- In August, during a family holiday on the Mexican
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, went through a
- According to a report in the Dec. 15 edition of the
Times of London, the Blairs stayed at the very swanky Maroma Hotel near
Cancun, where rooms fetch as much as $1,800 Cdn a night. While there,
they underwent the hybrid New Age/Mayan ceremony.
- Dressed only in bathing suits, Britain's first couple
stood outside a brick pyramid on the hotel's grounds and bowed toward
each point of the compass while chanting to each of the four winds.
- The spiritual leader of the ceremony encouraged them
"to feel at one with Mother Earth," the Times reported, and
to "experience inner feelings and visions."
- The Blairs then moved around the outside of the pyramid,
one façade at a time, praying first to the Mayan symbols of the
sun and baby lizards, signifying spring and childhood. They then prayed
to another wall, on which a bird was painted, representing adolescence,
summer and freedom. One a third was a crab for maturity and autumn, and
finally a serpent for winter and transformation.
- Moving inside, Tony and Cherie immersed themselves in
the herb-infused mist of a Mayan steam bath to sweat the physical and
spiritual impurities from their bodies and to "balance their energy
- Mayan holy songs were incanted as they meditated and
attempted to conjure up visions of animals in the steamy air. The
explained the meaning of each of their hallucinations.
- Before emerging from the pyramid, the Blairs were
to give voice to their hopes and fears (they said a prayer for world
and then undergo a "rebirth."
- This involved smearing one another with papaya and
then with mud from the Mayan jungle outside, the Times explained.
- Finally, while exiting the womb-door of the pyramid,
"the Blairs were told to scream out loud to signify the pain"
of birth. They then walked hand-in-hand to the beach for a dip in the
- I'm sorry. I know we live in a non-judgmental age in
which no one's spiritual practices and beliefs are to be pronounced better
or worse than those of any other (more on this in a minute), but this
is just downright flaky. It is not just the antithesis of Christianity,
but antipodal to the beliefs of all the world's major monotheistic
Judaism and Islam as well.
- It's just kooky. Any visions or spiritual ecstasy the
Blairs experienced were psychosomatic, created by their own brains from
their imaginations because of their need to say they saw something.
- Mrs. Blair is said to be a devotee of all sorts of
(and similarly goofy) alternative therapies and spiritualisms. She is
said to wear a "bio-electric shield" pendant filled with
crystals" to absorb the negative radiation of cellphones and computer
terminals. She studies with a New Age guru and officially opened a
medical centre in November.
- Hillary Clinton, of course, while her husband Bill was
President of the United States, famously met on numerous occasions in
a conservatory at the White House with a mystic who helped her channel
the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Aline Chretien, the wife of our own prime minister,
was so devoted to the advice of psychic Jo-Jo Savard, that she once wrote
a testimonial letter that figured prominently in television ads for
- And, lest you think I am picking only on the wives of
liberal politicians, Nancy Reagan, the wife of former U.S. President
Reagan, was well known for her routine consulting of a West Coast
for advice on when Ronnie should fly or hold press conferences.
- Now back to my point about this being a tolerant,
- I know I will be in the minority, at least within the
chattering classes, for suggesting that the Blairs' enthusiastic
in a rebirthing might raise questions about his intellectual fitness to
preside over the British government.
- But now imagine the Blairs had instead joined in an
ecstatic, full-immersion Christian baptism. Be honest, would you be as
tolerant of them then as you are of their dabbling with Mayan
- If they had professed to have spoken in tongues, as
many charismatic Christians do, would you be as tolerant and non-judgmental
as you are of the Blairs' hallucinations in the basil and tarragon
of the Maroma Hotel's pyramid?
- Stockwell Day was deemed too dangerous to govern Canada
by virtue of his fundamentalist Christian beliefs; why then is it any
different to wonder if Tony Blair is too dangerous to govern Britain by
virtue of his New Age spirituality? I am not a fundamentalist Christian.
Yet I am curious why nearly every other faith or spirituality gets the
benefit of the tolerance doubt, but not Christianity?
- Just asking.
- Lorne Gunter firstname.lastname@example.org
Columnist, The Edmonton Journal Editorial Board Member,
The National Post
780 481-4735 fx