“The wise virgin, that is the pure soul, having abandoned earthly things, and living according to the virtues for God, has taken in the vessel of er heart that oil of charity and of godly deeds, with the lamp of an unsullied consciousness. But when Christ the Bridegroom tarries with His consolations, and the renewed inpouring of His gifts, the soul becomes drowsy, sleepy, and inert. …
“By these words Christ teaches us four things. First, that He wills that our understanding should be enlightened by supernatural light. … Secondly, He also shows us what we aught to see: namely, the inward coming of our Bridegroom, the Eternal Truth. … By the fourth point, He shows us the end and the aim of the whole; that is, that meeting with our Bridegroom Christ, in the fruitive unity of the Godhead.” ~John of Ruysbroeck
The Virgin Soul
I know that much of the Bible, as well as other scripture and holy books, is written in allegory. I am familiar with a lot of the allegorical symbols used, and what many of these stories really mean. This, however, is one that I hadn’t realized. It never dawned on me to equate the Holy Virgin of the Bible, and the virgins found in many other legends, with the pure soul. Once you consider it, it make complete sense.
The virgin soul is a virgin in the sense that it has never been corrupted by becoming one with matter. It might dwell within our body, but is not part of it. It is an independent being on its own.
In the Bible, the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, in whom dwelt for a time the spirit called Christ. Interpreting the virgin as meaning the virgin soul, we see that this tale is saying that Jesus was born of the soul, in other words, a pure spiritual being.
The Virgin Soul and Evil
In myths and legends, we see that evil beings are often attaching and killing virgins. Dragons eat virgins. False gods ask for them to be sacrificed to satisfy their blood-lust. This desire of evil being to kill virgins is an obvious allegory for the demons and devils that try to “destroy” souls by preventing their awakening.
The Virgin and the Bridegroom
People often wonder about the crude references to sex found in scripture. But these references are purely symbolic. The Bridegroom Entering the Virgin is allegory for the Light of Christ (or God) entering the virgin soul and awakening it (awakening the sleeping beauty, another allegorical tale).
And, as Ruysbroeck, if that doesn’t happen the soul remains inert, inactive. That is why the ancients Greeks called that spiritual Light that awakens the soul “spermatikos”.
The Virgin Soul in Unity
Ruysbroeck tells us that the end aim of the awakening and development of the virgin soul is “unity with the Godhead”. That is what mystics have been telling us for many centuries.
It is what most spiritual schools teach. And now we know that the way to get that process of reunification with God is to take that spiritual Light into our soul as Bridegroom so it becomes “pregnant” with wisdom and knowledge. We get that light from the spiritual sun. This painting of the Virgin Mary with the Sun of Righteousness behind her should make that clear.
By unknown Lithuanian painter