Sunday, April 9, 2017

Holy Week 2017

image: by Bernardo Belotto (1721 - 1780). Wikimedia commons (link).

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week in the Christian calendar. That day is observed by those following the western calendar on April 09 this year (today).

Holy Week consists of those episodes in the scriptures which begin with the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, and conclude with the Crucifixion on Good Friday and the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

The events described in the gospel accounts corresponding to the Holy Week cycle can be conclusively demonstrated to be celestial in nature, as can virtually all the ancient myths, scriptures, and sacred stories from cultures on every inhabited continent and island on our planet. 

The evidence is overwhelming that they are based on celestial allegory -- and what is more, they are all based upon the same common world-wide system of celestial allegory. This fact upends conventional paradigms of human history, and thus probably keeps academia from embracing the overwhelming evidence, because embracing it would force a lot of other theories to be re-examined and in many cases rejected.

However, it would be a serious mistake to jump to the conclusion that just because the world's ancient myths and sacred traditions are based upon celestial allegory, they are therefore somehow "not true." To the contrary, some truths are so profound that the only way to grasp them is through metaphor (or at least, the best way to grasp them is through metaphor).

I believe that the world's ancient myths and sacred stories are all designed to point us towards the apprehension of deep and vital truths, for our benefit and blessing in this incarnate life. As I explain in this video entitled "All the world's myths are written in the stars," the myths are like a blanket or a covering that enables us to see the shape of the structures underneath. The "blankets" found in different cultures differ from one another in their superficial details -- but the underlying forms which these blankets are enabling us to perceive are the same.

The events of Palm Sunday are, beyond doubt, based on celestial foundations. These events include the Triumphal Entry in which Jesus rides upon a donkey colt into the city and the multitude spread their clothes along the road, and also cut down palm branches and spread them along the way as well. The description of Jesus beholding the city and lamenting over it is also included in this section, along with his prophecy that it shall be compassed round about with a trench and cast down even with the ground, such that not one stone would be left upon another.

The next event described in most of the accounts involves the cleansing of the Temple (although it is notable that the account found in the Gospel according to John places the cleansing of the Temple much earlier in the ministry of Christ, and does not associate it with the Holy Week cycle).

The account found in the Gospel according to Luke transitions immediately from the description of the Triumphal Entry to the description of the cleansing of the Temple.  In the Mark account, the cleansing of the Temple is described as taking place the next morning. The cursing of the fig tree is also associated with the account of the cleansing of the Temple, although in the Mark account the encounter with the fig tree is described as taking place immediately prior to the cleansing of the Temple, and in the Matthew account it is described as taking place immediately afterwards.

All of the most memorable events of Holy Week are discussed in some detail, along with commentary on selected historical paintings and star-charts, in two complete chapters in Star Myths of the World, Volume Three (Star Myths of the Bible). These events include the Triumphal Entry, the encounter with the fig tree, and the cleansing of the Temple (among many other episodes during the Holy Week cycle).

Again, the celestial foundations of these well-known stories are not presented in order to "take anything away" from the deep meaning of these ancient texts: to the contrary, I believe that the ancient myths and sacred stories have absolutely essential messages which they desire to convey to us -- and I am convinced that we are in far better position to grasp their message if we begin to listen to them in the language that they are actually speaking, which is a language of celestial metaphor.

I am also convinced that the celestial nature of these Biblical stories has been understood for centuries, and that their celestial details have been faithfully encoded in artistic depictions of the various stories by artists who were either privy to the constellational connections or (more likely) who were taught that "this is the way" to depict specific characters and events, and who were allowed a certain degree of artistic license within the established boundaries, but always in a way that preserved the crucial celestial clues.

The depictions of Christ cleansing the Temple is an excellent case-study in this regard. Certain details are almost always present -- and they can greatly help to confirm our celestial interpretation of the texts. Note that I firmly believe the textual clues themselves are always primary: the artistic clues of course came much later, but they can be helpful to the degree that they correspond with and confirm the textual interpretation. 

