John the baptist

John the Baptist and His Odd Habits

“Without laying stress on the details of the story of John’s infancy as given in the third gospel, reminiscent as they may be of the Old Testament birth-stories of the old-time national heroes Isaac, Samson and Samuel, not to mention the coincidence that the two heroines of the gospel birth-narratives bear the names of Miriam and Elisheba, the sister and wife respectively of Aaron, the first priest, we may very reasonably believe, as it is stated, that John was of priestly descent; and therefore in every probability he was well versed, if not highly trained, in the scriptures. Vowed from his birth to God by his parents, his strange dress and peculiar ascetic mode of life are quite in keeping with prophetical traditions, and thus of the schools of the prophets. But in keeping with the spiritual significance of his whole teaching, which will be more fully brought out in the sequel, such an outer sign in high probability had an inner meaning for this great proclaimer of repentance, of the turning back of Israel in contrition unto God. Now there were certain Palestinian pre-Christian allegorists or exponents of the scriptures on quasi-mystical lines called Dorshē Reshumōth. According to a Rabbinic legend, going back along this line of interpretation, the ancient myth of Gen. 3:21 was conceived more spiritually. After the fall, the first falling away from God, Yahveh-Elohīm clothed Adam and Eve in coats of skin, not because of their nakedness, but in exchange for their lost paradisaical garments of light.” ~”Gnostic John 
the Baptizer: Selections from the
 Mandæan John-Book” by G. R. S. Mead

John The Baptist

It is strange that John the Baptist is treated by many Christians as a superficial character in the story. Most know him as nothing more than the one who baptized Jesus. But John wasn’t just a typical wandering priest unaffiliated with any church or religious organization. Others may remember that he was a strong supporter and defender of Jesus and his teachings and was eventually put to death for it. Still, when they talk of the great figures of the Bible, John the Baptist is probably not in the top five.

Mead says that John was of priestly descent and probably well versed in scripture. John was, in fact, a Rabbi of the Essene sect, just as was Jesus and his family. While there were many wandering priests and preachers in those days, few achieved the following of John and Jesus. Some people are able to recognize truth and holiness when they see it and hear it. Those people listened to these holy men.

The Strange Habits of John the Baptist

One of the best known of the strange habits of John was his food. It is said he lived on honey and locusts. A strange diet for sure. But is that really what he ate, and the only things he ate? Probably not. While it is true that the highly trained and experienced members of Essene communities ate little, when they did eat, it was simple food like bread, herbs, and wine or water. There is no mention that I am aware of Essenes eating locusts or any other insects. So why does the Bible say that John did? There are two possibilities. One is that this claim was made my an enemy to put him down as a crazy person to be ignored. Another is that it was symbolic, not literal.

The locust or grasshopper generally symbolizes a leap forward. When dealing with spiritual people, it likely means a leap forward in faith and beliefs. So John “eating” locusts meant that he had had a leap forward, a spiritual awakening. This made him a worthy preacher and teacher, a proper forerunner and defender of Jesus and the true teachings that have largely been lost or abandoned by the popular churches of today.

Honey is a symbol of heavenly bliss, therefore also represents a spiritual awakening. More specifically, honey does not rot. It lasts virtually forever. And coating outer things in honey can preserve them for a long time. It therefore also represents immortality.

So when it is said that John the Baptist “ate” honey and locusts, it means that he has taken that leap forward, has awakened his spirit and soul, and has become a true immortal. Immortality is never a thing of the material body, but one of the spirit and soul. But we don’t truly become immortal as individuals until we awaken the soul, which is to say, making it conscious by filling it with Divine Light from the spiritual sun.

The Even Stranger Clothing of John the Baptist

It is said in the Bible that John the Baptist was clothed in skin just as Adam and Eve were after they fell from the Garden of Eden. Mead gets it partially correct when he says that this was not to hide their nakedness, but because they had lost their divine garments of light. He takes it too literally, though, in believing that this means that Adam and Eve wrapped themselves in the hides of dead animals. Even more, he gets it wrong when he accepts that John the Baptist did the same in memory of that event.

