In the days after I told my mother I did not share her beliefs, she was silent, except for one phone call in which she appeared to give me a story, instead of coming straight out with her real feelings. Covering of actual feelings is common with my relatives. They cannot seem to admit how they really feel, but that is OK. I expected her to react as she did, but I did not expect any lies, because supposedly that is a sin. I guess it is OK to lie to those who you believe are going to hell though.
Image by Tattooed JJ (away for a few days) via FlickrAlmost a whole month past before I heard from her again and I thought about calling her to make sure she and my aunt were doing well, but then decided against it, because I did not wish to start anything. However, during that time I could not help but feel sad and angry at the fact she has always done things like this. Sacrificing and ignoring her daughter is a common practice for her.
During that time, my Christian friend was upset that a mother could do such a thing and insisted what my mother was doing was wrong. In the process, she also said, “It is her loss, because she has never really gotten to know you” with reassurances that I am a good person. This friend does not believe in imposing her beliefs on anyone, not even on her own daughter. She believes people need to make such “choices” for themselves and no one else should force them to make those “choices”.
That is all fine and good. I take no issue with such statements, except that disbelief is not a choice. It just is. I have studied psychology, mythology, the history of religion, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism, Gnosticism, the esoteric, and more concerning various philosophies. End the end, I found that they were all just human concepts and myths created by humans. None of it is real, but they do have some nuggets of wisdom here and there that I can appreciate. At the same time, there are a lot of things I abhor about religion, especially the Western religions.
That said, I had a dream in which it appears Gematria might have been involved, even though it has been a long while since I even explored this view. That is to say, some of the religions, especially those which involve Christianity, have left their effects in my dreams. This one involved the number eight, which is not only an octave, but is perfect and supposedly is Jesus (the Ogdoad, as the Gnostics call him) or Olen or even the Spiritual sun (888) in Gematria. It is reflected in 24 hours/a day, 24 letters, and many other sets of 24. Eight is the number of the spiritual world and six is the number of the physical world. The number eight is also found in Egyptian mythology too, thus it is an important number through out the history of humans and their beliefs.
Well, I do not want to get too deep into Gematria, sun worship, gnosticism, and Egyptian mythology. What I have said is probably enough to figure out some of the symbolism of my dream, which seems terribly horrid on the surface. However, I think my brain was playing with a lot of symbolism, including colours, in my sleeping world as it sorted out some things.
In my dream, and this is where is seems on the surface disturbing, I had taken eight pills with no evidence of any bottle to know what it was and ironically, it pulled in the number eight from when I visited my younger son. The ironic part was that I was at window eight the time before I visited him this past week. Add to this, my mother and other harassing people were in this dream too, but I do not remember eight of them, so I do not know what the third eight was.
The final eight were the pills with no identification, except pure white and perfectly round, a vast contradiction from blue pills. They had no writing on them, but were maybe about the size of 500 mg Veetids, a form of Penicillin, which I am deathly allergic to, and had the consistency of Tylenol. Fairly good size for my small throat, at any rate, and I was to take all eight of them at once, without question, regardless of irritating my throat. I never questioned it, but just did it.
Then I fell unconscious and was laying on my couch when someone I recognized from real life found me and called 911 with no clue as to why I was unconscious and apparently barely breathing. The doctor who found the pills in my stomach could not identify them, as he inquired of my friend who came to my rescue if she had seen any identifying bottles. She had not and stated she did not find any clues as to the reason for my condition when she found me. Later I woke up and she was sitting near my bed as she asked me, with both frustration and compassion, why I did it. I would not answer her questions, stating I did not want to incriminate myself, because she had power to keep me there as long as she wanted. Which in reality is not true and even she denied having control over me, in my dream, but was only there to help. It was then she changed her questioning tactics as I awoke with a start.
So much symbolism buried in that dream and for days I could not figure out why I had it, but it left me with a great sadness and distress. The whole dream, especially the number eight, pure white pills, or the woman who came to my rescue, would not leave my mind. I could not figure out why I had this dream nor could I figure out why she keeps showing up in my most recent dreams concerning such things. Much less, why as a rescuer this time? None of it made any sense and was all quite disturbing.
