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Spiritual Surf: Sundance takes down Mormons; Kitty Kelley takes down Oprah; Tu Beshevat (the tree of life) and St. Paul

8: The Mormon Proposition, a movie on spiritual politics

Utah not only hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival; in the 2010 edition of the film fest, the state’s (unofficial) church has a starring role in the line-up of movies.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is taken down in a documentary about the 2008 initiative that successfully banned gay marriage in California.

Another irony: the film, 8: The Mormon Proposition, is directed by a former Mormon. It details the counter-revolutionary intervention Mormons poured into passing Proposition 8.

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Spiritual Surf: Old newspapers, Yemen, Dead Sea Scrolls, Epiphany

Old headlines, new knowledge

People around the world are reviewing the events of last year, particularly reported by the media.  How about reviewing  events reported over 100 years ago?  The British Library has made available, through subscription, millions of digitally scanned pages of British newspapers.  Nostalgic seekers can peruse articles on women’s football, political rallies, the abolition of slavery, and that newfangled utility called electricity.  Contemporary gurus (everybody) can now find lessons learned from many years past.

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Spiritual Surf: Mary, Tiger Woods, Chanukah, Musical Healing, Bodhi Day

Immaculate Mary: fan of Luther

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, is celebrated this week by Roman Catholics. This holy day commemorates Mary’s being conceived without original sin.  Two surprising features of the holy day?  Historically many Christians believed that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin, yet this belief was not promulgated as Catholic dogma until December 8, 1854 (fairly recent relative to the world of Catholic doctrine).  Second, while many Protestants scoff at this belief, the first advocate of the Reformation, Martin Luther, firmly believed in the immaculate conception of Mary.

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What’s less fun than telling your kids at the mall that Santa Claus doesn’t exist?

Answer: the real Santa was a Byzantine monk. Yup, Old Saint Nick evolved from a bishop in present-day Turkey who treated opponents harshly but championed the cause of the powerless

BY KOHL GLAU — Santa Claus’ real story begins nearly 1,700 years ago as the powerful Roman empire was quickly becoming Christian. He lived in a moderate Mediterranean climate, opposed Church-branded heretics, financially supported the poor, built churches, and performed miracles.

In other words, the historical St. Nick is a far more spiritual figure than the folkoric Santa Claus who lives near the North Pole, receives letters from children, rides in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, and deliversgifts on Christmas Eve. How did this commercial Santa evolve? Who was the original? Is he even someone on whose knee you’d want to seat your child?

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Soul’s Code Trivia Quiz – A Traditional Christmas

Pagan feasts, pious observances, drunken revelry, family get-togethers: The celebration of Christmas is thought to be an age-old tradition. But from which age does this tradition actually derive?

Christmas has evolved from a pagan celebration of the solstice; to a Christian honoring of the birth of Jesus; to a raucous, drunken Mardi Gras-like roving street party; to a secular, family holiday complete with a tree, the story of Santa and the exchange of gifts.

The celebration that we embrace today has changed drastically in the past several hundred years, and continues to evolve as we embrace new ideas and rituals from various cultures. How well do you know the history of the tradition we call Christmas?

Test your knowledge of the influences that have shaped our celebration in Soul’s Code’s Christmas Trivia Quiz below.

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2012: End of days, cosmic messenger or perhaps a higher calling?

“We are flying by the seat of our collective, cosmic pants around a relatively insignificant sun, that is in turn hurtling through the provincial backwaters of a massive galaxy, anchored by a hellishly ravenous black hole.”

GUEST COLUMN: H. C. Hummel — I was raised on a grape ranch in Northern California during the 1950’s in a fundamentalist Christian household. Like thousands of other kids, I went to vacation Bible school during the summer months, where I became well-versed in the doctrine of the Second Coming; that is, the belief that Jesus would literally and physically return, appearing in the sky one day, coming to rescue his followers and establish a thousand-year reign of peace on Earth. In the Christian context, this belief of the Second Coming is deeply-rooted in the biblical books of Daniel and John’s Revelation.

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With signs of apocalypse all around us, even Hollywood is obsessed with 2012

Worried about war, depression, global warming and the price of gas? No wonder everyone’s talking about the year 2012

BY VAISHALI, author of You Are What You Love® and Wisdom Rising

Everywhere I go I hear conversations — rumblings about 2012. As I watched the Dow zig-zag across 10,000 and Congress authorize trillions of dollars to rescue us from the financial crisis, the rumblings got louder.

What exactly is 2012, and why all the buzz about it? Google “2012,” and you’ll get a quarter-billion hits. Now, two years in the making, Hollywood’s publicity machine is adding to the uproar with the marketing campaign for Roland Emmerich’s holiday-season disaster blockbuster, 2012.

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Dancing with the invisible ones

Dia de los Meurtos is my annual chance to dance with spirits in the material world

DANNY KENNY — After reverent invocation to the spirits, the samba-like beat pulsates through the snake of flesh coiled in waiting. Slowly it begins stretching, swallowing innocent bystanders and eager collaborators alike in its path.

Aztec warriors rub shoulders with zombie-like creatures, and sartorial Calaveras (skulls) fall prey to its slithering mass. All seem mesmerized by its hypnotic charms, twisting and gliding rhythmically from its head to its tail through the candlelit San Francisco streets to their symbolic place of death.

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Soul’s Code Trivia Quiz – What’s so scary about Friday the 13th?

Some refuse to go to work, others refuse to dine out, and almost no one will get married on Friday, the 13th. From The Flood to King Phillip IV of France, we have traced the spiritual origins of this superstition.

No one can say for certain when and why Western culture first began to associate Friday the 13th, and especially the number 13, with bad luck and misfortune. There are more than a few theories. 

Some say the suspicion dates back to the Pagans, the Norse or the early Christians. Some say it derives from unfortunate historical events or from Biblical events.

We invite you take a break from your work day, if indeed you were brave enough to venture out today, and test your knowledge of the number 13 and all things Friday.

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Celebrating Halloween, every witch way but true

It might be about kinky costumes or eye candy for you. For me, it’s a sacred celebration that ”tricks” sweet little kids into “treating” all witches as ”wicked” stereotypes.

DANNY KENNY — Ah, to be an Irish Pagan at Halloween and witness apparently sane, God fearing people, joyously ridiculing a sacred tradition from an ancient  land of culture.

I refer of course to Ireland, those mythical shores that gave you Shaw and so much more than “Paddy’s Day” and the “Paddy Wagon” — a racist term still sadly used openly in these so called PC days.  Let’s not forget we also gave the world literary greats like Yeats and Wilde.

We gave you the Kennedy family, U2 and even “the Greatest” grandfathers of  all; Muhammed Ali and Obama’s. And what did you choose to celebrate from our culture: Halloween and St Patrick’s Day! Both of which do neither Irish culture nor Paganism any favors.

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