Sunday, July 28, 2019

Dreaming and Espiritismo

Long before I knew what Espiritismo was, or had any interest in it, I was a dreamer. I still am. I can in fact recall the time when my dreams decided to initiate me into another world in earnest. That marked my first glimmer of awareness of something more.

I was about 9 years old, and had gone through several days of illness. It wasn't the first time, nor the last. It was however the occasion in which my dreams were carried to a new level. 

At that time, largely bedridden, and with a touch of fever which at least seemed to spike the intensity of the dreams, I embarked on a series of dreams that took me from familiar places to underground worlds and Oz-like scenes of wonder and adventure. It was then that I first experienced solo flight (without any mechanical assistance) and serial dreams which resumed night after night.

Dreams have, a half century later never deserted me. They remain the method by which, despite initiations into various religious and magical traditions, and study of various forms of divination, spirit communicates with me in ways I find most satisfying. 

In dreams, both at night and while awake, the spirits that walk with me communicate, often at length. Spirits have come to teach as well. There was an old Congo who taught me in front of his nkisi on the floor, a class I attended on literal shape shifting (which still requires discipline at the dinner table in waking life) and a woman in a business suit who came to teach me how to throw bones. Dreaming is for me, and for many who practice Espiritismo and Bantu religions, the most consistant means of communion with spirit. 

As one of my spirits remarked once, "When we descend in possession, we visit your world, but when you dream, you visit ours."

TODAY ONLY: To schedule a reading to find out which spirits walk with you in Espiritismo Cruzado, pm Eoghan Craig Ballard on Facebook Messenger to get the particulars. If you pay today (Sun. July 28, 2019) I will extend a $25 discount off my regular fee for a one hour reading.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

IN IT TO WIN IT: Olga Ballard's Cancer Fundraiser

Help Olga Ballard fight Stage III Breast Cancer

Olga has lived in the United States for 20 years, having moved here from Cuba to marry her husband Eoghan, an Irish-American whom she met when he was doing research for his degree in Cuba in the 1990s. Over the years they covered the expenses for her parent’s health care during their final illnessses back in Cuba, including her mother’s cancer. As a result, when Olga was diagnosed with Stage III ductal carcinoma, we were not in the financial condition that we were previously.

Having had a lumpectomy for a benign tumor several years earlier, when Olga felt a soreness in her breast again, she did not wait to be examined. The initial results indicated there was no sign of cancer, but the soreness returned. Yet another test showed nothing. However, this spring, suddenly her breast developed a persistent red swelling. This time testing indicated stage III invasive ductal carcinoma.

The Challenges and Changes of Breast Cancer

 Olga has had to put her school on hold while she gets treatment, and is grateful that the medical office in which she works has been incredibly supportive, otherwise she could not manage. Eoghan is working part time so he can be available to support Olga during her chemo sections and doctor’s visits. The insurance that covers her treatments is dependent upon her ability to continue working. Having moved on with Cuban family, has helped to make costs a little more manageable.

While the initial news is extremely encouraging, more funds than we have hope of earning at this time will be needed. Between costly chemotherapy and related treatment, expected radical mastectomy for both breasts and reconstructive surgery, also a total hysterectomy, there will be no savings to turn to for any reason, expected or otherwise. For all these reasons, a Go Fund Me campaign seemed the only choice, and all recommended this course of action.

Our Appeal

We are asking for the generosity of friends and strangers alike. This is something that can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t take into consideration your ability to pay for it, and medical bills aren’t prorated.

Please contribute financially what you can whether small or large. All funds are going toward Olga’s treatment, recovery, and related costs. Olga and Eoghan thank you in advance for any help you offer. We assure you that without you, we will find it more challenging. All the encouragement and support have helped, and we are touched. However, we reluctantly ask for this help.

Click Here To Contribute To Olga Ballard's Fundraiser

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Afro-Masonry of the Primitive Rite of Umbanda

Sovereign Sanctuary of Brazilian Afro-Masonry

The Afro-Masonry of the Primitive Rite of Umbanda can be defined as an Occult, Real and Living Spiritually Operative Initiation.

It should be Understood that the term Hidden Order is meant to describe a discreet Order, one that does not practice proselytism;
The term occultism refers to the study of the Occult sciences, especially African traditions.

The real and living spiritual operative initiation is the first objective of the order, which focuses on the quality of its members over quantity. We do not propagate honors, merits or ostentatious titles. On the contrary, we promote the spirit of humility that opposes the exaltation of the ego and human vanity. 

The first work of the initiate in the Order is the polishing of the Rough Ashlar, transmuting the Seven Vices or Sins into their corresponding Seven Virtues.

The Primitivo Rito Umbandista is a helio-lunar rite, that is, we accept in our ranks men and women who are noble, of good manners and who yearn for true and real initiation, which brings tangible results in their lives and enables their reintegration into the spiritual world - the heart of the omnipresent.

Afro-Freemasonry was drafted in the 1980s by Umbandistas, who were initiated in Western Traditions, such as Freemasonry, Rosa + Cruz, Martinism, the Gnostic Church, OKRC, Elus Cohen, etc. However, due to the prejudice at the time regarding Afro-Brazilian traditions, especially Umbanda and Candomblé, this project did not advance, remaining guarded and preserved until the best moment to return to light and be implanted in Brazilian lands, under order and direct guardianship of the astral.

