The new Pope has been elected

After two days of voting and deliberations, the new Pope has been elected.
He is Pope Francis I, formerly the Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Cardinal of Argentina Jorge Mario Bergoglio.


It should not have come as a big surprise considering that Latin America is probably the strongest Catholic enclave in the world.

In Canada, there was a hope that Cardinal Marc Ouelett might have a chance. However, Pope election is just another political move and based on that, it would not have made any sense to choose a Canadian Cardinal. And maybe it’s for the better for Canadian unity not to have a Pope from the secessionist Quebec.

The most dangerous cults in the world

The buzz is that starting next week, the Church of Scientology (Co$) will start leaking damaging information about Katie Holmes.
I guess the secrets gathered during their mandatory audits will be aired out. It’s not that we are surprised, considering the reputation they have and the fact that Tom Cruise is their golden poster child. Intimidation, defamation, law suits are among the tools the Co$ is using against detractors.

‘Religion refers to systems of general compensators based on supernatural assumptions’ by Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge in their book A Theory of Religion.

In their delusion the Scientologists can’t understand that their precious Co$ is very much detested by most people. The common mortals won’t even consider it a ‘church’; more like a ‘cult’. A dangerous one for that matter. Actually is it any non dangerous cult around?
A quick net search provided the following list. And guess what? Scientology is among them.
I would add other cults to the list to get a better picture about how a group of people exploit others and get a tax-free ride under the religious umbrella.

1. Church of Bible Understanding: Members of the cult live in a commune and donate 90% of their income to the cult; the leader of the cult is Stewart Traill and according to former members, Traill controls every aspect of members’ lives through harsh criticism, shame, and public humiliation.
2. Manson Family: the cult was started by Charles Manson, a reject of society and his own mother (Note: Freud’s teaching pointed to childhood as a place to visit to explain people’s behaviour) and ended with a string of murders, the most prominent one being Sharon Tate
3. Aum Shinrikyo– the religious cult started as a yoga and meditation class in Tokyo and ended with a Sarin attack; it was dubbed ‘the religion for the elite’; eventually it changed, allowing other people to join. ‘The cult started attracting controversy in the late 1980s with accusations of deception of recruits, and of holding cult members against their will and forcing members to donate money. A murder of a cult member who tried to leave is now known to have taken place in February 1989’ Source:
4. Restoration of the 10 Commandments: formed in Uganda, as a breakaway group from the Roman Catholic Church; the teachings put strong emphasis on the apocalypse. Mass graves were found after a fire in 2000, when an estimated 800 cadavers were found.
5. Raëlism: Raelian Church or Raëlism, is a UFO religion founded by a an alleged contactee named Claude Vorilhon, that favors physicalism- the belief that everything is physical, and denies the existence of soul and a supernatural god-like entity
6. Scientology: It has been described as a cult and commercial enterprise, known for harassing and suing its critics, and for abusing the trust of its members. One of the major tenets of Scientology is that a human is an immortal alien spiritual being- thetan- that is presently trapped on planet Earth in a physical body and forgot their true nature. The main character is Xenu.
7. Order of the Solar Temple: lots of controversy surrounds this cult, still active even after making headlines for mass suicide and murders committed in Switzerland and Quebec, Canada
8. Heaven’s Gate: combination of Christian beliefs and UFO; some members submitted to voluntary castration; died by mass suicide
9. Branch Davidians: leader was David Koresh; the cult was known due to the ATF and FBI siege that resulted in the death of 82 members of the cult, including the leader
10. Unification Church or Mooneyism
11. Children of God
12. Jehova’s Witness
13. Mormonism

Baba Vanga- The Bulgarian Prophetess

Baba Vangas’s prophecies made her famous; probably not as famous as Nostradamus, but still, for a humble, illiterate, blind Bulgarian she made headlines all over the world. Most of her prophecies are scary; some of them look like Russian propaganda, but all together, they should be given attention.

According to Baba Vanga, her powers were derived from “invisible creatures” whose origins were unknown. Yet, they could communicate with her.
She also claimed to have healing powers, and would often prescribe herbs and spices to cure diseases and ailments. But she said that people had to heal themselves only with the herbs from the country they live in. (Note to myself: Start investigating natural remedies based on herbs growing in Canada)

She was not afraid of the death, because according to her “after death the body decomposes, like everything alive, but a part of the body – the soul, or something I don’t know how to call it, does not decompose. You talk about second birth. I do not know what it is. But what remains from a man – it’s the soul. It does not decompose, and continues to develop to reach higher states. This is the eternity of soul.”
Vanga never allowed anybody to seek revenge. She believed that a man is born to make good. No bad thing ever remains unpunished. It is always punished and if it does not affect the man who made the wrong, it affects his children.

Baba Vanga would also act as a medium, communicating with the spirits of dead people from up to 200 years in the past. Vanga also prophecized future events. She mentioned that “In 200 years, man will make contact with brothers in mind from other worlds,” a reference to aliens contact. She also mentioned that aliens had been living on our planet for many years, coming from a planet the aliens referred to as ‘Vamfim.’ Some people speculated that ‘Vamfim’ is actually another dimension of planet Mars. Vanga referred to it as ‘the third planet from the Earth’.

