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The Agape of the Eucharist

Christ to Maria: The Blood of Jesus, Psilcybe mexicana, Mary as Moon Goddess (Maccoby, Riedlinger, Maccoby) The old and new Eucharist prophetically portrayed by Durer . A parallel association between Christ and the moon exists in sacramental use of peyote in the Native American Church.

Agape: the love feast of the primitive Christians, usually associated with the -
Eucharist: sharing the body and blood of god.

Since early Christian times, the word Eucharist, from the Greek eucharistia ("thanksgiving"), has been used to describe the sacrament that Jesus Christ instituted at the Last Supper. After solemn ritual acts he spoke of the bread as his body and the wine as his blood of the new Covenant. In the earliest written account, that of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, and in Luke, it is recorded that the disciples were instructed to continue the rite in remembrance of their Lord's death. The celebration of the Eucharist was accordingly regarded as an essential part of worship in the early church and has remained a central observance of the Christian church ever since. Christians of all traditions, with very few exceptions, regard the observance of the sacrament as a binding obligation. Despite differences of interpretation and variations in the manner and frequency of the rite, Christ's command, "Do this in remembrance of me," has been obeyed by Christians of every tradition throughout the centuries. Thus the Eucharist has remained a central and universal expression of Christian devotion (Grollier 93).

"God's taking possession of the material world and being manifested in it is [exemplified] ... in the Eucharist. With the envisioned radiance of Christ's presence, the Eucharist takes on for us a planetary dimension. ... It is potentially cosmic too as this passage from an Eastern Christian mystic, Nicholas Arseniev, is used by Mascall to show the Eucharist prefiguring the redemption of a whole cosmos: "It is not only for the individual that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper has a central, living, mystic meaning, but for the whole community, the whole Church, yes, for all mankind. For here the divine mingles with the human, the terrestrial; here in the Eucharist praise and sacrifice are offered to the Lord for the whole world and by the whole world ... and the whole cosmos is hereby potentially ennobled and sanctified in that earthly elements of bread and wine become the glorified body and blood of the Son of God. That is why the idea of all creation assembled in spirit round the Eucharistic altar so constantly recurs in the old liturgies of the East. For through him, through his death and through the glorification of his risen body, here mystically represented, creation partakes of the glory of the redemption." John Morton - 1984 Redeeming Creation, Zealandia, Auckland NZ p77.

Jesus said:"I am not your master.
Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated
from the bubbling spring I have measured out."
Gospel of Thomas.

The turning of water into wine is celebrated by the church as the second Epiphany of Christ, the manifestation of his deity in the flesh - the revelation of his divine nature. The heritage of Christianity is thus inextricably the dreaded heritage of Dionysus - progenitor of Greek tragedy and the God of Altered States.

In John 2:3 it is clearly related how Mary told Jesus to do the Dionysian trick at the marriage in Cana a full year before he was baptised by John. Jesus was thus the Dionysian saviour before he was given an Essene blessing!

This contrast between the Dionysian Christ and the Essene John continues in Luke 7:33 "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, 'He hath a devil'. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, 'Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!' But wisdom is justified of all her children."

Robet Graves in writing to Gordon Wasson (Oprey 1984 164) notes that Dionysus like Tlaloc is a god of lightning naturally associated with mushrooms, whose festival took place in the mushroom season, and was called 'Ambrosia' causing madness, who was eaten ceremonially just as the eucharist is Jesus' flesh and blood. He then speculates on the eucharist being an amanita substitute.

Both Gordon Wasson and John Allegro have made the case that the origin of the eucharist lies in mystery rites involving the ingestion of hallucinogenic mushrooms. It has also been suggested that the fruit of the Tree of Genesis is a mistranslation for hallucinogenic fungus.

The Eucharist of Maria:
The living sacrament of Maria is named teonanactl - "the flesh of the gods" of the Aztecs, Toltecs and the Mayas, called by Wasson "the divine mushroom of immortality".

"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood,
ye have no life in you." (John 6:53)

"Take, eat. This is my body (soma) and blood which is shed for you."

The flesh of the gods reverses the sacrificial cycle, in which the living flesh of man was offered to the gods. The gods are instead offering us their flesh - a neutral gift of the fungal kingdom, which can heal the rift between the planter goddess and the shepherd king, and replace the flesh and blood of human sacrifice with the reward of peace. It forms a convergent ending for two great sacrificial traditions. The lightning of Tlaloc, in which the sky father fertilizes the earth mother is itself the sacred hieros gamos of the cosmos in which the mushroom was mythically created, prophesying its sacred role between the sexes. It is the Dune spice of Gaea. It is the sacrament of the White Goddess of the moon, whose sacred tree, the Alder is the preferred substrate for Ps. cyanescens, widespread in Europe. The Eleusinian rites appear to have used a similar mushroom.

