The Illusion of “Thinking for Yourself”

In the 1960’s, the world changed drastically, at least in the West.  For the most part, I believe that this change has been downhill.  In the The Feminine Universe, Miss Alice Lucy Trent calls this change “the Eclipse.”  I can imagine that at least some readers will protest and talk about all the horrors of cruelty, unkindness, violence, and oppression from the past.  I am not denying that this was so.  The past of this world has been violent and cruel for at least as long as we have recorded history.  This is one of the more compelling arguments for the changes in society since the Eclipse. Despite this, I think that much more has been lost than has been gained.

One of the things that has been lost is any sense that authority can be trusted, or really that anyone can be trusted.  We are taught to “think for ourselves” and engage in “critical thinking” of everything.  Instead of being a contributing part of a community, or seeking a higher purpose, people see it as their (and everyone else’s) duty to keep “informed,” which really means to keep track of all of the bad things that everyone is doing or may do.

The reality is that none of us truly “think for ourselves.”  We all rely on other people.  For example, when choosing a service or a product, we look up “reviews,” which are the thoughts of other people.  When deciding our opinions on “issues,” we rely on others to tell us what these “issues” are and how we should think about them.  We are shaped by others in almost everything we do, and often when we think we are “thinking for ourselves,” we are really just choosing between ideas that have we been told.

The same is true of “critical thinking.”  I think that there is a place for that; however, it is often the case that the “critical” part is overemphasized.  People criticize everything, all of the time.  It is almost impossible to discuss any public figure without hearing about something the terrible the person has done. Yes, I understand that there are times when truly terrible things ought to be exposed, but most of the time, the matters are rather superficial and petty.

The reality is that it is hard to truly engage in “critical thinking” in this day and age, because we have lost the idea of an objective right or wrong.  One of the big differences between pre-Eclipse and post-Eclipse movies is the idea that there are things that are right and things that are wrong.  Yes, there is plenty of immorality shown in pre-Eclipse media, but it is not justified like it is in post-Eclipse media.  Good was good and bad was bad.  Shows might depict people being bad, but they, and everyone else, knew they were being bad.  These days, good and bad are so muddled and twisted that no one really knows what they are anymore.

One may ask, well what about circumstances?  An example of which would be the case of a person who steals or engages in criminal business ventures because she can not afford the basic necessities of life for herself and her family.  My answer to that is that none of us are perfect, and there are times people make compromises out of necessity in a difficult, and often rather harsh, world.  That does not change the fact that what they may be doing is wrong.

It is a funny society where one is supposed to “think for yourself” and “think critically,” but one is also supposed to be non-judgmental.  So, upon what does one base one’s critical thinking?  Well, in practice, I think that people tend to become part of a group and accept that group’s judgments, often without question.  In the United States, there is a liberal “team” and a conservative “team” that is fueled by a 24-hour news cycle.  People will support ideas and positions proposed by their “team” no matter how absurd and outrageous they may be, and they will oppose ideas and positions proposed by the other “team” no matter how reasonable and sensible they are.

The Metamorph 2So, what can one do?  I am a long time Star Trek fan, and I think that for the most part Star Trek is rather wholesome, at least to the extent of the Original Series and the Next Generation.  One of my favorite episodes in Star Trek: the Next Generation is the episode, “the Perfect Mate.”  In this episode, there is a woman who is a metamorph, which means she naturally becomes the person that perfectly suits her mate.  In this show, she makes the choice to bond with Captain Picard, even though she is promised to marry someone else in an arranged political marriage.  She does this because she likes who she is when she is with Captain Picard.  In molding to Captain Picard, she understands the importance of duty, and she goes through with the arranged marriage to fulfill her duty.

I think this is a rather good metaphor for us.  All of us are influenced and molded by our social groups, the media we watch, and to what we expose ourselves.  None of us really thinks for ourselves.  What we can do is to decide who we are going to listen to and who we are going to trust.  We can decide who is it who will mold and shape our opinions.  We can also make that choice consciously, bearing in mind that this will largely determine the type of person that we will become.

The Sacred Mountain and a Jealous God

Every Sacred Mountain is THE Sacred Mountain.

Mount FujiThis is an important principle in any form of Traditionalist philosophy. This can be a difficult concept to grasp, but how could it be otherwise? The Sacred Mountain is the place where Heaven and Earth meet. Whether one climbs Mount Sinai or Mount Fuji, one has climbed The Sacred Mountain. There is no need to climb a different Sacred Mountain, and if one did, it would be climbing The Sacred Mountain again, only in a different location. How could it be possible to climb the wrong Sacred Mountain? The idea seems almost absurd from this perspective.

