Array (  => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 3763 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2007-05-01 19:23:53 [post_date_gmt] => 2007-05-01 19:23:53 [post_content] => On March of 1616, William Shakespeare was back in his hometown of Stratford where he lived as a grain dealer, tax collector, landlord and all around businessman. He was in fine health and was coming up on his fifty-second birthday when something caused him to contemplate his mortality. He decided it was time to get his estate in order and made a will. What caused the sudden concern? Six days before, on March 19, Sir Walter Raleigh had been released from the Tower. Sir Walter Raleigh was as big as his legend. Brought to the Elizabethan court as a young man he won over the eye of the Queen with his handsome looks and his debonair attitude. If the story of him placing his cloak in front of Elizabeth so she would not muddy her feet is myth, it was a myth created to describe the real man. The court of Elizabeth was a snake pit, and Raleigh’s success drew the wrath of others who would be happy to see him removed. One was Robert Devereaux, the second Earl of Essex. He was one of a handful of men who captured the heart of the Queen. The first was the Earl of Leicester who then married Lord Essex’s mother. The second was Christopher Hatton, a London businessman who she elevated to Lord Chancellor. The third was Raleigh, and the fourth was Essex who inherited Leicester’s House and immediately called it Essex House. Essex could be brash, impetuous and dangerous. His estate became home to a circle of intellectuals who could freely speak on science and religion, on government and philosophy. The Essex Circle included Sir Francis Bacon and his brother Anthony, Henry Wriothesely, (the third Earl of Southampton), Edward De Vere (Earl of Oxford), Roger Manners (Earl of Rutland) and Christopher Marlowe. While they could freely speak on such topics, few would dare to publish under their own name. Then Shakespeare came along. The Earl of Southampton immediately saw an opportunity. He and a family member would become Shakespeare’s most important patrons. Shakespeare, in dire need of funds, would gladly take the chance to play the “bard.” Southampton then became the conduit that had published the writings of a handful of men under the byline of an illiterate butcher’s apprentice turned actor. In 1592 a singularly large amount of money passed from Southampton to Shakespeare, allowing the newly minted “bard” to buy property. When Essex wished to see his sonnets to young Henry Wriothesley put in print, they were deemed “works” of Shakespeare. When Oxford wished to fashion tales he had read on his Grand Tour of continental Europe into plays he could publish as “William Shakespeare.” When the Earl of Rutland was posted by the Queen to Elsinore Castle in Denmark, he returned with a new version of an age-old tale of Hamlet. And as Bacon understood his political works brought the threat of Elizabeth’s wrath, he realized a pen name could save his neck. Together the works attributed to Shakespeare display a study of law and medicine, fluency in foreign languages, horsemanship, falconry and military as well as naval experience. They displayed a vocabulary of 20,000 words, five times more than a typically educated man. The real author even had the ability to toss in slang terms used only at Cambridge. This is far beyond the cultural ability of a man whose only education was assumed to be grade school, who then served as a butcher’s apprentice and who was arrested for poaching deer in the royal forest. What little we know about the “bard” is that he finally escaped a forced marriage and the burden of providing for three children to go to London. There are now four thousand books in print that question the ability of this uneducated man, born to illiterate parents, whose only evidence of an ability to write is six dissimilar signatures, to pen the works attributed to him. The School of Night Raleigh had his own circle of intellectuals. Politics had made it a rival group, distrusted by the Essex circle. Raleigh’s own circle of powerful friends included Dr. John Dee, the “Wizard Earl” of Northumberland, the scientist Thomas Hariot, writers Thomas Nashe and George Chapman and many of the most brilliant men of science in his time. They were loosely organized as the “School of Night” and met at his estate. There were factions that wished to see Raleigh’s demise. His enemies had regularly told the Queen that Raleigh’s School of Night was actually a School of Atheism. This faction had great influence, and much of what they did was behind the scenes. Raleigh knew he had enemies, but his suspicions would, on one or more occasion, cause him to blame the wrong person. Works attributed to Shakespeare would actually be works of