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Archive for the ‘Alchemy of Begetting’ Category

“Fifth Way” Love: A Romantic Path to Transformation

I will open this post with the excerpt from Cynthia Bourgeault’s signature work, The Meaning of MARY MAGDALENE – Discovering The Woman at the Heart of Christianity – with which I closed my previous post, and will continue quoting her commentary in its entirety. She quotes here a passage from the Gospel of Philip:

“The one who creates objects works outwardly in the external world. The one who labors in secret, however, works within the icon, hidden inwardly from others. The one who creates make objects visible to the world. The one who conceives gives birth to children in the Realm of the Unseen.”

In this complex distinction . . . Philip insists that begetting must come “from above”. . . .  It requires a free and conscious regeneration in the Spirit. “Begotten” is an alchemy in which spirit actively participates, and its fruit is the anthropos, or completed human being. 

THE SPIRITUAL KISS THAT BEGETS

From Philip’s point of view, then, lineal descendents of Jesus, even if they existed, would not be “anointed ones,” unless this claim were to be validated by their own spiritual transformation. The kingdom over which the Anointed One reigns is beyond the space/time continuum and cannot be inherited lineally (that technicality consistently overlooked in the literal-mindedness of The Da Vinci Code); it can be entered only by becoming a new kind of human being–what Philip actually describes as “a new race of human be­ings . . . . Only true sons and daughters can gain immortality,” he writes in analogue 56, “and no one can gain it without becoming a true son and daughter.” Progeny cannot be fashioned out of flesh and blood; they are the fruit of an alchemy of consciousness.

Philip makes it clear that this is the kind of spiritual procreation that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were chiefly about. As we discussed in chapter 10, his symbol for this type of richly engendering spiritual love is the kiss, which (as is universally the case throughout the Near Eastern culture) is seen as a sign not of sexual attraction but of spiritual begetting. When he indicates in analogue 37 that “the Master loved her more than the other students and many times would kiss her on the mouth,” he is not describing an illicit romance but rather a sacred exchange of their deeply commingled beings. The spiritual kiss is the symbol par excellence of Fifth Way love.

From a Fifth Way standpoint, this kind of intense and trans­forming love, “which is really the birth-pangs of union at a higher plane,” will indeed bear fruit. But the fruit may not be human children so much as an energetic sphere of pure creativity, in which reality is touched at the core and love itself is the progeny.

As analogue 66 points out, “The one who creates objects [i.e., literal offspring] works outwardly in the external world. The one who labors in secret, however, works within the icon, hidden in­wardly from others.” In other words, the work goes on at the imaginal (or causal) level, and its potency is made manifest not by producing new people but by engendering transformed people­ giving birth to children “in the Realm of the Unseen,” in the words of the text. (Underscores mine)

“FIFTH WAY LOVE”:  AN EROTIC PATH TO TRANSFORMATION

The “Fifth Way” is a spiritual path based on relationship. Cynthia Bourgeault calls it “conscious love” rather than “tantric love” so as not to put a stumbling block before her parishioners. She is an Episcopal priest whose passion is to restore the romantic love affair between Jesus and Mary Magdalene as the center piece at the heart of Christianity. The term itself is a deliberate spin-off from George Gurdjieff’s “Fourth Way,” the “Way of the Conscious Man.” Boris Mouravieff (d.1966), a little known Russian esotericist who studied Gurdjieff’s system intimately, coined the phrase and used it in his three-volume Gnosis to represent “courtly love as a spiritual path and of the way of transformation through mystical union with one’s ‘polar being.'” Cynthia’s comment:

“While he [Mouravieff] stops short of saying that Jesus and Mary Magdalene practiced this path, he makes it clear that its headwaters lie deep within the marrow of Christianity itself, and he insists that it represents “The purest and most sublime realization of the Christian spiritual path.” 

THE “SONG OF SONGS”

More commonly known in Protestant circles as “The Song of Solomon, Bourgeault associates this erotic book of the Old Testament Bible with Mary Magdalene, seeing it as an ancient testament to the practice of “Fifth Way Love.” I will share my favorite passage from the Biblical texts and then offer a commentary on it. The song opens with the kiss that begets love:

The song of songs, which is Solomon’s. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. 

Because of the savour of thy goof ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.

Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee…. 

The voice of my beloved! Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.