In the account of the cleansing of the Temple, certain elements are present in some of the gospel accounts but not in others. For example, the description of Jesus making a "scourge of small cords" with which to drive all the money-changers out of the Temple, along with the sheep and the oxen, is only found in John 2: 15. However, note that the depictions of the cleansing episode down through the centuries always depict Jesus holding this scourge of small cords aloft -- and that they almost always depict this  scourge as being held by Jesus in the same hand (his right hand). 

The gospel accounts do not say in which hand he held the scourge, nor do they tell us anywhere that Jesus is right-handed. One might say that since most people are in fact right-handed, and since left-handedness was actually considered to be some sort of moral defect for many centuries (up to very recently in some places, in fact), that of course the artists would depict Jesus holding the scourge in his right hand. 

However, you might also want to consider the possibility that the constellation in the sky which plays the role of Jesus in this particular episode might actually have an outline which suggests someone holding aloft a "scourge of small cords" -- and that this feature of the constellation itself might be located on the same side as we look at the constellation as the artists place the scourge in their paintings. 

If you consider this possibility, and then consider the constellations that might play the role of Jesus in this particular episode, I believe you will find the answer rather readily (it would help, of course, if you use the constellational outlining system published by the ingenious H. A. Rey).

Below is a painting by Nicolaus Haberschrack of Poland, from the 1400s, showing Jesus holding aloft the scourge. You will also note a series of small sheep and goats and oxen included in the painting as well:

image: by Nicolaus Haberschrack, c. 1468. Wikimedia commons (link).

The next important detail to observe is the table of the money-changers. This is almost invariably depicted by the artists down through the centuries as being on the right-hand side of the image relative to the figure of Jesus, as we face the painting (as it is in the painting above). Note the angle at which the surface of the table is drawn in the image -- this angle is another very common feature in the various artists' renditions of the scene.

Once again, we might simply assume that the choice of depicting the table at an angle such that it basically forms a "diamond" shape as we look at it in the painting is a mere coincidence, or a random choice by the artist in question. However, you might also consider the possibility that the angle at which the table is almost invariably depicted could correspond to some celestial feature in the sky (and if you did consider this possibility, I believe it might help you to decipher this particular episode).

Another very interesting aspect of the paintings by different artists down through the centuries is the positioning of a distinctive architectural archway directly above the figure of Jesus -- and usually with the column or pillar on the left-hand side of this archway (as we face the image) coming down very close to the side of the figure of Christ (beside his rear foot and his upraised hand with the scourge, in other words). 

Again, one might conclude that this is simply some kind of artistic convention without much significance, or one might even argue that the Temple itself had some kind of distinctive arches (although its actual architectural details are not described in the gospel accounts at any time, and of a certainty no soaring arches are specified anywhere). However, if you were investigating the possibility that the episode in question might be based upon a system of celestial metaphor, you might ask yourself what heavenly features seem to "arch across the sky" -- and if you did, your answer might help confirm whether or not your deductions regarding the identities of the upturned table and of the figure holding the scourge of cords were on the right track.

Below is another image of the cleansing of the Temple episode, this time by the French painter Valentin de Boulogne (1590 - 1632), who is sometimes called "Le Valentin." He has apparently dispensed with the archway detail in his depiction of the scene, but the angle of the table is still present, and the positioning of the hand holding the scourge, as well as the relative location of Jesus to the table itself, are preserved:

image: by Valentin de Boulogne (1590 - 1632). Wikimedia commons (link).

In this painting, note in particular the outline of the figure in the very lower left-hand corner as we face the image. The artist has depicted the figure of a bearded man, who has obviously fallen from his seat such that he is splayed-out almost horizontally, raising one hand up in the air with his palm upturned and fingers pointing out to the left while his thumb points over towards the right. The knee of his upper leg is pointing towards and almost touching the corner of the table.

