Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Mayan Calendar End Date and the Age of Aquarius, #4

(An excerpt from my forthcoming book, "Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Births the New Age.")

The Woman Clothed in the Sun

One night several years ago I awoke from a dream wherein I saw an image of the Goddess, her cloak shining brilliantly as if lit from behind by the rising sun. I heard the words “A woman clothed with the Sun and the Moon under her feet,” ringing in my ears. I realized these words were from the Book of Revelation in the Bible and I knew immediately—in that way that happens with dreams—that they referred to the Goddess giving birth to the Aquarian Age. She was “clothed in the sun” partly because the astrological sign of Leo is opposite that of Aquarius (just as Virgo was opposite Pisces during the Piscean Age), and rules the sun. As we have mentioned, astrology often works in these polarities, and just as Virgo gave us a Virgin Mother goddess, Leo will most likely give us a Leonine one.

When I awoke again in the morning I looked up this passage in the Bible. I found that the complete text was:

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."  (1)

She is clothed with the sun, crowned with the stars, and has the moon under her feet. What more clear image could one ask of the Great Mother Goddess—crowned by twelve stars representing the twelve signs of her zodiac—giving birth to the new age? And the fact of the matter is that because she is “clothed in the sun,” she births every new astrological age. These lines from Revelation were  written almost two thousand years ago, and therefore referred to the Piscean Age then dawning. But such an image is timeless—and as significant and valid for our times as it was two thousand years ago as an image of the goddess birthing a new age, though the interpretations will vary with each age.

Here, then, are my interpretations of the image as it appeared in my dream. This is what I “knew” in the dream, and what came forth strongly right after waking.

The woman is “clothed in the sun,” which means not only does she birth the sunrise  into a new sign, but also that as the goddess of this new age she will exhibit solar qualities—brilliance, illumination, warmth, fierceness, love, and the possibilities of abundance those things can bring. Here is the goddess seen in a leonine aspect—since the sun rules the sign of Leo. No more the meek virgin, she will be the Lion Queen, full of fierceness, but also of leonine motherliness and protectiveness as well. Her brilliance and illumination give proper nourishment to her human children—affording them just what is needed for the growth, evolution and expansion of their consciousness and their relationships with one another and the rest of earth’s life forms.

The crescent moon is under her feet. The image of the crescent moon has long been linked with  ships, boats, and arks. So here we have the moon-boat, the ark, the sacred vessel which carries us from age to age. The moon-boat is under her feet, so the Goddess stands and is carried on the boat, but in truth, she is, herself, the boat. She carries us all, including the sun, from day to day, from age to age, through the waters of time and space. In addition, there is a relationship here with the womb,  the vessel that holds and nourishes the next generation as it grows into being.

    The moon rules the sea—its magnetic tides and rhythms—and since all life on the planet was birthed from the sea, this means that she is related in a very physical way to the lifestream of this planet, and the new life she brings will be more than simply an evolution of consciousness; it will have physical aspects as well. And as there are positive and negative (from the human perspective at least) in all things on this plane of existence, one has to wonder if this bespeaks the effects of pollution and global warming on the planet’s oceans and life-streams during the coming age.
 
The imagery of the moon beneath her feet brings us full circle from very early understandings and imagery of the Goddess as Mother of Form and linked with Stars, Sea and Moon, to Mary—the Virgin Mother of Christ, who is traditionally pictured with the moon beneath her feet.   

Another possible (or additional) explanation for the moon beneath her feet is based in astrology. In astrology, the moon refers to instinct (i.e. in particular the survival and generative instincts) and the subconscious mind, the “moon under her feet,” may also refer to these instinctual and unconscious parts of the self. Because the woman is clothed in the sun, the moon under her feet may refer to these instinctual and unconscious parts of ourselves coming into the awareness of our solar selves—our heart and mind in a more illumined and informed state of being. From the darkness of ignorance and instinct is born the light of mind and heart.

A good summation of all of the above may also be given in Kabbalistic terms: The “woman clothed with the sun and the moon beneath her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars” is the Goddess of Life, the Tree of Life—with her feet (roots) upon lunar and foundational Yesod, her body shining with the solar garment of Tiphareth’s beautiful harmonization/integration of creation’s opposing but complementary forces, and her head/consciousness crowned with the stars of the Divine Supernal Triangle of Kether-Crown, Binah-Understanding-Discernment, and Chokmah-Wisdom. (2)
 
With this new age, a new wave of life is being born; it is cresting on the shore. This woman clothed in the sun is rising from the sea, whether it be the sea of instinct and the subconscious, the sea of space, or the physical sea itself that births life-forms on the planet.

We are living in some pretty dark and challenging times; quite often it seems we are blind to the humanity of others and the worth of the rest of creation. The Aquarian Age to come offers the promise of humanity evolving from the domination of its dark, blind, instinctual side to a state of expanded consciousness and awareness of our full potential—physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual—as humans; instinct and intelligence working together. It offers the promise of humans finally recognizing their siblinghood with each other, as well as their kinship with all other life forms on the planet. We all came from the sea, we were all born from the same mother....