the Essex circle. Raleigh was caricatured in Loves Labour’s Lost, a “Shakespearean” work which included a character named Don Adriano de Armado who was identified as Raleigh. “Shakespeare” also created Holofernes who is identified as Thomas Hariot, an astronomer who lived at Raleigh’s estate. And he created the King of Navarre who has been identified as Northumberland. The Earl of Northumberland had already picked up the nickname “The Wizard Earl” for his work in alchemy. Attending lords in the play also identified included friends of Raleigh, the Earl of Derby and Sir George Carey. “Navarre” has a line “O Paradox! Black is the badge of hell, the hue of dungeons and the school of night.” Whoever wrote the words to the Shakespearean poems and plays was not done with Raleigh. The Rape of Lucrece followed and again Raleigh was spoofed as the character Tarquin the Proud. Raleigh was sensitive to the criticism, as a charge of atheism was still very serious. He would have blamed William Shakespeare as he would not have been aware that he was only a ghost writer. Shakespeare’s concern was that Raleigh held a grudge over the satiric portrayals in his plays. The plays, however, were not the only reason Raleigh might wish revenge on Shakespeare. When Raleigh was at the pinnacle of his career in the Elizabethan court, it would be his secret marriage that brought about his downfall. His romance with one of Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting led to a rushed wedding when Elizabeth Throckmorton after she became pregnant. The Queen had insisted that her ladies remain unmarried, and Raleigh understood that even a man of his status had no chance of changing the Queen’s mind. Wife Elizabeth then made her excuses and left London to head to her family home. The Throckmorton home was, and still is, the Coughton Estate. It is just outside the town of Alcester. Halfway between Stratford and Alcester is the original home of Mary Arden, Shakespeare’s mother. Not only was it a small world when mother-to-be Elizabeth Throckmorton came home, but the Ardens and Throckmortons were actually related. The extended family kept a few very important secrets including that Shakespeare’s father, grandfather and mother were secretly Catholic. One secret that the Arden-Shakespeare family might have allowed to slip was the secret marriage of Elizabeth Throckmorton. And Raleigh and his wife were put in the Tower. Their stay in the Tower was not long, but the damage to Sir Walter’s standing in court was long lasting. Shakespeare may have wondered if Sir Walter blamed him for the leak of his secret marriage and the ruinous results. Shakespeare might have put such worrisome thoughts out of his mind when fellow playwright and player Ben Jonson came up from London. Shakespeare and his company had performed Jonson’s plays years before. Jonson brought Michael Drayton, who was more famous in his own day as one of Britain’s most prolific poets. Jonson invited Shakespeare to spend a night out to celebrate the “bards” birthday. Will could not refuse as he rarely heard from anyone in his London days. He might not have been so happy if he knew what the night had in store. After the long climb back to Elizabeth’s good graces, Raleigh’s situation had improved. His enemies still included both Bacon and the Earl Southampton, who backed voyages to the New World. They were threatened by Raleigh’s fame and by his role in the settling of Virginia. When the Queen died, James, the King of Scotland, took the throne as the English king. Numerous Catholic plots against the king were uncovered, and although Raleigh had fought against the Spanish Catholics for decades, he was implicated in a plot against the new king. He was convicted on trumped-up charges and recanted testimony and as a result of this would be imprisoned. Raleigh had spent thirteen long years pondering the events that led to his imprisonment. The Bye plot was a conspiracy of English Catholics who planned to kidnap James and force him to convert or at the least place Catholics in powerful positions. It was ill-thought, and poorly planned. English Jesuits actually reported the plot to the king for fear that things would get worse for them if the plot proceeded. The ringleader was William Watson, a priest who had rushed to Scotland when Elizabeth died. Watson and two others were tortured into confessing and then executed for their roles. Watson had given up George Brooke, with whom he had discussed the plot. Brooke was tortured as well and executed in December of 1603. He may have helped cast suspicion on his brother Henry Brooke who was Lord Cobham, and a friend of Sir Robert Cecil. Cecil was a paranoid hunchback who was threatened by both Bacon and Raleigh. He delighted greatly in taking down his enemies. Cobham had been in touch with Spanish agents and had