However, I think I figured out the disturbing symbolism and I do believe it was symbolism, for that is pretty much what religion is made up of- a lot of symbolism, no matter the sect. In this case, it would seem it was symbols from the various sects of Christianity, both past and present. The dream had nothing at all to do with any death wish, except for how I sometimes feel when it comes to oppressive dogmas. Those who understand religious symbolism may have figured out my dream by now too, but it has taken me days to put the connection together. Even so, I had to figure out why I had such a horribly bizarre dream that left me with such feelings of fear, sadness, and dread.
I finally connected the dots after I found myself going over Gnosticism and Gematria on a Saturday afternoon. The day before, I had been thumbing through the Bible, in a manner Christians might find disrespectful, trying to find the exact chapter and verse of all the oppressive and dehumanizing passages concerning women. Of course, not too long before that, I had read or listened to something about the emotions that go with losing one's religion. I was putting all the pieces together and I had thought all this time, these last seven years, I had not gone through any of those emotions. Apparently, I was wrong, because looking back on the various dreams I have had that include religion, both explicitly and symbolically, these emotions have been manifesting themselves in their own way.
It was after this dream, that I also noticed something else. The various things many people had said to me, in their own ways. It was like tapes being played over and over again, stated in different ways. The statements were anything from “it might help to view her [my mother] as having an illness”, to “it's her loss...”, to “you have much to offer” and many other such statements.
As I was talking to my friend about my mother, I remember when I was in grade school, before she became “born again” for the first time, she was reading information from the FFRF. I remember the fliers and asking my mother what FFRF was. I also remember my mother saying when she was a child, she would have dreams of burning in hell, so much so, that if someone turned on a light while she was sleeping, she would wake up screaming. I told my Christian friend about this and she responded with, “She did buy the whole package hook, line, and sinker!” It was then I realized, especially after the Christian talked about abuse, without using the word abuse, my mother was a victim too and I began to feel sorry for her, because she never escaped the fear, guilt, and shame of not being a perfect Christian. My friend stated that religion had been used to control my mother and that she was only reacting in the manner in which she was taught. Bishop Spong had basically said the same thing to me a few years ago.
It was also then I realized what my friend said in previous conversations about my mother must have a ring of truth to it. My friend thought that maybe my mother behaves as she does in part because she does know and is not only envious that I escaped what she had gone through, but is also jealous, yet she does not know how to react towards my freedom from her religious upbringing, except in a manner in which she attempts to manipulate. At the time, I could not believe it, but I think subconsciously my mother might be, because I was always the one who took action for us as a child, instead of sitting idly by and letting things happen. Basically, I took care of her from a very young age.
Well, my mother did call again a few days ago. She did not state in exact words that she had lied, but she basically took back what she said about not being able to help us through this financial crisis. I had gone for a month struggling without anyone's help and dealing with life on my own. It was very depressing doing things all alone, but I have become accustom to doing things by myself. I have done things by myself all my life, right down to trying to get help escaping from my abusive father and raising my sons. It is nothing new and I expected that reaction from her too.
However, while I was talking to my friend I started feeling sorry for my mother. I do believe it is true that when we meet some people they give us gifts. Not necessarily material gifts, but they do give us things, especially in return for what we give them. Some of the things people have said to me not only told me I have given them something, but I realized they have given me something.
That said, my Christian friend could be right when she said that my mother tried to give me the gift of religious freedom by not having me indoctrinated into such a controlling cult, and she used the word “cult”, before I was seven. This friend literally views my mother's Evangelical Fundamentalist practices as being a cult. However, after the age of seven and even more so after I was fourteen, I was basically forced into giving lip-service to such insane ideology and dogma, so much so that I was literally miserable and just wanted die. I nearly came close to doing so a few times when I younger too.
Thus, I think I solved another piece of the puzzle to my dream during what was nearly a month of my mother not speaking to me and dealing with my younger son. What started this mess was her calling my son demon possessed and needed a healing service via proxy. My response was to tell her that I not only do not share her religious views, but for her to stay away from my sons. During this time of silence from her, my younger son was sentence to jail for sixty days, only to have felony charges brought up also.
