Archetype of Christmas

Millions of people still see Christmas as an event that began about two thousand years ago, so  why should it be seen as an archetype? Yet even a great thinker like Carl Jung sees it as a myth – “Such a myth, however, consists of symbols that have not been invented consciously. They have happened. It was not the man Jesus who created the myth of the god-man. It existed for many centuries before his birth. He himself was seized by this symbolic idea, which, as St. Mark tells us, lifted him out of the narrow life of the Nazarene carpenter.” Quoted from Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung.

The fact is that what we now call Christmas was celebrated in different time by different cultures thousands of years prior to the Christian version. It is all described below. That makes it a Cosmic event that we humans through the ages have been sensitised to, felt the wonder of it and celebrated it.

Below is a man’s description of meeting that Wonder.

“I found myself standing before large heavy floor to ceiling curtains. I moved to the curtains and pulled them apart. This revealed the immensity of a clear night sky, filled with brilliant stars. As I looked at this natural splendour, a star fell to earth, leaving me with a sense that something wonderful had happened that I must go in search of. Then there was a sudden shift, and I was now a herder of flocks, a shepherd, looking for the star that had come to earth. Others were searching too, and when we found what we were looking for, I was astonished to discover it was a baby.

A Baby

I was not in any way asleep, or in a trance. My evaluative rational self was keenly observing all that happened, but not interfering with what I was experiencing. Nevertheless, profoundly felt imagery and feelings flooded my awareness. I realised I was experiencing the New Testament story of the birth. But this did not seem to interfere with the flow of what poured into my feelings. My whole body felt the wonder of the baby and I fell to my knees before it. I knew as if intuitively, that all the cosmos had somehow come alive as this helpless vulnerable child. I was so overwhelmed, all I could say over and over, between sobbing cries was, ‘A baby’ – ‘A baby.’

The flowing emotions and the opened intuitive sense informed me that what I knelt before in tears was not a particular child. It was every baby ever born. For the first time I had been allowed to experience the enormity of birth, the holiness of every baby, though some babies despite having the highest in them are born with enormous heavy loads to deal with.

Suddenly the scene changed again, and I was standing with others by the side of a dusty unpaved road. People were excitedly waiting for someone, and I was curious to see who it was.

It was a man, and as he walked the road he saw me and came toward me. This part is difficult to describe, as I feel incapable of communicating the power of the event. The man was ordinary in appearance, but as he got near to me it seemed as if a great force surrounded him that penetrated me completely. The force was love, buffeting me like waves I could barely tolerate. The man stood before me and took my hands and said, ‘You are my disciple.’

At this, love so immense touched me that I fell backwards, the contact too painful for me to bear, and the man walked on.

I knew who he was. I also knew, because it was welling up from within me as sure knowledge that he was the man I had killed. It was his blood I had on my hands. It was his death I felt guilty of. But he, in some strange paradoxical way, was myself. He was the cosmic mystery I have been born as and with. He was the very best of myself I had killed, murdered. He was my youthful sexuality I had suffocated to death, helped by the tenets of a religion that was supposed to be teaching his way, the way of life, the way of recognising one’s cosmic link.

The impact of that meeting was extraordinary. Unable to stop the emotions surfacing, I felt impelled to move to each person in the group rubbing my hands on them. It seemed to me that a magical influence had touched my hands and I wanted everyone around me to receive some of that magic. Even years afterwards, when describing the event, the wonder of it can penetrate me again, and I am overcome by emotion.

The meeting presented Christ paradoxically as something exterior to me, and at the same time something that was a fundamental and integral part of my own nature. I believe many people today have also met Christ in this way.”

The birth of Christ is a cultural and mythical image depicting the meeting or birth of the Christ power within us, it is. the power of our own highest possibilities. It is the outreach to us of collective human love. It is an age-old symbol and can still stir us but we must remember that the story of Jesus was not new 2000 years ago, for 1400 years before that Mithra was born in a cave, also on the 25th December, and the story is a hugely symbolical, and so I will attempt to explain its symbolism. And Mithra too was said to be born of a Virgin. He travelled far and wide as a teacher and illuminator of men. His great festivals were the winter solstice and the Spring equinox (Christmas and Easter).

