Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians

Connecting the esoteric teachings of Rosicrucians, Theosophists and Freemasons with Witches, Pagans and Heathens

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Ted Czukor

Ted Czukor

A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) began teaching Yoga in 1976 and was adjunct faculty in the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges for 26 years until retiring in 2013. Raised Christian but deeply influenced by Rosicrucianism, Vedanta, Hinduism and Buddhism, his Pagan worship has strong Gaia-Goddess tendencies. He is an Interfaith wedding celebrant and the author of several books, two of which are available online. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona.

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For the greater part of our lives, most of us feel the need for someone to say this to, and we all desire someone who will say it to us: "I love you, and I will take care of you." 

When we commit to caring for someone, we feel a sense of purpose in life. And when we know that a parent or a partner—or a God or a Goddess—is taking care of us, we feel comforted. 

As one who has been a caregiver, I think there is no worse stressor than a chronic illness befalling someone we love. It's almost worse than getting sick, ourselves. The pain of not being able to cure a loved one has dragged millions of us down into the depths of depression. To some small degree, it's comforting to speculate that there wasn't anything more that we could have done; the whole painful episode was written in the stars.

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One of the best movies ever made: 1980's "Resurrectionwith Ellen Burstyn, Sam Shepard, Richard Farnsworth and Eva Le Gallienne.  I saw it when it was first released, and it is just as beautiful and inspiring, and the ensemble acting performances are just as extraordinary, today.  After many years not being able to find it at all, you can now finally purchase it on DVD and download it on the Internet.  (But for best picture and sound quality, I recommend the DVD released in 2010 by Universal Pictures' Vault Series.)     http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Ellen-Burstyn/dp/B0033PSHDG/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1396846309&sr=1-1&keywords=ellen+burstyn+resurrection

 

The pivotal woman who first gave us the story of ancient Goddess worship in a peaceful world that predated the masculine war societies of the Indo-Europeans by thousands of years: "Signs Out of Time - the story of archeologist Marija Gimbutas."  A documentary by Donna Read and Starhawk, with narration by Olympia Dukakis.  Colleagues of Dr. Gimbutas have attacked her vision as being too personal - wishful thinking that is lacking in scientific proof; and, in fairness, some time is given to a couple of those detractors - one of whom gently chides her for thinking "that she had a direct line" to the ancient knowledge.  But when you hear the full account of this amazing woman's credentials and impeccably exhaustive research, you will very likely suspect with me that her detractors are wrong - and her direct line was real.  http://www.belili.org/marija/aboutSIGNS.html

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Hi, hon, thank you for the recommendations. I appreciate the heart honesty with which you recommend them. It is lovely and loving.
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Good, Jon's Gardener, your opinion has been noted. If you see the DVD and do not feel the same way I did, that is both your busin
  • Jön Upsal's Gardener
    Jön Upsal's Gardener says #
    It is precisely stuff like the fetishizing of dubious scholars like Gimbutas that Wicca still maintains its reputation as being a

Annika Mongan makes a wonderful point in her blog post of March 28, 2014 - namely, that public scandals in Christian communities have a particularly demoralizing impact on their members, because Conversion promised them that Faith and the Holy Spirit would make them spiritually healthier than the rest of the world.  I agree, but I don't think that Christians have a corner on those feelings.  The same expectations, just expressed in different words, have applied to every spiritual community I have ever joined.  

In high school, I was an acolyte and president of my church's Methodist Youth Fellowship.  It was hard for me to understand why my father, who was active on the Board of Trustees, suddenly decided after 8 loyal years to take our family out of the church due to social friction with other Board members and political disagreements with the new Ministerial staff.  I had been taught that we were all members of the Body of Christ, and that we prized agape - divine brotherly love - above all else.  Why was my Dad so out of touch with what our Youth Ministers had been teaching me every week?  Could there be other realities, separate from the rosy picture that had been painted for me in Sunday School? 

