Mystery Schools And The Tarot Cards

Tarot, the Mysteries, and Initiation

Tarot is a roadmap back to God. It is my theory that they began as the flash-card catechism of the early Christian teachings which were patterned after the pagan Mystery religions. In stating this I don’t mean that Jesus’ life was a fabrication made by copying the mythology of the ancient Mysteries, but rather that his life followed the same design for the journey that is inherent in the Mysteries that is universal. Anyone who truly wants to walk the path of Initiation will have to walk in the same footsteps.

I truly believe that Jesus was a great Master, perhaps the greatest of all who have walked the face of earth. I also feel that the experiences that Jesus had fit into the same structure as that of the mythologies of the Mysteries for it is an archetypal journey; the one that is described in the major arcana of the tarot. However, I also believe to truly understand his teachings that one must be able to separate the historical Jesus from the allegorical hero/god who was sacrificed for the good of the people. This is the journey that is seen in his life and it is the same journey that each hero of each of the Mystery Schools had to take. This journey is the path of Initiation and it is available to each and every person who truly desires to know God.

The Mysteries are not about religion per se, however religion can help the seeker to begin the journey. I associate what the great religions of the world teach today with the Lesser Mysteries of the ancient Mystery Schools. Initiation in the Greater Mysteries is far greater than merely following the codes of conduct for they give the seeker a roadmap back to God. Not only do they give you the map, but they also teach how to navigate the journey, what to expect, and the skills required in order to meet all trials and tests that lead to liberation of the soul from the cycles of reincarnation. Once all these ordeals are faced and passed, the Initiate can find immortality of the soul.

The Greater Mysteries exist even today. One who studies Kabbalah or Sufism is an initiate of the Greater Mysteries as in the alchemist or the Rosicrucian to name just a few. Initiation is the path of the magician and the mystic and these are represented by the Magician and the High Priestess respectively.

Where the Mysteries Come From

Interestingly enough the mystery schools are shrouded in secrets. No one knows exactly what they taught because their members were sworn to secrecy. Scholars do know for sure that they consisted of two parts. The lesser mysteries were open to all and gave its members guidelines for day-to-day living. Only the elite few who had asked the right questions and had shown an ability to understand more profound teachings were initiated into the greater mysteries. These individuals were deserving souls who through sacrifice and purification of initiatory rites were able to pass great tests and earn escape from the wheel of rebirth.

Esoteric teachings say that the mysteries originated in Atlantis by Hermes-Thoth, otherwise known as Hermes-Trismegistus. However some philosophers and mystics feel while the mysteries were developed in Atlantis that the wisdom inherent in the mysteries came from Lemuria. Lemuria & Atlantis are thought to be prehistoric civilizations. Many believe that Lemuria, which is also sometimes called Mu, was the root of all civilization. They theorize that it was the original Garden of Eden where souls first entered the material realm as light bodies. It was thought that initially these souls could enter and exit the material plane at will and that Earth was a playground that became an addiction. The more these souls became attached to the material, the denser they became until eventually they could no longer leave at will.

Many millennia (some say millions of years) passed before Atlantis came into existence. In its earlier phases, the people were as spiritual as the Lemurians and the two continents co-existed cooperatively. Eventually Lemuria disappeared into the area now known as the Pacific Ocean and the surviving citizens migrated to Atlantis. (Hawaii and Easter Island are believed to be vestiges of this once greatly spiritual continent.) The major difference between the two peoples is that the Lemurians were more earth-oriented and spiritually focused while the latter-day Atlaneans were more focused on technological advancement that eventually led to the misuse and abuse of power. It was this pursuit of power and the attempt to make science and the mind god that eventually led to Atlantis’ demise.

The destruction of this once great continent took place in several stages. As Atlantis began to sink, its priesthood took the sacred books of wisdom, along with its symbols of power to other parts of the world for safekeeping. It had been necessary to hide the wisdom and the innate power so that it could not be abused or misused again as it had during the time before the continent sank due to the corruption of power. These teachings were taken to Sumeria, Babylonia, Egypt, Indo-Europe, the Orient, the Americas, and Polynesia. From these colonies they spread to other areas. It is my theory that there is a direct correlation between the areas where the root languages began and where the mysteries were taken.

What the Mystery Schools Taught

There are several basic similarities among mystery school teachings. The highlights and main points are:

All have a creation myth that taught of the birth of a sun god from a virgin mother and/or the birth of twin gods, one male and one female. This represented the separation of the male and female forces from oneness to create a dualistic world.

  • A sacred marriage between the male and the female resulted in the birth of the gods and/or a royal caste.
  • The hero-god (or heroine/goddess or her consort in matriarchal societies) is sacrificed and sometimes dismembered, usually into thirteen pieces.
  • Sometimes there is a ritual consumption of the body and the blood of the savior.
  • There is a descent into the underworld for 3 days or ordeals experienced while crossing a wasteland.
  • Resurrection and immortality was always the result.
  • This story was a metaphor for the death and resurrection of the sun or in earlier matriarchal societies, sometimes the moon.
  • The story is always enacted in some way by the priesthood.   Originally this was done to ensure fertility of the land.      
  • In matriarchal societies this ritual was also tied to sacred sexuality rites that determined the line of descent of the ruler.   The high priestess was the earthly incarnation of the Goddess and the yearly king was the sacrificial hero who represented the dying sun. Their mating re-enacted the marriage between the goddess and her son or the male and female twins and was called the Sacred Marriage. If their mating resulted in the birth of a son, he would have the birthright to the throne.

THE MINOR ARCANA

 Court Cards

The court cards are the levels of discipleship of the mystery school tradition. Pages are neophytes who as students are instructed and prepared for the tests and trials of initiation. They are trained to control the mind and develop intuition.

Upon passing tests and going through initiatory rites, they are accorded the title of disciple, which are the knights. As a disciple, the aspirant is required to renounce his or her earthly desires and goes through purification rites, which includes the baptism by water. During this stage, the aspirant’s spiritual centers begin to open and it becomes a responsibility to help instruct neophytes and serve the community.

As full-fledged initiates, the exemplar goes through many trials and ordeals that tests his or her strength of spirit. Understanding of the spiritual laws learned while a neophyte and disciple and use of a finely honed intuition is the only way that the initiate will be able to pass these extremely difficult tests. This degree is associated with the queens and it is at this time that the kundalini begins to move upward. The rising of the kundalini is the baptism by fire or spirit.

Whereas the initiate is developing spiritual mastery based upon the use of intuition, the adept, already having passed the intense tests and trials, develops mastery over the physical realm. This is the phase when the kundalini rises to the crown and the initiate becomes an alchemist who is able to turn base metals into gold.

 The Numbered Cards

 Through sacred geometry, the numbers show us how our universe was created. It also explains how we descended from Heaven to Earth and how we return back to union. The Tarot numbered cards are the universal laws of God. These universal laws are learned through each of the elemental initiations of earth, water, air and fire. They are the lessons that we need to learn in order to liberate ourselves from the wheel of life and death. Once we understand these laws, we are able to return to Paradise.

 The Suits

The Minor Arcana suits are the four initiations of earth, water, air and fire.

The suit of pentacles is the earth initiation and is the lesson of learning live in the world but not of it. The cups are the water initiation that teaches us to love unconditionally while conquering and controlling the lower emotions. The sword suit is the air initiation, which is the lesson of learning to use our minds and control our thoughts without letting our intellect rule us. With wands or the fire initiation, we learn to use passion and desire without letting them overcome us.

These initiations are the gifts God gave humanity so that mankind could find its way back to the Divine. Tarot teaches balance and when we find perfect balance by using our God-given gifts without making those gifts God, we can find our way back to a true God. Tarot is a “Roadmap to Enlightenment”.

 

THE MAJOR ARCANA

 The Major Arcana tell the story of the tests and trials of initiation, of loss and return, and of death and immortality. This story is told through the life of the Fool, the hero or heroine who in the mysteries is generally is represented as a god or goddess. His or her journey begins in the cards Magician through the Hierophant. This is the neophyte stage of instruction and preparation.

The cards Lovers through Hermit are the process of renunciation and purification that the knights sustain. As the Fool moves through the lessons that these cards have to teach, the initiate acquires compassion through the Lovers, knowledge through the Chariot, power through Strength and finally wisdom through the Hermit.

Now that knowledge, power and wisdom is acquired, the initiate is finally ready to attempt the greatest tests and trials of all. The Wheel of Fortune is the transition from the lesser mysteries to the greater mysteries. I call this card the Secret Entrance because all initiates are required to answer a riddle that tests his or her knowledge before he or she is allowed to pass through the gates to the higher realms. It is here that the disciple becomes a full-fledged initiate.

The cards Justice through Moon are the ordeals and trials that the initiate having faced and passed becomes the adept. The Sun is ascension out of the material realm, the Judgement is the resurrection and World is the return to paradise. Whereas the queens, gain mastery over the spiritual realm through the use of their intuitive powers, the kings acquire mastery over the material realm through the use of all that has been previously learned. The adept is the alchemist who is able to turn base metals into gold.

(An excerpt from Anyone Can Read Tarot Cards © Deanna Frank)

A Mystical Interpretation of the Rosary

Part II: The Interpretation of the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries

Saying the Rosary as a Meditation

Using the rosary as a meditation tool can be quite rewarding. There are two ways that this can be done. The first technique that I will explain comes from a spiritual discipline called japa.  It is quite commonly practiced in the East especially in India. The word japa is Sanskrit and is derived from the root word jap-, which means “to utter in a low voice or repeat internally”. Traditionally it is used to chant a mantra or name of a divine power and can be said softly, within the mind, or with a group as part of formal worship. It can be said while sitting in a meditative position or while performing other activities. Whenever I am stressed I find that saying the rosary as a japa makes me calm almost immediately.

Oftentimes, however, I say the rosary as a devotional to keep me focused on my spiritual path. For instance when I say the Sign of the Cross, I think about my connection to God and the Holy Spirit, and when I say the Apostle’s Creed or the Our Father, I contemplate what each line of the prayer means to me in my life as I am living it. As I recite the Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, and the Glory Be when I say each of the Mysteries, I spend more time meditating on the mystical meaning of that Mystery as it applies to my life. (The process is longer and avails itself to a deeper meditation than the introductory prayers.) When I say the Fatima Prayer, I always pray and send healing energy to every soul, living or dead. Sometimes I will dedicate a rosary to someone I know who is suffering or whenever I hear of tragedies in the news I will say at least one rosary to assist the people involved (i.e. fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, bombings, etc.). This of course is a traditional Catholic practice.

How I say a rosary depends upon what I spiritually need in the moment. I try to say one complete rosary daily but whenever I get really busy I might only say five or ten decades, depending upon how much time I have. If for instance if I recite the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries I might say the first to clear out any negative energy that I might have in my aura and then I will say the second set of Mysteries as a prayer for everyone in the world.

