Everyday Sacred Journeys: Universe of StoriesKim Elkington November 1, 2004
A question from a reader:
“I’ve been reading about reincarnation, getting into Tarot, a little numerology etc. Could I have your thoughts on how you have “reconciled” any Christian beliefs with those of the new age?”
— Thanks, PVG
I was born to a pair of explorers. They moved through poetry and stories like some move through religious text; inspired by the beauty and mystery of life. The stories and poems I was told were not religious ones, though many of the myths were instructional in a moral sense of exposing a deep psychological duality we all wrestle with. It was the inspired vision of fellow humans that in turn, inspired me to be the best I could be, to reach out to nature as a sentient teacher and friend, to be respectful, loving and forgiving. So in this vast, barely explored multiverse, I was always drawn to views other than my own, as they increased the picture of the world I carried and made my life larger as a result.
Spiritually, I was taught that god is love and that I am a unique expression of that love. Socially I could see that institutionalized religion had created cultural beliefs (e.g. women are not worthy or equal to men spiritually) that were quite separate from the wisdom within the Bible stories. This allowed me to see institutionalized religion, like science, as powerful and informative man-made lenses that describe parts of some deeper truths.
Dominant white North American society was quite closed to anything that was outside what the local parish priest or ministry found acceptable. So as a young teen, my social perception was that Tarot and numerology were related to witches and black magic. while reincarnation was a foreign and primitive construct.
When I reached university I learned a few things that sent my mind reeling. The first was in a graduate level archaeology class at Guelph University (I have a Masters in Cultural Anthropology) where we were viewing slides of shards (fragments) found in the sands of Egypt. They were notes from the meetings when the roman emperor Constantine was planning on implementing making Rome Christian. He decided that reincarnation should be taken out of the Christian stories/ material as it would make Romans lazy if they knew they could come back, and he had a lot of building to do. I looked around at the classroom of eight people and said “this is pretty important, don’t you think this should be in the newspaper or something!?”
The academic response was that if I thought this was exciting I should see what the Dead Sea Scrolls had uncovered (and was being made difficult for the public to access by the academics studying the scrolls). The bottom line was I had to face the reality that the world that was presented to most of us was a series of stories created, recreated and retranslated to suit the needs of those in power. From here on in, I was not to accept anything at face value, but to let things resonate within me and see if they felt right.
A large part of my intellectual and spiritual openness is also inspired by science. Quantum physics acknowledges the sentient nature of the universes’ building blocks. Electrons can read and respond to our thoughts and intentions. This presents a very different view of the world. For example, a few months ago I mentioned Emoto’s work with frozen water crystals in this column, and how our intentions dramatically alter the crystal structures and health of water (the blood of the earth).
More commonly, both science and religion tend to support a fairly naïve view of the world, where humans are considered the most intelligent and complex life form that exists. A shaman said that when we realize how intelligent and complex water is, it will seem like we have been abusing an animal for years, not realizing they have a soul. Science and religion can provide answers, but for me they provide just some of the stories.
If you find yourself drawn to numerology or reincarnation, follow it and see what happens. Numerology could be simply helping you to see a pattern, or it could take you into sacred geometry and Bertrand Russell. If we walk down the paths that are presented and observe like a scientist, while keeping an open and discerning heart (our soul’s birthright as a child of the cosmic intelligence we call god), we will expand and learn to separate believing historically charged traditions from truths that are alive and meaningful to each of us. The truth tends to appear and reappear in all the stories. As Muriel Rukeyser suggests “The Universe is made of stories, not atoms.”
Kim Elkington is the co-founder of The Algonquin Tea Co, a line of quality teas made from organic wildcrafted Canadian herbs. These days, Kim works with Local Sustainably Wild-picked Canadian herbs to make organic herbal, black, green and chai tea blends. Find these products online: www.wildcanadiantea.com, or www.algonquintea.com Email Kim at: firstname.lastname@example.org