The woman clothed with the sun is laboring, crying out in pain, awaiting the imminent birth of her child. The child she is birthing is the new Age of Aquarius. Yet this goddess is our mother as well, and her pain and cries are also for us as we struggle to be born into the new age of expanded consciousness. She is concerned for us, and full of grief at the shortcomings which make this such a difficult process for us. As was stated in the previous chapters, she has expressed this sorrow and concern repeatedly in her apparitions over the last few hundred years. She is the mother of the Ages, but also, the Mother of Mercy and Compassion.

The next verses from Revelation tells how, after the man child is delivered, he is “caught up to heaven,” to the throne of God, while the mother takes up residence on earth in a protected place, specially prepared for her—reminiscent of the great Shekhinah/Sophia—Wisdom—who lovingly sacrifices her place in the heavenly realms to dwell with her earthly children while they evolve to a recognition of, and are able to embody, their own innate divine wisdom.

She is a new form of the Goddess, bearing many of the aspects of the ones mentioned, but in a new way. She is the Star Mother, come to earth again to enliven, refresh, and regenerate life for the new age.

The Goddess of the Aquarian Age
    In the text above, we have begun a description of the Mother Goddess who births this age; she cannot be fully known to us from our perspective in this one particular lifetime. She will reveal herself more fully as the Age unfolds, just as her “child”—those Aquarian characteristics and energies—will manifest in us as we move into a state of being wherein our inner male and female energies are coming into balance.

Aquarius is about humanity, but it also has to do with space, mind, intellect, consciousness, and with the balance of male and female energies—an honoring of both polarities and a realization of the necessity of both. Aquarius the Water Bearer pours out the waters. As previously mentioned, these are variously said to be the waters of knowledge, poured out to quench the thirst for knowledge in the soul of humanity; the waters of spiritual life,  poured out to nourish the soul; or simply the waters of life, such as the rain waters from heaven that physically sustain life. Aquarius’s ruling planet is Uranus—which is about sudden changes and things electrical; its co-ruler is Saturn. Saturn is about limits, structure, law, stability. In previous eras Saturn was also about agriculture, the land and its bounty—all necessary things for building up a suitable foundation for humanity to live and thrive.  

    Above all, Aquarius has a very sudden and radical type of energy and a very high vibrational frequency. This frequency is what I was feeling in my Big Dream; that “high” feeling, full of joy—all circuits open and receiving. The openness and receptiveness can lead to understanding the relationship between all beings, and valuing all beings.

This is what Aquarius promises, what it has to offer. It is what humanity desperately needs at this juncture in time. What we choose to do with this promise is up to us.

Notes:
1)  Revelation; The Holy Bible; King James Version

2) On the Tree of Life, Yesod, the Foundation, is the world of images – templates for the “form” that will come into being in Malkuth, the plane of physical manifestation. Tiphareth is the Sphere of the beauty and integration that occur when opposing forces are harmonized, while the Supernal Triangle of Kether-Chokmah-Binah represent Source’s first manifestation of consciousness—awareness, awareness/consciousness of the divine pattern and its inherent harmony and wisdom




          





Monday, December 17, 2012

The Mayan Calendar End Date and the Age of Aquarius, #3

(Excerpt from my forthcoming book, "Lady of the Sea: The Goddess Who Births the New Age")


The Age of Aquarius
For centuries the Sign of Aquarius was considered to be ruled by the planet Saturn. In 1781 the planet Uranus was discovered and is now considered the co-ruler of Aquarius. Until Uranus was discovered, Saturn was considered the furthest edge of our solar system. The discovery of Uranus pushed the boundary out further and, in a way, its discovery might be considered one of the harbingers of the modern era. The years just preceding the discovery saw the American Revolution, while the years just following saw the French Revolution—both big harbingers of change in how people saw themselves, their rights as humans, and what their system of government should be. In short, these revolutions were about freedom, a type of freedom previously unknown to the average human being. Freedom and the breaking of previous restrictive boundaries are among Aquarius’s principal themes.

These years might well be considered a bridge between one era and the next, past to future—staid and limiting Saturn guarding the past at one end of the bridge while wild, futuristic, and humanistic Aquarius beckons from the other.

As I have previously noted, the Age of Aquarius does not come into being in one fell swoop or one moment in time. It inches its way in over several years through various astrological aspects and the energetic windows of power and opportunity they open for us. Things shift gradually but indisputably.

Although an Air sign, Aquarius has a connection to the element of Water, as well. It is located in the southern part of the sky where many of the water-related constellations lie, and it is the sign of  the Water Bearer, the celestial being who nourishes the earth and humanity by pouring down the heavenly waters—some say of information and knowledge, some say the rains of spring—from its starry vessel.

The tarot card associated with Aquarius is the Star. Its imagery depicts the Goddess (1) by a body of water. Her right foot is upon the water while her left knee is upon the land. She holds a pitcher in each hand. With her left hand she pours the waters of life onto the land, while with her right hand she pours these regenerating waters into the body of  water before her. The card symbolizes healing and renewal and the Goddess pictured is considered to be the great feminine divine power known by Kabbalists as Binah, or Understanding. Binah, the Great Mother, pours her waters of life and renewal from the Above World, the spiritual realms, to the Below World, the material realm.

