I had a post in my head last night but the lure of the bath and a good book to finish before bed was just sooooo tempting, I couldn't resist.
The post is linked to the book anyhow. I tend to have two books on the go at a time: a bath book for when I spend time in the bathroom and a car book for reading at work during lunch. My just finished bath book was Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint and my car book is Brida by Paulo Coelho.
Earlier this year, our wonderful British TV stations aired two series that I series linked and found very interesting: Christianity, A History and Around the World in 80 Faiths. Both of these series spent a little time in South America. I hadn't understood how christianity has been taken by other countries and merged with their older believes. I hadn't known that christianity is so much more vibrant in other countries. I had no idea.
I love the way these peoples are taking the best of both and combining it to suit themselves. I think we did this ourselves a long time ago, hence the enshrining of many of our folk religion dates in the Christian calendar. We did it when we created Celtic Christianity in the Dark Ages. Celtic Christianity was what grew from the Celts mystical roots when the Romans left and took their political Roman Catholic church with them. I believe it was a view of christianity that was far truer to Jesus's vision than the church Constantine created.
I think that the spirit of christianity that lives in South America is far closer to Celtic Christianity. There seems to be a much more mystical touch to both. The spirits of the spirit world can live far more easily alongside Celtic Christianity and the other newer, more vibrant forms of Christianity arising around the world.
In Forests of the Heart, one of the main characters is a Curandera from the Sonara Desert who also has a strong faith but manages to combine the both. I had never realised before that this combining is something common to where she came from, to varying degrees, not something unique to her character in her book.
It also helps me understand Paulo Coelho's background and writings better. I can understand now where his religious, spiritual, mystical stories draw on the growing and changing culture of his homeland. Although Brida is set in Ireland, the same energy of Paulo as a writer is there.
It also helps me fit in the writings of Carlos Castaneda which read some years ago. It is as if by understanding a bit more of what is going on down in South America, it has helped me link together several pieces of the jigsaw that is this world. I like it when things come together in my head and some understanding is reached. I find a great satisfaction in learning and an even greater one in understanding.
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