Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Above, Easter Below – Part III

Mosaic pavement in Synagogue at Beth Alpha, Israel (6th century)
Public Domain, Wikipedia

Good Friday. The solar hero, Lamb of God, is led to his "sacrifice":

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23: 33, 34).

Such an attitude of unconditional forgiveness is another way to illustrate the essence of the Christian teaching, which very few are able to practice truly. In ancient times the true Christians were those who before being killed by the Romans, or even by the Roman Church itself, still had enough power inside to release a last good wish for the slayer: pax tibi, the peace be with you. The Cathars of the Middle Ages were a great example.

This is the reason why the act of considering oneself a Christian can be extremely pretentious in many cases. It is much more prudent and humble to think that at most we can just "aspire to be".

Anecdotes aside, we focus now on the ancient mosaic shown above. As we can see, the Sun appears at the centre, in the middle of four figures, the four cardinal points. And if we look at it from the perspective of the crucifixion, then it seems too coincidental that Christ is said to be crucified between two malefactors, for, as we can see in the mosaic, when the Sun arrives at the Vernal Equinox on the horizon –in Capricorn, which appears almost erased in the mosaic–, to the right He has the Spring Equinox of Aries, and to his left, the Autumn Equinox of Libra, right below Virgo, the Virgin or Mother, as we remarked yesterday. A passage seems to be a explicit reference to this: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene (John 19: 25). Furthermore, if we add the Summer Solstice in Cancer, at the top, the four corners of the Earth make a perfect cross, the Cross of Matter, the path of Helios, the Sun. 

Formerly the four evangelists –Matthew, Mark, Luke and John– were associated with these four cardinal points, which were also seen as the axes of a Cosmic Clock –both for the Solar System and the Galaxy–. In fact, the cosmic hours or seasons were marked by dividing a circle into four quadrants with three segments each (for months and zodiacal signs). And since the seasonal calendar starts with  Aries –three o´clock in the mosaic–, this sign would be the First hour, or Prima –in Spain we refer to Spring as Primavera–. Accordingly, the Summer would come at the end of the Third hour or Tertia, where Cancer begins; Autumn, at the end of the Sixth (Sexta), beginning of the Seventh (SeptimaSeptember) –around nine o´clock in the mosaic– etc. And somehow this seems to match with the following passage:

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15: 25, 33, 34).

 The Ninth hour (Nona) comes in November, when the days are much shorter than in Summer, as the Sun rises less from the horizon and sets earlier. "Oh, Light of Helios, why has thou forsaken us?". Such Darkness grows even further during the Tenth hour, the Winter Solstice, when the earth lives the shortest day of the year –near six o´clock in the mosaic–.

Nevertheless, we should never forget that this vision has several levels of understanding. Now the Sun is below Cancer and the Asses, which stay on the  vertical extreme, above, as if these ruled over the situation, what has a deep psychological meaning. At this stage the inner traveller suffers moments of despair and dejection, a certain "sour taste of life”:

And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said: Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down (Mark 15: 35, 36).

Yet the hero does not give up amidst the vital acidity:

They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink
(Matthew 27: 34).

Returning to the astronomical level, vinegar represents the time when the Sun leaves Libra, the sign of September,  the Wine season. Thus, in the Gospel of John, after tasting the vinegar slightly, Jesus says: It is finished. An allusion to the inescapable prophetic cycle, since the Sun continues its descent into the Inferno (Hell) or Inverno (Winter), when there is no more “wine”, for it has become “vinegar”, and red leaves adopt a brownish yellow colour and fall from the trees, when the Solar Hero finally receives the "kiss of death" –associated with the Scorpion, Judas– and the "arrow" of Sagittarius, Spear of Longinos. If we look at the Zodical diagram, nothing seems random, not even the Gospel:

Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water (John 19: 32, 34).

Again, from the psycho-spiritual level, this can be seen as an inevitable consequence of living in the Cross of Matter, where we suffer the stings of "passion", "disease" and "death"; a death that should not only be physical but also internal. In moments of suffering one can only rely on the Highest and let go of the miserable ego that clings to the lower matter:

Jesus called out with a loud voice: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. When he had said this, he breathed his last (Luke 23: 46).

Thus the passion ends, and there is hope for us to continue with Easter in the following posts.

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