“Yes, that is the reason for being on earth. It is quite simple, once you have achieved awareness and know why you are there, then you can outwork the condition by making the compensation which is yours to make.” ~ Lift Up Your Hearts, Silver Birch Series
“Usually they pass to our world when it is their logical time, but there are exceptions to this rule. On the surface things seem simple, but there is a complex of laws within laws which operate sometimes in seeming contradiction. When you can see the overall picture, as some elevated souls in our world can, then you realise that it forms a harmonious pattern. Usually birth into your world and exit from it are part of a pattern which you have arranged for yourself.” ~ Lift Up Your Hearts, Silver Birch Series
“THE story of every potential healer and medium follows a similar pattern. They reach that stage when they feel that nothing materially offers any hope. It is then that the soul becomes ready to receive the influx of power and inspiration which will enable the owner to begin to fulfil himself or herself.” ~ The Silver Birch Book Of Questions & Answers
“YOUR world will continue to exist because there is no individual or combination of individuals who have the power to destroy the whole of it. There is a limitation placed upon the harm that can be done and the means you can use, or can be invented or discovered, to wreak damage on such a vast scale that the world would cease to be tenable.” ~ The Silver Birch Book Of Questions & Answers
“IT is a mixture of divine truth and man’s falsification.” ~ The Silver Birch Book Of Questions & Answers
“The I Ching is the world’s oldest oracle; it’s a book of Chinese wisdom; it’s the accumulated experience of over 2,500 years of diviners and sages, and beyond that of unimaginably ancient oral traditions; it’s the voice that has been offering people help and wise, genial guidance for generations.
The I Ching as you buy it today will be a collection of texts – a wonderful mixture of imagery and advice, philosophy and poetry – divided into 64 ‘chapters’. These are the 64 hexagrams, which means simply a pile of six lines, either broken or solid.
When you consult the I Ching, you build up a hexagram line by line according to the results of coin tosses or one of the other methods, such as sorting yarrow sticks or pulling marbles from a bag. All the translations will tell you how this works – it’s absurdly simple. And so you are pointed to a particular collection of texts – and, if one or more of your six lines is in the process of changing from solid to broken or vice versa, then there are also line texts to read, and the second hexagram that’s formed after the lines have changed. A hexagram isn’t just a convenient chapter heading – it’s also a very simple, elegant picture of how the energy is flowing through the situation. I Ching means ‘Book of Changes’, and change is really the one constant throughout the book. The hexagrams are not so much static pictures as ways to move: Creating, Receiving and sustaining, Beginning, Learning, Waiting, Arguing…
What can I achieve with it?
This is a far better question than ‘what can it do for me?’ Whether you use Runes, Tarot, the I Ching – or indeed consult a psychic or a reader – the power actually to bring about change stays with you. The I Ching is simply an oracle: it answers your questions. Its answers bring you into contact with something fundamental and unchanging, but at the same time absolutely, vividly connected to your present situation. It brings deeper insight – and that in turn empowers you to make changes for the better.
I have seen the I Ching help to bring harmony to relationships, and deepen and strengthen spiritual practice, reassuring or challenging as the need arises. It’s also been known to guide lawyers through important cases, offer very practical business advice, and help with investment decisions. I know that this sounds like an extraordinary range of subjects, but I have a feeling that we respond in this way only because we have lost the connection between everyday life and spiritual practice. The I Ching restores this – which is one reason why it is so constantly stimulating and challenging to consult.
In practice, I have found that most people value the I Ching for its ability to help in their relationships. Its answers are extraordinarily sensitive to the nuances of human interactions – in business and friendship as well as love. This is not the same as the ‘genuine clairvoyant psychic will find you your soulmate’ type of thing! Used with sincerity and respect for the other person’s privacy (very important!) the I Ching can bring greater understanding of the other person’s feelings and how the situation looks from their perspective. You can be better prepared for the challenges ahead, and negotiate current problems successfully. This is probably the area in which I’ve gained most from the I Ching myself – including a valuable friendship that was well on the way to becoming enmity before I asked how to rescue it!”
The Vedas are the oldest Hindu sacred texts, considered by many to be the most authoritative of all the texts. They are also the oldest known texts that contain yogic teachings. The Vedas are written in Sanskrit and originated in ancient India. There are four Vedas, or books, which make up the collection of Vedic literature.