My beloved spake, and said unto me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

Our winter is currently at the door in mid October, not a time to be leaping and skipping. Perhaps, then, we could see this passage metaphorically as describing the nature and character of Life itself and of the Beloved who abides within us each one, peaking out through the windows of our eyes and showing himself through the lattice of our veiled and guarded hearts. The Beloved is always there, “standing behind our wall,” when our world gets dark and seemingly impossible to navigate.  Always there to turn to for assurance that all is well and as it should be. Always there to love in passionate embrace and simply say: “I love you with all of my heart, with all of my mind, and with all of my body. With Solomon I sing . . .

Place me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm. Strong as Death is love; intense as Sheol is its ardor. Its shafts are shafts of fire, flames of Yah (Yahweh). Deep waters cannot quench love, nor rivers sweep it away.”

AN UNLIKELY BIBLICAL TEXT

Like Mary Magdalene herself, the Song of Songs has had a long his­tory of both admirers and detractors. It has been called, with some justification, “the most unbiblical book in the whole Bible,” and there are those who feel that its inclusion in among the wisdom writings of the Old Testament was a grand mistake. But others see it as nothing short of scripture’s mystical highpoint, an inexhaustible fountainhead of beauty and spiritual wisdom. Among this latter group was Rabbi Aqiba (d. 135), one of the most influential of the early rabbinic commentators, whose celebrated words eventually carried the day: “All the ages are not worth the day on which it was written for all the writings are holy, but the Song is the Holy of Holies.”

At the heart of all this consternation, as you might expect, is the fact that this text is a love song–and not just a mild-mannered, “spiritual” love song, but an unabashed celebration of erotic pleasure. From its opening salvo, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,” to its parting affirmation, “Love is as strong as death,” it never breaks stride, In eight canticles of stunningly evocative imagery, it sings the glories of carnal desire in exquisite and scintillating detail. 

KENOTIC LOVE

Kenosis is the act of emptying oneself, a characteristic applied, by Paul specifically, to the path that Jesus took in his life of service. It was the path Mother Theresa took and other saintly souls.  Cynthia writes: 

As Paul so profoundly realizes, self-emptying is the touchstone, the core reality underlying every moment of Jesus’s human journey. Self-emptying is what  brings him into human form, and self-emptying is what leads him out, returning him to the mode of glory. The full realization of Jesus’s divine selfhood [our divine Selfhood] comes not through concentration of being, but through voluntary divestment of it. . . . Stripping oneself and standing naked: this is the essence of the kenotic path.

KENOSIS IN THE FIFTH WAY

We have already seen that kenosis is the tie-rod of Jesus’s entire teaching, connecting the inner and outer realms of our human experience in a single, unified gesture. “Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13) is one of his most celebrated dictums. But when that “friend” happens also to be one’s uniquely beloved, one’s romantic partner or spouse, kenotic practice takes on a particularly intense and even a sacra­mental character. This is because the root energy it works with is the transformative fire of eros, the energy of desiring. That messy, covetous, passion-ridden quicksilver of all creation is tamed and transformed into a substance of an entirely different order, and the force of the alchemy accounts for both the efficiency of this path and its terrifying intensity.

Vladimir Solovyov, that great nineteenth-century philosopher of love, was among the first to grasp the enormous implica­tion of this point, which defines both the modality of the Fifth Way and its ultimate destination:

The meaning and worth of love. .. is that it really forces us, with all our being, to acknowledge for another the same ab­solute central significance which, because of the power of our egoism, we are conscious of only in our own selves. Love is important not as one of our feelings, but … as the shifting of the very center of our personal lives. This is characteristic of every kind of love, but predominantly of sexual love [erotic love]; it is distinguished from other kinds of love by greater intensity, by a more engrossing character, and by the possibil­ity of a more complete overall reciprocity. Only this love can lead to the real and indissoluble union of two lives into one; only of it do the words of Holy Writ say: “They shall be one flesh,” that is, shall become one real being.

In the path of “Fifth Way Love,” as Cynthia Bourgeault presents it in her book, and as she portrays the intimate companionship of Mary Magdalene and Jesus, the eros is transformed and transmuted to a higher level so as to become an erotically ecstatic bridge between the physical and the spiritual worlds, making the oneness of heaven and earth an actual and tangible experience.  The ultimate transformation takes place between “polar beings” who become one blended substance, so that one cannot tell where the boundaries of one’s own body stops and the other’s begins. For there is no “other” and no boundaries. There is only the One I Am.  