It was 20 years before my wife and I were ready to join another spiritual community, and this time we chose a New Thought Church - one of those Course in Miracles, Science of Mind-ey sorts of places.  Far less hierarchical and more New Agey than traditional Christianity, everyone there was kookie and sweet and accepting of differences.  Surely, this time we had found the community that would live up to its stated Spiritual principles.  

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Good points, Cat lover. I'm sure you're right about that 9 year old. As for challenging a responder's comments, my feeling was t
  • Cat lover
    Cat lover says #
    Ted, you are right. I was responding to the other commenter, and it had little to do with your post. Sorry if I helped derail your
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    No problem, CL. Thanks for understanding my position.

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The subject of memory has become something of a bugbear with me.  I remember a lot of things from my childhood which are now impossible to confirm…and this makes me wonder whether my memories are real.  believe they are, but I have no proof.  The few people still alive who were around then have their own recollections, which deal with different events from my own. 

The reason it's become important for me to verify memories is that, five years into our marriage, my wife spontaneously retrieved a wonderful memory that had been suppressed till then  - something that happened, she said, when we had been married for only one month. 

We were staying overnight in my Dad's apartment in New York City.  Ravyn went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and, upon coming out, encountered my mother standing in the hallway.  The two of them sat down on the floor in their nighties and had a wonderful long talk, like two priestesses sharing women's secrets by moonlight.  Mom told her how much she loved me, and asked Ravyn to take good care of me.  They were both attractive, slender, flexible women; Ravyn was 36, Mom was 59. 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, since your post was so personal, I want to add something that might be a support. Below is a link to a blog of mine that migh
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, beautiful. Bless you for sharing your personal journey. That is so important, given the topic. Your closing line about the D
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you for understanding, Stifyn.

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Many of the world's greatest songs, poems and novels were penned by people under 30.  Back then we were already empathetic, educated, full of restless energy and oh-so-intelligent. 

Every single day we wanted things to HAPPEN!  But there were aspects of life that we hadn't experienced, about which we could only speculate.  Years later, even in those cases where our speculations had been fairly accurate, living through the actual reality was far more traumatic than we had ever imagined.

Which is not to say that we hadn't done our best to prepare ourselves.  We were desperate in our attempts to figure it all out ahead of time; if we could do that, it would give us a sense of security.  That is when we formed many of our spiritual convictions.

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The following practice was developed through my experimentation as a Yogi and meditator.  Most mature practitioners, I think, will identify with my experience of working in prescribed ways for many years until I had gained enough "life creds" to begin adapting the techniques to suit my own inner promptings.  Those who insist on slavish adherence to rock-ribbed, inflexible traditions may complain that our altering the old ways makes us apostates; but it seems to me that every famous spiritual teacher we can think of was exactly that sort of innovator.  If the great religious, philosophical and scientific lights of our civilization had ceaselessly followed the old paradigms without adding some breakthrough insights of their own, we wouldn't be honoring their names today!   

Another way of expressing this is, "Make it your own."  For example, in order to convincingly portray a character such as Hamlet, whose story everyone knows and whom thousands of great actors have played in the past, today's actor must "make it his own."  He must find the core truths about the part which resonate for him.  If he is successful, his fresh insight will stimulate thought in others and make it worthwhile for audiences to buy tickets. 

The same is true of any significant goal which we wish to achieve in our lives.  Until we make it our own, we'll just be photocopying what so many others have already done before us.  It's the difference between the beginner practicing scales and the maestro imbuing a concerto with soul.  I would like to offer you a little concerto of my devising, with the hope that it may inspire you to create your own unique variation. 

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When I taught Yoga and Meditation at Glendale Community College, I was friendly with the Chair of the Religions Department. We often discussed how the purpose of the Comparative World Religions class was not to convert students who already had a faith (as some paranoid individuals feared), but to facilitate tolerance between the citizens of a shrinking world through a better understanding of each others' beliefs. In that same spirit of education, I propose an open exchange of views - not to argue among ourselves as to who is right, but to share our mutual human inspirations and yearnings.