It was on September 9, 2017, at Senzala, in the East of Guarulhos, SP, at 3:30 p.m., that NOVE brothers performed the installation of the Brazilian Afro-Masonry of the Rito Primitivo Umbandista, where under the direct supervision of the Astral, the Caboclo Ventania and Vovo Benedito da Calunga made manifest in the center of the temple, under the steadfastness of the seven Orixás, the marked point of strength and protection of the Lodge, which was named after its patron, protector and august spiritual mentor, the Respectable Masonic Lodge "CABOCLO VENTANIA" nº 01.

Not coincidentally that same day, month, year and hour, as well as number of brothers demonstrates the harmony and synchronicity of the astral in this memorable event.

Day Nine - (9)
Month September - (9)
Nine Brothers - (9)
Fifteen hours and thirty minutes - (15:30 = 1 + 5 + 3 + 0 = 9)
Year of Two Thousand and Seventeen - (2017 = 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 10 or 1)

The Nine is the number of true initiation, it is the Hermit of the Tarot which guides with the lamp of his wisdom;
The number TEN or UM represents the beginning, it is the IOD, it is the Tarot Magician that connects the top to the bottom. Because the theosophical sum results in the number DEZ, this represents the beginning of a second cycle, since the beginning of the first cycle is represented by the number ONE. Therefore it is a new cycle, which in the Tarot is represented by the blade 10, the Wheel.

Further explanations on Tarot, Kabbalistic numerology and other occult sciences, which explain the advent of Afro-Freemasonry, will be taught and developed within the Order.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Brother Karen tells it like it is!

It is so rare that someone comes along and writes something refreshing about Freemasonry. It is even more rare that someone is willing to actually speak the truth. That is of course what has always appealed to me about Brother Karen Kidd. She's not only smarter than your average mason, but when she gets some foolishness in her sight, she speaks the truth.

One aspect of Freemasonry that is stressed in all the literature on the Craft is that Freemasons are supposed to maintain the highest standards of behavior and character. None of that seems to apply to any Freemason who is a member of a Masonic Obedience that is not recognized by their own, however.

I have yet to see any "irregular" who took his or her Masonic vows seriously, who didn't show respect toward the overwhelming majority of different obediences. So, it is continuously tiring not to mention disappointing that so many who have initiated into the fraternity are so immature in this matter.

What a breath of fresh air then, when Brother Karen speaks what many of us in the rest of Freemasonry are thinking.

So, without further ado:

Shite the Malecraft say and how I answer when I'm bothered about it.

That pretty much sums it all up! Thank you Karen for telling it like it is, and I'm sorry it took me a couple of months to post this.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Rough Ashlar No. 27: Paraphrasing an Old Adage for a New Day.

In recent months I have watched discussions in various Masonic forums. Perhaps things are indeed spiraling downwards toward new levels of ridiculousness within the craft, or perhaps it is simply that with the increasingly serious level of dystopia that passes for our public lives these days, I simply am seeing more absurdity in everything. I'm not at all certain which is the case, though it seems completely credible to me that it is a bit of both.

Whichever is the truth, today I have witnessed several conversations online that leave me more than a little bemused. I am accustomed to non-masons being attracted to open Masonic groups like moths to a flame. Some come with a sincere desire to learn and more than a few legitimate questions. Others post, often incoherently about Illuminati, and similar themes.

It has always saddened and puzzled me why the legitimate Masons seem all too often as uninformed about such topics as the crackpots are. Gradually, I've come to the conclusion that between the ignorance and the all too often crude behavior displayed by brethren online, that there are as many crackpots within the lodge as without.

On more than one occasion in the past month I have found myself offering the observation in such groups that "You may lead a brother to wisdom, but you cannot make him think."

I am just going to leave that there.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Rough Ashlar No.26: I'm Just Saying!

When Masons begin to concern themselves with how well they themselves are mastering the lessons of the Craft and stop judging Masons of other Obediences, the decline in membership will end. Then, and only then, will Freemasonry prosper.

The sectarian bickering which has become the mainstay of Modern Freemasonry is its own demise. There is an old saying which all who know anything of American history should be familiar, which states "Together we stand, divided we fall." If we cannot learn to ignore minor differences of protocol, nobody has reason to call us anything but old fools.

We are in the 21st Century, folks. When will we begin to wake up and smell the coffee? I'm just saying!

Friday, February 8, 2019

More Visionary Art from Jens Rusch

If you are at all connected to contempory Freemasonry, you are certain to have seen the artwork of Jens Rusch. It has justifiably gained much attention and praise, and he continues to be the most visionary and skilled artists to focus on Masonic themes.

 It's hard to get enough of Jens Rusches art, and and harder still too tear your eyes away from it when you start looking.

So when he contacted me the other day about some of his art that graces the blog page, I asked if I could do a post to highlight his work. He graciously sent me some samples to post. So, I am happily posting some of his wonderful Masonic Art.

I also took the opportunity to visit his website again today. I should note that for those brethren who are unaware of it, Jens also has some amazing non-masonic art.

Do yourself a favor, go check it out. I know he has some good opportunities available for you to own one of his pieces! You should!

Jens was born on April 26, 1950 in the fishing village of Neufeld/Dithmarschen, in Germany. He pursued craft vocational training from 1964 to 1967, and  studied under  the tutorship of Norman Rockwell and Robert Fawcett.