One of the difficulties with the Abrahamic Traditions is the notion of a “Jealous God.” The “Jealous God” is a religious aberration and is not really found anywhere else. Of course, for the serious devotee of any religion, it is important to see her religion as The Only Truth, which on one level is absolutely correct. In Abrahamic Traditions, however, this belief has become exclusionary, denying the Truth of other religions. Just because one’s religion is The Only Truth does not mean that other religions are not also True; and indeed The Only Truth as well.

Every Sacred Mountain is THE Sacred Mountain.

While I am not here to tell anyone how to conduct their religious affairs, the pervading belief in a Jealous God creates a difficulty and barrier to discussions of a spiritual or religious nature, and is especially problematic when it comes to the exploration of Feminine Tradition or the Feminine Divine. One of the criticisms of Deanism and Filianism is that this form of spirituality sees the Divine as Feminine and does not include Masculine imagery in its devotional practices. Its Fundamental Mythos is also entirely Feminine.  I find it interesting because one rarely hears that type of criticism with respect to the all Masculine imagery for the Divine of the Abrahamic religions, with the possible exception of Mary. Although, even in Roman Catholicism, Mary is not officially given Divine status.

Unlike the Abrahamic Traditions, Deaism/Filianism does not believe that Dea is a Jealous God, nor does Deaism/Filianism see its Creation Mythos in terms of literal, historical facts. Indeed, if our Mythos were based on literal, historical facts, then by definition, they could not represent Universal Truth. From an un-Enlightened state, we, as humans, are not truly capable of understanding the Divine, and as beings bound in time and space, we can not understand matters beyond time and space. “The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.”

To bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth and between the Divine and mere mortals, we are given devotional imagery and Mythos told to us as if they were stories set in time and space.  Of course, the images are not the Divine themselves, nor are the stories about literal, historical events that happened in space and time. They are given to us for understanding, nothing more.

In a certain respect, God or Dea is so far above us that imagery for the Divine in human form with biological gender is a poor reflection of the reality. There are religions that forbid imagery for God for this very reason. Deanistic practice does include imagery, because we feel it helps us form a closer connection with Dea and to feel Her presence in our lives.

We do not feel that worship of a Masculine God is wrong, and there are no shortage of faiths in the world that do. We do not feel that worship of God/Dea as both Masculine and Feminine is wrong either, and there are faiths in the world that do that as well. We, however, as Deanists, worship Dea in an exclusively Feminine form. Do we think that ours is the only way? Of course not. To us, all orthodox religions can be seen as a form of the Sacred Mountain. Dea is not a Jealous God.

See also:

God as Mother: Some basic questions about Feminine Monotheism

Are Scary Stories Good?

gothic
*Is* this a good way to spend an evening?

Are horror stories or films acceptable reading or viewing for Filianists? Let us look first at what we mean by “horror”. Horror as a genre began with Gothic literature in the 18th century, at the latter end of the “Age of Enlightenment”. It could not have begun before that because it relies on the existence of the fantastical where it should not be. Before this rationalist revolution, the idea of the supernatural as separate from the natural world, and therefore of the supernatural being a great surprise, simply did not exist. Ann Radcliffe, one of the definers of the aesthetic of Gothic literature, defined horror not as a genre but as a feeling. Horror and terror are two distinct forms of fear; terror is the fear of the unknown darkness, horror is the fear and revulsion caused when the darkness is revealed in a definite form.

When literature or film uses grotesqueness to cause the sensation of horror, we know that it is not good for us, because it is by nature coarse, and will coarsen our souls. What, then of that which is chilling and frightening, without the grotesque? By describing terrifying things in art and literature and by then absorbing them, Maid gives form to the darkness. On the one hand, this is not something she can truly avoid doing. In the Gospel, when the Maid embraces the Serpent and gives it form, that is Myth – the description of a thing that cannot not be. As Myth, it does not happen in time – Maid did not embrace the Serpent once long ago and then never again. It is a thing that happens outside of time and thus Maid has done it and is doing it and will do it. The only real choice Maid is given is the form she gives the darkness. And that is where we must be very, very careful.

It isn’t only velveteen rabbits that become Real when you cuddle them close and stroke their ears.