Again, we are dealing with allegory, symbolism. Adam and Eve were not wearing the skins of animals. They were wearing their own skins, skins and bodies of dense matter. This they didn’t have before the fall. In the garden of Eden, they had bodies of spirit and light, not matter. After the fall, their true self was hidden in a garment (cage?) of flesh so they could function in a world of matter. T was the recognition of this fact that had Adam and Eve trying to cover and hide themselves. They wanted to hide their bodies of matter, not specific organs.

So when it says that John also clothed himself in skin in memory of Adam and Eve, it means that he was a spiritual being, perhaps an angel, who “fell” down to the dimension of matter where he had to take on a body of matter in order to function. What he wore on that body is not relevant. It is the body itself that is being discussed when it says he wore skins.

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Orpheus

Orpheus, Eurydice and the Orphic Mysteries

“Orpheus, the Thracian bard, the great initiator of the Greeks, ceased to be known as a man and was celebrated as a divinity several centuries before the Christian era. ‘As to Orpheus himself,’ writes Thomas Taylor, ‘scarcely a vestige of his life is to be found amongst the immense ruin of time. …

“Orpheus was founder of the Grecian mythological system which he used as the medium for the promulgation of his philosophical doctrines. The origin of his philosophy is uncertain. He may have got it from the Brahmans, there being legends to the effect that he got it from a Hindu. … Orpheus was initiated into the Egyptian Mysteries, from which he secured extensive knowledge of magic, astrology, sorcery, and medicine. The Mysteries of the Cabiri at Samothrace were also conferred upon him, and these undoubtedly contributed to his knowledge of medicine and music.

“The romance of Orpheus and Eurydice is one of the tragic episodes of Greek mythology and apparently constitutes the outstanding feature of the Orphic rites.” ~Manly P. Hall

The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice

According to the tale, Eurydice, while trying to escape from a would-be rapist, was bitten by a poisonous snake on the heel of her foot, and died. Orpheus went to the underworld and convinced Pluto (Hades) to release her. But Hades put a condition on it. Orpheus had to return to the realm of the living without once looking back. If he did, Eurydice could follow. But Orpheus became fearful that she wasn’t behind him and turned around to see. With a cry of dismay, she was pulled back to the underworld.

The Symbology of The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice

There is much spiritual symbology in this tale, and that is the point. Such tales are rarely if ever, intended to be taken literally. It is the symbology of it that matters.

First, we have a very obvious one. Orpheus let his fear get control of him. As a result, he failed in his quest. Someone needs to explain this to the followers of Trumpery. If you let your fear take control of you, you make bad choices and fail in your quests. Wise people have known this for many centuries. Fools refuse to listen.

The heel is often a symbol of moving forward. Being bitten by a poisonous snake probably represents that Eurydice took some false advice, perhaps from a being of darkness, and went to her death while thinking she was moving forward. We can see this as a warning to be careful who we take advice from.

While many would assume the land of the living to be the material world, it is more likely to mean the spiritual world where every being lives forever. So Eurydice became materialistic (another interpretation of the snake) and therefore was trapped in the realm of matter.

The whole story is a warning to not let our fears of the unknown—the spiritual realm—prevent us from developing our spiritual self. Also, to not cling to the temporary things of matter. Those who cling to matter become trapped in it. Those who seek higher realms can reach them if they know what they are doing and are not following a false teacher.

Man to God

We should take careful note of what Mr. Hall says about Orpheus being a man who ceased to be a man and became a god in the eyes of the Greeks. This is not something limited to the ancient Greeks. It is the same thing that was done with Jesus and Buddha. Too often people can’t understand the greatness of truly awakened masters so think they must be gods.