The Second Book of Enoch contains a section, called Exaltation of Melchizedek, which says that Melchizedek was born of a virgin, Sofonim (or Sopanima), the wife of Nir, a brother of Noah. The child came out from his mother after she had died and sat on the bed beside her corpse, already physically developed, clothed, speaking and blessing the Lord, and marked with the badge of priesthood.

According to tradition, Zoroaster’s mother, Dughdova, was a virgin when she conceived Zoroaster by a shaft of light. Attis was born to the virgin Nana on December 25  – Heracles was born on December 25 to a virgin. Romulus was born to Rea Sivia, a mortal Vestal virgin.

Siddartha who became the Buddha. Also involve virgin birth, for the story of Gautama Buddha’s life (567- 487 BC) starts at preconception when his mother, Queen Maya, is said to have dreamt that a six-tusked elephant pierced her side with one of its tusks. This produced an immaculate conception. She understood the dream to mean the resulting child would become a monarch whose domain was the world. 

Tammuz of Babylonia was born to a virgin, named Mylitta, on December 25.

Mary is an image of your own human situation and represents the possibility of a virginal mind and feelings.  Put simply this means that we drop preconceptions, we melt away fixed opinions, rigid attitudes, perhaps through prayer, meditation or perseverance, and in that state one can receive a conception from Life itself – in other words a divine interception.

“Such a myth, however, consists of symbols that have not been invented consciously. They have happened. It was not the man Jesus who created the myth of the god-man. It existed for many centuries before his birth. He himself was seized by this symbolic idea, which, as St. Mark tells us, lifted him out of the narrow life of the Nazarene carpenter.” Quoted from Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung

Jesus became the Christ; like Buddha Jesus and Buddha were just men who tried to evolve from their earthly situation. His name was Siddartha and he became the Buddha when he achieved a different type of consciousness. My sense is that when Jesus evolved to the  point where, like any of us can, he was able to attain Christhood, just as Siddartha attained the Buddha, because they had reached the next level of human evolution. The mam Jesus receive Christhood during his baptism when a dove was said to descend.

I believe today’s Christmas celebrations are a faint and buried memory of something that is as old as creation. To eat and drink enormous amounts are ways of forgetting what the above picture is about. The star shining down on the baby illustrates the cosmic influences there are behind the creation not only of the universe but of ourselves.

The animals in the manger show that we are part of a humble past and are still an animal that has reached self-consciousness. If we cannot see our dependence and link with the animal consciousness, we have missed self-understanding and our way in life.

The angels above the child are telling us, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” As Meeker tells us, “The fact remains that in spite of ‘science’ and …the professional debunkers, there is more, far more in the universe that we are totally in ignorance of. We are limited by our five senses. Once in a while we get a few fleeting insights on inexplicable phenomena, but that doesn’t mean the whole of the inexplicable should be rejected because ‘they cannot be duplicated in a laboratory.”

The Virgin and Joseph are reminders of what we can give birth to in our own life. Mary represents virginity of mind, living without preconceptions, Joseph the intellectual thinking mind, the carpenter, building with dead materials, old thoughts, and ideas. So, there is a virgin posture of the mind which is an attempt to bring about an inner state, an inner feeling of fertility and love towards your invisible and unknown potential – purity from preconceived ideas – the offering of your whole being as material for your potential to use in creating a new self – the act of supplication in which you let go of your thoughts, emotions and body, so they can be played upon as a piano or organ by Life. There should then arise a feeling of warmth toward and desire for the unseen Life, openness to any possibility Life may have in store for you, good or bad, allied with trust. If you have a temperament capable of this, then make it an act of love, a real devotion, an approach to one’s darling.

If you cannot be the parents of your own inner wonder, then perhaps you can kneel before the mystery than keeps you conscious, the miracle that you are as a breathing living being.

Lastly the wise men bringing gifts. They are that aspect of yourself or humanity who like this man had a vison of what the tiny baby has to offer:

“I seemed to be any person who had ever lived, a nameless representative of humanity, and yet a composite of all persons. Then with an awe that was almost overpowering, I had a momentary glimpse of what man would eventually evolve into, of the heights he would sometime reach, and of the development as yet unimagined. For the most part, that glimpse will forever remain indescribable.  For in this stage of evolution which far surpassed that of my actual self, serenity, tranquility, and joy continuously enfolded me. In addition, my thoughts became crystal clear, flowing quickly, yet as gently as a moving stream.”

   It All Leads To

The Sacred Heart

The Transcendent Love

    For All That Lives

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