Rogue Feels

For those who care, this post contains Rogue One spoilers, and many feels

A few days after the passing of General Leia Organa, my husband and I went and saw Rogue One. When it was all over, I found that was hit with a lot of unexpected feels. It wasn’t just the CGI Carrie Fisher accepting the disk (too soon), or the way Jyn and Cassian held each other as they were annihilated (all the feels), what hit me the hardest was when my husband suggested we go back and watch all the other Star Wars movies.

The Star Wars movies bring up feels. Unresolved feels. Guilty feels. What-if feels. Rogue feels. I’ve been blessed with geeky friends, so I’ve seen IV, V, and VI several times each. I’ve  seen I, II, and VII once. I’ve never actually seen more than a few moments of III (the official site for easier reference), and I left the room pretty quickly. Thanks feels.

In The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher writes about her fans:

The Star Wars films touched them in some incredibly profound or significant way. They remember everything about the day they first saw Star Wars one, two, and three (which were officially, of course, IV, V, and VI): where they were, who they were with, what obstacles they had to overcome…. How, that day, things for them ceased to be in any way the same from then to forever after.

Star Wars didn’t really impact me until later, I was still unassimilated stardust when Star Wars:  A New Hope premiered. It wasn’t until the late 1990s, early 2000s that Star Wars really came full force into my life. The new Star Wars movies were coming out, and my friend William*, being the lovable geek that he was, collected every last Star Wars Pepsi and Mt. Dew can (unopened), as well as large cardboard cutouts of Obi-Wan and Yoda, leftover from the grocery store displays where he worked. He grew his hair out like young Obi-Wan, and generally immersed himself in all things Star Wars both the original three movies, and the new ones that were coming out.

The enthusiasm was hard not to pick up on. Together with my other geeky friends, we had a Star Wars marathon, they saw to it I was fully immersed. William and I had a somewhat geeky Sunday School teacher who wanted to keep the kids engaged, we were able to talk about themes of the force in relation to Christian Science, and tie it all together.

William identified with Ewan McGregor’s character of young Obi-Wan from The Phantom Menace (and styled his hair to match), while I related him more to Anakin’s character in Attack of the Clones. He saw himself as the Noble Jedi, I saw him as the angsty troubled teen (even more so after the seizures). I think we may have both been right.

The sudden, unexpected death of a close friend just entering their early twenties is difficult to handle, add the extra layer of Christian Science, and nearly fifteen years later, I’ve still got emotional work to do. Since William’s passing, watching Star Wars movies feels like ripping a scab off wound that refuses to fully heal, hauling up emotions to process. Not every time, there is no consistency in this. Sometimes a wave of rogue feels hits, and sometimes I just enjoy the soap-opera nature of what may have also been called Daddy Issues In Space (parts 1-8). 

Taking deep breaths. Crying. Guilt. Ice cream, the Christian Science cure-all.

I survived my Christian Science childhood. I’m happily married, yet I miss him terribly. Do I miss him, or some idealized version of him? This thought haunts me. Would I still like him now? Would we even be friends? I’m in a very different place than I was when he was still alive. I moved across the country. I have shifted my political views. I am married. I have children. William would’ve been an uncle by now, with several nieces and nephews, some of whom like Star Wars, though not quite as much as he did. His siblings have left Christian Science, their children get medical care, I’m certain his death played a large role in those decisions.

Feels aside, I’m going to keep watching, and enjoying (and having all the feels about), Star Wars movies, and maybe one day, I’ll watch Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.   — YODA, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

* names have been changed to protect the innocent


musings on the material world & death – Eddy & Steiner’s perspectives

Before I dive into Lecture Four: Devachan, I want to pause and contemplate how Eddy and Steiner talk about the material world, and death. I am only three lectures into Steiner’s work, so my views on this could change as I learn more about Steiner’s perspectives.

Through out Science and Health, the material world is intrinsically linked with sin, disease/sickness and death*. Invoking Jesus, Eddy writes: “He came teaching and showing men how to destroy sin, sickness, and death” (Science & Health 6:27-28).

Every supposed pleasure in sin will furnish more than its equivalent of pain, until belief in material life and sin is destroyed. To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the divine Principle of being. [emphasis added]

For Eddy, the material (including, but not limited to, sin, pleasure, and husbands) are a distraction from God.  She enumerates five erroneous postulates (S&H p. 91-92) reflecting on how  “the denial of material selfhood aids the discernment of man’s spiritual and eternal individuality, and destroys the erroneous knowledge gained from matter or through what are termed the material senses(emphasis added).

Eddy is really big on the unreality of matter, the denial of the material world, and how, eventually, we will recognize that we are spiritual beings… which sounds like a special level of hell all on it’s own.

I am not as well versed in Steiner as I am in Eddy, and I’m sure my ideas will develop further as I work my way through his lectures. I find Steiner’s perspective differently difficult, but simultaneously easier to relate to on a metaphorical level as he acknowledges the physical aspects of the human experience.