Vanga predicted the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, when she said that American brothers would fall under attacks of birds of steel, the perestroika in the USSR, the death of Princess Diana, the sinking of the Kursk submarine and that the 44th US president would be black and would be “the last one.” She went on, saying that following his stepping into position, there would be a spectacular economic crisis and a conflict between north and south states, with Indonesia getting involved. All this cooking up to a third world war in which the nuclear bomb would be used again.
Interesting fact: Baba Vanga mentioned a new religion that will take the earthlings by the storm: The White Brotherhood. More about it later on.

Following are some prophecies for the next 25 years.
2008 – Assassination attempts on four heads of states. Conflict in Indonesia. That becomes one of the causes for the start of WWIII.
2010 – The start of WWIII. The war will begin in November of 2010 and will end in October of 2014. Will start as a normal war, then will include usage of nuclear and chemical weapons.
2011 – Due to the radioactive showers in Northern Hemisphere – no animals or plants will be left. Muslims will begin chemical war against Europeans who are still alive.
2014 – Most of the people in this world will have skin cancer and skin related diseases. (as a result of chemical wars).
2016 – Europe is almost empty
2018 – China becomes the new world power.
2023 – Earth’s orbit will change slightly
2025 – Europe is still barely populated
2028 – Development of a new energy source. (Probably controller thermonuclear reaction) Hunger slowly stops being a problem. Piloted spaceship to Venus deploys.
2033 – Polar ice caps melt. World ocean levels rise.

A Spiritual Journey through Tibet

I was watching a documentary on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. At some point you could see the interior of a room, where a few Tibetan monks started the ritual following the death of a young Tibetan. The room did not have windows, only openings in the stoned wall. But the openings were covered by very small curtains.

As always, I was overwhelmed by the austerity of the Tibetan life, and again I promised myself that one day I will go there. Maybe I am not spiritual enough for this type of journey but I am pretty sure that I would have a life transforming experience.

What do you feel watching this picture?
Photo courtesy of Konstantin

First glimpse brought me a huge emotional pain; my soul hurt. I could almost hear the eerie sound of the wind. The wind that burnt the faces of the old and young Tibetans for centuries.

The most popular image people would refer to while thinking of Tibet, beside the Chomolangma naturally, it’s the artifact found on top of Jokhang (The House of Lord) Temple.
Deers are a direct reference to the Buddha’s first teaching in the Deer Park, Sarnath, also called Dharmachakra Parivartan. The suggestion is that his presence was so peaceful that even the animals came to listen.
In the Tibetan tradition, a monastery which holds the Kangyur and Tengyur collections of texts would have this symbol of deers on both sides of the Dharma-wheel on the roof.

The Jokhang Temple is the most celebrated temple in Tibet. Because the temple is not controlled by any sect of the Tibetan Buddhism, it attracts followers of all the sects, along with the followers of Bon Po, Tibet’s indigenous religion.
The Temple houses the most sacred artifact of the Buddhism: the statue of Jowo Sakyamuni or Gautama Buddha, the founder of the Buddhism.
The statue is 1.5 meters tall, cast from precious metals and decorated with jewels and it represents Sakyamuni when he was twelve-year old.

The Tibetans continue to be violently repressed by the Chinese. Hundreds of Tibetan monks are still imprisoned, vast areas of the country, which are off limits to foreign visitors or journalists, are stripped of natural resources and most monasteries in desperate need of reconstruction are left without any financial support by the Chinese government.
Some monasteries, part of the tourist circuit, have been more or less given reconstruction assistance.
Not Tashilhunpo.
But Tibetan pilgrims still visit this ancient holy site to access the spiritual presence and to pray for the spirit- health of the monastery, spirit to be said to return only after the departure of the Chinese.
The ritual asks to follow clockwise the sacred path, outside the walls.
Photo courtesy of Konstantin

Tashilhunpo remains one of the poorer monasteries, but one that is still trying to look after the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of all the monks, throughout their lives.

I found this very interesting site, that promises a meaningful trip to Tibet.

Abulafia and Umberto Eco

I was watching the other day a documentary about Kabbalah and at some point the name Abulafia came up.
Suddenly I remember where I’ve read it before: in Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum.
Interesting how things are connected in life.

In Foucault’s Pendulum Abulafia was the nickname of Belbo’s computer used by him and two other friend-editors to decipher the hidden coded manuscript alleged to contain the information on how the Templar Knights planned to take over the world.
When I’ve read the book, I was intrigued by the name, but that was all. I was too much preoccupied on trying to navigate the intrigue to give a second thought to this name. The book it’s not an easy reading but the journey through the labyrinth it’s quite interesting.

Who was Abulafia?
Abraham Abulafia (1240-1294) is the most important figure in the prophetic Kabbalah.
As opposed to the most known Kabbalist who lived a normal conventional family life, Abulafia was the wandering mystic and teacher, moving from town to town, spreading his teachings.
Abulafia teaches that, by using his methods of letter permutation, meditation, and free association, you can receive prophecy today. Naturally, the Thorah scholars are not quite happy with the mystical point of interpreting divine words.

Before my son was born, I tried to find a meaningful name for him. I came across a Kabbalarian analysis of names and it took me a few days to find one that seemed to work well with the last name and I liked as well. Nowadays everybody knows about artists embrassing Kabbalah, but without converting to Judaism, which is a point various rabbies are complaining about. Probably Abulafia opened Pandora’s box with his teachings.

Finally, what is Foucault’s Pendulum?
The Pendulum is made of a support, a wire and an iron ball that swings back and forth in a plane that is fix relative to the distant stars. Because of the Earth rotation, it will appear that the pendulum rotates anti-clockwise describing a full circle within 24 hours period.