What is Baal worship?

Self-tutoring about religious history: the tutor examines the premise of Baal worship, which is forbidden by the Old Testament.

A Baal is a local deity that some people of the Middle East, in antiquity, would worship.

By one of the Ten Commandments, Baal worship is forbidden:

You shall have no other gods besides Me. (Exodus 20.3)





Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

What is the Torah?

Self-tutoring about religion: the tutor looks at the definition of Torah.

Torah (noun):

1. the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

2. all the books of the Old Testament (from a Christian point of view); likewise, the entire Jewish Bible.

3. the Jewish Bible plus traditional writings that study it.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Is hoping insane?

Self-tutoring about psychology: the tutor shares a story.

Earlier this summer, I transplanted a rose bush from a shady spot to one in full sun. In the shade it had done okay, but had gone overlooked for years. I decided to give it a place all its own. We’ve had that rose bush for ten years or more, but it’s been transplanted a couple of times for one reason or another.

I know transplanting can be hard on plants. The bush had a few blooms when it was moved, and promptly lost them. A couple weeks later it started losing leaves, eventually losing every single one.

That bush has endured tough times before. Each day I checked it, hoping for a good sign. For weeks, though, all I got was bad news. Finally I had to leave for a week on business.

When I got back Friday evening, I visited the rose bush again, fearing the worst. What I saw I hardly believed: it had grown a bunch of fresh leaves! I was so excited.

I’ve heard so many times that repeating the same action, hoping for a different result, is the definition of insanity. Was I insane to keep checking that rose bush day after day, hoping for improvement, when for weeks all I saw was decline?

I guess the rose bush – and God – might have a different definition for insanity:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, religion: what is an avatar?

Self-tutoring: the tutor finds the definition of avatar.


representation, on Earth, of a god or goddess, in human or animal form.


Gilmour, Lorna. Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary & Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Philosophy, Religion: how to achieve a perfect life

For me, religion involves constant self-tutoring. The tutor shares an observation from Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the Hare Krishna Movement.

At this festive time, people are striving to keep their relationships strong. During the year’s darkest days, doing so makes sense: humans survive by relationships, and they love the light.

I think we live in a wise era: virtually everyone I hear wants something immaterial, be it relationship to God or to other people.

Whether you are surrounded by people in bright festivity, or alone in a room lighted only by the computer screen, does the following observation intrigue you?

If you understand what is God and try to love Him, your life is perfect.

-Abhay Charanaravinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Happy holidays:)




Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: Christmas spirit: decorating wild trees

Even the Christmas spirit can involve self-tutoring. The tutor shares a trend he appreciates.

I recall seeing, along the Inland Island Highway, trees hung with Christmas ornaments. The trees seemed “in the middle of nowhere”, yet someone had adorned them for Christmas.

To me, making the effort to decorate a wild tree shows a higher level of Christmas spirit. The decorators may never see the adorned tree again, but share their festivity with whoever happens to behold it.

Seeing decorated trees out in nature, far away from settlement, reinforces another idea as well – that God is everywhere. Moreover, people who appreciate God seek and celebrate Her/Him in places you might not imagine.

Last Friday I saw this outdoor tree decorated for Christmas; I’m happy to share it, and its meaning.

Whichever faith you may be, Happy Holidays. I’ll repeat it:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English, religion: what is pantheism?

Tutoring English, you might research diverse topics. The tutor shares some findings about pantheism.


(1) The world view that identifies God as the laws of nature.
(2) The belief that God is, in fact, the Cosmos.

Most nature-centred religions can be described as pantheistic: Their members believe that nature is benevolent and that one cannot live outside it or in conflict with it.


Mish, Frederick C. (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Religion: What is the definition of religion?

My quest for definitions means continual self-tutoring. The tutor discusses the definition of religion.

religion: system of belief in and worship of a supernatural power or god.1

Over the past year I’ve been party to several discussions about belief in God. More than one person has indicated that belief in God is distinct from religion.

What, then is the definition of religion? Is it the one above?

I stumbled upon a video on YouTube in which Abhay Charanavarinda Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada defines religion:

Religion means to understand God.2


1Gilmour, Lorna (editor). Collins Essential Canadian English Dictionary and Thesaurus. Glasgow: HarperCollins, 2006.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Tree identification: black hawthorn

The tutor comments on a tree he found back in July.

Browsing through my field guide in early summer, I chanced upon the page about the black hawthorn. Years earlier I’d heard about the hawthorn tree and its potential religious significance, but hadn’t known they grow here.

Reading the description of the hawthorn, I became interested. Nothing specific on the page could I point to that drew my attention. Yet, during the following days, I became preoccupied with that tree; I had to find one.

Driving past a high school one morning, I noticed a tree with grey, scaly bark. At once I knew it to be a hawthorn. I’d seen that tree hundreds of times; suddenly it was important.

That evening I took my wife for a walk to visit that tree. Indeed it is a hawthorn – specifically, a black hawthorn, the native kind.

You probably wouldn’t notice its thorns without approaching closely. However, they’re up to an inch long and command respect. The tree itself resembles an old fruit tree, with a robust trunk.

Visiting that tree, I got a very special feeling that I’d call religious. Given where it stands, hundreds of people pass close by it every day. I wonder how many have stopped to “meet” it.


Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver:
   BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.