Mongooses are a species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Mongooses are commonly terrestrial and many are active during the day. Some species lead predominantly solitary lives, seeking out food only for themselves, while others travel in groups, sharing food among group members.
The Meerkat is a species of Mongoose, a small, diurnal mammal that forages for invertebrates in open country. Its behavior and small size make it enticing to larger carnivores and birds of prey. However, it can capture and consume small migrating birds.
Sugar states were established in the Caribbean during the 1600s and 1700s to exploit profits from the high demand for sugar in Europe. The Europeans brought unintended new species such as rats in ships. Initially, the rats were rife and destroyed up to a quarter of the annual crop of sugarcane.
In 1872, a Jamaican sugar planter, Mr. W. B. Espeut, imported small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) and released them on his plantation. The rat populations were reduced, so other farmers brought them to release into other areas, including Puerto Rico, Barbados and Cuba.
The Buddhist god of wealth Vaisravana, or Dzambala for Tibetans, is frequently depicted holding a mongoose that is spitting jewels from its mouth.
Theurgy describes the practice of rituals performed with the intention of invoking the action or presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine. Theurgy means ‘divine-working’.
The source of Western theurgy can be found in the philosophy of late Neoplatonists, where the spiritual Universe is regarded as a series of emanations from the One. From the One emanated the Divine Mind and in turn from the Divine Mind emanated the World Soul. Neoplatonists insisted that the One is absolutely transcendent and in the emanations nothing of the higher was lost or transmitted to the lower, which remained unchanged by the lower emanations.
Plotinus urged contemplations for those who wished to perform theurgy, the goal of which was to reunite with The Divine. Therefore, his school resembles a school of meditation or contemplation. Iamblichus of Calcis, a student of Porphyry (who was himself a student of Plotinus) taught a more ritualized method of theurgy that involved invocation and religious, as well as magical, ritual. Iamblichus believed theurgy was an imitation of the gods that endowed embodied souls with the divine responsibility of creating and preserving the cosmos.
Iamblichus’ analysis was that the transcendent cannot be grasped with mental contemplation because the transcendent is supra-rational. Theurgy is a series of rituals and operations aimed at recovering the transcendent essence by retracing the divine ‘signatures’ through the layers of being.
Prayer circles have several interpretations across different religions. The most common definition of a prayer circle is where participants simply join hands in a literal circle of prayer, often as part of a vigil. Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca will form concentric circles around the Kaaba in prayer, and these too are commonly referred to as prayer circles.
A more modern definition of the prayer circle has recently been coined, referring to a growing number of online communities where people visit certain websites in order to share their thoughts and prayers with other like minded worshippers, usually within specially designated message board areas.
With the internet’s rapid growth among all sectors of society, many faith-based peoples have found a niche on the internet where they can share their prayers, thoughts and wishes with one another. It’s not known who was the first to set up an online prayer circle, but today there are hundreds.
An online prayer circle is often a vigil set up by a participant in honor of someone close to that participant. Larger online prayer circles are also formed in honor and remembrance of the victims of notable disasters or tragedies. Though religious in tone, online prayer circles are by and large non-denominational.
Sahasrara is positioned above the head or at the top of it, and has 1000 petals which are arranged in 20 layers, each of them with 50 petals. It is the seventh primary chakra according to Hindu tradition, and symbolizes detachment from illusion, an essential element in obtaining supramental higher consciousness of the truth that one is all and all is one.
Often referred to as the thousand petaled lotus, it is said to be the most subtle chakra in the system, relating to pure consciousness, and it is from this chakra that all the other chakras emanate. When a yogi is able to raise his or her kundalini or energy of consciousness up to this point, the state of Samadhi, or union with God, is experienced. It is often related to the pineal gland and the violet color.
There are several systems, such as some Tantric and Tibetan ones, that describe chakras in or connected closely above Sahasrara, but that are still part of it as a system. One system commonly described to be in it, sharing some of its petals, is Sri chakra.