It has been many years since I felt compelled to convince others of my position; I simply put it out there, now, as a point of information. In my view of the universe, each mind has its own little piece of the Truth. For reasons we can only guess at, some of us were destined to appreciate Creation in terms of many Gods, while others were meant to see it in terms of only One - yet other brothers and sisters of ours were meant to believe in no God at all! Yet we are all children of a common Source, seeing reality as best we can from different points of view. If we combine all of our perceptions, this vast multi-dimensional hologram may begin to come into focus. 

I have gone through many stages in my life. I've had my mind opened to possibilities that I was afraid to acknowledge as a child, and which are still denied by many in my culture. Such people hope that refusing to think about something can make it go away, or that demonizing it may relieve them of the responsibility of having to understand it. But I'm pretty sure that we can only evade responsibility for a short time, and that ever-more challenging initiations lie before us.  

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  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Thank you, Ted. I, too, have had a long journey to get where I am. I tell folks "From the Void, the One. From the One, the Two. Fr
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    This is wonderful, Arwen. My understanding is the same as yours, and you have found an excellent way to express it. I like to chat
  • Roslyn Lighthouse
    Roslyn Lighthouse says #
    Thank you. It would be nice if people could discuss their beliefs without the need to condemn others. Beautifully put. Blessed

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Dancing by the perfumed stream, singing flower airs

Down she wound her merry way unto the island’s lairs.

Unto the lairs she wound her way, where squirrels and muskrats live

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  • Betsy D. Sauther
    Betsy D. Sauther says #
    Lovely!
  • Eva
    Eva says #
    Beautiful, thankyou.

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I have been guilty of this, myself. In a social situation you are introduced to someone who spies the mystical pendant you wear on a neck chain. Without stopping to think, she exclaims, "Oh!  What a beautiful piece!" and she reaches out and grabs it, to see it more closely.  

Ouch! That hurts! It's a sudden feeling of shock and discomfort. And it's real. You just had your aura violated, directly over your heart chakra. 

This is more than invading your psychological "comfort zone." It is an actual penetration of the bio-electrical energy field surrounding your body. And it feels even worse if that jewelry item has a personal spiritual significance for you - a private meaning that you will share if asked by somebody with the right vibes, but which you were not ready for any Tom, Dick or Harry to roughly grab! 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I understand what you mean, Sherry, and I appreciated Eva's point also. But as a former Shakespearean actor and Masonic ritualist,
  • Sherry Doveren
    Sherry Doveren says #
    I agree with Eva. Keep pieces that are "sacred" to you under your clothing. Keep pieces that are considered "costume jewelry" fron
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thanks, Terence. Good suggestion, Eva. But if you're a theatrical person like me, you can't resist the urge to put your costume pi

(Introductory Disclaimer: As usual, please remember that this blog is an expression of my own personal opinions, based on observations gleaned from my own peculiar experience. At no point do I claim to speak for all Neopagans, nor do I insist that any reader must agree with me.)

It hardly seems fair, does it? Why should the road to hell be paved with our very best motivations and aspirations for this life? 

Who it was that first presented this proposition has been lost in the shadows of history. But his message rings true: whether or not you believe in hell as an actual place, unjust actions are an offense to dharma - Divine law. Such decisions never work out well, even if they are executed with the intent to do good. Therefore, we need to be incredibly careful as to how we make our choices. 

The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism is a wonderful teaching tool for understanding this dilemma. Its philosophical precepts are worth attending to, no matter what religion you follow. 
 

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(Introductory Disclaimer: As usual, please remember that this blog is an expression of my own personal opinions, based on observations gleaned from my own peculiar experience. At no point do I claim to speak for all Neopagans, nor do I insist that any reader must agree with me.)

Often, when deserving people are profiled in the media so their community can raise money for their relief, their gratitude is tempered by the unpleasant realization of how pathetic everyone thinks they are! Until some well-meaning reporter put their situation into words, they had just been doing what was needed to survive. Words hadn't been employed, yet, to embarrass them. 

From Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Eat, Pray, Love: "The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash." 

