Church of X
Gods of the Flesh presents the charter of a new religion--one which I hope will provide a healthier model for spiritual development than is usually found today. Here I present a summary of the core principles, which are elaborated in the book.
Charter of X
The Church of X does not establish objective ideals. All members are welcome to create meanings for life.
Theory of X
X is a mathematical symbol of an unknown variable. Church of X affirms that much of physical and spiritual life is unknown and variable.
X is also a symbol of abolition, crossing out what is false. Church of X aims to abolish delusions, both private and corporate, through ethical observation, exploration, theory and practice. Church of X forbids conversion by coercion, whether physical, psychological, political, militaristic or otherwise.
X is also a symbol of intersection. Church of X discovers spiritual knowledge by analyzing situation and consequence with reason and sympathy, understanding the history of our ancestors and preparing for future generations. Church of X fosters linkages of mutual support between persons, communities and cultures; between humans, animals, plants, earth and sky; between body and spirit—acknowledging all things to be interdependent. Church of X does not encourage killing but embraces death, as death is but one link in the chain of existence.
E pluribus X
The Church of X has neither priesthood nor hierarchy. It is governed by consensus, under which members have equal voices but minorities are not bound to follow majority decisions. Church of X does not legislate, penalize or shame those inside or outside the Church.
Any person may join Church of X as a free choice.
Church of X does not advertise supreme deities nor promote claims of divine revelation. Belief in god(s) is inessential to membership.
Church of X is a non-exclusive universalist faith. Should members participate in other religions, they may freely choose whether to make Church of X primary or accessory to their spiritual development. Members are nevertheless advised that the principles of X are incompatible and irreconcilable with several established religions and socio-political systems.
Church of X welcomes all modes of creative expression and especially encourages the liturgy of dancing.
Books of X
The scriptures of X do not claim divine inspiration; instead, they are discovered, invented and reinvented through experimentation. The scriptures of X are naturally limited by the time, experience, research, place and perspective of their author(s). They are neither permanent, binding nor universal in their application. They are offered to all but not thrust upon anyone, whether child or adult, member or non-member.
All scriptures of X are subject to revision and amendment; however, dissatisfied members are advised to invent alternative faiths rather than attempt wholesale revision.
It is not the purpose of Church of X to guide humankind forever, but rather to chart a path through this difficult stage of evolution.
The following principles are the beginning of the religion, not its end. They are tips for self-teaching, with an aim toward mastery. Members and groups are encouraged to develop their own practices, using these as a reference point. As Ueshiba said, “Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really No Path.”
Four Trainings of X
1. Personal altar—You shall design and construct a personal altar. Many resources and tips are available in books and online. A candle and dish of water are recommended, but ultimately there is no “correct” formula. You shall construct as many altars as you deem necessary, perhaps representing different ancestors, spirits or aspects of your personality. You shall maintain your altar(s) as clean, healthy, safe space(s) for private meditation. You shall enjoy your altar(s) not less than once per week if possible. The purpose of this training is to own your freedom and creativity, to commune spiritually and to heal from trauma.
2. Spiritual Bathing—You shall take a spiritual bath. Once per quarter is recommended. No “correct” formula is prescribed, but your bath should consist of natural, rehydrating and aromatic ingredients. Many products are available, or you may create a solution from salts and herbs. Candles, incense and soft music may also be enjoyed. Begin with a quick wash or shower to remove dirt. Then pour the bath. Lather from the head down, covering all spaces, even between your toes. Massage gently, do not scrub vigorously. Take your time getting in and out of the bath. The purpose of this training is to cleanse from stress and commune with your body. It is recommended that you bathe alone.
3. Direct Giving—You shall make a direct gift. At least once per month is recommended. The nature of your gift may be anything appropriate to the person or situation (including but not limited to consumable or intangible gifts). You may also give to the environment, or to an animal. Although people of X are welcome to donate to responsible charities and to invest in global welfare, the purpose of this training is to remove barriers between giver and receiver. Your gifts should be offered personally, without expectation of reciprocation. Gifts toward the Church itself do not count toward observance of this training.