In the West, it has been noted by many that Sahasrara expresses a similar archetypal idea to that of Kether or “crown” in the kabbalistic tree of life, which also rests at the head of the tree and represents pure consciousness and union with God.
Towering cumulus clouds, also known as cumulus congestus, are characteristic of unstable areas of the atmosphere which are undergoing thermal convection, or the movement of molecules within gases and fluids. They are often characterized by sharp outlines and significant vertical development.
Because cumulus congestus is produced by strong updrafts, it is typically taller than it is wide, and cloud tops can reach 20,000 feet or higher in the tropics. The cloud consists mainly of water droplets. At its top, the water droplets are transformed into ice crystals, but for cumulus congestus the content of ice crystals is small and freezing is in early stages, so cloud top still looks round and puffy.
A pillar of cloud was one of the manifestations of God of the Israelites in the Old Testament. According to Exodus, the pillar of cloud guided the Israelites by day during the Exodus from Egypt. The pillar of cloud is traditionally paired with the the manifestation of God by night as the pillar of fire, which provided light. With these two forms of God leading the way, the Israelites “could travel by day or night”.
Seicho-no-Ie, is a syncretic, nondenominational, monotheistic religion, one of the new religious movements in Japan that have spread since the end of World War II. It emphasizes gratitude for nature, the family and the ancestors and, above all, faith in one universal God. It inherits its basic characteristics from Buddhism, Christianity and Shinto. Seicho-no-Ie is the world’s largest New Thought group.
In 1930, Dr. Masaharu Taniguchi, working as an English translator, published the first issue of what he called his non-denominational truth movement magazine, which he named Seicho-no Ie to help teach others of his revelations. This was followed by forty volumes of his Truth of Life philosophy by 1932. Over the next forty years he published an additional four hundred-odd books and toured many countries in Europe, South America, and North America with his wife Teruko, to lecture on his revelations personally.
Founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, and his brother Fenwicke L. Holmes, were of great assistance to Dr.Taniguchi. Fenwicke L. Holmes traveled to Japan and co-authored several books, one cornerstone book being the Science of Faith.
Seicho-No-Ie is a way of life worshiping all creations such as plants, animals and minerals, as manifestations of Buddha based on the idea of being grateful to everything in the universe. Today, in the face of global environmental issues, it is believed that practicing Seicho-No-Ie teachings has significant meaning for our times. Based on this conviction, Seicho-No-Ie actively promotes measures for global environmental conservation through widely disseminating the teachings of “All is One.”
A seraph is one of a class of celestial beings mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Jewish imagery perceived them as having human form, and in that way they passed into the ranks of Christian angels. In the angelic hierarchy, seraphim represent the highest rank of angels. The Seraphim make their first appearance in the Book of Revelation.
As they were developed in the theology, seraphim are envisioned as beings of pure light having direct communication with God. They resonate with the fire symbolically attached to both purification and love. Saraph in all its forms is used to connote a burning, fiery state. Seraphim, as classically depicted, can be identified by their having six wings radiating from the angel’s face at the center. The Seraphim and the Cherubim are, in Christian theology, two separate types of angels. The descriptions of the Seraphim, Cherubim and Ophanim are often similar, but still distinguishable.
The seraphim took on a mystic role in Pico della Mirandola’s Oration on the Dignity of Man (1487), the epitome of Renaissance humanism. Pico took the fiery Seraphim – “they burn with the fire of charity” – as the highest models of human aspiration, in the first flush of optimistic confidence in the human capacity that is the coinage of the Renaissance. “In the light of intelligence, meditating upon the Creator in His work, and the work in its Creator, we shall be resplendent with the light of the Cherubim. If we burn with love for the Creator only, his consuming fire will quickly transform us into the flaming likeness of the Seraphim.”
Kikayon is the Hebrew name of a plant mentioned in the biblical Book of Jonah. God causes the plant to grow over Jonah’s shelter to give him some shade from the sun. Later, God causes a worm to bite the plant’s root and it withers. Jonah, now being exposed to the full force of the sun, becomes faint and desires that God take him out of the world.