a much more serious plot in the works. Part of the plot had Brooke, (Lord Cobham) taking delivery of a fantastic sum of money from Spain, and carrying it through the Isle of Jersey to England. Here on the tiny Channel Island, Raleigh was governor. This was the only real connection to Raleigh. It defies reason as Raleigh had warred against Spain and regularly raided Spanish shipping. Why would they allow him control over their money? Cobham named Raleigh as a coconspirator even though there is no other evidence. It did not matter that Cobham recanted his inclusion of Raleigh in the plot. Cobham was executed and Raleigh sentenced to the Tower. This is where the story takes a strange turn. Cobham’s family had been, like Raleigh and his circle, the butt of jokes in The Merry Wives of Windsor and in a performance of Henry IV. So both Sir Walter Raleigh and Lord Cobham were victimized in works attributed to William Shakespeare. Raleigh might have blamed the secretly Catholic Arden-Shakespeare family for making him a scapegoat as he had suspected them in the past. While Raleigh served his time the real William Shakespeare had been sequestered in provincial Stratford playing the role of small town businessman. Thirteen years allowed a great deal of water to pass under the bridge. It also allowed Shakespeare to lose touch with those he knew from his days as a “player” on the stage. What he didn’t know was that Jonson had become the single best friend that Sir Walter Raleigh had. Their friendship had survived the long imprisonment in the Tower endured by Sir Walter. Shakespeare may not have been aware that Jonson had become his most outspoken critic. The full extent of the enmity for Shakespeare by both Jonson and Raleigh may never be known. Jonson lived up to the role of Raleigh’s truest friend. He visited him often and helped him write his History of the World. He attempted to fill the role as surrogate father to Raleigh’s son Wat—although he is remembered more for teaching him to drink and carouse. Jonson also might have done one most important favor for his friend. On April 23, 1616, Jonson and Shakespeare would meet. Will most likely put worrisome thoughts out of his head for at least one night, that of his birthday. As arranged, he met Jonson and Drayton for dinner. What happened next has not been recorded in any detail. It is said that Shakespeare “drank too hard” and “died of a fever” the same night. Since a night of overeating and drinking rarely result in death the tragic result may indicate he was poisoned. Since no one else was poisoned, it might indicate he was the target. While Shakespeare was enjoying his last supper, Sir Walter and son Wat were staying a few miles away at the Coughton Estate. It is not recorded if Jonson and Drayton also stayed there after the tragic dinner. Shakespeare’s death was little noted in Stratford or elsewhere. Unlike the deaths of other playwrights where their works were read, their lives eulogized, the “bard” passed away unnoticed. It would be years before any statues were erected, and not until 1740, one hundred and twenty-four years later, that a memorial statue to him was placed in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey. Sir Walter had been released from the Tower on one condition. He was once again to sail for riches in the Americas. He was instructed to avoid the Spanish. Sadly for Raleigh, his son Wat did not survive the expedition. Raleigh managed to attack the Spanish and return without treasure, two reasons that James would have him beheaded. Ben Jonson for his role in the life of Raleigh and the demise of Shakespeare fared the best of all. After Shakespeare’s Last Supper, Jonson headed to Scotland where he laid low for a bit, visiting poet William Drummond. He declared to Drummond that Shakespeare “wanted arte” inferring he was not an intelligent man. Jonson then came back to London to be declared England’s first poet laureate. In an odd postscript, years later Jonson became close to the Earl Pembroke. The earl was related to the Earl of Southampton and close to others in the Bacon-Essex circle. Pembroke and Southampton, Shakespeare’s patrons, knew the truth of just who had authored the works attributed to him. Pembroke may have taken Jonson into his confidence as he arranged for Jonson to compile The First Folio, which is the body of work attributed to Shakespeare. Jonson in turn dedicated it to Pembroke. For his efforts, he also saw his annual stipend as poet laureate go up 1000%. [post_title] => The Untimely Demise of William Shakespeare [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-untimely-demise-of-william-shakespeare [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-02-12 02:15:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2011-02-12 02:15:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/?p=3763 