1 It s More than a Liturgical Calendar: It s a Way of Life Reverend Mary Altalo INTRODUCTION Our entire world has one glorious model of liturgical cycles the seasons. Cycles of birth, life and death abound as living examples of the patterns, complexities, ever-changing state and glories of life this life, in flesh, here and now. Nature itself is the one common experience of all humankind-- the one uniting pattern for all of the religions and sects, of all time; and if we destroy the seasonal nature of our planet, do we not destroy the immanent pattern for religion as well? The cycles are not confined to this earth existence alone, as we participate in the seasonality of the entire universe, in a constant cycle of expansion and contraction, a state of constant change, evolving into complexity, in a constant state of becoming. And it is this light that I write this paper, with the goal of representing our liturgical cycles in context: the context of our ever constant journey towards union with the Divine Consciousness and aiding humanity in doing the same. Jesus was the role model for this and his ultimate gift to humanity was teaching us that attaining Divine consciousness through the fusion of the transcendent nature of God and the immanent qualities of the life force contained in the body was possible. The body/mind-soul-spirit combo was now sufficiently evolved to aid us in the process of transformation. In fact he commanded us to do this and to follow his lead. But somewhere along the line, some of the followers lost sight of the goal, or rather began to doubt that this transformation was possible and thus the attention was diverted from teaching HOW to attain mystical union as Jesus taught and demonstrated, to teaching ABOUT Jesus. And if we are not careful, that is what our liturgical cycles may represent in today s world teaching us about Jesus as opposed to coaching us through the transformation process modeled by Jesus. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LITURGICAL CALENDAR IN THE CONTEXT OF CIVIL CALENDARS OF A PERFORMANCE- BASED SOCIETY Greg Dues in his Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide urges us to view the Liturgical calendar as a concept of evolution of sacred time from profane time. It is an invitation for Christians to understand time differently, to see time in a new way which will call into play life s purpose. Life is
2 not just a time to reap and sow, to toil and rest, but an opportunity, in time, for the Soul to discover exactly who and what it is. an admiral goal, if and only if our true purpose, our highest purpose according to Jesus is understood and articulated and fully incorporated into the body of the Church. This I believe is the basic distinction between religions today the end game of the life on this earth the union with the Divine where we are as Jesus told us, or the union with the Divine after we die- In heaven. Never before have I seen this distinction so clearly. Never before have I realized the different impacts of the two views of where we unite with the Beloved, on humanity. In the academic calendar, the year revolves around the semester, (or alternatively around the athletic seasons ) and is performance- based. Children progress up the tree of learning in a graded system whereby at the completion of each stage, one is deemed ready to proceed to the next step. The goal is clear to develop the mind so that the future adult will be totally capable of contributing the most it can according to its own gifts, to an mature adult world. Once the mentored teaching role is completed, the person is then handed over to the school of life to continue the education through grown-up experiences. Most often in this country, this continuing ed. occurs in the business world, whose metrics for success are quite different, but the performance based approach is still the same. This is where an internal guidance system is so clearly needed to aid in the journey for the next 80 years or so. Thus the education of the mind needs to be in concert with the education of the heart/soul, and this is where our ethical institutions come in. In business, the year revolves around the fiscal cycles of funding, usually Oct 1 to Sept 30 th, and thus the metric of success- profit- is determined at the end of each fiscal year as a way to show progress. Individual performance indicators and targets for personal growth or mainly fiscal targets for company growth are set at the end of each fiscal year based upon the previous year s performance. Reward in terms of salary, the Christmas bonus, promotion, and stocks depended upon how well financially the company and the individual performed during the past year. This of course has direct consequences on the family and as such is the calendar with all of its implications as to goal, what drives most people. Thus, in our American society, families juggle many calendars, those relevant to the physical prosperity and educational growth of the family, be it corporate, government or academic; and those cycles which are related to the spiritual growth and welfare of the family the calendars of the Christian or Jewish or Buddhist and Indigenous feasts -- are often put last. Perhaps this craving in the US for experiences of spirituality from Yoga to sweat lodges, from wilderness retreats to women s circles signify this
