Keeping the Sacred Flame

A place to discuss the religion and philosophy of the Sacred Flame, HeartShadow's personal religion. Also random other thoughts of HeartShadow's as she feels like posting them.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Holy Carp, I'm Moving!

Yes, the blog is moving offsite to a wordpress blog where I can begin to get things into some kind of order other than chronological. You can find it at .

I know it's a pain and I'm sorry to do it, but this mess needs to find something resembling organization, and blogger just doesn't have the tools to do it. Follow along, please!

Monday, October 23, 2006


What is justice? What do we expect when we cry out for it, and to whom do we cry?

Justice is a complicated concept that we learn first as fair. Even as small children, we want what we perceive as fair and complain bitterly when we don't get it. As we get older, our concept of what we mean by justice becomes more complicated. We want what is fair, but our view of what is fair becomes messier. Is it fair to punish someone that truly cannot know what they are doing? Is it fair to punish with a fine that cripples the poor and doesn't touch the rich? What is fair? What is just? And who will give it to us?

We are the Eyes and Hands of the Divine. When we cry out to the Divine for justice, we are crying out to each other and to ourselves. We are crying for Mommy or Daddy to come fix it as well, but when we are adults there is no magical Mommy or Daddy to come and fix the unfairness in our lives. We as a community must do it ourselves.

This is not a call for vigilantism. We are a community, and we seek justice as a community. And while that does mean that we can't catch every transgressor and we can't make a completely just society, it does mean that we need to work towards it.

There is no cosmic justice waiting for us elsewhere. If we want a just society, we need to create it ourselves.

How do you create justice in your life? How do you work against it?
What does a just society mean to you? Do you think you live in one already?
What matters more, justice or mercy? Do you think it's possible to ever live in a "fair" world?
Personal thoughts

Monday, October 16, 2006

Blaming the Victim and Seeking Control

Blaming the victim. It's something we do commonly, either directly or indirectly. If only you weren't there, if only you hadn't done that, if only you'd been a better person/eaten your vegetables/been nice to your parents. If only, if only, then it would be different.

This does two things, and both of them are dangerous. It excludes the victim from needing care, because after all it was his/her own fault. It's not our place to get involved so much when someone brings bad things down on themselves. It's not necessary. We even do this to ourselves, blaming our actions for our misfortunes. And this leads into the second problem.

When we blame the victim, we're taking control of what happened. It's because of X that Y happened, so if we don't do X we should be fine. This can be anywhere from a rational reaction (don't go walking through dangerous areas alone at night) to superstition (didn't pray a certain prayer three times before doing X). We're saying that the victim did something risky and this lead directly to the victimization, and therefore we are safe from that particular worry because we don't do X. (or won't do it again).

The problem is, this is a false sense of control. There's no real control there. All you end up with is a victim that stays a victim as opposed to a person that has been victimized (and there is a difference. The first is a state of being, the other is a short-term description of a situation), and that leads to fuzzy thinking and a lack of compassion.

It can also, terrifyingly, be a way to escape control. If it's "your" fault that I did something, it's not "my" fault anymore. This is a common way people put blame on their own victims for what is done to them. It is a classic of abusers.

It's easy to blame the victim. It's a lot easier than seeking real justice, and even justice is easier than seeking to change the system so the problem stops happening. But accepting victimhood, for yourself or someone else, goes against the Divine. It declares there is no improvement to be sought. It's time to stop blaming victims.

Where do you blame victims in your life? Is it yourself you blame, or another?
What do you get out of blaming the victim? What are you afraid to see if you don't?
What needs to change so you can stop blaming people for what happens to them? What are you afraid will happen if you stop?
Personal thoughts

Monday, October 09, 2006


The Universe is infinite, as we understand it. However, the Earth is not, and it is on the Earth where we live. Our lives are ruled by scarcity and choosing between what we want and need. We have always been defined, as a species, by what we feel we need and do not have.

We live in a time of otherwise unknown plenty. We can afford, if we try, to feed everyone. To clothe everyone. To give out fresh water. The problem is still one of scarcity, though, as we don't have or want to invest in the distribution needed to get that food and water to the people that need it. There are costs to everything, and denying the cost or claiming it shouldn't matter denies the problem completely. Some things are worth the cost, but that doesn't mean the cost isn't there.