The kikayon is only referenced in the book of Jonah and there is some question as to what kind of plant it is. Some hypotheses include a gourd and a castor oil plant. The concurrent Hebrew usage of the word refers to the castor oil plant.
It has been theorized that the description may indicate an entheogenic mushroom such as fly agaric. Mushrooms grow and wither very rapidly, were uncultivated in ancient times due to the invisibility of mushroom spores to the naked eye, and in some cultures the fly agaric mushroom is associated with and named after an umbrella or parasol because of its shape.
Paradoxically, the red cap of fly agaric was also associated with the sun due to its round shape and color. When the mushroom cap is dried its color changes from red to gold, like the sun rising in the sky. The sun beating on Jonah’s head and causing him to become faint describes the effects of fly agaric intoxication.
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularized in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige. According to Otto the numinous experience has two aspects: mysterium tremendum, which is the tendency to invoke fear and trembling; and mysterium fascinans, the tendency to attract, fascinate and compel.
The numinous experience also has a personal quality to it, in that the person feels to be in communion with a wholly other. The numinous experience can lead in different cases to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent.
Mysterium tremendum is described in The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley in the following terms:
“The literature of religious experience abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face to face with some manifestation of the mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to the incompatibility between man’s egotism and the divine purity, between man’s self-aggravated separateness and the infinity of God.”
Nostalgia for paradise was a term used by Mircea Eliade to help bring understanding to the numinous. This idea was based on the theory that a person has a sort of longing for perfection or paradise, which creates a platform for experience of the numinous.
Carlos Castaneda deals with a related concept in his books dealing with a particular Native American tradition of sorcery. According to the teacher Don Juan, there is just such an inconceivable dimension of human existence whose presence may be sensed but neither grasped by the senses or any rational framework. He refers to this as the Nagual. This Nagual is a power that may be harnessed by a man of knowledge, the shaman or sorcerer who has undergone an arduous spiritual training.
It may be viewed as the intense feeling of unknowingly knowing that there is something which cannot be seen. This knowing can befall or overcome a person at any time and in any place – in a cathedral; next to a silent stream; on a lonely road; early in the morning or in the face of a beautiful sunset.
Kenosis is a Greek word for emptiness, which is used as a theological term. It is the concept of the self-emptying of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and its perfect will. It is used both as an explanation of the Incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God’s activity and condescension.
An apparent dilemma arises when Christian theology posits a God outside of time and space, who enters into time and space to become human. The doctrine of Kenosis attempts to explain what the Son of God chose to give up in terms of his divine attributes in order to assume human nature. Since the incarnate Jesus is simultaneously fully human and fully divine, Kenosis holds that these changes were temporarily assumed by God in his incarnation, and that when Jesus ascended back into heaven following the resurrection, he fully reassumed all of his original attributes and divinity.
Specifically it refers to attributes of God that are thought to be incompatible with becoming fully human. For example, God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience as well as his aseity, eternity, infinity, impassibility and immutability. The Orthodox Mystical Theology of the East emphasises following the example of Christ. Kenosis is only possible through humility and presupposes that one seeks union with God. The Poustinia tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church is one major expression of this search.
Kenosis is not only a Christological issue in Orthodox theology, it has moreover to do with Pneumatology, namely to do with the Holy Spirit. Kenosis, relative to the human nature, denotes the continual epiklesis and self-denial of one’s own human will and desire. With regards to Christ, there is a kenosis of the Son of God, a condescension and self sacrifice for the redemption and salvation of all humanity. Humanity can also participate in God’s saving work through theosis; becoming holy by grace.
Another perspective is the idea that God is self-emptying. He poured out himself to create the cosmos and the universe, and everything within it. Therefore, it is our duty to pour out ourselves. This is similar to C.S. Lewis’s statement in Mere Christianity that a painter pours his ideas out in his work, and yet remains quite a distinct being from his painting. In so doing, we become deified like God. Another term for this process is theosis.