Astrology and Aquarius
In astrology the Sun is representative of the essential self, the core of one’s being and nature. Just as the sun is at the center of our solar system’s circle of planets, our essential self is at the core of all the other aspects of who we are. The vernal equinox sun rising in the constellation of Aquarius will bring the work of understanding and embodying the essential human self to the fore. It will bring us the information we need, but it is up to us to use it to our spiritual advantage. At its best, it will allow us to balance emotion with  intellect and information, harmonizing head and heart.

As the sign of the age, the nature and values of Aquarius will be the dominant themes of the next couple thousand years. Yet they will be in a dance with the themes of Leo, the sign which is opposite from Aquarius across the zodiacal wheel, just as the themes of the Piscean Age have been in a dance with those of its opposite sign, Virgo, for the last couple thousand years.

The constellation of Aquarius depicts a human form and Aquarius is about the human, both individually and collectively. It’s about humans—the value of humans, human rights, and human values. It’s about ideas, information, and the mental realm. It’s about the evolution and expansion of human consciousness. Although I didn’t quite understand it fully at the time, that’s what my dream was trying to tell me back in1994. During that dream I was with others while I was feeling the intense energies, and my desire to share it with others who were not present, specifically family members, was very strong—an imperative, in fact.  The dream was telling me that the coming changes were about this very important evolution and expansion of human consciousness. What I’ve come to realize in the years since then is that this expansion has the potential to eventually result in a state of unity, as the individual consciousness expands and touches into that of others, and then into the greater unitive field of which we are all part, which is consciousness itself—the Divine Mind.

As we grow and evolve with these Aquarian energies, our expanding consciousness wishes to share our thoughts and ideas with others. And indeed, communication is an important aspect of the Aquarian Age. Speech, whether oral or written, gives form and voice to our thoughts. As we articulate our ideas, our voice send forth the vibratory frequency of our thoughts and ideas; as others receive this—and we receive theirs—the energies start to form patterns and build structures. “In the beginning was the Word.” But the Word is not merely a sound, it is a vibratory frequency containing the energetic pattern and structure of our thoughts and ideas. The Age of Aquarius, with its mass communication technology, communicates these vibrations farther and faster than ever possible before, allowing a more rapid spread of thoughts, ideas, and changes.

The sign of Leo, on the other hand, is about the sovereign, mature, heartful, centered self; and in its highest manifestation, about using one’s power “heartfully” and generously in service of others.


Will we each learn to become kings/queens in our own castles during the coming age? Is this about learning and practicing the sovereignty of our own selves, as well as about respecting the sovereignty of others? The possibility of recognizing the actual value of each individual self—you are another myself—is very strong here. But we only learn these things by being inside them. So we must learn this by being inside of issues of self-sovereignty and situations which teach us the value of other human lives, situations that trigger compassion and camaraderie.

Self-Sovereignty. Leo. Aquarius.  The Age of Aquarius is the Age of Humanity. It’s about us. The spring sun rises in Aquarius, and we are becoming the sun/son/children....We, in our most evolved, heart-centered selves,  are, in fact, the Second Coming of the Christ—sun-god/son of god, the wise and loving avatar of the Piscean Age reborn in collective form. The Second Coming will be in each of us as we become “Christed” (2) beings; this can only happen with the return of the Divine Feminine—the Goddess, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Sophia, Holy Wisdom, the Presence of God—into our lives. It is her power that allows us to rebuild ourselves, our reality, and our world if we let her into our lives.

Twelfth century medieval mystic and theologian Joachim de Fiore, whose main area of study was the emergence of divinity in history, predicted that the next “Age” of the world would be the Age of the Holy Spirit. (3)


The Goddess Who Births the Age
Leo, whose ruling planet is the sun, is the sign of royalty, and it is the Queen, as the Lioness Goddess, who gives birth to this new age, the new humanity, with its potential for divine and balanced androgyny. She gives birth to humans and gifts us with the potential to be all that we can be—fully human, the sacred human with the elemental powers balanced, the psychic powers balanced and almost instinctive, in full expression of our core solar essence, our Christ selves.

The goddess is giving birth to the new age—and the new sun. We are that new sun; it’s about us.
What does it mean to be becoming the sun? It means human consciousness will expand, because it’s time for us to grow up and become who we really are—to fulfill our potential as Suns, as suns/sons/children of God, as Godlike beings: to “shine,” to radiate the expanded consciousness of our solar selves to one another for the benefit of all.
   
True kingship, true sovereignty, is not simply about “power over.” It’s about power within and service to others. A Sovereign’s job is to serve his/her people by seeing to their welfare and making decisions for the common good. In order to do this effectively, a king must first be king over himself, and a queen be queen over herself. This means coming to maturity, as well as gaining self-knowledge and inner security, Once again, the Age of Aquarius is about humans coming into their full potential, their true sovereignty, by coming to maturity as a species.

The nature of the Lion Goddess is that of female lions in general. They are good hunters and smart strategizers. They realize the value of cooperation, and they cooperate often for the common good of their pride—their tribe. They cooperate in hunting, in breeding, and in cub-raising, often nursing cubs not their own (and occasionally baby animals of other species); they are excellent mothers. Their whole agenda is about cooperation for mutual survival. Yet they still remain very powerful as individuals.