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 3750 [post_author] => 1 [post_date] => 2007-05-01 19:11:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2007-05-01 19:11:55 [post_content] => It’s 1970 and a young Deepak Chopra sits in front of a slot machine in Las Vegas. He’s just arrived from India to complete a medical residency and has brought all of $8 with him; enough, he decides, to warrant a gamble. Perhaps in a preview of how America would receive him, Lady Luck smiled, transforming the sum into $1,500. “It felt great!” remembers the now-famous author whom Time named as one of the top 100 heroes / icons of the twenty-first century. “But in the morning I felt empty; something was missing.” The feeling intensified when one of his first medical duties was to pronounce a man dead from multiple gunshot wounds. “I found myself wondering what happened to the soul that had, moments before, inhabited the inanimate body I now presided over.” The wonder is that he wasn’t sure. But that was then; now, in 2007 Deepak Chopra is confident not only that there is a God and an afterlife, but that both are created from inner states of awareness. Creationists and Intelligent Designers may both object, but Chopra insists we’re not reducing the Almighty to a firestorm of electrical activity in the cerebral cortex. We are, rather, trying to find the basic facts that will make God real in a chaotic world that has lost the sense of the sacred. He is adamant that the human brain is hard-wired to know God and that our nervous systems have seven biological responses that correspond to seven levels of divine experience. “As far as I know, the brain cannot register a deity outside these seven responses,” he states. “God is woven into reality and the brain knows reality in these limited ways.” These responses, which loosely correlate with the seven major chakras (energy vortices associated with ganglionic nerve centers in the body) are: fight-or-flight, reactive, restful awareness, intuitive, creative, visionary and sacred. “God is as we are,” says Chopra. Depending on our awareness, we project the world differently, face different challenges, perceive good and evil in a particular way, and find God through fear and devotion, awe and obedience, meditation, self-acceptance, inspiration, grace or transcendence. Chopra’s latest projects address the existence of God and the afterlife (though his focus has already moved on to an upcoming book on the life of the Buddha). His first DVD, How To Know God is based on his 2000 book of the same name. In Life After Death: The Burden of Proof (Harmony Books), he makes the case that we not only create our lives, but orchestrate our experiences after death. Again, incendiary stuff for a religious fundamentalist or a skeptic, but remember: this man is striving to prove the existence of God through science, something both sides might well find comforting. Set in Las Vegas, the fast-paced, hip film (produced with daughter Mallika, son Gotham and friend Ron Frank) begins with a sound clip of an astronaut from Apollo 8 reading from Genesis. A first viewing may not reveal the ‘seven stages’ delineated in the book, but seeing How To Know God a second time shows the principles cleverly woven in. “We didn’t want it to be exactly like the book,” says Chopra, who narrates throughout the picture. Donning a pair of flashy sunglasses with both a red and a blue lens, the sixty-something guide reminds us to remain childlike. His own childhood was filled with the colorful magic of Indian mythology. His mother (seen in the movie reading to one of Chopra’s nephews shortly before her death) read to him the stories of Gods and Goddesses, demons and deities that he says represent qualities within everyone’s unconscious. “These stories influenced me profoundly,” he says. “Myths became embodied in my psyche and Soul, lifted me from the mundane to the magical, and showed me both were inside me; I do all of what I do today because of this understanding. While writing Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, I kept being drawn back to these stories; so I decided to weave the book around tales I heard at home, around the temples, and at school, hoping the reader would be enticed by a world where heroes battle darkness in order to emerge into the light.” And it’s the Light that links the ancient Shekinah with photons pushing the envelope of space, bursting forth with the firing of neurons, and rushing toward our retinas. “The perceiver is woven into what s/he sees,” reminds Chopra. “The whole Universe is a quantum mirage; If Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is God.” Though skeptics may deny His existence, the absence of an external God would still allow for an internal revolution; mystics of all religions found God by going within. How To