3 longing for the Divine in their lives, as our souls know that they are being neglected and the body suffers when the soul does. In many western cultures, the breadwinner s preoccupation with the business cycle, left the teaching of the Liturgical cycle to the parent at home or more likely to the schools and churches they belonged to. With two parents now typically working, unless the child goes to a Christian school, the liturgical year is lost on many a family except for the Socially blessed commercial feasts of Thanksgiving, (USA) Christmas, and Easter, (universally a Christian feast day) and All Hallows Eve ( predominantly a western feast ). There seems to be two main reasons for the Christian Liturgical calendars- to track Church time, and to teach about Jesus. The tracking of the progress toward towards personal illumination seems to be left to the individual. However this wasn t the case in the early Church as the consciousness of the Church depended upon the consciousness of all of the individuals. Today Church seems to mean the hierarchical institutionalized consciousness that of the clergy, which is assumed to be higher than the laity. This separation in clergy and laity also separated the concept of one unified consciousness of the divine. Liturgical calendars could also be an external expression of an inner progressive experience of the spiritthe problem is that, for most folks, there isn t that inner experience of the adult consciousness, and they feel left with the childish interpretation of a life in Christ. Perhaps in this study, we may see more clearly where filling this gap might be aided. Our teachings need to be up-leveled. So thus we begin our exploration of the Liturgical calendars of the various religions and their meaning to our way of life. Although it was not my original intention, it appears that not only am I describing them in reference to one another, but also assessing them along the way in terms of their fulfilling the longing of our souls for wholeness. COMPARISON OF SACRAMENTAL CHRISTIAN-BASED LITURGICAL CALENDARS --The Roman Rite Catholic Liturgical Calendar- Figure 1 illustrates the basics of the calendar wheel for the Roman Catholic liturgical year. The year begins with the first Sunday in Advent, proceeds through the Nativity on December 25 th, and ends on the feast of the Epiphany on Jan 6 th. This is followed by what is termed Ordinary time which is followed by the Lenten season, culminating in Passion Sunday, Holy
4 Week and the Easter Triduum. It is during these times that we commemorate the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and is marked as the Holiest of feasts. Without Easter, the Catholic Church would not exist. Easter Season runs to the Feast of Pentecost and includes the Ascension the Thursday before. The rest of the year resumes ordinary time and begins with the solemnities of the Most Blessed Trinity and Corpus Christi. The feasts of the Transfiguration and the Assumption of Our lady are celebrated midway through the cycle. All Hallows Figure 1: Roman Catholic Liturgical Year Eve, All Saints day and All Souls day commemorate the departed in November, and the season ends with the feast of Christ the King in late Fall. The cycle repeats once again with Advent. The diagram also refers to the colors associated with each of the seasons- purple for Advent and lent, White for the feasts of the nativity, and Easter, and red for Pentecost and feasts of martyrs, and will be discussed in further detail in the second paper when discussing the energies of the church year. There is a second cycle 3-year cycle within the church calendar, Year A, B and C, in which the scriptural reading for each day are spread out over 3 years so as to accommodate more of the Old and particularly the New Testament. After Year c, the Readings cycle back to Year A. In addition, the Pope usually assigns a special intention for the Year, such as the year of faith in The Episcopal/Anglican Church Calendar- The worldwide Anglican communion (Episcopal Church in the US) holds to a similar arrangement of the Church year with a few discrepancies, mainly in terms of terminology and the arrangement of feast days as we see in Figure 2. The first season of ordinary time in late winter on the RC calendar is replaced by the Season of Epiphany which extends the Advent, Nativity, Epiphany Cycle until Lent. In addition, the continuation of the Figure 2: Anglican/Episcopal Liturgical Calendar