This gives us clues as to how to develop our self-sovereignty—by cooperation and nurturing!
   
Within the constellation of Leo, at a point near the ecliptic, is the bright fixed star Regulus. The name of this star, which is located at a point in the constellation said to be the heart of the lion, means  kingly or royal. The sign of Leo governs the heart and is ruled by the sun, which is the heart of our solar system.

The Age of Aquarius/Leo is asking us to let the actions of our head be governed by our heart, the two of them working together to bring balance. It is asking us to develop maturity and balance, to value our individualism but to learn to work cooperatively for the common good. It is asking us to look at others and see/feel “another myself.”

Notes:
1) Some call this goddess Astraea, which means Star Goddess, which in turn may harken back to Inanna, earliest of the goddesses associated with Venus, the Morning Star.

2) Christed may be defined as the “higher” consciousness, with head and heart faculties awakened and able to work together; an awareness of one’s “oneness” with the divine source.

3) Joachim’s scholarship of the Book of Revelation and his inspired prophetic vision led him to see the  emergence of divinity in three stages, or eras. The first era, that of Old Testament times, was the Age of the Father, a time  ruled by the might and fearful power of God the Father, governed by the “law of severity.” The second era was the Age of the Son (Jesus Christ),was governed by the “law of love”—the teachings of Jesus as taught by the Church. The third age he saw as the Age of the Holy Spirit. It would begin with the “Second Coming,” which he felt referred to the Holy Spirit rather than the person of Jesus, and would lead humanity to a time of universal joy and love, and great spiritual freedom, with no need for the hierarchical governance of the Church’s structures. Needless to say, this did not go down well with the Church hierarchy.





























Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mayan Calendar End Date and the Age of Aquarius, #2



Medicine Dreams and the Age of Aquarius

In the spring of 1986 I had a curious dream. I cannot recall all of it but at the very end I was told about a soon-to-born child who was to be very important in the future; in fact, this child wasn’t so much an individual person but was, rather, a representation of the energy of the New Age about to dawn. At the end of the dream I was shown the child. This child, who was utterly beautiful, looked to be about three years of age, had short golden curly hair, intensely blue eyes, and was wearing pink blanket-type sleepers. The gender of the child was impossible to determine. When I was finally shown the child I was shocked because the child was laying on the ground—asleep but with open eyes—right at the edge of a small stream. At first I thought the child was dead—had drowned in the stream—but I was given to know, in that strange way that dreams have, that the child was not dead but rather, not yet ready to awaken. When I awoke I knew that many others must be dreaming about this child, and many of us were being called to midwife the child’s birth.

I dreamed about this child several other times over the years, and came to call it the “Golden Haired Child,” and the “Child of Promise.” I began to realize that the depiction of the child in the dream was telling me things about the Age to come. Although I kept wanting to refer to the child as a boy, I knew this wasn’t correct. The pink sleepers made me think of a little girl, and yet I knew this wasn’t correct either. Since the child’s gender was truly impossible to determine, I sensed that the energy of the Age to come had to do with a balance of male and female energies. The child’s eyes were open yet it wasn’t awake; this led to the obviously conclusion that it wasn’t yet time for it to be awake. The fact that the child was so young told me that the energies of the Age were still flowing into formation and not yet ready to present to the world.

It wasn’t till much later that I realized how similar the child at the edge of the stream was to the Star card of the Tarot, where a woman (mostly likely the Star Goddess) is pictured at the edge of the stream or pool, pouring water into it. Rulership of this card is given to the sign of Aquarius, and it represents healing, hope, and renewal for the future.

Like so many others, I have been pondering the meaning and implications of the Age of Aquarius for many years. I’ve spent a good bit of time reviewing the history of the last 2000 years, discerning the threads of Piscean and Virgoan themes in that time period, noting the ups and downs of human progress, and doing a lot of reflecting on what the Age of Aquarius might mean—not just for  humanity but for all the life-streams on the planet.

For years I have kept a dream journal and recently, as I was pondering the Age of Aquarius, I remembered another dream I’d had many years ago.

Something Big is Coming
Midmorning on August 18th, 1994 I awoke from a dream that felt to be great significance. In the dream, I was in a house with several dearly beloved, spiritually-minded friends. We were ablaze with excitement and anticipation because Something Big Was Coming. We could feel it. I looked out the front window and saw signs of it in the twilight sky, with its grey clouds and the sun shining through them. I could feel the expectant earth singing in joyful anticipation. We could feel this energy in our bodies and in our minds. We were humming with it.

What was coming was magnificent and amazing, and my friends and I were all preparing for it. The preparation included sleeping, because time passed in this dream—days and nights—and the sleep state was essential to properly receiving what was coming. In the waking state we could feel the energy of what was to come—which included a huge sense of joy. In our waking state the sensations were very strong; but during our sleep state we were receiving the full sense and strength of it. Sleep seemed essential to receiving this Something Big, as did the passage of time. As we continued to receive more and more of “it,” our anticipation and excitement grew in leaps and bounds, and we began to be desirous of bringing our loved ones along with us into this wondrous state of being. We went searching for them, imparting to them what we were feeling, and many of them decided to join with us in our conscious preparations.