We will shift gears in my next post, leaving the realm of the “Holy of Holies” to explore the mysteries of the Universe–as Walter Russell understands and explains them anyway. We are in for a profoundly intellectual roller coaster ride. So, sharpen your mental focus before you read my next post. The theme will remain in the domain of the masculine and feminine energies at work within us and throughout the illusory universe.  Until then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

 

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Anthropos: Being Fully Human

This is huge. I will be challenged in these next two or three post to my utmost capacity to synthesize, as I have been studying various authors and each one of them sheds a different light on the subject — and I will lean heavily upon them all for excerpts. So, I’ll just dive right in and let Spirit guide me where it will.

I will launch this multi-post consideration with this passage from logion 114 of the Gospel of Thomas:

Simon Peter said to him: “Let Mary leave us, for women are not fit for the life.” Jesus answered: “See, I have been guiding her so as to make her into a human [Anthropos]. She, too, will become a living breath like you. For any woman who becomes a human will enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Another translation of the same passage says it differently and more to the point I’m aiming to make:

Simon Peter said to them: “Mary should leave us because women are not worthy of the life.” Jesus responded: “Look, I’ll lead her in order to make her male so that she can become a living spirit as you males are. For each woman who makes herself male wll enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

In the first translation, the word “human” is used. In the second, the word “male” is used. I will call upon Jean-Yves Leloup for an interpretation of this poignant passage in her book The Gospel of Mary Magdalene:

The error of many translators is to render this as having something to do with being male. It is clear from the original Greek that the meaning
is that of anthropos (human being in the general sense), and not of andros (man in the masculine sense). It is true that in order to become whole, a human being must integrate in herself or himself the complementary gender. And this work or realization of wholeness is certainly not some­thing that only or especially women have to do–we each have our own work of becoming an Anthropos, a fully human being. . . .

The term anthropos is also richer than the term androgyne, which is sometimes used as the translation of the former, for sexual and psychic
polarities form only a part of what must be integrated in becoming fully human.

The other part is contained in the words “living breath” or “living spirit,” one’s true Self. And here I would introduce a consideration of the differences between male and masculine and between female and feminine. The first, male, relates to physical form, whereas masculine relates to spiritual or energetic essences. The same is applicable for female and feminine. I will address this difference after this clarifying explanation by the same author: 

This recalls a passage from the Gospel of Matthew:

But he said to them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

Some scholars have detected here the hand of an editor who was influenced by some sort of dualistic or ascetic teaching, one that was to
influence Christianity’s monastic departure from Old Testament teach­ings. Indeed, it does seem implausible that Yeshua would advocate
destroying the work of the Creator. How could he who claimed to be One with the Father advocate such mutilation of his creatures?

Others explain this by an improper translation or transmission of Yeshua’s words. The word eunuch should be replaced by the word androg­yne. Unfortunately the latter word (like so many others) was and still is often misunderstood and reduced to a sexual meaning that evokes some
sort of freakish bisexual mixture that is neither male nor female–hardly an advantage for someone who is already having difficulties in finding his or her identity!

As in so many other domains, one can only transcend that which one has fully known and accepted. One must live one’s own sexuality in one’s
own body before speaking of a higher state of androgyny. As in psychotherapy, one must first have an ego that is as sane and stable as possi­ble before pretending to have access to what is often (perhaps too often) called the Self.

This is why the authors of the Gospel of Mary considered it so important that Yeshua really lived his masculine sexuality, perhaps with Miriam, perhaps with another woman. This was necessary in order for him to become the archetype of synthesis, the Anthropos that he was. I prefer the term anthropos to androgyne because the former word still leads to confusion today, in spite of a widespread contemporary appreciation of
the value of spiritual integration and balance of male and female polarities in us. Rather than defending the literal translation of the original
word used in certain early Christian texts, it is preferable here to defend, through the word we choose as its translation, the truth and richness of meaning in what the original word communicates.

What is important is to become whole. This is what makes us able to truly love, not from our sense of lack, but from our plenitude, as Yeshua
himself loved us.

In the same way, we can say that it is because Miriam of Magdala fully lives her feminine sexuality, and because she fully accepts and integrates the masculine dimension of her being, that she is able to speak with authentic knowledge of the Word–though today, as during her time, there are still those who would deny her this. But it is only after the long and slow work of becoming fully human that she can legitimately speak, as an Anthropos, of the fullness of a humanity that, like Yeshua’s, is open to the Divine and transparent to its clear light–the most invisible and subtle of lights.