Very recently, in the age of the Internet, someone altered a photograph to create a new monster, chilling and terrifying. They told its story as though it were a genuine urban legend, although it was only the creation of their own mind. Their audience treated it as a genuine urban legend, creating more altered photographs and tales of people in the photographs going missing, as well as a very unsettling false documentary in which it “appeared”. In other words, they took a thing they all knew was fiction and did their very best to will it into existence – and succeeded. Within the past week, two girls were induced to commit violence at its command. The details have been withheld because they are disturbing – this is absolutely factual and an example, if an extreme one, of what happens when people are not careful about what form they give the darkness.

iru
A more manageable form.

What would be a better form? Well, one of the most fearless demon-hunters this writer knows regularly sees the demons she banishes as small and goblin-like, with the demeanor of naughty children. She wins many more battles than she loses, partially due to her skills and calling, but in no small part because she sees the darkness in a form she knows she can vanquish, and so she does.

So we see, to remain on safe ground, the scary things in our stories must not be allowed to win; they must certainly never be too big to defeat. Even if they do manage to win on the earthly plane (as in some stories they do) there must be great care taken to show that they do not and cannot win beyond it. If you will take scary stories into your soul, only take the ones that in the end show the triumph of the light over the darkness.

Telling Time, Astrology, and Japanese Kanji

Recently, I have been studying the Japanese language.  There are several reasons for this, but one of them is very much related to the work of this weblog.  The purpose of this weblog has been to explore, learn, and discuss the Ancient Wisdom that is the true foundation for Traditional Sciences, such as astrology once was.  Much of the material currently available to astrologers is post-Aristotelian.  As I discussed in previous articles, Aristotle taught a subtle, but quite significant, deviation from Traditional Wisdom with respect to the nature of Perfect Form and its relationship to physical manifestation.

I have observed that this deviation is embedded in all of Western thought, science, and philosophy.  Such a deviation did not occur in the East until the East was exposed to Western thought.  One can find information and clues with respect to Traditional Wisdom in Japanese kanji.  Recently, I have been studying time expressions, and the kanji for them are quite fascinating.

In order to fully understand why these kanji are so fascinating, it is important to understand the original and primordial purpose behind astrology.  As our ancestors became more consolidated into the material world, it was important to them to ensure that their earthly activities were still in harmony with the Divine Music of the Spheres.  They looked to the heavens and studied the movements of the heavenly bodies to determine the time that their endeavors were in accord with this Divine Music.

Music of the Spheres

The Feminine Scriptures contain references relevant to this:

It is Love that holds the stars within their courses, and all the worlds of the immeasurable cosmos within the harmony of the celestial music.

Truly, all the cycles of the times and the seasons; all the rhythms of the soul and of the mind and of the flesh; truly all these flow from the love of Our Lady, the Maid, that creation may not decompose, each several member flying away into black eternal chaos.

The Clew of Love

For there are ways and rhythms in the course of life, of day and night, of seasons and the moon, by which all life, all thought, all work are governed and these movements are the breath of the Divine, reflected in the highest spheres and every living thing.

All nature is a vast and subtle movement to which the innocent soul is close attuned.

The profane assay to sever themselves from this music, fixing new laws of gain and self-advantage against the law of universal love.

Honor in all things the times and the seasons, keeping fast in the times of fast with diligence and care; rejoicing in times of feast with generous outpouring.

No tree may blossom out of season, nor any flower greet springtime with austerity, but a maid lacking in inward control is broken from the rhythm.

The Way of Simplicity

Starry SkyFor readers of the Judeo-Christian tradition, these concepts can be found in the Hebrew written tradition as well:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.”  And it was so.

Genesis 1:14-15 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)

These are the traditions I am most familiar with; however, I would imagine that this is a Universal concept, and that it can be found in all traditions.

To my joy and delight, I discovered that this concept seems to be embedded in the Japanese kanji for time expressions.

TokiOn the left is the kanji for time, toki, and also, ji, the marker for hour expressions, the Japanese equivalent of “o’clock.”  This kanji is made up of two other kanji.  The element on the right is the kanji for “temple.”  The element on the left is the kanji for “Sun.”  Quite simply, the hours are marked by the temple watching the Sun.

JikanThe Japanese word for time in the abstract sense and the word used to mark a number of hours is jikan.  The kanji for jikan is to the right.  As you can see, this kanji incorporates the kanji for time with a second kanji.  This second kanji also includes the element for Sun, but it is inside an element that symbolizes a gate.  The Sun is contained inside a gate!