The energy continued to build. The message was “Soon! Soon!” The Something Big was coming closer and closer to full fruition, and our excitement continued to increase, along with our conscious reception of the energies. I had a distinct body and even cellular sense of these energies, which grew stronger and told me their fullness would arrive soon. Then I felt the Something Big arrive fully, and the sensations of joy and wholeness I experienced were so great they pushed me up, out of the dream, and back into a waking state, where I continued to experience them for several more hours. “This is the future,” I thought....

But I didn’t want to leave this dream, and kept fighting to stay in it, so I spent quite a bit of time in that in-between-waking-and-sleeping state. Before opening my eyes I mentally asked my dream guides what it had meant. I was told that a new phase of our evolution is kicking in now, and the dream was me experiencing the final countdown to its arrival. Strangely, because I wasn’t really  Christian, what it felt like was the approach of the Second Coming of Christ. Another explanation possibility given to me was of the return of Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent of the indigenous Central American traditions.

My dream guides told me this phase of evolution had to do with Brain Transformation— how we use our brain, how we think about our brain, and the brain's relationship to the rest of our body and self, the rest of nature, and other aspects of our life.

What we are coming into is a time when the focus will be on becoming whole. I was told—quite emphatically—that we would begin to realize that our brain, by which was meant our consciousness and our awareness rather than simply the physical organ, did not reside merely in the head but within the entire body. Whole-Body-Brain; Cellular Brain, Cellular Memory Access, Energy Field. The energy field that connects all parts of our physical being would be the new ‘brain.’  Something in us is evolving and it involves all parts of us—our physical selves, including our electromagnetic vibrations, and our soul and consciousness as well. My conclusion was that we are being ‘rewired’ for the new age. Or perhaps our pre-existent wiring is being reactivated. Our consciousness will be expanded by this, and we have the potential to develop a new form of collective consciousness—knowing ourselves to be part of a larger whole—while  still retaining our own individual consciousness.

This powerful dream took years to properly interpret. It clearly informed me that big changes were coming into the world, to humanity. These changes were expected, had been foretold; it was part of a natural order of evolutionary change. The energetic shift was represented to me in the form of the return of some powerful avatar type energy. As I’ve mentioned, at the time I felt it to be the Christ/Quetzalcoatl energy. It was bright and shining; it illuminated us, expanded us, and turned on our inner senses in a huge way. It expanded our consciousness to the point that our consciousness and  awareness, normally thought of as located in the brain, would be located throughout our body and energy field, and that we would, as a species, awaken to this fact. So what I was seeing and sensing in the dream was the arrival of the Quetzalcoatl energy, the second coming of Christ, the arrival of the Aquarian Age and what it would bring. And while I could understand how the feathered serpent symbology of Quetzalcoatl fit what I had felt in the dream, I had never taken the idea of the Second Coming of Christ very seriously, and was surprised that this analogy had been given to me. Being both a child of the 60's and a budding astrologer, I was aware that “this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” but hadn’t given too much thought to what that Age might be like.

A few days after this dream took place, I learned that a white buffalo calf had been born in Janesville, Wisconsin, the first such birth in many years. Many Native Americans took this as the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecies associated with one of the most sacred figures of the Plains Indians, White Buffalo Calf Woman.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Mayan Calendar End Date and the Age of Aquarius

This posting is the beginning of several I feel called on to make as we approach the end of the year, the end of an era, and the now famous December 21, 2012 Mayan Calendar end date. These postings are excerpts from my soon-to-be-released book, Lady of the Sea: 2012 and the Goddess Who Birth the New Age. This one is from Chapter 8:The Birth of the Universe and the Changing of the Ages.

In the many years since I began studying it, the Mayan calendar has become quite the popular topic, particularly as a vehicle for the inevitable and endless number of sensationalistic doomsday predictions that seem to arise whenever any astronomical phenomena is popularized. As I write this, a new movie has just been released in which the calendar’s end date is being said to be the end of the world! In actuality, the calendar points to the end of one World Age and the beginning of another, as we have noted above.

Work on decoding this calendar has been done by several scholars (most notably John Major Jenkins and the late Jose Arguelles), but the one whose theories are most applicable to this book is John Major Jenkins. In particular, his hypothesis about the meaning of the calendar’s end date of December 21, 2012, is of special interest.

According to Jenkins, the Mayan calendar’s end date represents, astronomically, the conjunction of the Mayan constellation of the Sacred Tree (the Milky Way’s dark rift area) with the plane of the ecliptic and the winter solstice sunrise point. Jenkins says that according to the calendar, this conjunction represents the end of one age and the start of another. The dark rift is located within the Sacred Tree constellation, which is also the direction of the galactic center. The dark rift is also considered the road to the Underworld, as well as the birth canal of the Mother Goddess. Both of these images suggest a place, or portal, for the emergence of a new life-stream or current of stellar energies. (1) And since the galactic center contains a black hole, this Sacred Tree/ecliptic conjunction is also a conjunction to that black hole.

This tells us that Mayan calendar end date is the apex of the actual moment of the end of one age and the birth of the energies of incoming new age. Thus, although the Mayans used different terminology, the end date is most likely related to arrival of the Age of Aquarius. But I think it’s more than that. Since the start date of the Mayan calendar was 3114 B.C. I would suggest that the calendar end’s date and the World Age it represents is not just an astrological age but also the beginning of an astrological season.

