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In this season of celebration and renewal I hear the phrase the promise of hope resounding. Today it was on a radio feature concerning rituals centering on the lighting of candles in public spaces both reverent and natural.

One contributor recalled experiencing transcendence in a candle lit cathedral in what was likely a Christmas service, while another recounted a peaceful demonstration in a park on the eve of “George Bush’s Gulf War”, where the candle dribbled all over her good gloves and the fervent wishes of the pacifist idealists were not met. Was their hope renewed or extinguished? Likely a mix of the two.

For those who thrive on faith and its shadow companion despair such elevations and disappointments are as cyclical as the seasons. For every bit of family joy and neighbourly friendship there is bloodlust and ruthless cruelty abroad to dampen the momentary joy.

I’ve long been a proponent of knowledge over faith and understanding over hope, for hope and faith are glass crutches fashioned by religions and their regulators to pacify the panic of ignorance, glass crutches every ready to crack and shatter when the dementia of pointless destruction rears its horrific head.

Knowledge of the planes beyond the physical, and the accompanying communication with their inhabitants assures the explorer of a blissful eternity beyond the pitfalls of violence and disease, not to mention the wanton destruction of that equal opportunity employer, mother nature.

This knowledge, however accessed, leads to the understanding that all life has a duration which far transcends any suffering and grieving experienced during the ins and outs of incarnation and an educational purpose which obviates any need for the faith that legends cheerfully embroider.  The arrival and departure of civilizations, with their kings, customs and conquerors, the divine infiltration of messiahs, their disciples and inevitable entourages, however well timed by those ascended spirits choosing to shepherd the millions insisting on their blindfolds, they are merely events in the unfolding of time’s histories, events that the knowledgeable can avoid by passing on the ticket purchase as they pursue involvements more appropriate to their maverick paths.

There have been, over the centuries, many takes on the Biblical injunction ‘let the dead bury the dead’, so perhaps just one more might thicken the stew we are all nourished by. To be spiritually dead is to bury the body in grief and anxiety. Any body, – the spouse, the child, the celebrity, the saint. The knowledgeable see or feel them all attending their funerals, subjected to the crowd funded emotions. Later they can envision them pursuing their new joys in one or other of the paradises. Later still thy can see them entering another womb, all wound up for action.

Thusly they see through those comforting illusions of hope and faith and understand why so many wish to continue their dependence. Fairy tales and legends with their enticements and promises can be undermined and superseded by personal exploration of the mystery of being. One has to separate from the pervasive myths sustaining the power structures of society, but the evidence uncovered will sustain you rather than those who would vampirise you.