While many of us were taught that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray, I think that intention is the most important guide in what works for each individual person. If you choose to say the rosary the way I do then great but more importantly discover what works for you and this may become as sacred an activity as it is for me and by the way you don’t have to be Catholic to say the rosary. You only need to have a deep desire for the mystical path.

My Guidelines for Saying the Rosary as a Meditation

Sign of the Cross
Think about: Your own connection to God and the Holy Spirit.

Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
      Think about: Devotion to God.
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
      Think about: Following in the footsteps of Jesus the Christ.
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
      Think about: Receiving the Holy Spirit.
born of the Virgin Mary,
      Think about: The birth of the Christ Consciousness within.
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      Think about: Willingness to go through the trials and tests of daily life in order to overcome our lower selves.
was crucified,
      Think about: Sacrificing the Ego to God’s will. died
      Think about: Death of the Ego so that the spirit can live eternally. and was buried. He descended into hell;
      Think about: Transcending the lower nature.
the third day He arose again from the dead;
      Think about: Atonement with God.
He ascended into heaven,
     Think about: The Ascension of the lower self so that the soul can ascend to heaven.
sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
      Think about: The belief that you are able to receive the Holy Spirit and that Heavenly assistance is available to help you to eventually overcome any obstacles that might prevent your own resurrection out of the Wheel of Life and Death.

Our Father
Think about what you are saying when you say this lovely prayer.

3 Hail Marys

Feel in your heart: Love, Hope, and Faith

Glory Be

Feel in your heart: Your devotion to the Holy Spirit and God.

THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES

The Joyful Mysteries are the events that led to the birth of Jesus and spiritually prepared him for his earthly mission. In our lives this is symbolic of the preparation that must be made in order to find eternal life with God. It begins with cleansing and purification of the body, emotions, and mind. The process then continues with extensive training so that we will eventually be able to control the inner nature which includes not only the mind and the emotions but also the will. Once the training has been completed then the tests and trials of the Sorrowful Mysteries can be taken. If passed these will lead to immortality of the soul that is indicated by the Glorious Mysteries.

 First Joyful Mystery is the Annunciation

The Archangel Gabriel tells Mary that she is to bear the Son of God. The reason that she was chosen was because of her purity. The Catholic Church teaches that she was born without sin, including the Original Sin, which was Adam and Eve’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. I interpret this to mean that she had never incarnated prior to her lifetime as Jesus’ mother. It is the descent into a physical body that takes the soul out of the state of perfection, or symbolically the Garden of Eden. Being at-one with the God the Source of all creation is a state of “beingness”. In order to experience the self, one must separate from that “Oneness” and in doing so can experience the self as a creative being. So yes, the serpent did tempt Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit but it was necessary if the soul wanted to experience life in human form.

From the Eastern perspective, the mythical serpent or its real counterpart the snake represent wisdom. The symbol for the kundalini, which I call the “Spark of God”, is a coiled snake that rests at the base of our spine until through spiritual practice it gradually ascends to the crown. When this process is complete, knowledge of God results. Remember that it was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that grew the forbidden fruit.

Mary’s purity is symbolic of the need to be pure in order to give birth to the Christ Consciousness that can be found within each and every human. The Baptism by Water is a ritual that symbolically cleanses the soul in preparation for the Baptism of Fire, which is the rising of the kundalini to the crown allowing one to know God.

When people truly desire to know God, they are naturally drawn to spiritual teachings and practices that eventually lead to cleansing of the body, mind, and emotions. Most people change their diets by eating pure foods that carry more life-force. Oftentimes fasting, which can purify not only the body but the mind and emotions as well becomes part of the regimen. This practice along with the abstinence of meat can be seen in rituals of the Catholic Church as well as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. It is also part of the foundation of yoga. The translation of hatha yoga is the yoking (yoga) of the sun and moon (ha-tha) or the ida and the pingala that are two of the three main channels through which the kundalini rises. Hatha yoga prepare the body physically for this occurrence.

Additionally hatha yoga includes the practice of doing asanas, which is a form of movement that infuses the body with life-force. This can also be achieved through tai chi and other forms of movement that teach discipline of the mind and body.

Most people begin a practice of prayer and meditation that involves reflection and mindfulness. One can improve oneself by reflecting on how ones emotions and thinking created the circumstances experienced whether in ease or in challenge.

This cleansing process can last years, first in preparing the individual for the crown to open, then during the kundalini experience, and even after it has risen to the crown for if one is in a physical body, one is subject to emotional and mental imbalance.

Meditate on: Purifying and Cleansing of the Body, Mind, and Emotions.

Second Joyful Mystery is the Visitation

 The Bible speaks of a pregnant Mary visiting her considerably older cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant with the holy child who will become John the Baptist. The Bible doesn’t explain why but I theorize that it is for a few reasons. One, to meditate about her carrying Jesus although she has not yet married her betrothed Joseph. Secondly, even today it is not unusual for a pregnant woman in her latter months to receive help from relatives. I interpret the Visitation to exemplify the need to keep fellowship with others of like mind. In our own lives this is the point where we begin to attract people who have the same interests. They go to the same church, take the same classes, shop at the same spiritual stores, or join the same groups. We may find that we have outgrown old friends because now our interests have expanded beyond their interests and we no longer have much in common with them. However unless they pull us back into old earthly ways or dysfunctional patterns and activities that keep us from growing, those relationships do not need to end. You will find that you will not want to spend as much time with them.

Another aspect of this Mystery is that once we step onto the path of Initiation, we begin to serve our fellow man and our community. This is a part of right fellowship and part of the purpose of life, second only to finding union with God. However one cannot truly be devoted to God without serving mankind.

In the Gnostic Gospels, the reason that Lucifer fell from Grace was because he refused God’s request for him to bow down to man. It was his arrogance that made him fall. Like Lucifer if we think that serving only God and not man is the right course of action then we too are never going to be one with God. To serve mankind is to serve God.

Meditate on: Right Fellowship and Service

Third Joyful Mystery is the Birth of Jesus

 The Birth of Jesus represents the birth of the Christ Consciousness within our own hearts and souls. The Magi, also known as the Wise Men came from the east.  The word “magi” means magician and as they were priests and sages they understood all the spiritual and earthly ramifications of the birth of a king. As magician/priests they knew astrology and in ancient times, astrology was used differently that it is used today. It was used to predict affairs of the state and so the birth of a king would be foretold by the portents seen in the sky. By following the celestial body or star, the Magi were able to find Jesus. The Magi were not only wise and learned but they were mystics as well and in their knowing they understood the significance of Jesus’ birth.

While it is most likely that they did indeed come from the East, the sun also rises in the east. The sun has always been associated with God. In pagan religion God was often worshiped as the sun or sun god. In our own lives this represents the rising of God’s light within that will lead to the wisdom that is waiting to be accessed. If we allow the light of God to rise inside us, the Christ Consciousness will be birthed, then we will be able to receive the gifts of the Magi. Those gifts are:

•    Gold that is symbolic of the attainment of God’s gifts and spiritual rewards.

•    Frankincense represents the transmutation of the physical into the spiritual.

•    Myrrh is an allegory of the surrender of the mind to spirit, the resurrecting power of love, and the eternity of the spirit.

Meditate on:  Birth of the Christ Consciousness Within

Fourth Joyful Mystery is the Presentation

According to Jewish Law Mary and Joseph were required to present the infant Jesus to the Temple for his circumcision when he was eight days old. Circumcision for gentiles today is done for physical reasons and is an option as opposed to a necessity. However for Jews, it is not merely a medical procedure, but a religious ritual.

Having been raised Catholic with a Buddhist mother, I have never studied Judaic Law, but understanding spiritual symbolism I surmised that cutting away the foreskin on the phallus represents a form of cleansing and sacrifice to God. The phallus is a symbol of manhood and on a deeper level represents the masculine characteristics of will. Symbolically the cutting away of the foreskin represents the cutting away of man’s will and in doing so, a person can then be consecrated to the Temple, the House of God. It is where God lives.

Mystically, God lives within us so whether we are a man or a woman, we are consecrating ourselves to a spiritual path, to live by God’s Laws. We are cutting away that which is not “clean” in energy and keeps us from truly finding God within. God’s Law only asks us to do that which will make us “holy”. Anything that is out of harmony with the Law of Perfection keeps us from knowing God. In other words, following God’s Law opens up the crown and allows the kundalini to rise bringing enlightenment.

Meditate on: Controlling the Desire Nature and Obeying the Laws of God (The Codes of Conduct as described in the great religions and philosophies of the world.)

 Fifth Joyful Mystery is Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple

Jesus is twelve years old and interestingly, this is the last we hear of him in the Bible until he is 30 years old. Astrologically speaking, at age twelve he was experiencing his Jupiter return and Jupiter among other things signifies expansion through the knowledge of God. It rules the ninth house of higher mind, religion, and philosophy. People whose charts have a prominent Jupiter or ninth house show interest in spirituality and knowledge of God. (The age of thirty indicated that Jesus had completed his Saturn return that marks a time of spiritual maturation so he was then ready to accomplish his mission.) The Doctors of the Temple were amazed at the questions that Jesus asked and the knowledge that he had. It was obvious to them that he had a deeper understanding behind the spiritual teachings. “Jesus listened and asked questions of the teachers; they were amazed at his understanding and his answers.”

This Mystery speaks of a need to search beyond that which is written in spiritual texts, to search deep within for the most profound of meanings. That is what the path of Initiation asks of us. In the ancient pagan mystery schools, the Lesser Mysteries were open to all and expounded the codes of conduct, but the Greater Mysteries would only be offered to those who would ask questions and search for the profundity of spiritual meaning in order to know God.

Meditate on: Asking the Right Questions and Searching for Deeper Spiritual Meaning

THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary are the events surrounding the trial, torture, crucifixion, and death of Jesus. In our own lives they represent our own trials and ordeals that include the adversities and challenges that cause great suffering but must be met and successfully overcome. However, the lesson is more than facing the hardship but also requires making the higher choices when doing so.

First Sorrowful Mystery is the Agony in the Garden

The Biblical texts speak of Jesus’ isolation and pain while he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the last night of his life. This reveals to us that even the Great Master experienced pain but in his agony he chose to surrender his will to God and accept his fate. Symbolically, it is indicative of the need to accept the adversity that is presented to us. It sometimes requires making the hard choices between what is easy and what is right.

There are two forms of adversity. One kind stems from within oneself usually caused by the adherence to faulty belief systems and the choices made as a result of having those beliefs. The second form of adversity comes from without. War or the grave illness or death of a loved one comes to mind to describe this category. Even though there may be nothing that a person can do to prevent this type of adversity, the antidote for it is the same as it is for the kind that arises from personal choices. The answer lies in how we look at and handle the suffering that is experienced as a result of misfortune. Finding peace within is the universal answer. Remember too that it may be easier to handle some situations in your life than others. Gracefully handling adversity and finding peace within may take experience but it will only develop if you are able to admit that you or the situation can change and then release the pain to a higher power.