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  • Eva
    Eva says #
    I agree words seem to bring to life whatever we imagine, dream, etc. As a witch, I understand just how powerful they can be. Has

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

(Introductory Disclaimer: As usual, please remember that this blog is an expression of my own personal opinions, based on observations gleaned from my own peculiar experience. At no point do I claim to speak for all Neopagans, nor do I insist that any reader must agree with me.)

In the years since September 2001, when our jovial and generous American psyche experienced a profound shift toward cynicism and fear, I have been learning some hard lessons about the workings of negativity. I have been forced to study my own negativity, as well as the negativity of others. Inevitably, they are the same thing.

I have heard words that I felt perfectly justified in uttering as a valid criticism of others come boomeranging back at me, years later, in the exact same phrasing, and sounding just as insightful and plausible - even though they were completely mistaken and unfair!

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(Introductory Disclaimer: As usual, please remember that this blog is an expression of my own personal opinions, based on observations gleaned from my own peculiar experience. At no point do I claim to speak for all Neopagans, nor do I insist that any reader must agree with me.)

If you look objectively at this pathetic world (just check out the Internet news any morning), it's clear that we have been the beneficiaries of fantastic luck. Most humans and animals would love to experience our relative lack of concern over basic food and shelter, and our relative safety from the possibility of daily annihilation. While it's true that we have real problems, worries, pains and fears, on a descending scale of international bad fortune we would appear quite near the privileged top. 

The majority of people are compelled by biology to reproduce. Most accept having children as a "given" and never think too deeply about their motivations, outside of continuing the genes of their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc., and having someone who will take care of them in their old age. 

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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Yes, I think these different titles given to similar spirit guides depend more on the cultural orientation of the human being in q
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, I view my Agathos Daemon in a similar way that you view your guardian angel. Nice post, thanks for sharing!
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I was thinking about the similarities between the Agathos daimon and guardian angels myself! I've never had much success connecti

The following reflections are intended for those who were raised Judeo-Christian. Those fortunate ones among you who were not burdened with that experience may Go in Peace, and the Goddess Be With You. 

With apologies to the sincere and dedicated Christian ministers who provided my religious instruction, I cannot come back into your fold - not if I must accept the Bible's patriarchal abuse of women, or relinquish my belief in reincarnation, or agree that all non-Christians (i.e., Pagans and other polytheists) are going to Hell.   

And yet, these are undeniable messages of the Christian Bible, directly founded on the monotheism of the Old Testament: 1) Eve screwed the pooch for the human race, and now all her daughters share in her guilt and are inferior to men - even after Christ redeemed us on the cross! 2) We are only given one chance to get life right. 3) There is no True God but God; polytheism is wrong and false. 

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  • Kenny Klein
    Kenny Klein says #
    Your detractors are a LOT more civilized than mine!
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Well you know, Kenny, Renaissance men who have to speak their minds and just can't keep their mouths shut (or keyboards still) are
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Dear Stephanie - Thank you for the support. As a Rosicrucian, your version of when the Jews began worshipping One God (as benefici

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In the fall of 1970 my first wife and I moved lock, stock and barrel from Lake Ann, Michigan to Stratford Ontario, Canada - with the single-minded intention of living there so we could audition to become Company members of the Canadian Shakespeare Festival. 

I was 23. She was only 19. We had no money, and no jobs waiting for us. She could live legally in Canada as a British subject, but I was an American citizen and would have to get permission for residency. 

It was an insane idea - a delusion - an impossible quest. No mature person would have considered such an unprepared move. No recent graduate of any drama school had ever attempted it; there were only two places where every aspiring actor went after graduation: New York or Los Angeles. 

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  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus
    P. Sufenas Virius Lupus says #
    I think there's much truth to what you've said here, Ted. Lady GaGa, herself only 27 at present, had a meteoric rise to fame hers
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    You are absolutely right, P. - and thank you for the adroitly-phrased history lesson! I meant to indicate what repressed Puritans
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, This is so very, very, true. Many of us have such raw physical vitality and boundless enthusiasm, in those years. The same y

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I do not claim to have invented the following concepts. As the saying goes, I stand on the shoulders of giants. But at least I'm bright enough to recognize when a teaching makes sense; and I feel privileged to pass these on to others. 

