Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Anastasis, Anabaptists, and Ecstasy

image: Wikimedia commons (composite of images found here and here).

In his remarkably helpful essay Easter: The Birthday of the Gods, discussed previously here, Alvin Boyd Kuhn provides some penetrating observations regarding the Greek word for the Resurrection, which is Anastasis:
The Greek word for the resurrection is anastasis, the "standing up," the "up-arising." It has little if at all been noted that this anastasis is only by a little prefix distinguished from "ecstasis," our "ecstasy." With ec- (ex) meaning "out," the etymology here brings us face to face with an item of unrecognized moment, that our final dissociation of soul from body at the end of our last incarnation will bring us an experience of ecstasy. Human life, a dour struggle, will be measurably buoyed up in spirit if the peregrinating soul knows that at the long terminal his release will come with rapture beyond thought. If, as much religious philosophy has it, man enters into this world of objective existence in tears, his first utterance a cry, he will be strengthened throughout its long and toilsome way by the assurance that he will make his final exist from his "tomb" of the flesh in transports of Edenic bliss. His "up-standing" is also his "out-standing" from his grave of body. 7 - 8.
The fact that the Resurrection is described as an Anastasis in Greek, combining the prefix ana- (again) and stasis (standing, state), powerfully links this symbolic cycle with the cycle of Osiris, and specifically with the symbology of the "casting down" and "raising-up again" of the Djed column of Osiris, a connection which has been remarked-upon previously in this blog, perhaps most specifically here (with illustrations). 

The symbology of the casting down and raising-up of the Djed column is one way that this central concept manifested itself in the sacred mythology of ancient Egypt, but it is a concept which is found throughout the sacred traditions of the entire globe, in many different forms. 

It is also a concept which (as Alvin Boyd Kuhn points out in many of his writings) is linked to the annual cycle of the great cross of the zodiac, formed by the line of the equinoxes (where the Djed column is "cast down" to the underworld at the fall equinox, symbolized as well by the "horizontal bar" on the symbol of the cross found in many ancient sacred traditions) and the line of the solstices (stretching from the "bottom of the year" to the top, and together representative of the raising-up of Djed column, and of the calling forth and elevating of the invisible divine soul or spirit present in every human being and in fact penetrating and animating all of the material universe, and represented in the symbol of the cross by the vertical component pointing towards the heavens).

This vitally important concept through which an invisible reality was powerfully symbolized and allegorized for our gnosis is discussed in previous posts too numerous to list, but which would certainly include:
Equally important is the observation Kuhn makes about the connection between Anastasis and Ecstasis.  While the two are distinguished by different prefixes, they are clearly related. The concept of "ecstasy" describes the transcending of the material state and the powerful connection with everything that is symbolized by the "raised-up" Djed column or the vertical (spiritual) component of the year's great cross.

This previous post (among others) presents arguments that the understanding of -- and entry into -- the state of ecstasy was absolutely central to all of the world's ancient wisdom, left to humanity as a precious inheritance.

This connection shows that the concept of Anastasis / Ecstasis operates on many different levels. It certainly describes the cycle of descent into the material body and ultimate re-ascent to the world of spirit at the end of incarnate life, but it also clearly operates within the cycle of this life, and describes a process that is meant to be part of our life here and now: the connection with the realm of spirit, the raising of the spiritual component inside ourselves and the spiritual-material world around us, and the entry into the state of ecstasy on a regular basis

There is abundant evidence that human beings are absolutely hard-wired with the ability to do this.

Finally, the prefix ana- ("again") in the word Anastasis / Anastasia is fascinating in that it is also found in the name of the religious movement of the Anabaptists -- the "again baptizers" -- so called because they believed in adult baptism by immersion and baptism "again" as an adult even if one had been baptized as an infant (as was common practice for all infants during many preceding centuries in the parts of the "western" world that the Anabaptists were generally operating). 

It can be clearly demonstrated that the symbology of "baptism by immersion" is absolutely connected to the ancient symbolism of the "casting down" and "raising-up again" of the Djed column. I discuss and illustrate this connection in a new video entitled "The Djed Column of Osiris," embedded below.

This clear connection to the mythology of ancient Egypt as well as to concepts found in other sacred traditions around the world (including shamanic traditions) and to other mythologies built on celestial allegories (as are the stories in the Bible) is somewhat ironic, since the Anabaptists in general were (and still are, in their modern forms) very staunch practitioners of the literalistic interpretation of the Biblical scriptures.

Many of them would undoubtedly be shocked and perhaps offended by the suggestion that the same celestial wheel formed by the great cross of the solstices and equinoxes, and further sub-divided by the twelve signs of the zodiac, and embodied in the rest of the world's mythologies can be found to be the absolute bedrock foundation of the collection of texts and sacred stories that came to be included in what today is referred to as "the Bible."

Many historic Anabaptists might also have been opposed to the suggestion that there is in fact a profound connection between the "up-arising" of the Anastasis and the centrality of ecstasy within this earthly sojourn. So might many of their modern relatives who also follow a literalist-historicist interpretation of the scriptures (and who continue to work to actively convert cultures which retain ancient traditions involving ecstasy, such as the world's remaining Indigenous shamanic traditions, along with anyone else who does not share their literalist position).

This opposition does not change the overwhelming evidence which points to the conclusion that the scriptures of the world (including those in the Bible) are in fact esoteric, celestial, and indeed shamanic in nature. Here is a link to an index of well over fifty examples, with clear diagrams showing the celestial connections. And, see this post and some of the links contained in it for arguments that "The Bible is essentially shamanic."

And it does not change the fact that the concept of Anastasis, as well as the powerful symbolism of the water-baptism ritual, clearly point to the shamanic-ecstatic-spiritual understanding that is symbolized elsewhere by the movement of the sun back upwards towards summer solstice, by the vertical portion of the cross, by the erecting of May-poles and Christmas trees and many other vertical posts seen in other traditions around the world, and that is present in all the deep layers of meaning embodied in the restoration of the Djed column of Osiris.