In our personal lives, we have scarcity. There is only so much time, so much money. We can only do so much, see so much, have so much. And we have to make choices with that scarcity. We can choose to spend that time and money selfishly, or we can share and improve life for ourselves and those around us. We can't have everything for ourselves and share. We have to choose. But when people share, the world gets better for everyone.

There will never be enough for everyone to have everything they want. But we can choose how to use what we have, and that's a very powerful choice.

What role does scarcity play in your life? Is it meaningful?
What do you have that you don't need? Is it worth it?
Do you find it hard to share what you have? Why? What can you gain from sharing?
Personal thoughts

Monday, October 02, 2006


What is sacrifice? It's giving something up to another. We sacrifice regularly in our lives, giving to our family and friends, even our workplace. What does it mean to sacrifice for our religion and the Divine, however, and what do we give?

The Divine does not need things. It is everything that is. Giving it once piece of itself back to itself just moves bits around. There is only one thing we have to give, and that is ourselves. We are the sacrifice.

I don't mean we should go flinging ourselves on altars. This is a sacrifice that involves living, not dying. We need to give ourselves in life to the Divine, knowing that we're giving ourselves to a greater version of ourselves. This isn't a stepping aside, but a stepping up. Not into leadership necessarily, but simply into service. Into doing.

What this sacrifice will entail is different for each person. As we are all different, we are all called to different work to suit our strengths or shore up our weaknesses. We are called to beautify and improve the Universe, of which we are part. This isn't a sacrifice that destroys ourselves to improve others. It is a sacrifice of our time and our effort that improves ourselves along with the Universe around us.

Sacrifice is scary. We are asked to give of ourselves for an unknown reward, if any, and sometimes for unknown reasons. It's reasonable to not want to give oneself into sacrifice, especially when we're not sure what we're being asked or what it will cost. But when we refuse to give, we also refuse to live. Giving ourselves in sacrifice is a loss, but it's also a chance at incredible gain. We just have to let go and give.

What do you give in sacrifice? Why?
What have you gained from sacrifice? Do you think it's worth it?
What do you refuse to sacrifice? Do you think this is reasonable? What do you think that costs you?
Personal thoughts

Monday, September 25, 2006

Inspired by Gods

The Divine uses many ways to try and communicate with us. Some of these means are subtle inner promptings from within. But sometimes the Divine works through gods.

The gods are indivduals, like us, but closer to an understanding of their Divine nature. They work with people on an individual basis, using images and words to break into our mundane existance.

So what does it mean to deal with a god directly? What does it mean not to?

Having a god bothering one directly is no sign of especial holiness. We are all equal in the eyes of the Divine. Being godbothered, instead, is a sign of having work to do. There is something that we are particularly suited to do, and we have been chosen to do it. And being godbothered can also be a sign that we are being particularly thickheaded, as we cannot find our calling without direct pushing.

To be godbothered is to be called for something specific. This does not mean that there aren't other things we need to do as well. It simply means that we have a specific task. It's not a sign of holiness or something to be especially proud over. It is simply a calling and a way to improve the Universe that we are called to do.

What does being called to a task mean to you?
If you could be called by any god, who would that be and why? What do gods mean to you?
Would you rather be called to a task or choose your own? Why?
Personal thoughts

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nurturing each other

Everyone at the beginning of life has at least one person that nurtures them. Someone to change diapers, bathe, feed and cuddle them in their little baby state.

We grow out of being babies, but we don't grow out of needing other people to love and care for us. We do grow into loving and caring for other people, if we grow up healthy. We all need nurturing and caring, both of ourselves and each other.

What does it mean to nurture each other? Who's job is it? I think it's everyone's job. It's often shuffled off into the concept of "women's work", the nurturing jobs. Mother, teacher, nurse. Nurturing itself is often seen as a "woman's job". It's also seen as not important, a lesser job that needs doing when everything more important is done.

Nurturing is of prime importance. And caring for each other as we nurture each other is of prime importance. It's a hard job and a thankless one, because when it is done correctly, it is invisible. The baby is happy and fed, the dinner is ready, the spouse is coddled. Everything is done. It is only when things are not done that nurturing is seen: the screaming child, the screaming spouse, the pain of rejection. Then there is anger, because things aren't done, and no one is cared for.

We need to care for each other. We need to celebrate nurturing and treat it with the respect and value it deserves. Without it, we are all lost. With it, we are all loved and cared for.

Who do you nurture? How?
Who nurtures you? How?
How do you value those that nurture you? Do you think it's enough?
Personal thoughts