Steiner’s vision of man is multi-faceted, with a physical form, and spiritual elements, in stark contrast to Eddy’s man is a spiritual idea of God (nothing more/less). Steiner acknowledges the physical/material world, as well as other worlds. For Eddy, there is only the spiritual, the rest is an erroneous lie.

Death gets complicated for Steiner, as the soul then goes to a purgatory-esque state, kamaloka, before it can be reborn. In this purgatory, it has to overcome the desires it experienced during its physical experience. Steiner does seem to be passing some judgment on the souls here similar to Eddy’s admonishment that “a great sacrifice of material things must precede this advanced spiritual understanding” (S&H p. 16) — but this is worked out after the death of the physical body, and before rebirth.

Steiner points out living a less-material life will cut back on this struggle in kamaloka, but as far as I can tell, Steiner falls short of lumping acknowledgement of the material body/world with sin, disease and death. The experience in the physical realm are something to be learned from, and worked through, as 1/3 of them will be carried forth into the next life — I could be totally wrong on Steiner’s views of this, but that’s what I read it to be.

In both cases, the departed individual has to do some “working out” of the problems they dealt with in their previous life. For Steiner, the person then goes on to be reincarnated (?) — I’m unclear on the exact process, while Eddy’s departed continues to “work out” whatever the issue is until they reach a totally clear understanding, and they “become as the angels” (which sounds pretty dull).

*The sin, disease and death combination appears 14 times through Science & Health, and sin, sickness and death appears together 55 times. Science & Health as a searchable PDF can be found:

SOS: Lecture 3: Life of the Soul in Kamaloka

This is one of a series of posts discussing Rudolf Steiner’s Founding a Science of the Spirit: Fourteen Lectures Given in Stuttgart Between 22 August and 4 September 1906. Visit the tag Science of Spirit for all posts on this topic. 

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I had to brush a thick layer of dust off Founding a Science of the Spirit before starting this post, and skim my previous posts so I’d have some clue what I was getting back into. It has been a little while since I’ve delved into the esoteric world of Steiner and you really have to be in the right headspace to manage it. I’m trying, I’m not sure I’m there yet.

Good news/bad news: these lectures appear to be building on what we’ve read/talked about before. So far, they seem to give a very quick refresher of the previous lecture’s highlights before jumping into the topic at hand. In Lecture 3: Life of the Soul in Kamaloka, Steiner delves into the states of death and sleep and the various states of the seven members of the what comprises a man club.

Steiner first turns, briefly, to sleep (the younger brother of death), and the states of the astral and ego bodies, which “raise themselves out of the physical body” — apparently this is why we loose consciousness during sleep. Steiner then poses the question: “what does the loosened astral body do at night?” At night, the astral body “renovates the physical body” and renews the forces that have been used during the day.

The remaining portion of the lecture (and indeed, the bulk of it) is devoted to death, and what Steiner believes happens when a person dies. The etheric body leaves, followed closely by the astral body and ego. The person remembers all that has happened — apparently this can also happen if death seems imminent. Steiner refers to this as the “loosening of the etheric body” and considers it to be quite dangerous, this loosening can also happen via hypnotism, or if a person is in enormous danger. Try to avoid it.

Apparently when a person dies the etheric body eventually dissolves into the ether, and the physical body has deteriorated (I assume?), so what remains are the astral body and the ego. At this point Steiner lumps the astral body and ego together and simply calls them “the soul” —  and the soul, now separated from body, is working out it’s desires for sensation/sensory input in a state called Kamaloka… I googled this term, apparently it is Steiner’s equivalent of purgatory.

As Steiner puts it (or as the people taking notes on his lecture put it):

The soul is not tortured from the outside, but has to suffer the torment of the desires it still has but cannot satisfy.

The soul lives its life backwards, day by day seeing where it can learn from the past experiences. Reliving earthly joy, but  offering no satisfaction from it. The soul also experiences the suffering it causes to others. Apparently we must wean ourselves gradually from the physical wishes and desires so the soul can be free of the earth and ascend to Devachan (googled again, the heavenly world).

It seems the less materialistic and more enlightened the soul is, the less it suffers in Kamaloka. Apparently people stay in Kamaloka for 1/3 their previous life, and then their astral bodies dissolves. Once it is fully dissolved, a person can be reincarnated. Steiner is quick to point out there are exceptions to all this, of course, and everyone’s experience varies. No kidding.

The death/purgatory theme is not unique to Steiner, nor is death/purgatory/higher world, but he does put his own embellishments on it. The style of the note takers/translators made me loop back a few times to try and catch the details (I probably failed at that). Over all I was left with an unworldly sci-fi feeling with the various bodies departing in their own ways. I’m not sure I’m going to sleep too well tonight, I don’t know how I feel about  my astral and ego bodies running loose.

Additional reading

Thoughts On The End

Everyone should read this post. Yes, this is an uncomfortable topic, but it is very important, and Emerging Gently has done an excellent job handling the subject!