The Great Initiation in the Mystery Schools involved facing death. After an intense period of training had been completed, the Initiate would experience trials that tested his or her will, strength, and resolve. The final test was to face an apparent or sometimes actual death if the ordeal was not passed. During our lifetime the test is symbolic of the need to allow the ego to die so that the soul can eventually find eternal life in heaven.

Meditate on: Willingness to surrender your will to God and face all adversity so that you can spiritually grow.

Second Sorrowful Mystery is the Scourging at the Pillar

Very little is said in the Bible regarding the scourging. John 19:1 relates the most on this subject of the four gospels. “Pilate’s next move was to take Jesus and have him scourged.”  The word scourge in not commonly used today, probably because it is a form of punishment that is no longer employed at least in the United States and other western cultures. What does scourging mean? It means that Jesus was tied to a pillar and beaten with a whip. Scourging is an incredibly painful punishment but Jesus endured it and kept his dignity in the process.

While we are not likely to be scourged literally, this act symbolically refers to the need to willingly endure the pain of any suffering that is the result from your past choices and actions. This doesn’t mean that you need to endure abuse or dysfunctional relationships or worse yet to do as some devout Catholics did years ago by scourging themselves or creating other forms of physical pain in repentance (as seen in the movie The Da Vinci Code). However, it means to be responsible for all past choices and actions that have created suffering for yourself or others but it does include being responsible for those in your care. It may mean that if the adversity that you are facing comes from someone else’s actions that you set boundaries with them or do whatever is in your power to correct the wrong. The bottom line is that if you are suffering something needs to change and that change may be in the way that you view your suffering. More than anything else it is about accepting the adversity and learning from it so that you can grow.

 Mediate on: Enduring the Pain of Your Suffering.

Third Sorrowful Mystery is Crowning with Thorns

Immediately after the scourging, Jesus was crowned with thorns that was plaited by the soldiers who put it upon his head and arrayed him in a purple robe in mockery and presented him to the Jewish priests who demanded his crucifixion. When Pilate questioned Jesus, his response was “You would have no power over me unless it had been given from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin”.

The head is representative of the mind. Although Jesus had been tortured and mocked he is able to understand what is truly happening. What this symbolically means is that it is necessary to see beyond the pain that we are experiencing to understand the lesson that is behind the pain. The pain then can become a tool for spiritual growth.

Meditate on: Transmuting Pain into Understanding.

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery is Carrying of the Cross

After Pilate sentenced Jesus to crucifixion, “They took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the Place of the Skull, called in Hebrew, Golgotha”. The saying “bearing your cross” is rooted in this passage. It has come to mean that life is not without burdens and that it is important to carry the burdens of your life and not withdraw into yourself when times get tough. It is at this time that one needs to rely on ones faith in God and also in oneself that you have the strength within to overcome any hardship. Doing so will build strength of character and will result in great growth both emotionally and spiritually.

Meditate on: The strength to carry the burdens of your trials and tests no matter how difficult or painful.

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery is the Crucifixion

“…Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the scripture), I thirst. A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge of vinegar on a reed and held it to his mouth. When Jesus has received the vinegar, he said, it is finished; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Jesus died saying that his work on earth was finally complete, but in his death comes the Resurrection and then the Ascension to be with the father once more. It is only when we allow the ego to die can we truly be at-one with God.

Meditate on: Letting the Ego Die.

 THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES

The Glorious Mysteries are the events that describe the Glory of God and the Holy Spirit. They cannot be explained from the physical perspective to a person who only perceives what can be seen, heard, and touched for they are of the spirit and are mystical in nature. 

First Glorious Mystery is the Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus is a major tenet of the Christian religion and a part of both the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds. It is the belief that after Jesus was crucified and died to take the punishment for the sins of the world, he arose again from the dead. While there are written records to support the actual resurrection no one knows for sure whether it was literal or allegorical. Although the Catholic Church denies that it was once a Mystery School the major experiences of Jesus’ life follows the allegorical path of the god/heroes/king in the mythologies of the pagan Mysteries.

In these mythologies the sun god, the son or brother consort of the goddess, or the yearly king would be sacrificed to save the land from the eternal darkness of winter and in doing so guaranteed the fecundity of the land to feed and support its people. Combine this theme with the old Jewish custom of projecting sins onto a scapegoat or sacrificial lamb which was then sacrificed to God to save man from his sins and you have the major dogma of Christianity.

However, even in the Mysteries, the resurrection is more than an allegory of the rebirth of the land in the spring after the darkness and barrenness of winter. It represents the soul’s revival out of spiritual death that can only be resurrected once one willingly allows the ego to die by surrendering it to God. This was the deeper underlying message that I surmise had been taught in the Greater Mysteries of the pagan religions. Thy will, not mine are the key words that one uses to do this. In doing so one opens oneself up to the glory and the grace of God and interestingly life becomes easier and better.

Meditate on: Opening yourself to the glory and grace of God.

Second Glorious Mystery is the Ascension

After the resurrection, Jesus according to Acts 1:3 “…showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God.”  After the forty days according to Luke 24:50-52 “And he led them out until they were over against Bethany; and he lifted his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up to heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.”

The number forty is mentioned in the Bible 146 times to indicate one of the following: a time of preparation, cleansing, probation, or trials and testing.  It was most likely symbolic of a period of completion rather than a literal measurement of time. It is interesting that it takes the body forty days to completely turn over all cells for according to Earlyne Chaney in her book The Mystery of Death & Dying before the soul can ascend out of the physical plane it must recreate its new astral body based upon the lowest desires that the soul had in the previous incarnation.

In this book she explains the ascension process at the moment of death, which is the Death Initiation and is tied to the rising of the kundalini. Most souls have to go through a three-step process that corresponds to the three days in Hell that the Tibetan Book of the Dead call the Bardo experience. The Apostle’s Creed professed that Jesus experienced three days in Hell before he was resurrected and then ascended into Heaven.

The first thing that the newly deceased soul experiences is the first Light, the dazzling, blinding tunnel of light into Heaven. If the soul has lived a pure and spiritual life it can merge with the light and liberate itself from the Wheel of Life and Death never to incarnate again. Just prior to seeing the first Light, the kundalini rises to the crown and as it does all karma is released and the soul experiences salvation from all past sins. This is the Assumption, which is the ability to die in full consciousness.

However if the soul has led a good life but not focused on the spiritual life, it will need to go through the judgment to view or relive experiences of the lifetime and even sometimes past lives. Those who did not live a good life will be required to face the dark thought-forms that were created from their thoughts, words, and deeds. Sometimes if the soul developed negative habits and attachments to earthly living, it will be required to remain in a plane that the Catholics call Purgatory to allow it to purge out those habits and desires. During the third stage of the Bardo experience, the soul will have visions of swirling, spinning forms that appear to be copulating. If the soul has not completely released earthly desires, it may at this point come back into another incarnation. Only when the soul has purged of all its earthly desires can it merge with the second Light, which will take the soul to a beautiful state of being but not liberate it from the cycles of reincarnation. Jesus went through these stages not because he was impure, but because he was the prototype of “man” and to become a true Christian is to walk in the footsteps of Christ.

Meditate on:  Activation of the kundalini when the physical body is ready so that it can ascend to the crown.

Third Glorious Mystery is the Descent of the Holy Spirit

After the Crucifixion, the disciples were in the Cenacle to celebrate Pentecost, which means fifty, and is also known as Shavuot or the Festival of Weeks, the Jewish harvest festival. Traditionally it was a celebration that commemorated God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mt. Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. The Cenacle was also known as the Upper Room where they celebrated the Last Supper and received the highest teachings from Jesus the night before the crucifixion. It was these teachings that prepared them for the descent of the Holy Spirit. It is also believed that it was where Jesus made his ascension as well as made many resurrection appearances. Additionally, it was where the Apostles stayed when they were in Jerusalem and the Catholic Encyclopedia calls it the first Christian Church. The name Upper Room is symbolic for it denotes a higher place of being. It also connotes that the apostles had higher spiritual knowledge and understanding.

There were about 120 of Jesus’ followers that included the Apostles, Mary the Blessed Mother, Jesus’s brothers and various women disciples when they experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is described in Act 2:1-6. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language.”

From an esoteric perspective, the tongues of flames represent the risen kundalini that can only rise to the crown through spiritual discipline that will lead to deeper understanding and knowledge. Interestingly the words discipline, disciple, and discern are related and all come from the same root word discipulus meaning pupil. The disciple is the student, discipline is the course of study, and discernment is the ability to comprehend what is obscure. The Apostles were students of Jesus who as Initiates of the Mysteries were taught the discipline needed to discern spiritual truth, which in itself cannot be taught but can only be attained through deep inner searching.

When the kundalini rises to the third eye, the seeker has access to spiritual truth, and then when it ascends to the crown the knowledge of God is accessible. In the Hindu perspective the kundalini is Shakti, which is the divine feminine creative power that is associated with the Holy Spirit that resides in the root chakra. When it is awakened through spiritual practice it begins to rise up through the chakras that represents the tests and trials of daily life until it is joined with its divine counterpart Shiva the masculine aspect of God that is pure consciousness and which resides in the crown. Together they are the mother and father aspects of God that separated to create duality and their symbolic reunion in the crown is the Sacred Marriage that joins together the human and divine consciousness so that knowledge, the knower, and the object of knowledge become one.

When the Bible speaks of the disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit I feel it is referring to the joining of the kundalini, the Divine Feminine with God the Divine Consciousness. The disciples were then able to speak about other things that they previously did not understand (other languages) that came from the Holy Spirit as higher knowledge (as the Spirit gave them utterance). When the disciples took their teachings out into the world “every man heard them speak in his own language” refers to the ability that a minister or spiritual teacher has when guided in meditation to give a sermon that touches everyone in the congregation at a deep level. I remember this happening when I attended the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach and it felt that Dr. Peggy Bassett was speaking directly to me and my friend also felt the same way about her sermon. This ability is a gift of God that comes through the Holy Spirit.

Meditate on:  Opening up to the Higher Knowledge that is the reward of all the disciplines practiced to gain Enlightenment.

Fourth Glorious Mystery is the Assumption

The difference between the Ascension and the Assumption is in the way that Jesus and Mary were taken into heaven. In spiritual terms ascension is the process of going back to God. It is the exit out of physical life into spiritual immortality, in other words going to Heaven. The Assumption is the immediate merging with the first Light at the moment of death that occurs for those who have already experienced the kundalini rising to the crown during the lifetime prior to death. Since the soul already has done all the spiritual work so that the kundalini can rise, it doesn’t have to experience the three stages of the Bardo experience that is associated with the three days in Hell.

The doctrines of the Catholic Church claims that Mary was sinless and that she was even born without Original Sin. Regardless of whether this is only dogma or whether it is truth, we as mystics have faith in the belief that Mary was a spiritual master so I feel the Assumption means that Mary had been assumed into Heaven without having to descend into Hell.