These things having been said, these conjunctions happen over a span of time, during which their energies are perceived and experienced, before coming to this moment of exactness. Thus the actual birth is not really one moment in time, but, as with human birth, the “baby” emerges slowly, and only after several pushes on the part of the mother. Over the last 20+ years there have been several other significant astronomical transits and alignments that, from an astrological point of view, might be said to be “pushes” which are opening the way or setting the stage for the 2012 event.

December 21, 2012 may just be the moment in time when the new stellar energies from this galactic center’s black hole come pouring out the strongest in our direction, although it will take a while for these to be embodied and manifested here on earth; perhaps hundreds of years.

Birth requires a mother, so it is interesting to find that there is a very significant astrological feature to the sun’s rebirth at all winter solstices, including the one of 2012. At midnight on solstice night, the zodiacal sign rising on the eastern horizon is that of Virgo, the Virgin Mother who births the divine Sun-child—the light born from the time of deepest darkness.

The nature of this divine Sun-child and its Mother, and what the new age might be like, will be the subject of the next posts.

1) Jenkins, John Major; "The How and Why of the Mayan End Date in 2012 A.D." The Mountain Astrologer, Dec. 1994 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mary Magdalene is in the News Again



photo (c) Karen King

Mary Magdalene is in the news again. Previously labeled by the Church as the ever-so-repentant prostitute, her story has been reevaluated in recent years with the discovery of several apocryphal texts, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary—all of which date to between the 2nd and 4th centuries. Combining what’s found in these sources with what’s mentioned of her in the New Testament, a new picture emerges—that of a beloved disciple, favored by Jesus because of her innate wisdom and her deep understanding of his teachings.

There are suggestions in these texts that may imply she was more than that—that she was quite likely his most important apostle, his spiritual partner, and may have even been his wife.

And that’s why she’s been in the news again recently. On Sept 18th biblical scholar Karen King announced that she had obtained a papyrus fragment, dated to the 4th century, in which Jesus referred to Mary Magdalene as “My wife.” 

This is the first known definite reference to Jesus being married.

The text is in Coptic, an Egyptian language, and Professor King thinks that it may be a copy of a text originally written in the 2nd century, probably in Greek. Of Mary, it also states in the next line, “She will be able to be my disciple.”


















Almost immediately the naysaying started. People threatened by the thought of a non-celibate Jesus immediately began calling it a fake. Within a few days the Vatican, which had never actually seen, touched, or examined the papyrus, declared it to be a fake or forgery. And of course, if it turns out that Jesus actually had been married, then all the arguments about celibacy and a male-only priesthood that the Catholic Church uses to deny spiritual authority to women would go right out the window.

[ Vatican Says Papyrus Referring to Jesus' Wife is Probably Fake ]

One important thing about this new discovery is that Karen King is a very conservative biblical scholar who has never believed that there was any real evidence that Jesus was married. So for her to use the word wife in the translation of this papyrus is significant. The Coptic word used was hime, sometimes rendered as shime. Professor King went to great lengths to have the papyrus properly authenticated and dated (though more testing is yet to be done on the ink) before releasing the news about it to the world just before she attended a conference of Coptic language scholars in Rome on Sept 18th. So it was only after much consultation and very careful thought that she came to a conclusion about how to translate the words on the papyrus.

At issue here is the word hime, or shime, which is found in the 4th line. When I first read the details of the papyrus I consulted a couple Coptic dictionaries online and discovered that the word is the generic term for woman but can also mean wife; the meaning may often be determined by the context in which it is used. The context in this papyrus is that in the previous line, the 3rd line, we find the following:  

“.....deny. Mary is worthy (or not worthy) of it.” while in the 5th line Jesus says, “She will be able to be my disciple.” 

This exchange sounds very much like Jesus defending Mary, his wife, to his disciples and telling them that she is indeed worthy of being his disciple (or not worthy of their criticism, if you read the line’s translation to be “not worthy,” rather than “worthy”)

This is reminiscent of the exchange between Jesus and Peter found in Logion 114 of the Gospel of Thomas:

Simon Peter said to him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven." 


The Greek word used here for male was anthropos, which actually means “perfected human being,” rather than one is who is physically male. (1)

In the Gospel of Philip, which was written in Greek, the term used to describe Mary Magdalene’s relationship to Jesus was koinonos, which means companion, but in the sense of an intimate companion. (2)

“There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.” 



It can also mean partner, or associate; a closely related word is koinonia--which is frequently translated as fellowship, but it can also mean mating.

The Gospel of Phillip says, “Jesus loved Mary more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her on her....” The text drops off here and it is not known whether he kissed her on her mouth, her cheek, her forehead, her hand, or another part of her body.

But by these mentions we can tell that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were very close. He loved and respected her very much, and apparently displayed this in front of his disciples at a time when such public displays of affection were fairly scandalous.

The Gospel of Mary tells us that even after his death Jesus continued to visit Mary in vision, to teach her. The disciples knew this, and the Gospel of Mary records a conversational exchange wherein they ask her to tell them what the Savior has taught her. But when she does so the disciples, especially Peter and Andrew, are upset and jealous that he didn’t impart such a valuable teaching to them, but rather to her, a mere woman. 