Another interesting kanji is found in the word, matsu, “to wait,” 待つ.  The kanji is the first character in this word.  The temple is in this kanji as well. The other element of this kanji, is labeled “going man,” by Rikaichan, a wonderful translation aid/kanji analyzer that works with Firefox.  That element, or radical, is also found in the kanji included in the word, iku, “to go,” 行く.  I think one could speculate that the kanji contained in the word for wait may indicate that human endeavors are being directed by the temple; in other words, people are waiting for the proper time for action!

See also:

The Days of the Week and Japanese Kanji

For even more information about the metaphysics behind Japanese kanji, I refer the reader to the following excellent articles on the subject:

Japanese Kanji for Left and Right: Why They Are What They Are

Kanji Symbols – Fire, Movement and Humanity

Learn Japanese Kanji through Symbolism

 

Who Am I? Spirit and Soul

Who am I?  This is an age old question that has dominated philosophy and spiritual thought for millenia.  In the Enlightenment, René Descartes made the well-known statement, “Cogito ergo sum,” or “I think, therefore, I am.”  This idea has dominated Western thought since that time, and it is the Rationalist approach to this question.

Traditional thought has a much different answer to this question, and this answer can be seen in the symbols of the glyphs for the Janyati and their planets.  Each of the Janyati/planetary glyphs are made up of three symbols, the circle, the crescent, and the cross.  In a recent article, I included a very humble drawing that I made showing the Traditional Model of the Cosmos, and I used the glyphs in that drawing.  If you look at the glyphs, you will see that each of these glyphs is made up of one, two, or three of these symbols in various combinations.

The cross is the symbol of the material world.  It is also the symbol of humans as Axial Beings with the capacity for Free Will.  I have spoken at length about the symbol of the cross in previous articles.  An introductory article regarding the symbol of the cross can be found here.  As you can see, the symbol of the cross is found in all of the non-luminary planetary glyphs.

The luminaries, the Sun (Sai Raya) and the Moon (Sai Candre), are the only glyphs that contain only one symbol.  The cross is  not contained in either of these glyphs.  This is because the principles that they represent are beyond and independent of the material world.  These are the pure solar and lunar principles, and these principles are the answer to the question, “Who am I?”

Sai RayaAt the very deepest level, we are One with the Divine and with all of existence.  This is stated in many places in feminine Scripture:

“For the Spirit is One, and I am the Spirit, and you are the Spirit also, in the innermost temple of your heart.” – The Temple of the Heart

“Raise not thy voice above a gentle tone except it be in song, nor seek to place thyself above another, for the spirit in each is a ray of the Spirit My Mother, and as thou render service unto them, so servest thou also Her.” – The Heart of Water

“If thou wouldst find union with our Mother, know that thou has never left Her.” – Cry Marya

This Mystery is not only found in the Deanic/Filianic tradition, but is found deep in the teachings of all legitimate traditions.  This is the Mystery of the Atman and the Spirit.  The circle is the symbol of this Mystery.  The glyph for the Sun is a point* surrounded by a large circle, which is the Mystery of the Spirit that is both deep within us and far outside of us.  The Mystery is explained (as well as it can be explained in words), in the Temple of the Heart:

Know your own heart and make examination thereof; for if you know not your own heart, there can be no true knowledge of anything.  But within the innermost temple of your heart shall you find the seas and the heavens and all the illimitable cosmos; For the space within this temple is as vast as the manifest universe.

The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from without, For it is smaller than the seed of an apple, and the seventh part of a seventh part divided again until what part remains can be seen nor touched nor tasted.

The ignorant eye shall not see this temple from within, for it is vast as the manifest universe.

Beyond life, beyond death is the temple, for it is a temple of the Spirit.

SAMSUNG

Within this Mystery is a paradox.  We are One with the Divine, yet we are also separate from the Divine.  The Deanic/Filianic Mythos, as well as the Mythos of many religions, teach of our turning from the Divine, or our choosing separation from the Divine.  In the Temple of the Heart, it says, “About this temple and encompassing it round grows a garden rank with thorns, which are the thorns of khear.”  In the Deanic/Filianic tradition khear is that which keeps us separate from the Divine.  Khear is similar to sin in the Christian tradition, but it has slightly different connotations.  In the Creation Mythos of the Deanic/Filianic tradition, after Axial Beings choose separation, the Light of the Mother became too bright to look upon, and needed to be mediated by the softer reflected Lunar Light of the Daughter.