It wasn’t until November 1950 that Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary as dogma when he stated “…that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” This decree however leaves open whether Mary died before her Assumption or was taken into Heaven while still in physical embodiment leaving the dogma open to debate. The debate has no bearing symbolically for the meaning of the Assumption has a far greater allegorical significance than it might in reality for it allows for the pure soul to find immortality without having to go through a period of purging and reflection in the state of being that the Catholics call Purgatory.

Meditate on: Living a Spiritual Life so that you can merge with the first Light of God and liberate yourself from the Wheel of Life and Death.

 Fifth Glorious Mystery is the Coronation

The Coronation of Mary is not recounted in scripture however there is a passage in The Book of Revelation (12:1-3) that refers to a woman wearing a crown of 12 stars with the moon under her feet. It states, “A great portent appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth.” The Church assigned this description to Mary, the mother of Jesus, for the passage continues with the appearance of a red dragon who as Satan tries to devour her male child. When the angels in heaven throw down the dragon to the earth “he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness, where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”

Many Christians believe that Mary was the woman who is mentioned in this passage. It is this passage that gives rise to her crowning as the Queen of Heaven and it dates back at least to the 12th century. However this title belonged to many goddesses before the time of Mary. Not only did these goddesses govern over heaven, earth, but some ruled over all three worlds to include the underworld as well. Innana/Ishtar, Astarte/Ashtoreth, Anat, Isis, Hera/Juno, and Frigg/Freya all carried the title of Queen of Heaven. Additionally Isis rode a crescent moon. All of these goddesses were aspects of the Great Mother or Great Goddess who played a key role in the Mysteries. It would then make sense that the role of the Mother of the World would be assigned to the mother of Jesus for she is the same archetype as the pagan mother of god.

The symbolism of the crown in general represents pre-eminence and is a visible sign of success because it rests above the body. The metal crown, the diadem, with its rays of light represent light and spiritual enlightenment. Mary’s crowning signifies all these things.

There is a passage from Judith 15: 9-10 in the Catholic Bible that is often associated with the Fifth Glorious Mystery: “You are the glory of Jerusalem…you are the splendid boast of our people…God is pleased with what you have wrought. May you be blessed by the Lord Almighty forever and ever.” This passage aptly describes the meaning of this Mystery not only for Mary but for all those who are on a spiritual path for when one has lived a good life, one can enter into Heaven and experience immortality of the soul. The crowning of Mary also represents the radiating aura from the risen kundalini of those who have achieved God’s glory and grace.

Meditate on: Your own connection to God and the Holy Spirit.

In closing, if you choose to say the rosary remember that the words that you have just read are just a starting point for you to see the rosary in a different light. There is a deeper spiritual significance to what the Mysteries of the Rosary and the Christian teachings mean. To understand those meanings is to be a mystic. The most important thing is for you to get what you want out of it. Meditate on what it means to YOU not me or the Church.

NEXT MONTH’S BLOG:

Tarot, the Mysteries, and Initiation

Deanna Frank

916.206.0464

www.sophiawisdomteachings.com

 

May – A Mystical Interpretation of the Rosary – Part 1

History of the Rosary
The word rosary comes from the Latin rosarium meaning “rose garden” or “garland of roses”. It refers to both the string of beads and the devotional sequence of prayers.

Although there are different theories as to the history of the rosary, traditionally it is believed that it was given to Saint Dominic in the year 1214 in a vision that he had of the Virgin Mary. This apparition of Mary became known as “Our Lady of the Rosary”. It was thought that Saint Alan of the Rock, a Dominican priest was responsible for developing the 15 promises of the rosary in the 15th century and Dominic of Prussia was believed to have begun the practice of meditation during the praying of the Hail Marys. It is known definitely, however, that in 1569 the rosary was officially established as a Catholic devotion by Pope Pius V.

The rosary prayer sequence remained virtually the same until 1917 when the Fatima Prayer was added after it was given to the three children on July 13th during an apparition Our Lady of Fatima. Then in 2002, Pope John Paul II added the optional Luminous Mysteries. My interpretation only includes the traditional three mysteries since they follow the path of Initiation and the Luminous Mysteries do not. This interpretation associates the Apostle’ Creed with the Major Arcana of the tarot in addition to the

Mysteries of the Rosary that are connected to three of the four suits. While not one of the Mysteries, I relate the fourth suit to an aspect of Jesus’ life. They are as follows:

  • The cups suit exemplifies the Joyful Mysteries or the happy events that describe the events that lead to the birth of Jesus and his childhood.
  • The sword suit represents the Sorrowful Mysteries of the crucifixion.
  • The wand suit depicts the Glorious Mysteries and describe the events that involve the glory of God and the Holy Spirit.
  • The pentacle suit is not associated with the Mysteries of the Rosary but do relate the miracles that Jesus performed during his ministry.

I am designing a Mystical Christian Tarot deck describing these events but rather than illustrating only five events in each series of Mysteries, I am including ten, one for each card in all three suits along with ten miracles for the pentacle cards. The interpretations that I am giving you in this article are based upon the work that I am doing on the Mystical Christian deck but only addresses the original fifteen Mysteries.

Traditional Way to Say the Rosary

  1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the Apostle’s Creed.
  2. Say the Our Father (For Protestants it is the Lord’s Prayer without the last paragraph).
  3. Say three Hail Marys.
  4. Say one Glory Be to the Father.
  5. Announce the First Joyful Mystery and say one Our Father.
  6. Say ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery.
  7. Say one Glory Be to the Father. (If you say the Fatima Prayer say it after the Glory Be.)Announce the Second Joyful Mystery and then say one Our Father, ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery, one Glory Be to the Father, (If you add the Fatima Prayer say it after the Glory Be.)
  8. Announce the Third Joyful Mystery and then say one Our Father, ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery, one Glory Be to the Father, (If you add the Fatima Prayer say it after the Glory Be.)
  9. Announce the Fourth Joyful Mystery and then say one Our Father, ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery, one Glory Be to the Father, (If you add the Fatima Prayer say it after the Glory Be.)
  10.  Announce the Fifth Joyful Mystery and then say one Our Father, ten Hail Marys while meditating on the Mystery, one Glory Be to the Father, (If you add the Fatima Prayer say it after the Glory Be.)
  11. After you complete the Joyful Mysteries say one Hail, Holy Queen.
  12. Repeat steps 5 through 11 for the Sorrowful Mysteries.
  13. Repeat steps 5 through 11 for the Glorious Mysteries.
  14. 1End with Hail, Holy Queen; Let Us Pray; and then the Sign of the Cross.

I say the Rosary in this same way but I have changed some the prayers to either to modernize it or to suit my own beliefs. The original prayers and my versions are listed side-by-side in the next section.

If you choose to say the rosary, you can say it traditionally even if you do not agree with all the exact words in the prayers. It is that which is in your heart that is important and so your intention will set the tone. However if you do not resonate at all with the prayers feel free to change to fit your own sentiments as I did. You are also welcome to use my versions if you like them.

Traditional Prayer 
My Version

Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sign of the Cross
Same. I explain why I have kept this the same in the description of the Holy Trinity.
Apostle’s Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.  He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

Apostle’s Creed
I believe in Mother-Father God, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.  He descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, all Holy Scriptures, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Our Father
Mother-Father God, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace! The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women; and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace! The Holy Spirit is with you; blessed are you among women; and blessed is your son, Jesus, the Christ.

Holy Mary, Holy Mother, pray for us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory Be to the Father
Glory be to the Father, and to the son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall ever be, world without end. Amen.

 

Glory Be to the Father
Same. I explain why I have kept this the same in the description of the Holy Trinity.

 

Fatima Prayer
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

 

Fatima Prayer
Sr. Lucia, the oldest of the three children of Fatima says that the way that the prayer was given to her on July 13, 1917 was: O my Jesus, pardon us, and save us from the fire of hell. Draw all souls to heaven, especially those most in need.

 

Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to thee do we send up our signs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us O Holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray
Let us pray, O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant, we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise, through the same Christ Our Lord.

 

Hail, Holy Queen
I never learned these prayers as a young child and do not personally include them when I say the rosary. I say another Our Father and Glory Be to the Father instead of Hail, Holy Queen to complete the circle of energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary, the Tarot, and Initiation in the Mystery Schools

I believe that the tarot cards were the flash-card catechism of the early Christian church which was a Mystery School. Their teachings like those of the pagan Mysteries describe the soul’s descent into matter and then the lessons and the trials and tests that it must go through in order to find union back with God. I presented my theory at a tarot conference in 2002 that was attended by both Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollock, both considered the foremost tarot experts in the world. After my talk they came to me and expressed their amazement in what I put together and I found out from them that tarot historians had decided that tarot cards had Christian roots because the early cards reflected the Christian art during the era when the cards first made their appearance.

The theory that I presented explained how the cards fit both into Christianity and paganism and also connected the cards to numerology, astrology, and the process of Initiation. There are also elements of the Kabbalah, alchemy, Freemasonry, and Rosicrucian teachings illustrated in the modern cards. Although they were not originally a part of the early cards, these esoteric philosophies fit within the scope of the tarot because they all have elements of the mystery school teachings in them as does the tarot. Basically they are all expounding the same thing, which is how to overcome the lower nature to grow closer to God so that we can find immortality of the soul. In the following sections I will outline the ideas, which tie the cards to Christianity, which interestingly enough I discovered while saying the rosary.

The Holy Trinity, the Sign of the Cross, and the Glory Be to the Father

The Sign of the Cross and the prayer Glory Be to the Father are references to the Holy Trinity. I had at one time changed the Glory Be to say “Glory be to the Mother-Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…” feeling that God is an androgynous being and neither male nor female. I later went back to the original prayer, however, because the Holy Spirit is the feminine aspect of God.

Esoterically the concept of the Holy Trinity is saying that creation comes from the splitting of the One God into two entities, thus causing duality and the creation of the world. It takes the yang essence to separate from the whole. The yang is the masculine force. What remains is the negative space created from the split and that is the yin essence or the feminine force. The yin just is and the yang separates from the yin to create duality. When duality is formed the two separate parts then need to find a balance between themselves. Once balance is maintained the two parts are attracted to each other like a magnet that has been broken into two parts trying to find union once more.

That is what the soul does once it separates from the Source. The joining together of the masculine and feminine forces creates a third entity. In physical form that expresses itself as man, woman, and child or seed, earth, and plan. So the Holy Trinity is a result of the creative process that created the universe.
Going back to the metaphor of the soul as a magnet broken into two trying to find its other half, we as souls are trying to go back to the source. Merging with the other half results in the alchemy of the creative process. So when the Bible speaks of man being made in God’s image, it is not as masculine man but as a creator. We came to the earth to experience ourselves as a creative being and the only way that is able to unfold is through the separation from the One God. The son in the Holy Trinity is the creation itself so when we perform the Sign of the Cross or say the Glory Be, we are not only honoring Jesus, but also ourselves as a creative being. The Glory Be is saying that this creative process has always existed and will always exist.