In my essay We Are All Spell Casters (May 2013 Witches&Pagans Newsletter), I presented the thesis that everyone who engages in intercessory prayer - be they churchgoers, coven members, healing circles, meditators or obsessive-compulsives - all share the same goal: to persuade Nature (or the God of Nature) to do what they want. 

Nature can resolve similar situations in different ways. Sometimes we like the resolution, as when cancer goes into remission or a dangerous surgery is successful. But we hate it when it goes the other way. 

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    These days the biggest difference between magic and science is that practitioners of magic have not sold out to corrupt politician
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Good commentary, Greybeard. I appreciate how you express this insight.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, This is why I keep an agalma of Hermes right in front of the shifter inside my 17-year old car. I pray to Him when the gas i

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The following is an article I wrote in May for the Arizona Yoga Community newsletter, discussing disagreements between the many different yogic lineages and seeking an area of Common Ground - which happens, coincidentally, to be the title of this blog. It occurs to me that the viewpoint I express here applies equally well to the recent bickering between the Pagan/Heathen communities. I know that hard liners will not agree with me at all, but this is the way I feel about it. And since this is my blog, after all, I'm going to lay it on you! - Ted Czukor, Theo the Green 

Sometime in the mid 1990's I was sitting in Carol Mitchell's Phoenix living room, complaining about the "un-yogic" way certain teachers presented their classes. I had been trained pretty narrowly by representatives of specific lineages. I thought I knew what was Yoga and what wasn't. 

Carol, who was more experienced and wiser than I, suddenly began to laugh. Then, in her musical tones she said, "Why, Ted - you're a purest!" There was no condemnation in her voice, only amusement and compassion. Then she said something that I would not come to understand for another ten years: "Don't you realize that it's all the same thing?" 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, One of my favorite bloggers, Apuleius Platonicus, has discussed the similarities between Dharmic religions and Platonist Pag
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Cool, Jamie; thanks for the historical perspective. To be a little nit-picky, Yoga is not a religion (although it arose in a socie
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, I'm sorry...I should have clarified. I knew that yoga wasn't a religion. It's just intimately connected to Dharmic religious

There are some things I would never do today, though unfortunately I did do them the first time they were presented to me, when my limited life experience failed to guide me in making better choices. Since there is no changing what I did in the past - in this reality, at least - I take comfort in thinking that maybe I made better choices in alternate realities! 

When we're in the middle of an uncomfortable experience, we know there are several ways in which it could potentially turn out. We hope for the best outcome, but we are aware that "the womb of time" holds a range of possibilities. 

The ways that vital situations in my life resolved themselves have had a profound effect on how I live now. This is, inescapably, the way things turned out - in this reality. But if the metaphysical principles are true - As Above, So Below and As Within, So Without - then Time's possibilities must work in both directions. There must exist alternative realities in which those situations turned out differently! 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, I hope everything went OK for you. You're performing a public service by warning people about the cacodaemons. They really

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Great Lord and Lady heed our plea:

Relieved of sorrow we would be.

 

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  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    Ted, thank you for such an honest and personal sharing. Hearing or reading heartfelt expression is one of the great joys I experie
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you, Francesca. I know you will appreciate the detailed work that went into this one, getting all the rhymes and iambic pent
  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis says #
    I love that story and the care you took with the piece. Thank you.

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The more bizarre situations I witness in life, the more attracted I am to the philosophy that reality is a malleable jelly, existing only in the mind of the beholder. One writer in particular calls life a tale told by an idiot - full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. 

Here's a bit of magick for you. Do you have a deck of playing cards? Pick a card - any card - and hold it up in front of your eyes. Turn it edge-wise, till all you can see of it is a straight line. Look hard at that edge. Focus on it. Pay attention. 

The thinness of that line is all that separates life from death. It's all that divides prosperity from disaster. 

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ted, My Gods what an awful fate, that poor man with the sinkhole beneath his bed. I pray that Lord Hades offers a wonderful place

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