The Resurrection, by Mathias Grunewald

AN EASTER VISION


   The day before Easter, I performed a ritual and meditated. As a Qabalist who recognizes the Christ force as one of many equally significant forces in the cosmos and the individual, I do not consider myself strictly a Christian. In my ritual, I was not focusing on the Passion. I was therefore surprised when I experienced a vision during meditation of the resurrected Jesus with light radiating from his wounds. I saw light emanating from the primary energy centers of the aura along the spine, and I remembered that some consider the scourging of Jesus an aspect of the stigmata.
   I understood that the light from the wounds in his palms and feet was spiritual light gleaming from the secondary chakras. After the suffering of the crucifixion, the sun of the spirit blazed out of the energy centers that serve as the primary focus of Christianity, the crown of thorns associated with the “crown” chakra, the fatal wound in the side with the heart chakra.
   During the vision an esoteric saying popped into my head, “What is outwardly corrosive is inwardly solar." At the core of the savior archetype is the inevitability of suffering, injustice, and death. Life destroys you, and other people pretend that they don’t know you or abandon you when you are suffering. You can be a king and the most loving and compassionate person on earth--you can even perform miracles--and still be treated like a criminal and suffer the worst kind of death.
   The savior archetype is perhaps the most difficult ideal that humanity has attempted to realize. Holding the average person to that ideal is, in my opinion, insane. Nevertheless, each of us during the dark nights of the soul can easily identify with the archetype. Besides the teaching of the new commandment, “love one another” (John 13:33-35), preparing the mind for those moments is the bailiwick of the Christian church.
   I am inclined to believe that the epilogue in the Book of Job, where Job is restored to health, riches and family and lives to see his children to the fourth generation, was at some point tacked on by another writer to suggest that the righteous are rewarded. The writer probably feared that the theme of the story would scare people away from the religion.
   Suffering usually has a very different result, whether or not you are righteous: Through the corrosive effects of the external world, you can glimpse the spiritual dimension and receive the gold of spiritual knowledge, not health or riches, not even a stable family. Unlike Job, Jesus is resurrected in the higher self after the most horrific suffering imaginable.
   In the savior archetype, as the physical points of the chakra system are obliterated, the spiritual dimension of the self shines through. The physical hands represent how we deal with the physical world, what we take and what we give. The feet represent contact, and by association, our connection with the earth. The heart is the center of emotion and the point where the energies of the lower and higher chakras meet. The crown is the point where the individual psyche connects with the divine. In other words, through suffering or spiritual practice, you can become keenly aware of the spiritual dimension of the self.
   But, like the criminals on the cross next to Jesus, in moments of great suffering you can either bitterly deny the spiritual dimension or acknowledge a greater life. The Christ, in other words, is not next to you but inside you. After the figurative scourging, the nails in the palms (or wrists) and in the feet, after the crown of thorns and the lance through the heart, you might glimpse the light of the spirit if you are open.
   My vision of the resurrected Christ, of course, was not heralding the second coming. Instead it reminded me that suffering can reveal a deeper dimension of the self. During my meditation, I also recalled the Tarot cards associated with ruin, death, change and crucifixion: the Ten of Swords, Death, The Tower, The Hanged Man, and the Three of Swords, each in their own way a facet of the Christian aspect of the Qabalah known as Tiphareth (Beauty). Tiphareth is the central sephira on the Tree of Life and is considered the Christ center because it is a point of equilibrium, balancing the other dimensions of the Tree: At the heart of the Tree of Life is harmonizing love and spiritual inebriation.
   Within the fantastic symbol systems of the modern Qabalah--the Tarot and the Tree of Life--the sun is associated with the Christ, the conscious, harmonizing force that is the source for order and balance within the cosmos and the basis for love and understanding within the human heart. In simple terms, a savior figure is an archetype of the Christ force, and a modern Qabalist believes that any man or woman with adequate experience and understanding of the archetype can manifest the force in daily life.
   To some modern Qabalists, like Dion Fortune, each age focuses on a different archetype, such as Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, or Jupiter, and manifesting the energy of the cosmic Christ is the great work of our age. But that does not mean that a well-rounded Qabalist does not also strive to manifest the energy of the other archetypes on the Tree of Life.
   By manifesting the cosmic Christ, the higher self grows keenly sympathetic and empathetic. Sympathy enables us to imagine what another person or creature is experiencing. Knowing through personal experience what another is feeling is empathy. If you have experienced suffering yourself, you know in your very soul what it’s like and can truly show compassion for the sufferer.
   Saint Francis manifests the savior archetype, not just through stigmata but through his love for people and other creatures. The energy centers in the feet and hands connect him to the earth, and the wounds of the stigmata give him empathy, so that through suffering he is able to follow the new commandment, not just to love humanity, but to love all things.

Take the next path.
Open a punished door.