Know God takes us to a video game-like simulation of a museum of religious art (Chopra helped create a biofeedback video game called Journey To Wild Divine, but says those techniques were not employed in the DVD). The excursion makes the point that, since God’s Presence was visible in the ‘burning bush’ and as halos around Christ and saints, S/He can be experienced. “God has managed to pull off the amazing feat of being both worshipped and invisible at the same time,” he mentions, adding that “The image of a white-bearded patriarch in the sky no longer works. We need a model that is part of religion, but not bound by it. After centuries of believing in God through faith, perhaps we’re ready to experience infinite intelligence directly.” That experience would come via our Soul, the intermediary between our physical and ‘virtual’ selves (the virtual Self being beyond time and space). Represented as a twinkling light (one is reminded of Disney’s Tinker Bell) that appears in the deadened space of an after-hours casino (amusingly, “The Holy Roller”), the Soul moves through time and space and is, says Chopra, the only part of us that is real. “What if it’s not the case that the Soul leaves the body at the time of death, but that the body leaves the Soul?” he asks. Strolling amidst neon signs, he muses that “we are not really in the world, the world is in us.” He stops under a Vegas Sphinx pyramid, then transports us to ancient Egypt, where he stands next to The Great Pyramid. Through the introduction of the goddess Isis, her husband Osiris and their son Horus, he establishes the common themes of mythology (birth, death, judgment, resurrection, the afterlife), noting that the concept of reincarnation was introduced to the West through this culture. We then visit India, with its myriad mythological deities—his personal favorite is the Elephant God Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles (seems to have worked!). “India did something that ancient Egypt never did, and that was to make death creative,” he remarks. “To the ancient rishis of India, there was no strict division between this life and the afterlife. Both are created in consciousness. Your level of awareness is the one and only thing that determines how life turns out. Every person you know, everything that happens to you, originates at the deepest level of your own consciousness. Death was seen as a brief stopping point on an endless soul journey that could turn a peasant into a king and vice versa. With the possibility of infinite lifetimes extending forward and backward, a soul could experience hundreds of heavens and hells. Death ended nothing; it opened up limitless adventures.” Back in Vegas, a city he says exemplifies a society that has strip-mined myth, Chopra points out the presence of Greek and Roman mythological influences. Looking around, he echoes Einstein’s comment: “I want to know what God thinks.” This is where things get complicated. Those familiar with “The Secret” (a current popular phenomenon about manifesting desires) have commented they like its simplicity and find “How To Know God” overly complex. Chopra won’t comment directly on what amounts to a competitive product, but seems to consider it overly simplistic. The guy is, well, ‘way’ intelligent, and his material is meaty. It gets “out there” with the introduction of quantum physics, black holes and synaptic gaps. You have to wonder where his deep understanding of a subject he wasn’t formally trained in comes from. Armed with a great education, a passion for literature and the written word, (not to mention his rich heritage and numerous medical degrees), Chopra somehow got a grasp on cutting-edge science—so tight a grasp that he speaks with profound authority and has made ‘the new physics’ a jump-off point for his theories.” Chopra’s working theory of creation states that before the Big Bang, space was unbounded, expanded like an accordion into infinite pleats or dimensions, while time existed in seed form (no past, present or future). This state, which physicists refer to as a singularity, contained nothing we could perceive, yet held the potential for everything, both manifest and unmanifest. Time, space and the entire material universe were once contained in a point. “A singularity is conceived as the smallest dot you can imagine, and therefore not a dot at all,” he explains. Such conundrums are the stuff of his everyday reality. Chopra seems to have advanced light-years in his own evolution; his very appearance is less dense, his voice sounds muted and somewhat far away. Asked if he has a hard time compressing such expanded awareness into mundane life, he answers; “I enjoy the illusion of it all. I’m standing in an apartment in New York City on the 69th floor overlooking the city and I know it’s not ‘real’, but I can really appreciate