The Apostle’s Creed

The Apostle’s Creed reflects the Major Arcana of the tarot. The word, arcana, has its root in the Latin word arcanus, which means mysteries or secrets. The words minor arcana and major arcana translated means “lesser mysteries” and “greater mysteries” respectively. However these terms are fairly modern and the cards were initially referred to as triumphs or trumps.  Perhaps the word originally referred to the triumph over spiritual adversity. Following is the Apostle’s Creed that has been dissected line-by-line with the associating tarot card and a short explanation of the implication.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
The Fool: God created the world and then man. The Fool represents the soul about to descend into a physical body to experience earthly life.

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
The Magician is Jesus. In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck he is even dressed in a white robe and red mantle, which is the way that Jesus is often pictured. According to Earlyne Chaney many sun gods of the pagan Mystery Schools were illustrated in this manner.

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
The High Priestess is the Divine Feminine Wisdom, associated with Sophia, Shakti, and the Shekinah, who was the in-dwelling place of God in Hebrew teachings. She is also the virgin aspect of the Great Mother Goddess who gave virgin birth to the world. She is a predecessor of Venus who is associated with the dove that in patriarchal religion became the Holy Spirit.

born of the Virgin Mary,
The Empress is the Great Mother, also known as the Great Goddess who in matriarchal times was viewed as the creatress.

After the empress card the Apostle’s Creed skips the following cards that represent:

  • Emperor: The Presentation in the Temple for Consecration (See the Fourth Joyful Mystery.)
  • Hierophant: Finding Jesus in the Temple with the Teachers (See the Fifth Joyful Mystery.)
  • Lovers: The First Miracle, which was turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana that some scholars feel may have been his own marriage to Mary Magdalene. It is symbolic of the Sacred Marriage, which was a sacred ritual re-enacting the marriage of the virgin goddess to her consort, oftentimes her son or brother. (Remember nothing existed before her so in mythology it symbolized the creation of the world from nothingness…thus the virgin birth and the need for sacred incest.) The Sacred Marriage was a fertility ritual that was important to the ancients for it insured the fertility of the land so that the people could live. It is also indicative of the marriage of the ida and pingala, two of the channels through which the kundalini rises.
  • Chariot: The Sermon on the Mount, a compilation of Jesus’ teachings. In a Mystery School, the novice went through rigorous training. Upon completing the first level of education, the level of discipleship was awarded. As a disciple one must go out into the world to share ones knowledge with others and to be tested in one’s daily affairs.
  • Strength: Temptation in the Desert is representative of the three major tests of character (detachment from earthly desires, ego, and right use of power) that a disciple must go through before qualifying to take the great test of Initiation, the Death Initiation so one could be born again into a new spiritual form. In alchemical terms this process is called the Great Work in which the alchemist is able to turn lead into spiritual gold.
  • Hermit: Agony in the Garden at Gethsemane where he prayed and meditated. (See the First Sorrowful Mystery.)
  • Wheel of Fortune: The Last Supper. It was at the Last supper in the Upper Room that Jesus gave his disciples their greatest teaching. The upper room is symbolic of the highest of teachings that would eventually lead to the disciples’ enlightenment.

suffered under Pontius Pilate,
The Justice card represents the trials that Jesus experienced that led to his death in both the sentence itself and also the physical suffering he endured prior to his death. Symbolically this represents the trials and tests that we go through in our living our daily lives.

was crucified,
The Hanged Man represents the sacrifice that Jesus made by dying on the cross. In the myths of the pagan mysteries, it is the sacrifice of the consort/hero/king who was killed in order to save the land from death. In many cultures the man who had been made king during the Sacred Marriage ceremony would reign for one year and then would be literally or symbolically killed in order to save the land from the eternal darkness of winter. This explained the cycle of the seasons when the land dies in the winter for three months.

died
The Death card is very symbolic of Jesus’ death and also the death of the king.

and was buried.
The Temperance card refers to the burial after death. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck shows the Archangel Michael, who is the angel of death and was known to lead the souls of the dead into the afterlife.

He descended into hell;
The Devil card is pretty self-explanatory. It shows that Adam and Eve are chained to the pedestal of false beliefs that tie one to earthly desires and it is these things that chain us to the physical realm. It is mandatory that these desires be released in order transcend our lower natures. The Devil suggests what psychologists call “facing the shadow”.

the third day He arose again from the dead;
The three days in hell are:
In the Mystery School myths the three days in the underworld represented the three months of winter when the land “died” or the three days when the moon is dark. It is symbolic of the time when we need to go deep within whenever we are going through life changing times.

  1. The first day in hell is the Tower or Purgatory, the place in the afterlife where the souls of those who are not evil yet not pure enough to enter through the Gates of Heaven go to purge out their earthly desires.
  2. The Star is the second day in hell and is symbolic of drinking of the soma of Immortality.
  3. The Moon is the third day in hell and represents the Threshold between Life and Death that the soul must cross in order to ascend to God through the tunnel of glorious light.

He ascended into heaven,
The Sun card is indicative of the tunnel of light that people who experience near-death experiences describe. It is the Ascension of the soul into heaven and also represents the ascension of the kundalini to the crown.

sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
The Judgement card is the Last Judgment of the Bible.  The Archangel Gabriel, the angel that presides over Paradise, blasts the trumpet to raise the sleeping dead so they can prepare themselves for the Last Judgment. In the Rider-Waite-Smith version there is a sea of coffins with people rising out of them. They hold their arms up in praise for they are joyous to be at the Gates of Heaven. They are waiting for the judgment on whence they will go.  If they lived a righteous life, they will be allowed through the Gates of Heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
The World card exemplifies the spiritual attainment that is rewarded as the result from going through all the trials of earthly life and passing all the tests. It is signifies that one has become enlightened and denotes the state of perfection that is described as nirvana, heaven, or paradise. It is when the soul has finally become immortal…it is now one with God.

The Mysteries of the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries are the events surrounding the birth and childhood of Jesus. They represent the birth of the Christ Consciousness in each of us. The Christ Consciousness is accessible not only to those people who have been baptized in the Christian faith, but anyone who has been baptized by the Holy Spirit and walks in the footsteps of Jesus has access to this mystical experience. It begins with the desire to step upon the path to God, the path that we call Initiation.

This process begins with the Baptism of Water that instigates the cleansing of the mind, body, and emotions. It then continues with a strict course of studies that prepares the aspirant for the trials and tests that follow in the Sorrowful Mysteries. Once the aspirant has completed his or her education, he or she becomes a disciple and is able to endure the hardships of the tests and trials.

Once these incredibly difficult challenges have been met and passed, the next level is awarded and the initiate can then receive the Baptism of Fire, which is the activation of the kundalini, or the spark God that rests at the base of the spine in each and every soul until it has been activated by spiritual practice. The Glorious Mysteries speak of the experiences of the Holy Spirit that lead the soul back to God’s glory. We will address each of these series of experiences next month in each of the sections explaining the Mysteries.

This information comes from the class I teach called Tarot as a Path to Liberation: the Lesser Mysteries and will also be included with the Mystical Christian Deck that I am designing and writing.

Next Month:  A Mystical Interpretation of the Rosary, Part II: The Interpretation of the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries

Overcoming Adversity

Adversity is the bane of human existence. Gautama Buddha is quoted as saying “life is suffering” but this statement is sometimes misunderstood because it is often made as a statement out of context from the Buddhist philosophy. It means that the natural condition of life can be difficult but Buddhism also teaches that it is this hardship that we must overcome in order to grow spiritually.

In Buddhism the symbol for enlightenment is the lotus blossom that is intensely fragrant and beautiful to behold. It is a metaphor for the rewards that result from growth. The lotus blossom grows from the depth of a muddy mire to finally reach the surface of the pond. This is symbolic of the soul navigating through the dark waters of unresolved and dark emotions to finally reach the light of understanding. However, at this point the lotus is still in bud and needs to experience the warmth of the sunlight to finally bloom. We humans are like that bud and our search
for understanding through reading and studying is the light that helps us to blossom. Then after we blossom we can share our beautiful fragrance with those who come near to partake of the wonder of God and the Life that has been given to us.

Suffering isn’t mandatory, it is a choice. We oftentimes think that the two terms are interchangeable but in reality they aren’t. Adversity is the experience, suffering is the reaction to the experience. Even Jesus, perhaps the greatest of spiritual masters, was known to suffer (think of the emotional and mental agony he experienced in the garden the night before the crucifixion and the torture he endured prior to his death). However through spiritual growth every soul is able to overcome the suffering of the human condition. It doesn’t mean that adversity disappears, but that as the soul grows it is able to find peace in the midst of turmoil.

There are two forms of adversity. One kind stems from within oneself usually caused by the adherence to faulty belief systems and the choices made as a result of having those beliefs. An example of this type is drunk driving. Most people who are arrested for DUI think that they are sober enough to drive, which is obviously a misconception, a faulty belief. In California when people are stopped due to DUI, they are arrested and put in jail, have to pay bail, then hire an attorney to represent them in court which could ultimately result in heavy fines and having their driver licenses suspended. It could cost them thousands of dollars, the inconvenience of transportation problems, and great embarrassment. Worse yet are the ramifications if driving under the influence results in the injury or death of innocent people.  Addictions of all kinds whether alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, sex, or food are forms of escapism from the vicissitudes of life. Even though these addictions may be an illness, its cause stems from within the person suffering from it.  Also under this category but much less obvious is the adversity that arises from the lack of self-esteem or confidence causing one to continually draw the same type of dysfunctional people or harmful situations into their lives such as abusive relationships, power struggles, prosperity issues, or under-employment that results in far less income or responsibilities than the people are capable of.

The second form of adversity comes from without. War or the grave illness or death of a loved one comes to mind to describe this category. Even though there may be nothing that a person can do to prevent this type of adversity, the antidote for it is the same as it is for the kind that arises from personal choices. The answer lies in how we look at and handle the suffering that is experienced as a result of misfortune. Finding peace within is the universal answer. Remember too that it may be easier to handle some situations in your life than others. Gracefully handling adversity and finding peace within may take experience but it will only develop if you are able to admit that you or the situation can change and then release the pain to a higher power (whatever you call that power). The 12-Step programs teach that one cannot control the pain out of sheer will.

The question is how does one find peace when ones world seem to be falling apart? The answer is easy once you learn how to do it but getting there is another story. I compare it to learning how to ride a bicycle. No one can tell you how to do it although they can give you some assistance. The way most of us learned how to ride when we were children is that when we fell off, we picked ourselves up and got right back on and tried again and again until we were finally able to find the balance needed in order ride it. (Finding balance so that you can ride a bicycle is a metaphor for finding balance so that you can ride smoothly through life.) Children are undaunted when they want to achieve something and we have to be as determined as a child in order to find peace and harmony in our life. Children also have faith in themselves because they haven’t yet learned that they can’t do something.  Assistance is always available and as the old saying states
“when the student is ready the teacher will appear”.  My father was the one who taught me how to ride. He would hold the back of the bicycle upright for me as I pedaled. Occasionally he’d let go for a few moments to see if I could maintain the balance and if I seemed to quaver, he’d take hold of the bike again. I remember the time that I finally maintained the balance, I was riding the bike but hadn’t realized it until Dad called out to me to let me know I did it. Some children used training wheels. Whatever the form there is always help available.