The apostle Levi (Matthew) comes to her defense saying,

"Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect man and acquire him for ourselves as He commanded us, and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said." 

So while the word hime on this papyrus undoubtedly means woman, does it also mean wife, or  female companion, or female spiritual partner? I think a good case can be made for all three. But since no one’s ever likely to find a marriage certificate, we may never know.

And perhaps it doesn’t actually matter. Whether wife, close companion, or spiritual partner, it is clear that Jesus held her in high regard, loved and respected her, and entrusted her with his most special esoteric teachings—at a time when women had no real power in society or spirituality. That fact may tell us all we really need to know.


Notes:
(1) Leloup, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, 171

(2)  Who's Afraid of Married Jesus  Forbidden Gospels Blogspot


Stained glass window by Stephen Adams, Kilmore Church, Scotland, Isle of Mull
 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Divine Presence -- Ruach HaKodesh, Shekhinah, and the Sabbath Bride

According to the Bible, the Presence of God, which was also referred to as the Spirit of God, dwelt with the Hebrew people and manifested itself in several ways over time. The first way noted was as the divine breath, the Ruach HaKodesh, which hovered over the waters of the primeval deep, the Tehom, (a word related to and with the same meaning as the name of the Babylonian mother goddess Tiamat). The Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters, and creation began.



In the Book of Exodus the Presence of God manifested to Moses as the Burning Bush.





During the Exodus itself, the Spirit of God manifested as a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night to guide the people along their way.



In the Tabernacle (or Mishkan)—used for worship during the Exodus—the Divine Presence manifested as a brilliant light which had a burning and sometimes destructive power. Sometimes the Divine Presence would manifest as a cloud above the Tabernacle.

 When the Temple was built, the Divine Presence resided in the temple’s most sacred precinct, the Holy of Holies, a chamber that could only be entered by the High Priest on the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana as he went in to make the sacrifice of Atonement that absolved the sins of the nation and allowed it to move into the new year. When the Presence manifested in the Holy of Holies, amidst the clouds of fragrant incense, the Presence showed itself as the bright shining “glory” of God, which appeared to the priests and was sometimes evident on their faces after they left the sacred enclosure. Moses was said to have shone with God’s glory when the people saw him after he’d come down from the mountain after receiving the Ten Commandments. 




In the New Testament stories, the Presence/Spirit of God manifested itself as the dove (symbol of the Goddess in ancient times) that hovered over Jesus during his baptism by John in the Jordan River, as well as the Voice that declared him “beloved son” at that time, the tongues of fire that appeared over the heads of the apostles at the first Pentecost, and the wind that heralded their appearance.



And so it was said that the Presence of God dwelt with the people. The Hebrew word used for this is shakan, which means “to dwell with, or dwell within.”  This is a feminine word—just as Ruach HaKodesh, or Holy Spirit, is a feminine gendered word.

This indicates that the Presence of God was seen to be a feminine presence. At first, the goddess Asherah may well have been the Presence that dwelt in the Sanctuary since she was worshipped as Yahweh’s consort and bride in the Jerusalem Temple for over 2/3 of its time of existence. But in later years, the Spirit of God who dwelt in the Temple began to be referred to as the Shekhinah, from the Hebrew shakan.
                                           
In Israel’s darkest hours, such as their defeat at the hands of the Babylonians, the Romans, and finally, the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, it was thought that God’s Presence—the Shekhinah—had left them, and that the reason for this was because the people had in some way broken their covenant with God, perhaps by worshipping pagan deities or some other form of disobedience or disrespect. When this happened it was felt that the bonds between the realms of heaven and earth had been torn apart, and only that when these bonds were repaired would the Presence of God, the Shekhinah, return to her people. The 6th century prophet Ezekiel had visions of both her departure and return.

The 1st century A.D. destruction of the Jerusalem temple was particularly devastating for the people. The Shekhinah’s sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, no longer existed. She had no residence, no place to be. The people felt that the Spirit of God had left them.


The temple’s sacred treasures, such as the menorah—the seven-branched golden  oil lamp made in the form of a stylized, flowering almond tree—were carried off to Rome. The menorah’s blossom shaped lamps represented God—the Life Force—in the form of Light, while its stem and branches represented the Tree of Life...a worthy representation of both the Divine Spirit’s presence and its manifestation in the physical plane.





The defeat of Israel and the temple’s destruction resulted in a loss of national identity and a feeling of being deserted by God. This caused many people to flee into exile.

Later, Talmudic tradition taught that God’s Presence/Spirit, the motherly Shekhinah, had dwelt not only within the Holy of Holies but within the very life of the world itself. She did not desert her children; her love for them was so great that she went into exile with them.

Because there was no longer a temple in which to worship God, the religion centered ever more around observance of the Sabbath (called Shabbat), a remembrance of the seventh day of creation—which God had decreed must be a day of rest to commemorate his own rest after six days of creating the world. The Shabbat was considered a sacred and blessed day, a day of delight.

