“Thus sang the initiates of Dionysus:
‘O burn that burns to heal!
O more than pleasant wound!
And O soft hand,
O touch most delicate that dost new life reveal
That dost in grace abound
And, slaying, dost from death to life translate.’
“Here the joy is as passionate, the consciousness of an exalted life as intense: but it is dominated by the distinctive Christian concepts of humility, surrender, and intimate love.
“We have seen that all real artists, as well as all pure mystics, are sharers to some degree in the Illuminated Life. They have drunk, with Blake, from that cup of intellectual vision which is the chalice of the spirit of life. Know something of its divine inebriation whenever beauty inspires them to create. Some have only sipped it. Other, like John of Parma, have drunk deep, accepting in that act the mystic heritage with all its obligations. But to all who have seen beauty face to face, the Grail has been administered; and through that sacramental communion they are made participants to the mystery of the world.” ~Evelyn Underhill
Burn that Heals
Sometimes, the medicine that cures an illness seems almost as bad as the illness itself. Although that may not be as true today as it was when I was a kid. I remember getting dosed frequently with the horrid cod liver oil when I was young. And it didn’t come in a convenient capsule you could just swallow like the fish oil capsules of today. You had to take it by the spoon and taste it. Sometimes you told your mother you were feeling must better just to prevent her from giving you another dose.
The burn that heals is a lot like that bitter medicine. It doesn’t literally burn, but it makes you face the truth about yourself and your past. Burn one: you learned that things were not always as they seemed to be. Burn two: you learned that some of you closest beliefs that you clung to for years are completely false. Burn, burn, burn.
“I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire” ~Merle Kilgore, June Carter
June Carter wrote of a burning ring of fire which her future husband, Johnny Cash, made into a hit song. Carter was supposedly writing about her love for Cash. So here is another example of a burn that heals: a burning love. But that isn’t exactly what Underhill is talking about. Even if she didn’t realize it herself, the burn that heals by making the material become spiritual is the spiritual sun, or Sun of Righteousness. This sun is sending special frequencies into us that are helping us awaken. The prophet Malachi wrote that this sun would burn up the evil in the world. That is the best kind of burn that heals.
The Burn that heals burns away the veil or shell that blocks us from receiving grace. Grace meaning the higher frequency light of the spiritual sun that awakens the spirit and soul and helps them grow strong. This is real grace. Yes, it is God blessing you. But it is also God healing you.
Death to Life
How does the burn that heals bring life to death? To be totally accurate, it doesn’t. What it does do is awaken the dormant spiritual faculties. When those faculties are dormant, they are as good as dead, so awakening them is much like bringing the dead back to life. And while there may have been one or two cases of Jesus actually bringing a physically dead person back to life, in most cases it is this bringing the “dead” spirit and soul back to life that He did.
The ancient mystics and students of the mystery schools were the true students of spiritual development. They knew the burn that heals very well. They did not just, in arrogance, declare themselves to be spiritual and awakened. They worked hard to make it happen.
Times have changed, however, and devoting one’s life completely to the spiritual development of the true Self, and aiding others to do the same, is not necessary or practical. Until a few centuries ago, those who devoted themselves to the spiritual were happily supported by the communities they lived in. Today, that rarely happens. In North America and Europe, even the long-established churches are struggling to maintain their membership while fighting off attempts to take away their tax-free status or put them under greater government control. At this point in time, the materialists are winning this battle, but not for much longer.
But it is still possible to follow the mystic heritage and partake of the spiritual light with the burn that heals. We can do it while still holding a regular job, having a family, and living in a private house. It isn’t necessary to enter a monastery. It is, however, still necessary to go beyond the superficial spirituality of meditating and owning crystals to make any real progress. The burn that heals needs to burn deep.