The teacher might not be what you are expecting. It could be the wise words from a friend, a counselor, a book, or even a class. It might not be the guru that you are looking for. Gurus don’t give you magic answers, but rather the keys to finding the answers you are looking for from within. I remember when I lived in Long Beach in the late 70’s or early 80’s, I saw a poster about a talk that the spiritual teacher Krishnamurti was giving in Ojai. I spontaneously jumped into the car and drove the distance, parked my car and found a spot on the grass and waited for the words of wisdom. I was expecting him to unveil the secrets of all ages. His wisdom came in words that made the seeker think. In fact these lectures were published in a series of books called Think on These Things.

However, one doesn’t overcome adversity from studying, positive attitude, and determination alone. It takes fortitude, which is one of the four cardinal virtues of antiquity. Fortitude is the courage to confront fear, uncertainty, and intimidation. Think of the image of a warrior about to go into battle. He centers himself, becomes grounded, and finds the strength within to face anything that comes to him. It doesn’t mean that he isn’t afraid but rather that he has controlled his fear so that it doesn’t control him. He has to maintain a positive attitude otherwise he will surely die in battle. Our adversities are the battles that every spiritual warrior has to overcome and we have to do as the warrior does: face it directly instead of denying it or even worse running away from it.

What Causes Adversity?

Everyone experiences adversity because it is part of the human condition. Overcoming the difficulties in life teaches each soul the lessons that it has come into physical embodiment to learn. Sometimes the soul brings the lesson into this lifetime from previous lives. Oftentimes it will appear as if something “bad” has happened for no apparent reason but it is a natural result of karma, the law of cause and effect. Normally when most people think of karma they believe that what you did previously (whether in this lifetime or in a previous one) comes back to you tit for tat and sometimes that is true. For example if you were violent in a past life perhaps in this lifetime you will experience violence or you may work to combat it. Of course the opposite is also possible in that if you did good deeds that you may benefit from them during this lifetime but we are talking about adversity and suffering so that part of karma doesn’t apply here.

Karma extends beyond that however. It could mean that you began learning something in a past life but hadn’t mastered it yet. For instance one lesson that many people have is in owning their power. The soul carries the emotions and memories from all lifetimes within itself and it will repeat those lessons until it is learned. When you have lessons to learn you will attract the people who will reflect that lesson back at you. It is very easy to blame the other person as the reason for your problems. We all hear people say “If only he or she wouldn’t do that my life would be better.” In reality you wouldn’t attract the person or the situation into your life in the first place if you didn’t have a lesson to learn.

The trick is turn the situation around and look at yourself. There are several questions you can ask yourself such as:
•    What is this experience teaching me?
•    Why did I attract it?

For instance, when I worked in San Francisco several years ago, I had my wallet stolen out of my purse at work and then exactly two weeks later to the day I was mugged on the front steps of my apartment and had my wallet stolen again. Instead of asking “Why me?” I asked “Dear God, what are you trying to tell me?”  When I conveyed the occurrence independently to both my sister and a friend they both thought that perhaps I needed to move back to Sacramento. Interestingly, I had already been thinking about moving back unbeknownst to either of them so I took it as a message from God that I needed to follow through with my desire. The fact that I found a job and a place to live immediately and was living in Sacramento within a month’s time was proof positive that I had received the message loud and clear.

For those who don’t get the message the first time, the Universe may continue to increase the adversity until actions are taken. The virtue of fortitude is needed to help one to face the fears involved in making the needed changes.

•    If you have had previous experiences that were similar to what you are now facing, ask yourself “What is it that I am not getting?”

Maybe you have learned part of the lesson but have not yet mastered it in its entirety. Remember that growth isn’t usually linear but rather spiral as if you are climbing a mountain via switchbacks. Each time you see the same view you have progressed one level higher. Be mindful and resolve to learn from what you are facing but don’t beat yourself up. That will do more harm to your confidence and will make the lesson even harder to learn.

It may also mean that you are trying to solve your lesson in the wrong manner. I once had a boyfriend who had been fired from a job that he wasn’t happy at. This had happened to him twice previously so I asked him his thoughts about having it happen again. He admitted that his reaction to his dissatisfaction with the job was that he complained without any seeing any changes. He then realized that if he was dissatisfied in a future job that he would need to try a different approach other than complaining, which could be seen as negativity. Additionally, this experience may have been telling him that he needed to change not just his attitude, but perhaps the type of work he was seeking. Many times the message one needs to understand when one gets fired is that it is time to change jobs or switch careers. This segues to the next question.

•    Is there something I can do to remedy it? 
There is always something you can do to remedy adversity although sometimes there isn’t an immediate fix. It may require speaking up, taking or changing actions, or even something as simple as changing an attitude. In the late 1970’s I had taken a job as wholesale furniture rep after having been in retail for about eight years. I stopped to visit some former co-workers and conveyed my frustration to the manager with whom I was close. He told me I had a bad attitude. I soul searched and realized that he was right and changed my focus. Things immediately got better.

However, sometimes it means leaving a circumstance such as an outgrown job or dysfunctional relationship. How do you know if there is still something to learn from the difficulty or if the lessons are over? The answer doesn’t lie in making an escape from the pain but should be based upon whether or not the lesson has been learned and that answer may be different for different people experiencing similar situations. Prudence also known as practical wisdom is another one of the four classic cardinal virtues that answers this question.  According to Wikipedia “Prudence is the ability to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time.” It means to be careful but not timid in choosing the best actions for achieving good results. Aristotle believed that it was difficult for the young to be prudent because they do not have enough experience and sometimes there is a lot to be said for learning from ones mistakes. Making a wrong
decision should ideally lead to understanding. That is why young people are expected and allowed to make mistakes. A wise person, however, knows when to ask for help and when to heed the advice from those who have had previous experience in a particular dilemma.

Another of the four cardinal virtues that can help overcome suffering is temperance. When most of us thinks about temperance, we think about the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of the late 1800’s that promulgated abstinence from alcohol. However non-drinking was only one of their many issues that were based upon their adherence to the Christian virtues. The Christian perspective of the cardinal virtues were developed from the classical tradition derived from Plato’s teachings. They were expanded upon by Cicero, a Roman philosopher and politician, and were then adapted by Christians such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Plato taught that to be temperate meant to be healthy-minded. It refers to the ability to practice self-control, abstention, and moderation in the appetites of human desires and needs. Sometimes our inability to control our appetites lead to over indulgences that result in negative outcomes such as the addictions that were addressed earlier (alcoholism, drug addiction, over-eating, gambling, and sex and shopping addictions). In our society we have a tendency to judge addictions as bad or evil and the addicted person as a sinner or someone with low morals. The Buddhist philosophy doesn’t judge actions as right or wrong but teaches that whatever is out of alignment with what is right causes pain so if your life is out of balance, changes are in order.

So overcoming adversity boils down to making appropriate changes whether in thoughts, words, or actions. It requires being mindful of those thoughts and actions and incorporating them into decisions based upon your highest level of knowledge. It means learning from your errors in judgment so that the future will bring better results. Learning from your “mistakes” necessitates being accountable for what you did but refraining from being so hard on yourself that you are immobilized by the fear of making a future mistake. It requires emotional and spiritual maturity. Maturity is a process and it is through adversity and how we handle suffering that we become mature. You are a like an apple seed that God planted in the soil. This seed requires water and rich soil to grow under the ground even before it breaks the surface. The water is your desire and the soil is what you study and learn. Then when you are ready you break the surface of the ground to face the sunlight (which is a metaphor for God) that shines upon you so that you can grow to full maturity as a tree that bears fruit. That fruit is what you give back to the world. So yes, everyone experiences adversity in their lives, but gain whatever it is that you need to learn from it and then share the fruits of your labor so that you and others can learn from your pain.

Next month’s Blog: A Mystical Interpretation of the Rosary

Lokahi and the Holy Grail

INTRODUCTION

Over the past several years, I have been searching for the spiritual meaning of the Holy Grail.  While I had pieced together many different aspects of it, I could never seem to get the entire picture.  I was given what I feel is the last piece of the puzzle when I learned about lokahi in the olelo Hawai`i (Hawai`ian language) class that I took.

Previously it had been difficult to put the picture together because I had been looking at it from an incomplete perspective.  On one level, I understood that the myths surrounding King Arthur and the Holy Grail told the story of the struggle between the many gods of the “Old Religion” of pagan Britannia and the “One” Christian God which the had been imported from Rome.  What I did not understand is the significance of Arthur’s statement “The land and I are one.”  These are the words that Perceval heard as he found the Holy Grail in John Boorman’s lavishly produced 1981 film Excalibur, which was based upon Sir Thomas Malory’s interpretation of the Arthurian legends in his classic tale Le Morte d’Arthur (The Death of Arthur).

The Hawai’ian concept of lokahi explains the depth of meaning behind the Mystery School teachings that are hidden in the legend of the Holy Grail.  

WHAT IS LOKAHI ?

The word lokahi in general means balance.  However, the Hawai`ian concept of lokahi encompasses much more.  It explains that man, the land, and God are all interconnected and affect each other.  Without any one of these three elements, balance is impossible.  

There are three piko or umbilical cords. The first one is at the crown of the head and corresponds to the crown chakra or energy center.  This is the akua piko, which represents our connection to God and is the past.  Akua is the Hawai`ian word for God.

The second piko is the kupuna piko, which embodies the present.  The word kupuna means elder in Hawai`ian, but implies considerably more. In this context it is the passing of mana or energy and mana`o or knowledge from the past to those in the present.  This umbilical cord is located at the solar plexus or nahau and symbolizes kanaka or man.

Mo`opuna, the last piko, is the genital umbilicus, which connects man to the aina or land.  The Hawai`ians consider this the future because without either the aina or sexuality, there is no future.  The fertility of the land provides sustenance for man and the fertility of man through sexuality insures the future of mankind.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The people of Old Britain were earth-oriented, as were the people of Hawai`i.  Among the many similar beliefs that they have in common, is that the land is an integral part of the religion and philosophy.  This view is still somewhat prevalent in Hawai’i because the Hawai`ian culture had changed little, until it was overtaken by Western Civilization only a little over one hundred years ago.  All wisdom had been handed down by word of mouth in a very organized and succinct system, the way it had in Britain before the Roman invasions.  Britain as a modern country, however, has been under the influence of the Western Civilization for nearly 2000 years, and having become a part of it, no longer holds this belief, although it still pervades the tales and legends.