The Vedas were written down thousands of years ago, but it is believed that they contain knowledge and wisdom that originated even long before then, passed down orally. Very little is known about the writers of the texts. In fact, Hindus regard the Vedas to be authorless, or not of man. Instead, they believe that they were originally revealed to ancient sages through divine inspiration.
Yoga that derives from the Vedas is known as Vedic yoga.
The Sanskrit word, veda, means “knowledge.” The Vedas are also referred to by some as sruti literature, meaning “what is heard,” as opposed to other sacred smrti texts, meaning “what is remembered.” In this way, they are considered to be the direct word of the Divine.
Orthodox schools of Indian philosophy take the Vedas as their spiritual authority. Other schools may not accept them as the authority, but still teach ideas that are expressed in the Vedas, such as the concept of karma.
The four books, or texts, of the Vedas are the “Rig Veda” (which is the oldest), the “Yajur Veda,” the “Sama Veda” and the “Atharva Veda.” They contain four types of text:
The Samhitas ~ Mantras and hymns for chanting
The Arankayas ~ Details of rituals and ceremonies for liturgy
The Brahmanas ~ Commentaries on rituals and ceremonies
The Upanishads ~ Discussion of meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge
The underlying philosophy, or teaching, of the Vedas is the concept that the individual is not an independent entity, but, rather, a part of the Universal Conscious.
The texts refer to many gods, including Indra, Agni and Soma. They also present many different creation stories.
The Upanishads are an assortment of texts central to Hinduism that are recorded from oral traditions. They contain information regarding the philosophical principles and concepts of Hinduism, including karma (right action), brahman (ultimate reality), the atman (true Self or soul), moksha (liberation from the cycle of reincarnation) and Vedic doctrines that explain Self-realization through yoga and meditation practices.
Upanishad is a Sanskrit word that translates in English to mean “sitting at the feet of” or “sitting down near.” This illustrates the position of receiving wisdom and guidance humbly from a teacher or guru.
There are more than 200 Upanishads that have been recorded from oral traditions and passed down over centuries. Thirteen of these include core philosophical teachings of Hinduism. The philosophical concepts contained in the Upanishads are principal to Hinduism, but some are shared with Buddhism and Jainism as well.
The texts govern and explain the idea of Self-realization, which can require the practice of yoga and meditation. They also cite the concepts of non-violence, compassion, charity, and self-restraint as ethical characteristics. Many people translate the texts subjectively, which contributes to the varied Hindu schools of philosophy and religious practice. It also contributes, in part, to the various schools of yoga.
“Who wrote the Tao Te Ching?
Lao Tzu, widely considered to be the father of Taoism. What is Taoism, you might ask? A quick Google search reveals the following from BBC:
Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview.
Taoism is about the Tao. This is usually translated as “the Way.” But it’s hard to say exactly what this means. The Tao is the ultimate creative principle of the universe. All things are unified and connected in the Tao.
From what I gather, Taoism is a set of spiritual beliefs related to how one should live their life. It seems closely related to zen philosophy. Here’s a bit more on the subject:
And who was this Lao Tzu?
[He] was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer. He is the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, the founder of philosophical Taoism, and a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions.
From my limited internet research, there seems to be much suspicion that — like Homer of the Odyssey or (dare I say it) Jesus of the Bible — Lao Tzu is a mythical character and that the Tao Te Ching was likely a compilation of many authors from the time of the 6th century BC.
Despite his mythology, there are some theories about the fabled Lao Tzu’s life. It’s posited that Lao Tzu was a friend and peer of the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius. You might know Confucius for such sage quotes such as “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated,” or “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Many stories claim that Confucius sought out Lao Tzu’s advice from a young age and was deeply impressed with the older man’s wisdom.
The Tao Te Ching explained
In Chinese, “tao” means “path,” “te” means “virtue,” “ching” means “ancient text.” So this book is an ancient Chinese text that lays out the path to virtue (in the eyes of the likely mythical Lao Tzu). It reads something like the Bible from an ideas perspective, but with a definite zen/anti-establishment lean. Despite being contrarian for its time, it leaves the reader with a calm, soothed feeling, not agitation.
The entire book is about achieving what Lao Tzu calls “The Great Integrity,” a global society in which we’re governed by strong morals oriented toward humanity, rather than capitalism. It gets vaguely political, which might be unexpected for some.