Emerging Gently

I’ve recently had a dialogue with a reader regarding a recent post. My friend is a Christian Scientist, while I, obviously, am not. The discussion centred somewhat around end-of-life issues, and it’s prompted me to think about this rather uncomfortable subject.

View original post 1,128 more words

what I’ve been reading: things that make me angry

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CS prays for healing at

Why does God Kill So Many Children in Idaho? at

Birthing Book Linked to Death of Baby at

Religious Freedom vs. Child Protection at

Zombies, Children & Religion: gruesome and very frightening affairs

We recently received the following e-mail from Kid1’s teacher:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: I am suggesting that you avoid downtown this Saturday. The now annual Zombie Walk Contest and Race is happening throughout most of the day and into the night. It is a gruesome and very frightening affair for young children. I do not want these awful images living in your children, or coming into the classroom.

Young children trust that the world is true. They take fairy tales to heart in a real way recognizing archetypal truths. A child can be told that something is pretend, then parrot that back to the adult. The truth for them is more that everything they encounter is real and they are in some way part of the encountered things or events.

Please shield your children from this zombie nonsense while they are so young, receptive and imitative.

The last sentence of the e-mail really stood out to me:

Please shield your children from this zombie nonsense while they are so young, receptive and imitative.

You could easily replace zombie with any number of things, as it is not just fairy tales that children take to heart in very real ways. They are quite observant little creatures and you should be mindful of the behavior you are modeling as well as what you say.

The idea of shielding children is not new, they’ve popped up time and time again in parenting books, and in Science and Health, Ms. Eddy reminds us that “children should be allowed to remain children in knowledge (Science & Health, p. 140). If Ms. Eddy was writing the e-mail today, she would likely replace zombie with the Christian Science Trinity of Doom — sin, disease and death — because really, isn’t that what Halloween is all about?*

I am not going to expose my children to the Christian (or Christian Science) notion of sin. The idea that without God they are nothing is harmful, the idea they are born sinners is ridiculous, the complex dogma that has grown around the mythology of a 2000 year old Jewish carpenter who may or may not have existed, and that has been translated and reinterpreted numerous times is not something I plan to expose my children to until they are old enough to realize it is a story, just like the stories of Zeus and Hera in Greek mythology, or the numerous other stories explaining creation.

Disease is a tricky one, there is a line between exposing children to things they are not ready for, and acknowledging that they are not feeling well. I am not going to tell my children about the Ebola outbreak in Africa (that would worry them unnecessarily), but I will comfort them when they are congested and can’t sleep well at night. When the children have questions, I will do my best to answer them in an age-appropriate way: Kid1 saw a photo of some men in hazmat suits cleaning up after some ebola victims and asked what was going on. My husband explained the men were wearing “special suits, like firemen wear” and they were “helping people” — both of these things were true, and Kid1 was satisfied with the answer. I’m sure my answers will change as they grow older, by then I hope to have gained more insight into how to answer difficult questions.

Ms. Eddy goes out of her way to emphasize the unreality of death. There are nearly 100 references to death in Science and Health, and she includes a definition of it in the Glossary. On p. 531, she defines death, as

An illusion, for there is no death; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of God, or Life.

Ms. Eddy goes on to rail about matter, unreality and the flesh, and I lose interest. Ms. Eddy and I live in two very different worlds: Ms. Eddy has returned to the universe, and I am still here. The children have asked a few questions about death, and I have tried to be honest with them. No, [the deceased] is not coming back. We will only see them again in photographs (and possibly on video), we will always have our memories of them, and we can honor their memories by living a full life.

When they are a little older, I will share with them the piece from NPR’s All things Considered: Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End that talks about why you want a physicist to speak at your funeral. I will also share with them the piece by Rev. Michael Dowd, Death: Sacred, Necessary, Real, which beautifully touches on the theme of the positive role of death in the Universe without being creepy.

Young children trust that the world is true.

The children have already been exposed to “zommies” — they’ve watched my husband play Minecraft, but those are very different than zombies walking down Main Street, SmallTown USA. They know the zommies in Minecraft aren’t real, that would be silly, the world is not made of pixelated bricks!

image via

This zombie is OBVIOUSLY NOT going to be walking down the street any time soon.  image via

Why do they know these things? Mommy and Daddy told them so, and they’ve seen for themselves — they don’t look like Minecraft characters. There is the grey zone, with things like Santa Claus, and angels — I’m still sorting out how to deal with those, but I feel quite strongly that I will not pile upon my children the burden of nonsense that sin, disease, and death are somehow their fault. I will not fill their nightmares with images of zombies, the false idea that sin brings sickness, or the confusing mental gymnastics required to pretend to comprehend unreality of matter.


* I’m being sarcastic there. I don’t have any problems with Halloween, but I do feel it can be a Bit Too Much for small children so we stick with very low-key celebrations.