During the period just prior to Arthur’s legendary birth, Britannia was in political turmoil.  Christian and Pagan factions were struggling for control, making the country vulnerable to Barbarian invasion.  The only way that Britannia could survive was to unify, otherwise the people would have had to succumb to savagery and foreign rule.  The priests and priestesses of the “Old Religion” presaged a savior king who would bridge the old culture with the new and thus unify their followers.

The Druidic religion was a “mystery school” and like all mystery schools it protected the ancient wisdom by breaking down their teachings into two parts.  The Lesser Mysteries were open to all and were taught in parables to those people who did not have the ability to understand the deeper spiritual meanings behind the teachings.  The Greater Mysteries were offered to those who showed that they had an ability and willingness to responsibly handle the power that came with knowledge and understanding.  

It is believed that the Mystery Schools had their roots in Atlantis and that it had been necessary to hide the wisdom and the innate power so that they could not be abused or misused again as they had in the time before the continent of Atlantis sank due to the abuse of the “Great Power”.

The original source of this Ancient Wisdom came from Lemuria, which was once a continent that was situated where the Pacific Ocean now lies.  The Hawai`ian Islands, all of Polynesia and Easter Island are remnants of that deeply spiritual land.  Before Atlantis sank, some of its sages left with the books of wisdom and their symbols of power to escape the “Great Deluge” and to establish new communities that would protect the ancient wisdom. These later became the great civilizations (Egypt, India, Britannia, Mexico, Peru, etc.) that gave birth to our current religions.  All temples faced the Motherland of Lemuria in honor of her wisdom.  Many people believe that the reason why there are similar myths and beliefs in the major religions of the world is that originally, they all come from the same source.  

While the heroes or heroines and the details are different, the stories are basically the same.  The tales tell of the birth of the world from Nothingness.  Some myths told of twins splitting into two halves: one feminine and one masculine.  In other stories it was the Goddess giving virgin birth to the Sun God (the son of God).

Regardless of their relationship, there was always a marriage between the two halves, with their mating resulting in the creation of the human race and eventually a sacrifice, which ended in death and sometimes dismemberment of the hero/king so that the land could be reborn.  The
hero or heroine would go into the underworld or cross the wasteland for three days and would be resurrected. This represented on one level the renewal and fertility of the land, but on a deeper level the resurrection of the soul to immortal life. In other words, the human body dies but
then is reborn into its highest soul expression.

This original coupling was honored in religious rites known as the Sacred Marriage, with the progeny of the mating inheriting the line of ascent to the throne. The royals were seen as divine.  Their physical bodies were able to hold greater mana than that of the commoners.  This also held true for the priestly caste that came from the royal line as well, for once long, long ago in prehistoric times, the ruler led the people in both temporal and spiritual realms. This is the reason why royals from all cultures wore a crown or headpiece, which represented the aura that radiated great light.  I feel that the reason why one bows in the presence of a royal is that originally
the light that emanated from him or her was so strong that it could blind or actually kill a human who did not have the ability to hold mana nui loa (energy of the highest level) which is what emanated from the ali’i or royal caste.

In all creation myths whether the original parents were siblings or whether mother and son (the original virgin birth of the world from nothingness), the creation of the human species developed from sacred incest. In pre-historic times sacred incest determined royal lineage in order to
keep the spiritual energy pure and of the highest quality. (Until the Hawai`ian monarchy was overthrown in the late 1800’s, the people of Hawai`i believed that the purest of royal marriages were between brother and sister.) However, as time passed and religion developed, the line of descent was established through the coupling of a priestess representing the Goddess incarnate and the yearly king who was either literally or symbolically sacrificed to ensure the fertility of the land for the good of the people. Thus the Sacred Marriage rite celebrated both the fertility of the Goddess and her Consort and the fertility of the land.  Arthur was a child of the Sacred   Marriage and thus was predestined to become the king and savior of the land.  His son with his half-sister
Morgan le Fay was also a result of the Sacred Marriage.

THE LEGEND OF THE GRAIL HALLOWS

From the Christian perspective the legend of the Grail Hallows begins during the Last Supper.  The Holy Grail was the cup from which Christ drank during his last meal.  It was also at the Last Supper that Jesus imparted the most sacred of teachings to his disciples. The other holy items were the plate from which he ate, the spear that pierced his side, and in some versions the crown of thorns. More commonly included in the Grail Hallows is the Excalibur, which was said to have been forged at the beginning of time.  The sword, however, had no real connection to the Last Supper. It is in reality, tied to the pagan Mysteries as are the other original Grail Hallows.

It was said in legend that Joseph of Arimathea, who was believed to be a close friend or relative of Christ, heldthe Holy Cup up to the wound and collected blood from Christ’s side as he took his last breath before he died on the cross.  Fearing for his own life, Joseph of Arimathea escaped to Glastonbury in Britain, taking these holy items with him.  There they were housed for safekeeping and were eventually protected by the Knights of the Grail who were the purest of the pure.  Pilgrims from all around the Christian world, traveled to see the Grail until its mysterious disappearance.

SYMBOLISM OF THE GRAIL HALLOWS AND LOKAHI

EXCALIBUR, THE SWORD OF POWER:  It was said that Excalibur had been forged at the beginning of time.  It was made of materials that were inordinately strong for the Dark Ages and was most likely one of the Symbols of Power that the scientifically advanced Atlanteans took with them as they escaped from the sinking continent.  This item represents the past.  It symbolizes the akua, the ancient wisdom, the spirituality that was brought to Britannia and passed down from one generation to the next through the line of royal descent.  This symbol gave Arthur the right to rule.

During the times when kings actually ruled as sovereigns, they acted as father to the people.  They oversaw the prosperity of the land.  It was more than a divine right; it was also kuleana, a duty or inescapable responsibility.  A good king put aside personal feeling and ruled with wisdom and intuition.  In the Eastern chakra system this piko corresponds with the crown chakra,
which allows us to experience God on Earth; the third eye, which is our ability to see beyond the physical to the spiritual; and the throat chakra, which is our will. The Sword is indicative of the element of air.

THE SPEAR THAT PIERCED CHRIST’S SIDE represents the present and the kupuna. The umbilical piko, in the Eastern system is the solar plexus chakra, which represents our passions that we may use for personal gain or the betterment of mankind.  This is man and his desires, the “fire in the belly” that drives us forward.  In the Arthurian legends this represents the people and the passion that Arthur had to fulfill his destiny.  The element that represents this piko is fire.

THE PLATE FROM WHICH CHRIST ATE DURING THE LAST SUPPER is the mo`opuna piko. The plate represents food, which comes from the fertility of the land, and the fertility of the land was assured through the rites of human sexuality, especially of the royal class.  Without sex, there was no future.  In Eastern philosophy, this is our second or creative/procreative center.  It is also the root or first chakra, which is our grounding to the land, the aina.  With this grounding we are centered and we are able to trust in our survival.  This is the earth element.

THE HOLY GRAIL is the lokahi, the balance of all three piko, God, man and land. The Holy Grail is safely hidden inside the triangle.  In the center of the Hindu system lays the heart chakra, the heart represents emotions and water.  Lokahi is also symbolized in the Chinese Tao symbol.  Akua is the circle that encompasses the two other parts: kupuna and aina and all together they comprise lokahi.

HOW ARTHUR LOST & FOUND LOKAHI AND THE HOLY GRAIL

Prior to Arthur’s birth, there was a struggle for power and the land.  His father, Uther, became king and was given Excalibur, the Sword of Power.  When he misused his power through his lust, the sword was put into safekeeping in the stone, until Arthur was old and strong enough to wield it.

When Arthur pulled Excalibur from the stone, he symbolically proved his divine right to rule.  Only the legitimate king could wield the Sword of Power, which represents his qualification to act as the “son of God” incarnate with the sovereignty to manifest God’s work on the earthly plane. The power to do so is passed down through the bloodline and Excalibur was only an emblem of his
authority.  

Arthur inherited his sovereignty both from his father Uther who was of the kingly caste and more importantly through his mother, Igraine who was of the priestly line of the Old Religion.  As in all matriarchal societies, the kingship is passed down through the mother, keeping in mind that most societies believed that the Virgin Goddess gave birth to her son and through her, he received his
power.  Also during ancient times, the only way to guarantee birthright was through the mother.

The Merlin, the Druid who held the highest rank, had inordinate spiritual power and wisdom.  With his help, Arthur was able to unify the opposing factions and they were able to overcome the Barbarians invading Britannia and bring temporal and spiritual harmony to the land.  The Knights of the Round Table were the guardians of peace and for many years prosperity prevailed.  Lokahi existed because Arthur ruled his people and the land with fairness of mind, openness of heart, and the wisdom of the ancients.  Arthur lost lokahi when he put his focus on himself instead of on God and the needs of the land and his people.  The Holy Grail disappeared and the land was
ravaged by famine and plague.  

Arthur’s bravest and purest knights searched the wasteland for the lost Grail.  The wasteland is in reality the sense of hopelessness that comes from the loss of connection to our spiritual purpose (Auka) for experiencing life on the physical plane (aina) lifetime after lifetime (kupuna) until
we can exit the wheel of incarnation to find true immortality which is known in other terms as enlightenment or heaven.  The knights represent those souls who have proven themselves pure in mind, body and spirit and have bravely faced all tests and successfully passed them.

In the Mystery School teachings, this can only be found at the time of death, which is the moment when we come face-to-face with God.  The quest for the Holy Grail was the Death Initiation and it was at this instant that Perceval, the innocent Fool, was successful in his quest for the Grail and that he heard a voice ask:  “What is the secret of the Grail?  Who does it serve?”

He answered, “You my lord.”

Then the voice asked, “Who am I?”

“You are my lord and king.  You are Arthur.”

“Have you found the secret I have lost?”

“Yes, you and the land are One.”

Perceval then took the cup to Arthur who in drinking from it, was restored and as he was renewed, the land again began to flourish.  Arthur was then able to fight his last battle in which he fought his son by his half sister, Morgan le Fay.  In doing so he was able to fulfill his destiny and sacrifice himself so that the land could live. Thus he fulfilled his destiny and lokahi was re-established once again.

© Deanna Frank

March Blog: Overcoming Adversity

The Ten Worlds of Buddhism

THE TEN WORLDS OF BUDDHISM
An excerpt from Tarot a Path to Liberation: the Lesser Mysteries
Copyright Deanna Frank
 
I first learned about the Ten Worlds in the early 1980’s when I had practiced Nicheren Shoshu Buddhism. They are not external places but rather inner states of being. Every person on the face of the earth has experienced each of these states during different times in their lives. If you reflect on your life you too will recognize that you have experienced each of these states of being. The Great Buddha is quoted as saying “life is suffering” but this has been misinterpreted by some. It means that the natural condition of physical life can be difficult. Even Jesus, the great spiritual master was known to suffer. However through spiritual growth every soul is able to overcome the suffering of the human condition. It doesn’t mean that adversity disappears, but that as the soul grows it is able to find peace in the midst of turmoil. I want to cover these ten states this month so that next month blog “Overcoming Adversity” has more meaning. Understanding these ten states of being makes it is easier to attain the higher realms so I have interpreted them from all that I have studied since I stepped upon the Path of Initiation.