Traditions grew up around Shabbat: blessings recited over the candles to usher in Shabbat, eating of the Challah, chanting the Kiddush blessing over the wine, the sacred duty of married couples’ lovemaking, and chanting of the Havdalah ceremony the next evening as Shabbat ended.

Over time, and unsurprisingly, the sacred occasion of Shabbat became personified as the Shabbat bride or queen. This is remembered every Friday night when the candles are lit by the woman of the house and many Jews welcome in the Shabbat by singing or playing a traditional song that refers to the Shabbat as a bride. When Shabbat ends the following evening as the first three stars appear in the sky after sunset (quite often Venus and Jupiter are among these), the Shabbat queen is bid farewell in the Havdalah ceremony, which involves song, wine, fragrant spices, and a candle which is extinguished in the wine.

One wonders if these ceremonies reflect a dim memory of a time when the Hebrew goddess was known, loved, and regarded as the bride and consort of God the Father.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cakes for the Queen of Heaven -- Cakes, Collyrids, Communion, and Challah

Cakes, Collyrids, Communion, and Challah

The term “Collyridian” was used to refer to a very early Christian sect, said to be exclusively female, that looked upon Mary as their main deity and worshipped her, baking and offering her little cakes, or “collyrids.” This interesting bit of information comes from the writings of an early church father, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, writing near the end of the 4th century CE. His feeling was that the cult originated in Thrace and upper Scythia, but was also found in Arabia. He considered the cult to be foolish and idolatrous and included it on his list of heretical sects. It should be noted that Thrace (modern-day Bulgaria and northern Greece), Scythia (the Ukraine and southern Russia), and Arabia were all places where goddess worship of some kind flourished. In particular, the worship of Astarte/Anat and Isis was quite widespread at that time.

Some writers note that the Collyridians worshipped Mary as the Queen of Heaven—which definitely links her to the goddesses Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Isis, Hera, and others—and also mention that the Collyridians ordained women as priests.

St Epiphanius had this to say:
"What happens is that certain women decorate a chair or a square stool, spread out upon it a fine linen cloth, and on a certain day of the year put out bread and offer it as a sacrifice in Mary's name.  All the women partake of the bread....  Whether these idle women offer the small loaf to Mary herself in worship of her, or whether they make this worthless offering on her behalf, the whole thing is ridiculous.”

When I read this I was immediately reminded of the Jerusalem Temple’s bread offerings (mentioned in my last blog post)—the Shewbread/Presence Bread that was offered weekly to the (feminine) Presence of God, Wisdom, and eaten by the priests on the Sabbath. I felt strongly that this practice and that of the Collyridians had to be related.

After all, it is known by Jeremiah’s reproof to the people that it was the custom for women to bake “cakes for the Queen of Heaven,” pour libations to her, and pray to her.


    "Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger."  (Jeremiah 7:17–18)

And it’s known by the people’s response to him that this was a long established part of their religious practice.
                   
    "But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, for then we had plenty of victuals and were well and saw no evil..."   (Jeremiah 44:17)


It is known that in the original, pre-captivity Jerusalem temple, bread offerings were made to the Divine Presence (later referred to as the Shekhinah)—the Divine Feminine in her form of “Wisdom,” who originally was Asherah or Astarte. (1). This was most likely the origin of the shewbread offerings, which continued on into the second temple although Asherah and Astarte were gone by then, their cults having been violently removed from Temple practice just before the Babylonian captivity, with  the feminine “Wisdom” being turned into an abstract principle and facet of the (now) supreme male deity.

After the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans and many of the Israelite people scattered to other lands, the bread offerings continued in the form of the challah bread of the Sabbath, a rite which continues to this day. I find it interesting that the Sabbath is often referred to as a queen and a bride.

But in the branch of Judaism that became early Christianity the practice of bread offerings was continued in the form of the Holy Eucharist—the body and blood of Christ, who was seen as Wisdom, an incarnation of the Divine (and previously feminine) Wisdom.

I think it highly likely that the original Collyridians simply carried on this very ancient custom of making bread offerings to the Divine Feminine—Wisdom, the Holy Spirit, the Goddess—who in the Christian era had come to be seen as being embodied by Mary, mother of Jesus.

Nothing else is known of the Collyridians beliefs or practices but the fact that the cakes were offered to Mary, mother of Jesus, and that they considered themselves part of Christianity suggests that they knew about Jesus but considered his mother more important. Some have suggested that the Collyridians may have known the Holy Spirit to be feminine, and considered the Holy Trinity to be the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Mother (Mary).

From Ephiphanius’s account of the Collyridians we learn of what may have been their major ritual—the decoration of the chair and the offering of the cakes. The chair, whose decoration may have been a ritual to turn it into a throne, instantly reminded me of the Egyptian goddess Isis, whose name means “throne”, and also of the “Seat of Wisdom,” one of the many epithets used by the Catholic Church for the Virgin Mary. Both throne and seat imply that the Divine Son—Horus in the case of Isis and Jesus Christ in the case of Mary, both of whom are often pictured as an infant seated on his mother’s lap—emerged from the lap/womb of the mother. And as we have said, Christ was seen as an incarnation of Wisdom, who was, in the Hebrew tradition, originally considered feminine.

Notes:   
1) Barker, Margaret, The Hidden Tradition in the Kingdom of God; also Temple Theology.