Another ancient living sacrament lies at the founding tradition of the Aryans, for whom the lost Soma, which has been attributed variously to Amanita muscaria, Syrian Rue, Bhang and psilobe species themselves, was the source of both illumination and immortality:

"We have drunk the Soma, we are become Immortals,
We arrived at the light, we have found the Gods,
What now can hostility do to us, what malice of mortal,
O Immortal Soma!" - Rig Veda (Furst 210).

The mushrooms gathered for the original Mazatec evening ceremony, the velada of Maria Sabina, were picked without having eyes set upon them by a virgin and taken to the local church to be consecrated, before being distributed to the sabios and sabias (wise people). The evening meeting would take place in darkness with chanting :

I am a woman who whistles, says
I am a woman who thunders, says
I am a spirit woman, say
Ah our Jesus Christ, says
Our Saint Peter woman, says
Our shooting star woman, says
Our whilrling woman of colours, says
Maria Sabina (Estrada 105)

The living sacrament is an esoteric visionary gift requiring very careful use, a sacred attitude, and either a supporting ritual or shamanic techniques of concentration. It is not necessarily appropriate for everyone, and can be profaned like any sacrament, but it is a resource, which will help sustain humanity in caring for the evolution of the living planet, and provide a natural well-spring of mystical inspiration, complementing meditating, stalking and dreaming. It can enable all people to experience gnosis equitably, and span the gulf which has in the past separated the saints and sages from the common folk and given the church the capacity to mystify, instead of illuminate.

Kubla Khan
And all should cry beware! beware!
His flashing eyes his floating hair
or weave a cirle round him thrice
or close your eyes in mortal dread
for he on honey dew hath fed
and drunk the milk of paradise.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Read 174)

Despite its phallic appearance, the living sacrament is very much of the material character of the earth mother. As food is to the body, so the living sacrament is to the mind. There are other methods of prayer, meditation and shamanism, but the sacrament is a material means, a means through mother - matter to become baptised with the fire of gnosis. The living sacrament is not the only way, or necessarily the central way to gnosis, but it is a covenant with nature, a path of trust.

I am not here advocating illicit or uncontrolled use of hallucinogenic drugs. The living sacrament profaned is just another sensory thrill or at worst a terrifying experience of doom and disintegration. What I am suggesting is that society should learn to accept and understand the value of the living sacrament as a vehicle of spiritual integration, and having understood this, should free it from the legal and material defilement it has fallen into, and return it to its sacred religous use. I am aware that this, along with the return to EVE, is as radical a change of perspective as Jesus teachings were.

Three Christian Paths of the living sacraments:

The Agape: is an evening ceremony, lasting from just after sunset until perhaps four in the morning. It is started with a prayer circle and blessing of the sacrament, followed by a light refreshing meal. A fire is lit adjacent to the sacred love-feast table. Those taking the sacrament become committed to remaining under the care and guidance of the group until the ceremony closes. It is highly desirable to have the entire event in a very quiet setting surrounded by a natural expanse. The full moon is a very auspicious and beautiful time.

After an hour, the sacrament is partaken. And a period of prayer, and silence alternating with chanting music or drumming begins. A central group, the circle of the heart, maintains the collective energy, while a more peripheral group, the circle of the mind, can enter quiet contemplation. A "Roadman" and a "Mother Waters" officiate, both to maintain the structure of the meeting and to ensure every participant is protected and cared for. Light rounds of food and drink are taken as the evening goes on, as well as an additional round of the sacrament.

The meeting provides an opportunity also for those in any need of support through emotional crisis, sickness or grief to share their feelings with the circle and receive help and empowerment. The meeting provides an opportunity for all to experience the unity of the one and unity with the living earth. It gives each individual a chance of passing the gates of the dead and being known by the Ultimate Tao. Its form has already been established as a Christian ceremony by the Native American Church.

Lunar Wisdom versus Solar Knowledge:
In understanding the use of the living sacrament, it is critical to appreciate that the hallucinogenic state is not an end in itself, but is a vehicle to a deeper conscious realm which can also be perceived through dreaming, near-death experience, or samadhi.

