"Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. "
-Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Personal Gnosis Responsibilities Part 2:

By Raven Kaldera

The Message Bearer

Sometimes, as we’ve said, the message from the Spirits is for you and you alone. Sometimes that’s pretty clear, but other times people want to share that message – perhaps because they want to know if this sort of thing has happened to other people, or because it’s so life-changing that they just can’t keep it inside themselves. Sometimes the message even comes with the dictum: Share this. Put it out where others can see. The Message Bearer might write about it, or talk about it in workshops or discussion groups. In this case, the Message Bearer has the responsibility of acknowledging in the writing or the discussion that this is their own personal message, their own gnosis. They need not apologize for it, and one clear acknowledgment should be enough.

The problem comes in when the Message Bearer brings their personal gnosis to their religious group and asks to have it integrated into group practice and values. Sometimes the message may even be something concerning the group practice itself, which always has the potential to be controversial. While we’ve already established that a group needs to have a clear process by which to judge people’s personal gnosis, the Message Bearer is not devoid of responsibility for how the process goes.

If the Gods and spirits have given you a message and indicated that you must take that message to other people, you have been given a sacred trust, and you must not abuse the trust that They have in you. Certain obligations will be landing on your head, and if you shirk them, you will be dishonoring their gift of knowledge. If you’re a spirit-worker – if you’re the one with the “spirit-phone” who gets messages on a regular basis – you have an extra obligation to be scrupulous about these obligations, because you’re going to be in this situation a lot, and you’d better learn to get it right.

1. First, cross-check your information. Get divination on the matter. We suggest getting readings on the subject from two different people – one who understands your spiritual situation and is sympathetic, and one who is distant and does not know or care about your situation. If they differ, something’s wrong. Discard the reading that is the one closest to what you want to hear, and try another one with a similar person. If you still get differing results, replace the other diviner and try again with someone similar. If there’s no cohesion after all this, put the matter aside and pray, asking the Gods and spirits to send clarity. Don’t try anything with the information for at least three months.

2. In order to best carry out the trust that the Gods and spirits have placed in you, you have an obligation to pass the message along in the way that will get it heard most effectively. If you simply throw it out and your target audience doesn’t get the message, or gets it wrong and becomes angry with you, you’ve failed in the Gods’ mission and dishonored the message that they trusted you with. Getting something heard most effectively may require using language that is familiar and respectable to the target group, or speaking from a persona that is nonthreatening to them and emphasizes what you have in common. It may mean giving out part of the message and creating a foundation that might eventually support the rest of it. It might mean intimately studying the attitudes and biases of your target audience, or seeking help from sympathetic members for ways to craft the “packaging” of the message. While the Gods don’t want you to compromise the meaning, effectively carrying out their trust may mean coming as close to that line as is humanly possible in your attempts to make it hear-able to them.

3. Ask not only whether you got the message clearly, but whether you are the best person to pass it along. We all like to think that we’re special, but it may be that you’re meant to pass it to someone who your target audience will be more likely to listen to. That may require some swallowing of pride, but the Gods are less concerned with your pride and more concerned with getting things done properly.

4. Be clear on who your target audience is. If it’s “people in general” or “random unknown people out there who are in the same situation as me,” your obligation is correspondingly less. You should indicate in your spoken or written message that this material is intended for that audience, and that it is your own personal gnosis, and that’s all you need to do. If your target audience is a specific demographic, it’s on you to make the message as effectively heard as possible, which might mean get expert help from sympathetic people in that demographic who can aid you in your slant. When you are a Divine Messenger, you need to remember that the medium is as important as the message, because if the audience rejects the medium the message dies and you’ve failed. You also need to remember that you and your public behavior are part of the medium.

If your target audience is a specific group of people with a leader, then the best thing that you can do is to go to the leader and ask them how to get this message across to people in a nonthreatening way. Remember that to be the spiritual leader of a group is also a sacred trust; leaders are gatekeepers that protect their people, and that’s their appropriate job. Be wary of personal gnosis that casts you as the implacable enemy of the leader (or the whole group) with no compromise but their surrender, or the one who is charged with “teaching them a lesson”, or the victimized and misunderstood voice in the wilderness. Those are extremely likely to come out of your own baggage. If you are fairly sure that the leader is going to reject your message, it may help to talk to members who know the leader well and can give advice on how to present it convincingly. Unless you intend to supplant and banish the leader (which is a dangerous game), don’t go over their heads and begin shilling for support for your idea without talking to them. It’s unlikely that you’ll get their cooperation after that, and things will probably go downhill at that point.

5. In addition, make sure that you know who your target audience isn’t. If you’re writing for people in one denomination, the disapproval of people in other denominations can be ignored, so long as you are being courteous about other groups and their differences from your own. You’re not trying to please everyone; you’re trying to get a message through effectively to a specific bunch of people. Achieving that, whatever it takes, is your job … and in this instance, if you don’t practically decide whose biases to take into account and whose to ignore, you aren’t doing your job.

6. If all else fails and you can’t find a way to pass it on effectively, it’s time to throw yourself down in front of their altar and say, “Lord/Lady, I want to do your message justice and get it heard and accepted by the greatest possible number, but I don’t know how to do that! Please give me some guidance in how I can make this happen.” If they gave you the Word to pass on, they’re obligated to help you do it … but sometimes you have to ask for help rather than stumbling in with guns of enthusiasm blazing and making a mess.

Throughout history, mystics have tended to be divided into two groups: the ones that the current social structure honors, and the ones that are outcasts. Sometimes the dividing line is political – those who say what the current group in power doesn’t want to hear will be blacklisted. Sometimes it’s about social standards – one recalls St. Francis and how his poverty-lifestyle horrified his rich Italian family. Sometimes it’s because the Gods and spirits pick someone who has good “psychic hearing” but isn’t the most stable of people (and there are many anecdotal reports that having a really strong psychic receiver throughout one’s childhood isn’t exactly conducive to perfect sanity). Sometimes it’s because the Gods and spirits lay taboos or demand behaviors from the mystic that clash with their culture and make them seem somewhat less than respectable. In fact, it seems like the most famous mystics didn’t start out as anyone “respectable”, and the few that did quickly turned away from what had given them that socially stable reputation in the first place. The call of the Divine can be all-encompassing, and in the face of it all the human rules can seem extremely trivial.

Still, it is up to the mystic who feels driven to get their message through to a discrete group to find the best possible balance of who they must be to be true to their calling, and who they must be to actually communicate most effectively. That can be the barest knife’s edge, but one assumes that the Gods and spirits would not choose someone who couldn’t eventually figure out how to do that … maybe after a few years of hard knocks. Still, some mystics were reviled curmudgeons to the end of their days, and it was not until well after their death that their works were revered. Perhaps to the Gods and spirits, with their long view of Time and the Universe, that’s good enough, but it can be fairly demoralizing to the Message Bearer in question.

Is being someone on the “edge” of society more likely to make you able to hear the Gods? Is hearing the Gods more likely to put you on the edge of society? We don’t know for sure, although speculations have been rife for hundreds of years. But they are still valid questions to ask, especially to the Message Bearer who is trying to balance looking trustworthy to the People and being true to the Gods, and shirk neither … because in this case, to shirk the one is to betray the other. It will never be an easy road to walk.

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