Our-Lady-of-GraceThe symbol of the crescent is the symbol of the softer Lunar Light.  This symbol is also the symbol for our individual souls, seen in the crescent within a crescent in the symbol for the Moon.  Our souls are the lesser reflection of the Solar Spirit within, and they are the part of us that is both eternal, but also experiences death and rebirth.  The Mystery of our soul is complex, and I have been told that one Eastern meditation exercise is to contemplate one’s own soul and the boundaries of one’s soul.  Any astrologer who has studied Nativity charts knows how complicated and intricate each individual is, filled with contradictions and twists and turns.  Even Modern psychology, as limited as it is, recognizes concepts such as our Inner Child.  Many of us function with multiple personae, such as our work persona, our parent persona (for those with children), and our persona with friends.  Do these personae represent who we are, are they functional, are they something in between?  The answers to these questions are not always all that clear, are they?

As stated before, the non-luminary planetary glyphs are symbolic of the way that each of these Janyatic/planetary principles mediate the Light of the Solar Spirit and the Lunar Crescent in the material world.

See also:

Mummies and Luminaries

—————————–

*Below is an excerpt from a comment from Cure Tadashiku regarding the point in the center of the Solar Glyph:

The center of the Solar glyph is…….the Point without extension:

2. Yet from the still point all movement comes; and Earth is the shadow of Heaven. 3. Space doth extend without limit, nor is there any boundary to the worlds, but the Point is without extension; yet from the Point alone all space proceedeth. 4. All manifest things are bound to the three times; of that which is, which was, which is to come; but the Moment is without time. It neither is nor was, nor ever will be.

……..

The Solar glyph is precisely the extension of manifestation with the non-extended, unmanifest Point at its Center.

Thank you for the information, Cure Tadashiku.

 

Harvest of the Heart

 

The sacred harvest! Time for it again already?
The sacred harvest! Time for it again already?

In my city’s buyer’s cooperative, the planning has already begun, two months out, for our country’s oddly placed Thanksgiving. A few hour’s brainstorming has already expanded the vague notion that “someone really ought to organize a group buy for these things we will all be needing” to a virtual fair of homemade delicacies, a plan for a leftovers potluck, multiple offers of hospitality to those without family to celebrate the holiday with, and shopping lists for not one, but two kinds of donation boxes to distribute to members of our community – ingredients for those who are too poor to afford them and ready-made for those who are unable to cook their own this year. The whole thing has been a natural outpouring of the enthusiasm and joy which the members of this cooperative have brought to everything this group has undertaken. It has also been a response to their natural desire for harmony.

motherplenty
Not actually a portrait of one of our members, but might as well be.

Now, when I say harmony, I am not surprised if you think first of musical harmony – the creation of beautiful sounds from different notes produced simultaneously. However, musical harmony is just one form of harmony – there is the harmony which can exist between people and the even greater harmony of the cosmos, with which we try to align ourselves when we are being good – the very definition of rightness. The very start of the buyer’s cooperative came from one mother’s desire for this rightness – it seemed wrong to her that all the mothers she knew who wanted to buy the same things online would have to pay separate shipping when they could order together and pay to ship to one house and divide the big order up there with just a little cooperation.

Understand that in a society that praises competition, self-reliance, and individualism in all its members, it is the mothers, who are often the last to leave the home and hearth due to simple necessity, who still crave harmony the most. Home without harmony gives no rest to the heart, and even a soul-sick society still senses this.

The seed of a single coordinated online purchase has sprouted and grown into a vast enterprise bringing humanely raised meat, organic produce, and other harmoniously produced goods to hundreds of members on a weekly basis. Several of these people are pouring so much of their time and talent in that they operate at what I have heard called an economic loss – that is, their talents could be applied elsewhere for greater monetary gain. At one point I worried that these leaders would discover this and vanish – our society values money so much. However, looking over the posts on the Thanksgiving board, I am no longer afraid. They are, as I am, receiving value – a spiritual sustenance as nourishing as food – from the harmony this group is generating. The opportunity cost of their going to work for wages instead isn’t one any of us can readily afford.

Bonds of Friendship, Love, and Community

One of the saddest things that has happened in our atomized society is that we have been cut off from the ties that used to be so important in life.   We are separated from our families, often by great distances, and few of us have deep friendships or ties to a community.

In the United States, a ruling just came down from the IRS that marriages of same-sex couples would now be recognized for tax purposes.  This is quite convenient on a personal level, and for many of my readers, it is happy news.  There is a rather sad backdrop, though.  This backdrop is that the only bonds of family that are recognized for non-dependent and non-disabled adults are marital ones.  This is true on a social level as well as a legal one.