Orphic Mysteries

There is more to the Orphic mysteries than just the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Details of the group are scarce. It is believed that they influenced the Pythagoreans and Platonists, so we can get some idea from those philosophies. What is known is that the Orphic views included the idea that the soul was divine and immortal. They also practiced methods that were supposed to release them from being trapped in materialism and aid them in communicating with God. Since Orpheus was known as a musician and is depicted with a lyre, we can assume that music was used in their methods of awakening the spirit and soul. This was also true of the Pythagoreans as I’ve previously covered in this blog.

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temple man

Temple Man Statues and Their Symbolism

“Long before the introduction of idolatry into religion, the early priests caused the statue of a man to be placed in the sanctuary of the temple. This human figure symbolized the Divine Power in all its intricate manifestations. … The statue may have opened, thus showing the relative positions of the organs, bones, muscles, nerves, and other parts. After ages of research, the manikin became a mass of intricate hieroglyphs and symbolic figures. Every part had its secret meaning. The measurements formed a basic standard by means of which it was possible to measure all parts of the cosmos. It was a glorious composite emblem of all the knowledge possessed by the sages and hierophants. … The philosophers of antiquity realized that man himself was the key to the riddle of life.” ~Manly P. Hall

Temple Man

When I tried to find images of this temple man with a Google search, I didn’t find anything that appeared to be what Mr. Hall is talking about. Nevertheless, I believe him because Mr. Hall always did his research and never made things up.

So this statue of a man in ancient temples and mystery schools represented many things. It was the microcosm to the macrocosm of the universe. It was a representation of creation. Most of all, it represented the link between the spiritual worlds and the physical as that is what man is. No other life form on Earth serves that purpose.

Divine Temple Man

Mr. Hall says this Temple Man represented the “Divine Power in all its intricate manifestations.” He does not elaborate, so we don’t know exactly how it does that. We have to figure it out ourselves.

One important thing is that we must not jump to the conclusion, as so many have, that if man represents the divine, then God must look like us. That is just nonsense. God is pure spirit, pure Light, and bear no resemblance whatsoever to physical man. Only our souls are image of God. It is therefore reasonable to assume that understanding the meaning of the temple man statue required studying it on a spiritual level as well as physical. Continue reading “Temple Man Statues and Their Symbolism”

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Mystical Marriage

Mystical Marriage, Mystical Love and the Bridal Chamber

“It was natural and inevitable that the imagery of human love and marriage should have seemed to the mystic the best of all images of his own ‘fulfillment of life’. … It has been said that the constant use of such imagery by Christian mystics of the medieval period is traceable to the popularity of the Song of Songs, regarded as an allegory of the spiritual life. …The mystic loved the Song of Songs because he there saw reflected, as in a mirror, the most sacred experiences of the soul. …
“The great saints who adopted and elaborated this symbolism, applying it to their pure and ardent passion for the Absolute, were destitute of the prurient imagination which their modern commentators too often possess.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Mystical Love

Many people are surprised to find so many tales of love, marriage, and love lost in the Bible and the scripture of other religions. They fail to understand that these tales, possibly true on the material level, are significant for their allegorical meaning.

When the mystic writes about falling in love, he is talking about a higher type of love. Likewise, when they talk about their passion and devotion, it is to something higher. It is not that they are opposed to the love of a man for a woman, but that they were more interested in a different kind of love.

The love that mattered the most to them was the love of man for God, the love of the awakened soul for the worlds of spirit.

Mystical Marriage

In his mystical sermons, St. Bernard equated the Divine Word with the bridegroom and the human Soul with the bride. In his sermons, the soul/bride seeks oneness with God/the groom. This gives a very different meaning to scriptural writings, especially the Gnostic ones, which are advising the mystical student to go into the bridal chamber and meet the bridegroom. A mystical marriage more than a physical one. Continue reading “Mystical Marriage, Mystical Love and the Bridal Chamber”

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