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“Each man must create his own system or else he is a slave to another mans” ― William Blake

At point or another, all “new religious movements”  or whatever fancy word of a day for a sect is – become even worse for the follower than most organized religions. In words of Shaul Youdkevitch, a kabbalist of prominence, the difference between a cult and a religion is merely… hundred years. In my experience, much less than that. I’ve been around the NRM block couple of times by now and i got a lot and i lost a lot on the go. I got acquainted with the ideas that are not available – or at least weren’t available at the time – in mass media and popular books; i made friends – kind of friends that i can only compare to what i’ve read of people fighting wars together, so far so good – but what i (almost) lost there almost outweighs the gains… I almost lost any kind of faith i ever had and at certain points i felt i was downright loosing my soul and turning into some kind  of insensitive monster who parrots the learned by heart jargon of the movement.

Now, i must digress. I’ve seen many people who are perfectly happy in various cults (as well as many people who suffered and many who simply fell apart) and it seems that to find happiness in such environment one needs to be in possession of qualities that will basically enable him to find happiness pretty much anywhere: the golden rule is not to dig too dip, so to find inconsistencies in teachings as well as the agendas of the people who are pushing them. Keeping a distance, taking only what you need, turning a blind eye to the rest. Of course, there are many pro’s to that approach and i guess no one is that stupid to expect perfectionism and infallibility from the fragile human nature… But what i absolutely insist on is the virtue of honesty – being honest in one’s search, being honest about one’s motivation, being honest about one’s goals and , in the first place, being honest about one’s mistakes. Sadly, there is a severe shortage of honesty.

Think of Socrates. His life and philosophy are continuous source of inspiration since the dawn of humanity for two reasons: firstly, unlike Thomas Aquinas and other scholastic philosophers  – he didn’t presume he knew better and wasn’t set to patronizingly persuade you into certain pre-existing  truths , he was on the adventure of finding the truth with you, whichever that truth might be and whether it existed in the first place; secondly – he lived his own truth and he died for it.

No contemporary martyrs that i know of – most of the our-days- Gurus are (too) well fed, flying around in private jets and basically are not significantly different from (any other) Hollywood Celebrity. Don’t get me wrong – i don’t believe in suffering , not at all. But some fake and spoiled brat parroting the new-age lines is not exactly an answer to my prayers either.

Now, the logical question would be – wtf i was looking for in all those sects and cults, right?  A companionship. Kindred souls. The quest gets overbearingly lonely at times… at the end of things, for myself i concluded i am better of alone on my own, then confused and alone in a group.

More on the topic of the Nine of Swords. The Swords as a Suit in Tarot are related to the mind, to the thinking processes and the thoughts itself. I think its a common knowledge by now that its the thought that’s at the root of our emotions – Buddhist have said it, Kabbalists have said it. Grab a hold of your thought process – and you are holding the key to your emotional stability. (Of course, its easier said than done.)

Nines are related to the Nineth Major Arcanum of Tarot – the Hermit – symbolizing an endless variety of concepts, but commonly being related to the quality of Solitude.

It seems that most of the folks who really contributed to our kind have spent prolonged times on their own. There is something in the crowd that prevents us from hearing our own thoughts, something that prevents us from being true to our own selves… the herd mentality or whatever its called. Observe any kind of group – very soon you’ll spot the leaders – and chances are they won’t be the most moral ones and the ones who are the most concerned with common good; more so – the bigger the group, the bigger the takes are – chances are that the brave leader has many of the psychopathic traits.

The leaders – political, religious, CEO’s – know your soft spots, they know your fears; they also know how to cheer you up and how to appeal to your most profound emotions… its not that difficult after all, most of the five years old can do that too… the thing is that we learn with time that its not nice to manipulate others and most of us refrain from it most of the times… not your and my leaders. They mostly use those energies to get a free ride into  a careless and abundant existence and that’s about it. Now, there are different kind of leaders – we’ve heard of them, we’ve learned of them … i presume your own experience thought you that, if not – you’ll have to trust me on this one (albeit i hope it never comes to that)  – they are the exceptions.

We are on our own, as much as we fear it. Its up to each and everyone of us , according to our believes or the lack of them, to come up with our own system – or to remain in slavery for ever.

Think for yourself, its not illegal yet.

Copyright © 2012  Lena Ruth Stefanovic
All Rights Reserved

Copyright notice: the attached scan is of Edvard Munch’s painting which is in  public domain in the United States  (first published more than 95 years ago.) The painting is protected by copyright in Norway until 2015 and may also be covered by copyright in the EU countries; source: : http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/munch/