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September 12, 2008

Sex, Religion and Superstition

I tend to believe that if you have to pay for enlightenment, then you're being sold lemons to begin with. Enlightenment doesn't usually come with a price tag. Insights are gained each day, through ordinary experiences. You don't have to pay a specific fee for it, which is why this recent Sydney case of sexual assault linked with religion or superstition had me going, and it had me going because the two perverted men belong to the Greek and Coptic Orthodox churches. The elder, or the mastermind behind sexual, Tony Golossian is of Coptic Orthodox faith, and his younger 'protégée' is Arthur Psichogios, of Greek Orthodox faith.

These two men have been charged with 220 sex offences and, in what will have the churches reeling, have used their faiths (Orthodox Christianity is one and the same, originates from one source) to sexually assault two women who believed they were cursed, who then consulted these two men to have curses 'lifted' - the men are not part of the clergy, they're not priests. Now, I realize that sexual assault is bad. I know that it isn't a woman's fault when she is plunged in a situation with horrible men, but for the life of me, I can't understand how women within certain cultures still believe 'curses' or the village folklores and superstitions, but they do. I know of many Greek people who still believe in the evil eye, and some of them are younger than I am.

One of the men's victims thought she (and her family) was cursed by a member of the Greek community who practiced black magic, and by some weird stroke of fate, she was referred to these sexual predators who practiced 'prayer' and 'sex'. But this isn't only about the sex, it's also about money. The woman apparently paid these two men for each prayer service, the amount nearing seventy thousand dollars over a few years. The Fairfield acting police commander said that he's never seen anything so bizarre before, and I guess he hasn't. Sometimes you have to be within a culture to see the bizarre beliefs some people have. I had a male relative who believed that he could get his former girlfriend to return to him via a magic spell. My foster mother would visit a minimum of five clairvoyants a year and at one point, she thought the house was cursed, so she paid this Egyptian 'shaman-like' dude to lift the curse, and she still didn't see his predatory ways: he asked her out on a date shortly after (trying to get into her pants) and kept on at her, and she didn't go out with him because she didn't find him attractive, but he kept on calling the house, just so he could 'keep in touch,' and tried talking to us (then teenage) girls, and we'd hang up the phone. It's bizarre and callous, and most of the time the motivation is centred on greed and sexual cravings.

The question that has me is why people still believe in superstition? Is it because traditional faith doesn't satisfy them? I know that it's considered taboo (in the Eastern Orthodox faith) to believe in superstition. It's still considered heretical, and I guess in these cases, the churches make a valid point (where things like black magic and curses are concerned), because these areas are filled with greedy bastards and predators that take advantage of people. When you enter a church, and I'm not talking about the bullshit evangelical TV shows that request funds, you're not forced to donate money. It's up to the individual. You don't see Catholic or Orthodox priests on television, like Peter Popoff, selling bullshit 'mana' bread or asking for money. But these two men, like telephone psychics, saw an opportunity to make money and obtain 'free' sex (free for them, because they didn't have to invest anything – financial, emotional or otherwise- in the encounter).

But to think that there are people living in the dark ages within one community is not a surprise, not for me anyway. I've known people in my culture to consult astrologers, clairvoyants, visit their Aunt 'Agatha' for coffee readings or go on and on about the Evil Eye – in the 21st Century. Sometimes you can take the Greek out of the village, but you can't take the village out of the Greek, and it may seem cruel for me to say that, but it's true in many circumstances (I know of people who have paid women to cast spells to get their 'lovers' to return) and it seems like the Eastern Orthodox Church has done little to resolve the issues surrounding superstition. I guess religion does little full stop. Even within countries with other Christian denominations, you still see the prevalence of 'new age' charlatans. In the United States, psychics have more media attention or given more respect. People like John Edward are viewed as spiritual authorities, and there never is any scientific proof to validate the John Edwards' of this world. That's the thing. They play their game well and people are still suckered, and the psychics become millionaires, selling one bullshit book after another, playing on our vulnerability, pain (from losing loved ones), and really, these people should be given a kick in the ass. John Edward may try to look intellectual with his new spectacles, but he doesn't fool me.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that one of these perverted men lives in my suburb. Too many freaks, not enough circuses - or islands (to put them on). But even so, to think that there are woman who believe in superstitious bullshit, that inadvertently opens the door to assault or negative experiences, is beyond my comprehension - in this day and age? Isn't 'black magic' something that belongs in the Middle Ages or horror fiction novels?

Most people who believe they are 'magicians' or people who can 'shape' thought are deluded in some way or form. They feel like they need to have control over things because they feel like they don't have any control in anything else. The best example of magic/superstition leading to insanity is Aleister Crowley, who thought he could conjure the devil and was so deluded, he gave himself the nickname 'The Beast'. He was addicted to narcotics, had delusions of  (metaphysical) grandeur and thought himself an esoteric guru who held the key to all meaning, and if he did, he'd be immortal wouldn't he? But he's pushing up daisies like everyone else.

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Comments

No problem.
Both men have been denied bail so far, so maybe (fingers crossed) they'll be sentenced to lengthy terms in prison.

Thanks for the link. Very powerful and disturbing stuff!!. One would hope that the perpetrators cop something more appropriate than the usual one or two years with time served being only eight months or so.

It's incredible isn't it? I find it difficult to comprehend as well but it is out there in these communities. There are people who literally believe in the hocus-pocus stuff, and I guess that is inherited through the decades because parents and grandparents, particularly from rural areas in places like Eastern Europe and Greece (and surrounding countries) believed in things like that. Even now, I see people wearing (as jewelry) talismans to ward off the evil eye, and many jewellers still sell these. They have the media releases/footage of the arrest and an interview with one of the women on the site up now: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24337351-5001021,00.html

The footage makes for compelling viewing, especially the victim's statement.

All those psychics use the same technique don't they? I remember one birthday, my foster mother's present to me (she booked and paid for it like it was a counselor session) was a psychic consult. No kidding. And it was exactly like that, and this was in 1999, and the amount he charged? Seventy five dollars an hour. Imagine the money they make!

I do struggle with the concept that people can still be that green, given the education that most people get these days. But then, the Australian aboriginals can still succumb to the "pointing of the bone" and they actually do still go away and die, even today! But John Edwards and his ilk?

"I see someone whose name starts with 'A'"

"Albert? Andrew?"

"Nooo"

I'm sure that it starts with an "A'

"Nooo...."
"
"Come on,, help me out here."

"there was a Michael........"

"That's it, there is an A in Michael"

"Oh, you are so insightful"

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