" I knew and saw God: an immense clock that ticks, the spheres that go slowly around, and inside the stars, the earth, the entire universe, the day and the night, the cry and the smile, the happiness and the pain. He who knows to the end the secret of teonanacatl - can even see that infinite clockwork." - Maria Sabina (Schultes and Hofmann 1979 149)

Although this an opening to the ultimate cosmic mind, it also has a collective subconscious aspect. "W. B. Yeats accounts for all this by speaking of the 'Anima Mundi described by Platonic philosophers,' a kind of racial memory 'independent of embodied individual memories, though they constantly enrich it with their images and their thoughts ... a memory of Nature that reveals events and symbols of distant centuries. Mystics of many countries and many centuries have spoken of this memory ... Yeats, then, takes the next logical step in the argument - a step taken some years later by Jung himself: that there is a racial memory, which works in terms of symbols. This racial memory can be reached by 'hushing the unquiet mind,' by reaching a certain depth of inner stillness where it becomes accessible to the limited individual memory Yeats goes even further, and suggests that 'magical cures' used by primitive peoples may produce their effect by somehow touching these subliminal depths." (Wilson C 105). This is also the arena of archetypal myth, which is woven into the social dynamics of successive generations. And he defines the real danger of this 'lunar knowledge': 'It is perhaps well that so few believe in it, for if many did many would go out of parliaments and universities and libraries and run into the wilderness to so waste the body, and to so hush the unquiet mind that, still living, they might pass the doors the dead pass daily; for who among the wise would trouble himself with making laws or in writing history or in weighing the earth if the things of eternity seemed ready to hand?' (Wilson C 105). Aldous Huxley makes the same point in speaking of the effects of mescalin in The Doors of Perception: that in a world in which everyone took psychedelics there would be no wars, but no civilisation either" (Huxley 1954).

This is an inexperienced position. A true shaman lives both in the world of vision and in the world of science. Gordon Wasson was a banker who partook the agape of the sacrament. This led to a second career, but not the end of his Wall Street activities. Aldous Huxley himself likewise fertilized his creative writing career as a result of his mescalin experience. The aim is to bring the two worlds together. Nevertheless, the sacrament does have immense power to shift the "assemblage point" of human consciousness into closer harmony with nature, a harmony in which many of the worst aspects of human impact will be alleviated because they will be seen for what they are - a nightmare vision of ignorance and dehumanization.

WB Yeats, like Graves has been another poet caught in the subconscious thrall of Leucothea:

The Song of the Wandering Aengus

I went out to the Hazel wood
because a fire was in my head
and cut and peeled a Hazel wand
and put a berry to a thread
and when white moths were on the wing
and moth-like stars were flickering out
I put the berry in a stream
and cought a little silver trout
and when I'd laid it on the floor
and gone to set the fire aflame,
something rustled by the door
and something called me by my name.

It had become a glimmering girl
with apple blossoms in her hair,
who called be by my name and ran
and faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
in hollow lands and hilly lands
I'll find out where she has gone
and kiss her lips and take her hands
and walk her through long dappled grass
and pluck till time and times are done
the silver apples of the moon
the golden apples of the sun. (Read 38)

This relation between the lunar apple of the subconscious and the hard solar rational light of day, which is critical to the subterranian world of the living sacrament was the central theme in Robert Graves discovery of the White Goddess:

" The moon goddess was the goddess of magic, of the subconscious, of poetic inspiration. Human mythology has been 'solarised' and then, in the West, Christianised, and the masculine god of reason has usurped an increasingly important place, armed always with the irresistible argument that you can see a thing more clearly by sunlight than by moonlight. But this is untrue. On the contrary, certain things become invisible in a strong light. Highly conscious, rational modes of thought are like a wide net through which all the smaller fish escape (Wilson C 66)

"What Graves came to discover, through research and a series of strange coincidences, was that the Triple Moon-goddess Leucothea, was a universal symbol in pre-Christian poetry and mythology: Greek, Phoenician, Celtic, Roman, Scandinavian, Hindu, even African. 'The most important single fact in the early history of Western religion and sociology was undoubtedly the gradual suppression of the Lunar Mother-goddess's inspiratory cult, and its supercession . . . by the busy, rational cult of the Solar God Apollo, who rejected the Orphic tree-alphabet in favour of the commercial Phoenician alphabet-the familiar ABC - and initiated European literature and science.' (Wilson C 66)

Despite the equally central role of the Moon God in history, one has to appreciate the truth of this message in terms of lunar and solar consciousness, patriarchial society and the rule of order. When the Moon God lost his lunar nature society also lost the Queen of Heaven.

This concealed nature is also an aspect of the Shekhinah also lunar feminine (Wolkenstein and Kramer xv) or 'indwelling' the manifestation of God on earth both as the visionary aspect of Moses' 'burning bush', the eagle's wings in flight resounding with the spirit of the shaman's nagual, and the matrimonial sense of wholeness and abundance in nature. In this lost 'other' is the healing of the planet in nature.

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