1.    Hell is the lowest of the Ten Worlds. It is a condition of suffering caused by self-destructive beliefs and actions that are illusory and make one unable to see beyond the pain of the moment. Buddhists believe that Hell is not a physical place that one goes after death but is experienced in the mind through ones belief systems. When one begins to change one’s beliefs and understand that living in Hell is a choice, the consciousness changes and one begins to live in the higher states of being.

2.    Hunger is the second of the Ten Worlds and is a state of being in which one is consumed by insatiable desires. Desire is an instinctual but natural state of being. The red roses in many of the tarot cards represent this natural desire. Desire is the first stage of creation and if used correctly makes the world a better place to live. It is what drives the initiate further on his/her path. However if used only to express the lower desire nature, desire manifests as hunger: hunger for more money, food, drink, sex, etc. These are the things that keep the soul in the material planes of existence. Hunger is the root of all “evil”; it is the root of the Seven Deadly sins. Giving into hunger creates a world of illusions and then we live in a world of shadow instead of light. It is the realm of the Major Arcana Devil. Only the light can reveal the Truth and hunger is the shadowy world of material illusions. Giving into hunger creates the state of
hell.

3.    Animality, the third of the Ten Worlds, is a state of being governed by instincts and desires. It is a condition of self-preservation, lack of self-control, and the fulfillment of lust and material desires. Fear of safety rather in the Trust of Providence creates this state. People cheat and steal what they want instead of trusting that they can have what is rightfully theirs from God.  In today’s world this is the focus on profits over the state of the world and the human condition. This condition prevails for those people who choose to stay in the lower chakras. Those who are in this state are also in the state of Hell. If however, a person decides that s/he wants to improve his or her life and begins to own responsibility for his or her actions, moving out of animality can begin.

4.    Anger is the fourth of the Ten Worlds in which one becomes conscious of the Self, the Ego. Anger is a state that is intensely egotistical in which the person is driven to dominate and prove superiority over others, no matter what the cost. The anger that we speak of here is not the momentary emotion that indicates that a person needs to make changes. It is also not the anger that can cause a person to stand up and make changes that better the world, although there is a danger of allowing the indignation to grow and become out of proportion. This is where the ego comes into to play.

The anger that is addressed here is the deadly sin of wrath. It is a deeper sense of uncontrollable rage inside that leads to any form of violence whether that violence be actual or imagined, physical or verbal. In addition to the common forms of violence such as assault, murder, and rape it can also be verbal rage that can harm a person’s soul in the same way that physical violence harms the physical body. Sometimes the verbal or energetic violence can be even more harmful than physical violence for the body can heal itself but the energetic violence harms the subtle bodies that are not visible so we tend to ignore the damage.

5.    Tranquility (also known as Humanity), the fifth of the Ten Worlds is a state of being characterized by control of desires and impulses through exercising good judgment and reason leading to harmony within the soul. Peace comes from within and not from having a calm life. When an initiate learns to control the emotions and mind tranquility of the mind, emotions, and spirit follows. Tranquility is required to attain samadhi, which is mental concentration or composure of the mind that is achieved through meditation. Once the meditator is able to calm the mind s/he is able to attain the concentration needed in order to know the essence of reality. Eventually this can lead to nirvana or the release from all suffering.

6.    Rapture is the sixth of the Ten Worlds and is a temporary state of joy or satisfaction in which one feels release from suffering or fulfillment of a desire or completion of a goal. We need rapture. It alleviates the stress and pain that arises from the human condition. A spiritual warrior learns that life is a balance between the battles of day-to-day living and the joy that comes from overcoming those struggles. It is part of the duality of the physical existence. Enjoy rapture while it lasts but use that time to strengthen your soul for the next lessons to come.

7.    Learning is the seventh of the Ten Worlds and is experienced when one searches for enduring Truth that leads to lasting contentment. This state of being is a continual process for initiates. It can come through studying with a teacher, reading and studying books or audio lectures, or listening to one’s inner guidance within. If you think you know it all you are in ego. When you are not actively learning, teach for you can learn even more from teaching what you know. One of the most important things I learned was from Cash Bateman, my very first teacher, who told his students not make him a guru for he was very excited about sharing what he had learned. He said that if he knew it all he wouldn’t be “here” teaching. I have used that as my guide for judging whether a teacher is right for me ever since. I also use it as a gauge of my own ego since I began teaching.

8.    Realization, the eighth of the Ten Worlds is understanding what has been obtained through the previous stage of learning. Realization comes in stages. It comes not from studying alone but it is revealed as a student continually searches within and is willing to “walk the talk”. The Truth comes through ones perceptions when one uses the intellect and inner guidance together. The state of realization is the result of samadhi. It comes from knowledge and the opening of the third eye.
9.    Bodhisattva, the ninth of the Ten Worlds, is characterized by compassion, in which one is dedicated to helping other people find the Truth within themselves. The bodhisattva seeks enlightenment for others as well as for him or herself and dedicates his/her life to service. Originally a bodhisattva was a disciple of the Buddha.

10.    Buddhahood is the highest of the Ten Worlds and indicates the achievement of wisdom to realize the eternal that pervades time and space. It is inherent in all people in a potential state as the unactuated kundalini. When one has achieved Buddhahood or Nirvana one is in a state of absolute happiness that is established in the depths of one’s life and is expressed into the outer world as the benevolent actions of the bodhisattva. While nirvana is eternal, the initiate may move in and out of the temporary state of enlightenment call samadhi that may occur while the student is in the states of Realization and Bodhisattva.

NEXT MONTH: Lokahi and the Holy Grail

 

How To Get a Great Psychic Reading!

Getting a good psychic reading involves developing a good relationship with someone you are able to trust. Building trust with your spiritual counselor involves the establishment of boundaries on both sides. The following guidelines can help you to find and maintain such a relationship.

DO

  • Get referrals. There are a lot of charlatans and con people out there ready to prey upon the vulnerable. Just because a person is psychic doesn’t mean that s/he is spiritual and honest.  One common scam is for psychic con artists to “pick up” on some things that you are sensitive about and then to tell you that they can change it for you if you give them great sums of money.  You’d do much better to keep your money and put the situation in God’s hand.  Prayer and faith can work miracles.  
  • A good psychic will generally charge a specific fee, usually for a specified amount of time.  I would be aware of the “something for nothing” offer.  The best psychics aren’t always the most expensive either. There are many excellent readers who charge a fair fee.  For example where I live most psychics that I know charge in the $60 range for a half hour reading.
  • Get readings sparingly.  The only way that you can grow is from moving through each life challenge successfully. It isn’t healthy to rely upon advice for every little decision.  Major crossroads or times of great confusion are good times to get a reading to help you to get clear.  As a general rule I wouldn’t recommend any more than one reading every two or three months. Of course there are exceptions especially in times of great stress or change or if your spiritual counselor is acting as a life coach.
  • Make your own decisions after getting the psychic’s insight.  You are the final authority.  If a reader tries to tell you what to do, s/he is trying to control you.  The goal is to own one’s power, not to give it away.
  • Be respectful of the reader’s time.  Be on time and honor the time slot you were allotted.  If you need to cancel an appointment, do it in a timely manner. Psychics are like other professionals who are earning a living.  Time is money!

DON’T

  • Don’t call a psychic during times of real emergency.  That’s what 911 is for. You need the help of a trained professional in any emergency. Call a doctor when you are ill.  See a psychologist or psychiatrist if you are severely depressed. Call the police when you are in physical danger or a crisis hotline if needed.  
  • Don’t ask the same question over and over. Although, getting a second opinion is o.k., but it isn’t a good idea to go from one psychic to another until you get the answer you desire.   It is better to find a reader or two that you are in tune with and trust or find one through a reliable referral.
  • Don’t expect a psychic to read your mind or know everything.  If I knew everything, I’d be rich from playing the winning lotto numbers.  My perception is no different than yours until I turn it on or it goes into autopilot in times of danger.  In order to do a reading I have to “tune into your energy”.  If you are armored due to fear or you if are testing me, it makes it harder for me to tune in.

MY PERSONAL CODE OF ETHICS

A professional psychic with a good reputation often has a code of ethics that is similar to any other professional counselor.  The following is the code of ethics that I developed for myself.  

I, Deanna Marie Frank, solemnly swear that I:

  • Will not repeat any information that comes up in your session with anyone else.  However, unlike the clergy, a psychic counselor is not bound by professional ethics to refrain from reporting any unlawful activity to the police.
  • Will keep your anonymity.
  • Will refrain from projecting my own issues upon you.
  • Will not judge you by my standards, but will tell you what my beliefs are if what I am looking at goes deeply against my moral convictions. Although I have never had to do so, I would recuse myself if I could not remain objective.
  • Will be honest.  Sometimes this involves telling you something, which you may not want to hear.
  • Will tell you I am not sure if I am not sure and will tell you I don’t know if I don’t know.
  • Will only give you information that will help you, not harm you.
  • Will help you to make your own decisions, not make them for you.
  • Will remind you that God gave you free will and that through your own efforts, you have the ability to change your future as long as the wheel of time has not yet turned too far.
  • Will empower you, encourage you, and inspire you.  Most of all I will give you hope. If asked by someone who is truly “doing their work”, I will occasionally act as a coach weaving in psychic insights with common sense and wisdom to inspire you to move through any perceived blocks. I will not enable you nor will I let you get addicted to getting readings from me because this isn’t healthy for either of us.
  • Will not “psychic spy” for you. It is an invasion of privacy to psychically look at another’s energy without their prior approval. I will have you reframe the question in a way that involves you as the focus.  For example if you ask me to tell you what’s going on in your adult child’s life, I will look at what you can do to be of assistance to that child. Or if you are having challenges in a personal relationship, I will help you to see what you need to do to find balance within yourself in respect to that person.  It often requires looking at the other person’s energy to an extent, however I will only look as far as it concerns you.
  • Will gently tell you that I don’t have anything new to tell if I feel you keep asking me to look at the same thing.  I will become firmer if you don’t get the message. I will refuse service to those who didn’t “get” the message or refuses to work on themselves.
  • Will charge a fair price for my services.
  • Will stop the reading and not charge you if I cannot correctly pick up on anything after 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Will not refuse to help someone who cannot pay me if that person is respectful of me and my abilities.
  • Will know my own limits and refer you to another professional, healer, and therapist or doctor if I see that one is needed.   I know 2 people who are alive today because they heeded my advice to seek immediate medical attention.
  • Will remain humble because my sixth sense is a gift from God and is not ME.
  • Will honor myself by following this code of ethics.

©Deanna Frank

NEXT MONTH: The Ten Worlds of Buddhism