What I liked about it was that it’s primary call to action was around connecting with our roots in nature and communal groups of humans. Over and over again, it returned to the idea that people and humanity are largely good, which is an incredibly soothing idea in a world saturated with negative media coverage and widely divergent political groups.
Lao Tzu makes the case that, over time, society has been trained to believe that injustices and cruelties are simply part of our nature, which rationalizes why we must compete so fiercely for resources. Instead, he argues that human nature is fundamentally good, and that goodness begets goodness.
Thematically, the Tao Te Ching trends positive. The prose is rich with words like cooperation, altruism, nature, self-actualization, humanity, transcendence, the universe, tranquility, and oneness. Right up my alley.
Notably, it also gets into some interesting topics on the nature of reality, the ego, fragmentation of society and self, as well as our relationship with excess. These are all areas of struggle for me and therefore powerful concepts to explore through philosophy.”
“The Book of the Dead prevails in both popular culture and current scholarship as one of the most famous aspects of ancient Egyptian culture. This funerary text provides some of the most vivid and enduring images from the ancient world – there are few who have not heard some version of the Book of the Dead’s afterlife mythology. Familiar scenes – like a scale weighing a heart of the deceased against a feather or the eternal destruction of a soul by a deity composed of animal parts – originate from the Book of the Dead. With such impressive narratives, it is clear why Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife are so thoroughly ingrained in our collective memory. But despite the Book of the Dead’s lasting fame, it is often misunderstood or purposefully romanticized for the sake of an exhilarating story, as in the cultural phenomenon of The Mummy in 1999. So what is the Book of the Dead, how was it significant to Egyptians in the past and how do Egyptologists use this important resource today?
“The Chapters/Book of Going Forth By Day” is the official translation of the title given to a collection of papyrus rolls on the same subject known commonly as the Book of the Dead. Though the word “book” brings to mind a story or text written by a singular author and reprinted repeatedly in the same form, these texts have multiple authors and each version has its own variations. These texts served as a guide for the dead to use on their journeys to the afterlife. Each was prepared by scribes for burials, with varying quality depending on the scribe’s skill, and some were prepared with blank spaces to later fill in the name of the dead. In addition to the long-form papyrus versions of the Book of the Dead, spells and passages from the text were recorded other places – on tomb walls, mummy wrappings and even inside King Tut’s golden mask.
The Book of the Dead first appeared in the New Kingdom, but the text evolved from a long tradition of magical funerary writing. The oldest of these writings, the Pyramid Texts, were available exclusively to Egyptian royalty. As religious beliefs on the afterlife changed, copies of the Coffin Texts – an adapted version of the Pyramid Texts – were written on coffins and included in the tombs of non-royals, such as wealthy Egyptians and elites. By the New Kingdom, the afterlife was understood as accessible to all who could afford their own Book of the Dead, a handy guidebook providing the spells necessary for the perilous, confusing and elaborate trials faced to earn eternal life among the gods.
The gods Osiris, associated with resurrection, and Re, associated with the sun, star in the Book of the Dead. Forty-two additional gods appear to judge and test the newly departed. Although the text itself varies in content and order, the narrative is generally divided into four main sections: the deceased enters the underworld and regains the physical abilities of the living, the deceased is resurrected and joins Re to rise as the sun each day, the deceased travels across the sky before judgement in the underworld by a panel of gods and, finally – assuming the soul hasn’t been destroyed – the deceased joins the gods. To progress through the complex challenges in these stages, the dead must speak the right names and spells at the right time and respond with the right answers to the gods’ questions. In one interesting and curious case, the deceased must name various parts of a sentient doorway before passing. Luckily, the Book of the Dead conveniently holds all the required information.
These texts were certainly important to ancient Egyptians, and now they constitute one of the most important resources for Egyptologists hoping to understand the Egyptian religion and afterlife. In addition to explicitly describing the afterlife and the roles of the gods, the Book of the Dead also gives insight into important concepts like the ka and ba, aspects of the soul believed to live on after death. The ka needed a physical form to return to in order to exist, and so the Book of the Dead helps us to understand the importance of the well-known Egyptian practice of mummification. Similarly, the Book of the Dead also contains spells for preserving specific parts of the body and the spell for the Opening of the Mouth ceremony, a ritual performed before the mummy was sealed in its tomb, often depicted in tomb decoration. The Book of the Dead reveals central aspects of the ancient Egyptians’ belief system, and, like many topics in Egyptology, our theories are constantly changing, growing and adapting with every new translation of this text.”