.louvre.fr Authority control VIAF: 257711507 ISNI: 0000 0001 2260 177X ULAN: 500125189 LCCN: n80020283 NLA: 35912436 WorldCat Sully, 1er étage, Le Nouvel Empire, Salle 28 Accession number C 86 Source/Photographer Rama

Hathor, among many attributes and epithets, is the Goddess of Love - sensual, exotic, erotic, compassionate, and motherly, as well as the Mistress of Intoxication. How does this reconcile with being pure and holy? The answer boils down to understanding the trappings of culture. The idea of purity became conflated with being chaste and virginal somewhere in our Victorian prudish past. I finally understood qodesh and holiness to mean emptiness; a state as an empty chalice free of cultural bias and preconceptions, with the mind being like a cottage lake calm at dawn. It wasn't long after that I was able to tie this idea into practices such as meditation where the goal is to turn off the world, and stop the noise and the chatter in the skull. Looking back on my forays into states of altered consciousness I realized how important it is to do just this - turn off the mind. The active mind in such an psychically open state is ultimately toxic and this lesson repeatedly beat me over the head in many ceremonies. I called it and still refer to my time in ceremony at SpiritQuest fondly as being the 'school of hard knocks'. When the mind is silenced this accomplishment leads to the magic happening. That is what the Great Goddess was instructing us to do through being 'holy'.