it.” Chopra admits that his interest in plumbing the seven stages of knowing God lies in being a co-creator. He continues the theme in Life After Death: The Burden of Proof. “You are the author of your own life,” he states. “Can this be proved? The afterlife is a field where science is quickly advancing over worn-out religious beliefs. The assumption that no knowledge can be gained about ‘the other side’ is being disproved on many fronts. What we call dreaming, wishing, imagining, and projecting are very powerful processes. If you learn how these aspects of your awareness work—or aren’t working—you can project the kind of life you want, and that includes life after death.” He concedes it sounds radical, but points out that it’s a very appealing concept, because it puts the power back into our own hands. “What could be more fascinating than learning how you create the world around you—and always will?” Though his books on these topics have been endorsed by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Mikhail Gorbachev, Arianna Huffington and Larry King, not everyone finds Chopra’s ideas so fascinating: professional skeptic Michael Shermer recently blog-bashed Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, attempting to discredit the work on a number of fronts. Towards the end of a brilliant rebuttal, Chopra writes: “Shermer and I are speaking two different languages. He makes no reference to consciousness, the field, quantum mechanics, advanced neurology, or philosophy. I’d like to hear arguments from someone more up to date in these fields. It’s a strange feeling when somebody in a Model A Ford challenges you to a race when you are in a Lexus, but even stranger when he thinks he’s going to win.” A bit of the Mars archetypal energy flowing through! Not only does Chopra know his mythology, he knows the world’s sacred texts and classics, and particularly appreciates Shakespeare. “Hamlet was right to call death an undiscovered country,” he writes; “Not because the living cannot reach it, but because heaven’s geography keeps shifting. If we look at how various cultures perceive the afterlife, there are roughly seven categories. In the West the hereafter has been viewed as a place akin to the material world. Heaven, hell, and purgatory lie in some distant region beyond the sky or under the earth. In the India of my childhood the hereafter wasn’t a place at all, but a state of awareness.” Special effects in the How To Know God DVD illustrate the concept that the cosmos we experience, with trees, plants, people, houses, cars, stars, and galaxies is just consciousness expressing itself at one particular frequency. Elsewhere in space-time, explains Chopra, different planes exist simultaneously. “By analogy, if you are listening to a concert orchestra, there are a hundred instruments playing, each occupying the same place in space and time. You can listen to the symphony as a whole or put your attention on a specific instrument. You can even separate out the individual notes played by that instrument. Every frequency in nature exists simultaneously, and yet we experience only what we see.” Which brings us back to the fact that God is invisible, and that when we die, we become invisible to those still on the material plane. Because of this, we fear death and debate the existence of God. Deepak Chopra is utilizing his spiritual and scientific genius to help us know our selves as God. “If we know God, we can heal the fear of death, know our soul and realize our full potential in life,” he says. And the good news is that we don’t have to believe in God in order to experience God. Chopra chose this quote by Simone Weil to open the book How To Know God: “In what concerns divine things, belief is not appropriate. Only certainty will do. Anything less than certainty is unworthy of God.” That certainly sums things up. Deepak Chopra MD, FACP was formerly Chief of Staff of Boston Regional Medical Center and Assistant Clinical Professor of Socio-Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine. He has taught at Harvard Medical, Business and Divinity Schools. The author of over 40 books, many of which have been translated into numerous languages, his mission is to bridge the technological miracles of the West with the wisdom of the East. He and his colleagues conduct public seminars and workshops and provide training for health care professionals around the world. [post_title] => On Knowing God & More [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => on-knowing-god-more [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-02-13 04:27:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2011-02-13 04:27:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/?p=3750 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
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