I have no idea what will happen to my eighteen year old son, but I know it has nothing to do with demons and I know there is no hell for him to go to because of the bad choices he has made. Sadly, my mother is not going to see us in heaven, like she desires, because there is no heaven either. I truly feel sorry for my mother, but at least during this phone call, there was no talk of demons, heaven, hell, prayer, or healing service. All the religious bullshit during this time was coming from his father, who found Jesus in prison, in which my older son said, “If Jesus is in prison, what does that say about Him?”
I just had to laugh about that rhetorical question, because so much of the Bible is not very ethical and in some cases, it is questionable as to whether some of it is legal. Be that as it may, even though I am still questioning some things concerning Christianity, I feel a little more at peace with myself, even though I feel sorry for my mother who appears to be trapped deep in the darkness of a delusion.
There is a saying from the Minority Report, which Dr. Iris Heniman says, “Sometimes, in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” My mother is afraid to make the journey I have made, by way of education, because she is afraid of losing her faith. I also think, that just as I would surely die if I ever returned to religion, my mother would die if she made or even knew the journey I have made to disbelief. Because of what I have studied and learned, I believe I risked the dark and came out seeing the light concerning religion. That is something my mother will never do, because she is so filled with fear concerning things that are not in the Bible and supported by the religious teaching she was taught.
The eight pure white pills were not pills at all, but symbolism for the misery I left behind. That misery, I know would have been the death of me, if I had not seen the light. Science, not even medical science, psychology, archeology, anthropology, or even quantum physics can find evidence for God or Jesus. It cannot find evidence for any other gods, except in the minds of humans and their various concepts. Only religion, be it Gnosticism, Catharism, Gematria, or even traditional Christianity, uses symbols such as pure white, eight, death and resurrection, and alike.
The woman who saved my life in the dream is real though, but she has no power over me nor has any desire to cause me harm, no matter what her past was. She is only there to help, for support, and maybe some guidance in the process of healing. So, I seriously doubt she is going to do anything like Fundamngelicals have done and do, even if she once was one. Contrary to my dream, I hardly believe I am afraid to talk to her. So that part I still do not quite understand and am still trying to figure out what that was all about.
Be that as it may, my Christian friend and others I have passively mentioned in this article have each given me a gift. I actually do feel sorry for my mother now and view her as a victim of abuse, rather than some uncaring and cruel person who cares more for her religious beliefs than anything or anyone else.
My friend said, after reading the first article I posted here, both a year or more ago, “You're free now. You are now free to decide for yourself what you do believe.” I do not know if I am quite free, but I do know I am a lot freer than I was almost seven years ago. Ironically, the statement came from one who labels herself a Christian and truly believes there is a god, yet she has listened to my story about my relatives for a long time and was the one who pointed out the abuses my mother has undergone within her lifetime. Even Bishop Spong tried to point these things out to me, but at the time, I did not quite grasp it. Interesting how that sometimes works, but both of them, in their own ways, have pointed out what some psychologists have stated clearly and directly, yet I seem to be just now getting it.
At the same time, I did not see any of the grief, sadness, fear, or guilt that supposedly comes with losing one's religion within myself, until I started pondering why I may have had this latest dream, which filled me with such disturbing emotions. I think the various dreams I have had in the last seven years points to that fact, especially this last one. Was it denial? I do not know, but I think this last dream might point to that possibility.
There are five stages of mourning death, one of them is denial. I know I suffer depression, have for many years, so I never connected any current bouts of depression with the loss of belief. I have also had my fair share of anger with Christians, especially Fundamngelicals, for years now, even before I left the Church. Bargaining is not one I recall being associated with losing one's religion, but guilt, fear, and shame I have read, but I think that goes with the depression. The final stage is acceptance. I doubt that I have reached that last stage or not, but I would venture to guess I have been bouncing back and forth through the other stages for quite some time now.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I have made progress, but I still have a long ways to go. Lastly, I do not know if those who are involved with or are watching my progress realize this or not, but I am listening, even if it might not seem like it at the time or I react in a way that appears I am rejecting what is said.