Of course one can take or leave Leloup’s interpretation of these passages. I personally resonate with his words of clarification.  For one thing, he has helped me come to terms with my own conflicted view of homosexuality, having been somewhat biased by my unsavory confrontation with pedofilia in my seminary years studying for the Roman Catholic priesthood, which left me with a deep aversion to anything the looked like men doing anything sexual to or with other men. But, that’s mine to work with and through. 

MAKE THE TWO ONE  

Masculine and feminine energies exist as two seemingly separate forces only in this “creating universe,” this illusory world of material forms, as Walter Russell expounds upon in his 1926 signature masterpiece THE UNIVERSAL ONE. The energy out of which these forces are born and in which they move and have their being in One, male and female bodies not withstanding. There is only One who occupies these capacities, and that One is what Jesus calls the “Living Spirit” and “Living Breath” in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Thomas. With this clarification–and with what I have written about in my previous post “The Imaginal Realm: As Above So Below”–see if you can “see” with the spiritual eyes of your heart what is being conveyed in the following passage from The Gospel of Thomas (22a & 22b):

Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples: “These infants taking milk are like those who enter the Kingdom.”

His disciples asked him: “If we are infants will we enter the Kingdom?”

Jesus responded: ” When you make the two into one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the upper like the lower and the lower like the upper, and thus make the male and the female the same, so that the male isn’t male and the female isn’t female. When you make an eye to replace an eye, and a hand to replace a hand, and a foot to replace a foot, and an image to replace an image, then you will enter the Kingdom.”

I could ponder this passage for days and still not comprehend with my intellect what the Teacher is saying. And what does it have to do with babies being suckled? He was obviously coming from a wisdom higher than that of the world. One can understand why he once told his disciples that he had much more to share with them, but they could not bear it. I wonder if we are able to bear it today with our highly educated intellects. It has been said that understanding if of the heart. This teaching has to be taken into the heart for understanding, something that the books I have been reading this past year have helped me to do.   

The Teacher in speaking here from the standpoint of creating in and from the imaginal realm, where images are sown as seeds from above into the soil of human consciousness. He is speaking of the alchemy of begetting as compared to the chemistry of making. “Begotten not made” is a phrase found in the Nicene Creed referring to the “only begotten Son of the Father.” This is historically known as “Fifth Way Love,” which I will consider in my next post. 

ATTUNEMENT WITH LOVE

From the standpoint of subtle energy healing through what has come to be called the “Attunement Process” in my field of service, the conscious focus of the practitioner is not on the analogue but on the image; not on the distorted physical form, perhaps fragmented and depleted, but on the perfection of the spiritual body which is whole and vital.  Our work is primarily done in the secret place of the Heaven, in Love’s domain, where we conceive images of wholeness and vitality. That wholeness and vitality is being transferred moment by moment to the physical body via this imaginal realm of spiritual substance — “pneumaplasm”– which bridges the two worlds that are one in reality.  Attunement is with the vibrational tone of Love.  

This is what the Teacher called the “Kingdom.” When we as healers, or as complete human beings, anthropos, access and enter into the imaginal realm — which we can only do as Beings coming from above — where the images of healthy form and function are available for transference to the physical body, then we can make an eye to replace an eye, and a hand to replace a hand, and a foot to replace a foot, and an image to replace an image. From the view in the Heaven, the inside is like the outside and the outside like the inside; the upper is like the lower and the lower like the upper; then the male isn’t male and the female isn’t female but they are the same. We are not male and female. We are Anthropos, fully Human and living spirits, with masculine and feminine energies blended together in our incarnating capacities. We are sons and daughters of God. “Ye are gods.”

As a segue to my next post, I will close with an excerpt from Cynthia Bourgeault’s signature work, The Meaning of MARY MAGDALENE – Discovering The Woman at the Heart of Christianity. She quotes here a passage from the Gospel of Philip:

“The one who creates objects works outwardly in the external world. The one who labors in secret, however, works within the icon, hidden inwardly from others. The one who creates make objects visible to the world. The one who conceives gives birth to children in the Realm of the Unseen.”

In this complex distinction . . . Philip insists that begetting must come “from above”. . . .  It requires a free and conscious regeneration in the Spirit. “Begotten” is an alchemy in which spirit actively participates, and its fruit is the anthropos, or completed human being. 

Until my next post,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

I invite you to visit my website at HealingAndAttunement.com for information about my work and my books SACRED ANATOMY and ATTUNEMENT WITH SACRED SOUND. 

 

 

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