4. Pilgrimage to the Other—You shall attend an event or participate in a ceremony of a religion you do not profess. At least twice per year is recommended. If possible, you should select an unfamiliar religion, or a minority religion (including but not limited to atheisms). The event or ceremony may be a holiday, scheduled service, convention, private consultation, etc. You should participate with people of the faith. Do not simply observe from the sidelines and go home. Do not share your religious affiliations unless asked, and do not attempt to recruit converts while you are observing this training. The purpose of this training is to bridge gaps of understanding between yourself and people of many religions. Your mission is not to make disciples but to go, sit and listen.
Ten Principles of X
I. You shall have no gods above you. If you encounter a deity, whether by vision or study, you shall judge it by its actions, not its claims to glory. You shall deal with gods as you would deal with fellow humans, honoring or despising them for their character, but never subjugating your will to them.
II. You shall not establish false hierarchies. You shall not use gender, color, wealth, religion, or other superficial qualities to define a person’s ability, value or purpose. You shall submit only to those who acknowledge you as an equal, letting your submission be a gift, not a duty or sacrifice.
You shall regard the Earth as your community and living beings as your kin, treating them with respect. You shall neither conquer, subjugate nor exploit.
You shall express many loves without defining which type of love is best.
If you marry, you or your children shall not be required to bear a partner’s name; you may do so only by mutual consent.
III. You shall take no action for which you are not prepared to take responsibility. You shall not be responsible to any authority except those affected by the consequences of your actions. You would do well to consider how many they are: humans, plants, animals, natural formations, and their descendents. When your actions cause undue harm, you shall apologize directly and endeavor to compensate those affected.
IV. Honor sex and keep it fun. You shall never coerce any type of sexual gratification or reproductive choice from an unwilling or immature being. This forbids physical and psychological coercion of humans and animals. You shall observe and touch others with consent in ways that are pleasing to all parties.
V. Honor thy flesh. You shall respect your body and take pleasure in touching yourself. You shall maintain your health with quality food, exercise, and companionship. You shall avoid addictions, fads, and harmful influences. You shall not judge those who observe different regimens, acknowledging that different bodies require different nutriment.
You shall not despise another person’s body; neither their shape, their weight, their health, their gender, their fertility, their parentage, their age, their intelligence, nor the color of their skin. You shall not despise your own body; neither your shape, your weight, your health, your gender, your fertility, your parentage, your age, your intelligence, nor the color of your skin.
VI. You shall not harm any living being carelessly. You shall not subject a human to physical or psychological abuse. You shall not subject an animal to conditions a human would find abhorrent. You shall not waste anything that has been killed, nor shall you torment anything that is to die.
You shall acknowledge the life of all organisms; whether animate or inanimate, animal, plant, bacteria or other. You shall not pollute or despoil ecosystems, for they are the bedrock of organic life.
VII. You shall be honest in your affections. You shall consider celibacy, monogamy and non-monogamy without prejudice. You shall consider gender, homosexuality and heterosexuality without prejudice. You shall communicate your sexual and emotional needs to your partner(s). You shall not deceive your partner(s) or cover up any affair.
You shall listen and respond to the needs of your partners(s). When needs change, you shall discuss with your partner(s) so the relationship(s) may be preserved, altered or ended as necessary.
VIII. You shall thank the giver for the gifts. When you pick a berry, you shall remember the berry, the bush, the earth, sun and rain. You shall relax in the abundance of the outdoors and rejoice in things natural, wild and free. When you give, you shall remember the sources of your gifts. When you receive, you shall give to others in turn.
IX. You shall not tolerate delusions. You shall not pretend to be certain about what is uncertain, or say that what is changeable is permanent. You shall not claim to have achieved what is unachievable, or support any source which claims perfection. You shall not define any deity, entity or quality as the objective ideal of life.
You shall endeavor to understand the propagation of delusions, whether by your religion, government, military, school, media, family or culture. You shall acknowledge your susceptibility to these influences, exposing them among your communities.
You shall speak truth with conviction but without vanity. You shall not be quick to give correction, and you shall not be slow to accept it.
X. The tenth principle is for the wisdom of others to decide. You shall write your own tenth principle, drawn from direct experience.