Andy Griffith Choir EpisodeHow many times have we heard the phrase, “Oh, we are just friends.”  Friendship has been relegated to a “just,” and is seen as inferior to marital or romantic relationships.  This is a strange concept of an atomized society.  In more traditional societies, one would often have much stronger bonds with one’s friends than with one’s spouse.  Marriage was not primarily a romantic relationship, and romantic love was seen as rather incidental.  Men and women occupied very different social spheres, and a woman’s closest relationships would be with her other female relatives and with her female friends.  I would imagine it was the same for men, but to be honest, (apologizing to my male readers), I have never really understood the dynamics of male friendships.

Before the mid 1960’s, individual families were all part of larger communities, and harmony between friends and within communities was seen to be as important as marital harmony, if not more so.  As I mentioned in previous articles, I have been watching the Andy Griffith Show.  I am quite impressed the portrayal of community in this show.  A disruption of harmony in the community was a major problem that needed to be solved.  Given that this was a sitcom, it was generally solved by the end of the show.  Still, it seems a marked contrast from the way society views these things today.  Over a decade ago, Miss Hilary Clinton stated, “it takes a village to raise a child.”  She was mocked for this, but it was probably one of the wisest things anyone has said in modern times.

Deep friendships and relationships are often viewed with suspicion.  Modern psychology has coined terms like “enmeshment” and “co-dependence,” and people are wary if others get too close, or if they feel like they are getting too close to others.  This being said, I do think that co-dependency exists and can be quite problematic.  Yet, it is something very specific, being addicted to the drama and feeling of importance that comes from caretaking and enabling someone else’s addictive or otherwise harmful behavior.  It is not the same as a deep and intimate relationship that is sometimes difficult and painful because we are imperfect human beings.

Yuri-san CrushIt is seen as a cause for suspicion and jealousy if a married person has deep friendships outside of her marriage.  If two people are close friends in general, there is a view that there might be something inappropriate happening.  I was recently watching Episode 42 of a Japanese Anime show, Heartcatch Precure.   One of the characters in this show is Yuri-san, or Cure Moonlight.  On a personal level, I confess that watching this show is quite emotional, because Yuri-san’s story matches my own to an extent that can be eerily uncomfortable.  Yuri-san is a bit older than the other Precures, and she becomes restored to her powers late in the series.  In any case, there is a little boy who has a crush on Yuri-san.  They had known each other since they were much younger, and Yuri-san thought of him as her little brother.

In a Western story with the same theme, this crush would be treated as something that was to be stopped.  In most shows, the older person would generally try to stop the crush in as gentle a manner as possible.  Still, it was definitely something that needed to be stopped as quickly as possible.  Often in these shows, the younger person would get carried away with the crush and push the issue beyond the point of propriety.  In this story, the crush was treated in a much different manner.  The little boy said that he knew that he needed to grow up and did not expect Yuri-san to reciprocate.  He did want to give her a love letter that she would take seriously, though.  At this point in the story, Yuri-san was smiling for the first time in a long time, and the little boy wanted to protect her smile.  He thought that her knowing that someone loved her would do that.  At the end of the episode, Yuri-san held the love letter to her heart, while her and the little boy stood together.

There was nothing improper about this.  It was just a sweet story about people caring for one another.  It was so different and so much more innocent than what we would see in a Western show.

On this same topic, I have been greatly enjoying the Precure series, but I have been a bit disturbed by the reaction of Western fans at times.  For those who are not familiar with these shows, they are in the Magic Girl genre of Anime, and an article describing the premise of the genre is here.  One of the other features of the Precure series is that the girls have very strong and deep bonds of friendship and love between them.  The disturbing and sad part is the innuendo that the girls must be lesbians or have s*xual feelings for each other.  When looking up images from the series on the Internet, there are some rather rude images of the girls implying this.  I think that this is a sad commentary on Western society.

Why is it so hard to believe that there could exist strong and deep innocent bonds of love between friends?  Why do we assume that something less innocent must be happening?  I think that the answer to this is the overall atomization and cynicism that we are fed from earliest childhood.  I think it is also part and parcel of the phenomenon that Western society seems to believe that the only “real” intimate relationships are s*xual or marital ones.

This all being said, I think that the most wonderful part of my journey has been the development of very deep and intimate bonds of friendship with some very wonderful people.  While at first, my spouse was a bit threatened by this, we worked things through.  One of the strange things that I discovered was not only do these friendships not threaten my feelings for my spouse, but I have found myself feeling even closer to my spouse because of them.   I have been very blessed by this.