I believe that Le Valentin is here providing us with a very important celestial clue, whether or not he understood its constellational significance. It is fairly certain that Le Valentin never read The Stars: A New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey (since that book was not published until 1952, over three hundred years after the time of the artist who made this painting). However, it is quite certain that this splayed-out figure in the lower-left corner of the painting contains a very strong resemblance to one of the constellations outlined in H. A. Rey's book -- and what's more, this constellation is quite close to the celestial figure that almost certainly plays the role of the table, as well as to the celestial figure which almost certainly plays the role of Jesus with the upraised scourge of small cords (sheep and oxen might be nearby as well).

The figure in the lower right-hand corner of the painting by Le Valentin -- on the other side of the table -- is also undoubtedly a celestial clue, if we know what we are looking for. This figure, whom the artist has depicted with a long greying beard, has also been upset from his seat. Note that one of his legs is well forward, very close in fact to his outstretched, reaching hand. The part of his face that we can see, which is well illuminated with light (Le Valentin was known as a member of the "tenebrist" or "tenebroso" school, in which lighting plays an important role and the compositions often have strong contrasts between areas of bright light and dark shadows) is roughly diamond-shaped itself, and only one eye is visible. All of these details could of course be coincidental -- but they might also point us to a constellation in the night sky.

Finally, continuing our movement through the centuries (which we began with a painting from the 1400s, followed by a painting from the 1600s) let's take a look at the painting shown at the very top of this post, which was painted in the 1700s by the Italian artist Bernardo Belotto:

Here once again we see some of the same distinctive features we have already observed in the paintings from previous centuries. There is the soaring archway, with its left-hand side (as we face it) descending just beside the portion of Christ's body on the left side, as we look at the image (his right-hand side, because he is depicted as facing towards us, the viewers), on the same side as his hand holding the scourge. There is the table, depicted at the same angle that it is depicted in the other paintings from previous centuries. There again are the sheep and the oxen described in the text. And, just as with the painting by Le Valentin, in the depiction by Belotto we see the figure of one of the money-changers falling over with his arms and legs splayed out (this figure is in green, in the painting by Belotto).

I believe that this figure in green corresponds to a very specific constellation in the night sky, and one that is close to the celestial feature that corresponds to the table, as well as being close to the constellation which plays the role of Jesus holding aloft the scourge.

I am convinced that the ancient myths do not just encode the constellations "for the fun of it," or as some kind of intellectual exercise or puzzle -- but rather, I believe that they use the infinite heavens to convey to us profound truths about the Invisible Realm, the Infinite Realm, which is very real and which is present at every point in this material realm, at all times. What's more, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn explains in many of his indispensable books and lectures, different points on the heavenly cycles correspond to different points on our own spiritual cycle (for more on this correspondence, see previous posts such as this one and this one). If we understand what constellations are depicted in a certain myth or sacred story, we can often discern what part of the great cycle that story or episode is pointing us towards, and thus be more receptive to the spiritual truths that it might be intended to convey.

Ultimately, I believe that all the world's ancient myths, scriptures and sacred traditions are the remnants of an extremely ancient and spiritually enlightened system, predating even the most ancient civilizations known to history, including the civilizations of ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient Mesopotamia, and the ancient Indus-Saraswati civilizations as well. I am convinced that these ancient myths contain profound wisdom and that they are a precious inheritance, designed for our blessing and benefit, in order to help us become attuned to our own spiritual nature, and to help us raise that awareness in ourselves and (to whatever extent we can) in others as well.

They are not intended to beat others down, to oppress or to exploit or to take advantage of others -- nor should they ever be used as supposed "justification" or "intellectual cover" for such actions (which, of course, do the very opposite of blessing and of lifting up the spiritual nature in oneself or in others).

In fact, the story of Jesus chasing out the money-changers at the Temple can be seen as illustrating this very principle. The Temple was intended to be a place of connecting with the divine and with the Infinite -- and this episode depicts Jesus driving away those who had basically erected a bunch of "toll-booths" to make money off of those in need of spiritual sustenance, exploiting them instead of uplifting them.

It is my sincere hope that Holy Week, and the scriptures that tell us about the episodes in the Holy Week cycle of events, will be a blessing to all those in need of blessing -- and that they will never be used to divide, to exploit, or to oppress.