Sunday, November 25, 2012

Common Mythical Symbolisms

‎"There are mythologies that are scattered, broken up, all around us. We stand on what I call the terminal moraine* of shattered mythic systems that once structured society. They can be detected all around us. You can select any of these fragments that activate your imagination for your own use. Let it help shape your own relationship to the unconscious system out of which these symbols have come." …… Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That, p.86-87

The tapestry of mythology is very rich given their age and duration during which the deeper knowledge was expressed through these stories. Many myths are available to us today but when we try to reconstruct their meaning we seem to lack a coherent narrative. This is not the problem of the narrative itself but it is the consciousness with which we try to seek meaning.

Man has progressed from mythical consciousness into rational consciousness in the last 400 years, ever since the age of renaissance.

To give an example I would like to quote what Mormon church President John Taylor quoted more than 300 years ago.
“The knowledge that the Mexicans, and other aboriginal races of America had, at the time of their discovery by the Spaniards, of the life of the Saviour, was so exact that the Catholics suggested two theories (both incorrect, however) to solve the mystery. One was that the devil had invented an imitation gospel to delude the Indians; the other, that the Apostle Thomas had visited the Americas and taught its people the plan of Salvation. The story of the life of the Mexican divinity, Quetzalcoatl, closely resembles that of the Saviour; so closely, indeed, that we can come to no other conclusion than that Quetzalcoatl and Christ are the same being. But the history of the former has been handed down to us through an impure Lamanitish source, which has sadly disfigured and perverted the original incidents and teachings of the Saviour’s life and ministry.”

This is typically a reverse structuring of deeper essence of ancient wisdom from the perceiver’s current knowledge base. First of all there is an apriori position of one assuming to possess an irrefutable set of ideas and then trying to position a set of past information in the context of this insufficient current knowledge.

If one takes a more pragmatic view that a set of near identical events in a number of mythological narrations in various cultures could be told or written down to illustrate basic principles and values which were held inviolate by society, beyond a cultural and temporal dimension, then a more unbiased view can be arrived at.

Whether it be Quetzalcoatl and Christ as saviour or Krishna’s and Christ early childhood events, especially the massacre of the innocents by an ego dominated king all point to deeper strata of spiritual truth as sacred history for the common man to understand. It is when we assign a pure historical dimension to these narratives hat we fail to grasp the deeper import these events meant to convey.

The deeper symbolism of Quetzalcoatl and Christ as the ‘feathered serpent’ and ‘Pascal lamb’ signify two distinct dimensions of salvation in their respective cultures. The symbol of the serpent was associated in mythology with keeper of higher wisdom and the Pascal lamb whose blood saved the Israelis from the wrath of the avenging angel in Egypt on the night of liberation from bondage both convey to the psyche the archetypes of salvation.
Quetzalcoatl was also considered to be  the redeemer of the world from an astrological and agrarian perspective. Most Mesoamerican beliefs included cycles of suns. Usually, our current time was considered the fifth sun, the previous four having been destroyed by flood, fire and the like. Quetzalcoatl went to Mictlan, the underworld, and created fifth-world mankind from the bones of the previous races (with the help of Cihuacoatl), using his own blood, from a wound he inflicted on his earlobes, calyes, tongue, and penis, to imbue the dead bones with new life.
This sees a parallel in Christ having suffered and died went to the underworld for three days to be resurrected to liberate humanity from the slavery of sin.

Hence even disparate mythological fragments can evoke a common evolutionary meaning in the human psyche.

Love to you all.

* Terminal moraine is the formation at the snout of a glacier, marking its maximum advance

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