5 Ordinary Season after Pentecost is replaced by the Season after Pentecost which lasts until the Advent Season or approximately 29 weeks. --The Orthodox Church Calendar- In the Orthodox Church, the Seasons are similar to that of the Roman Church. The Advent- Christmas- Epiphany cycle actually ends with the Baptism of the Lord by John instead of the feast of the Epiphany itself. In the Lent Easter, Pentecost Cycle, The Triduum is specifically called out as apart from Lent or Holy week. The ordinary time remains relatively unchanged except for the insertion of some of the saints, Patriarchs and martyrs particularly remembered by the Eastern Church. While the Figure 3: The Orthodox Church Calendar calendar remains the same, much of the interpretation as to what the feasts represent are often interpreted a bit differently, such as the Trinity. This different perspective will be explored in detail in Paper 2. --The Lutheran (Protestant) Church Calendar The Lutheran Church can be considered as representative of the protestant group, in the sacramental tradition. While three sacraments are routinely celebrated by the Church, the Liturgical year, is very similar to its progenitor, the Roman Church, as the calendar in Figure 4 shows. In the Advent, Nativity, Epiphany cycle, the feast of the Epiphany marks the beginning of a distinct season rather than being grouped together as the Advent-Nativity- Epiphany Season. The solemn feast of the Transfiguration marks the last Sunday of Figure 4: The Lutheran Liturgical Calendar
6 the Epiphany Season. The season of Lent and the Easter season corresponds closely to the Roman Cycle and the Ordinary Time of the RC church is also called the Season after Pentecost/Ordinary Time which ends with Christ The King Sunday. COMPARISON OF NON-CHRISTIAN, HEBRAIC ROOT LITURGICAL CALENDARS-LUNAR BASED -- The Hebrew Calendar- The ancient Hebrew calendar is based upon the lunar cycle as dictated in Exodus 12 ( sanctify the new moon and the year is divided into two equal parts (blue line in Figure 5) commencing in Springtime. However, if we skew the cycle so that it corresponds to the start time of the Christian calendar, we begin to see how the two correspond. The two halves of the year both begin with a period of repentance and end with a harvest which is celebrated with thanks and praise. The calendar year actually begins with the account of creation in Genesis. The springtime is remembered as a time of deliverance Figure 5 and thus a celebration of freedom, or resurrection of a People from captivity, much like the resurrection of Our Lord. The giving of the Torah on Sinai and the Rauch to the Jews corresponds to the giving of the spirit at Pentecost. In the fall, the new year begins with days of atonement and then a period of anticipation for the victory celebrated at Chanukah. The entire year is commemorated as an ascending spiral towards God. -- The Islamic Calendar- As in the Jewish calendar directed by the Koran, the Islamic calendar is directed by the Koran is entirely lunar calendar, ignoring the solar year. The effect is that the temporal position of the religious calendar changes over the years (corresponding to a 33 year solar year cycle). From ( The major feasts/holy days celebrated are The New Year, The Prophet Mohamad s Birth, Israa & Miaraj Night, Ramadan, Eid Figure 6
7 Al Fitr, Arafat (Haj) Day Eid Al Adha and Hijri New Year s Day. As the dates vary from year to year, it is hard to overlay on other calendars, however the cycling nature and progression from days of atonement to days of joy and enlightenment are general themes held in both the Jewish and Christian traditions. COMPARISON OF NON-HEBRAIC ROOT CALENDARS IN USE IN EARLY CHRISTIAN ERA --The Pagan Calendar of Festival Worship. Before Abraham, the Israelites worshipped the Pagan gods of the lands in which they dwelt, mainly Babylon and Sumeria. After Abraham, the worship of the One God characterized the Jewish people. The pagan calendar is based on solar year, and would have been the calendar in use, along with the Julian calendar (below) during the time of Jesus. Thus the Hebrew calendar of Holy days to which he adhered, would have been very conspicuous against the backdrop of other festivities customary for Roman Figure 7 citizens. The calendar of Figure 7, is only one representation of a number of Pagan calendars in use at that time. They are based on the solar year with the Equinoxes being the transition points between the seasons. They represent the earth vegetation cycle of birth, growth, harvests, death, dormancy and rebirth. Tammuz was the Babylonian Sun god and the festivals revolved around his appearance. The Life, Death, Rebirth Cycle are apparent and were drawn upon in the Hebraic calendar, and especially in the Christian with the birth of Jesus strategically placed on the same day as the birth of the Sun God, and the celebration of the resurrection of the Sun God coinciding with the Easter resurrection of Christ. --The Julian Calendar- It is worthwhile to briefly mention the Julian calendar here as well which is notated as AUC or Latin for Anno Urbis Conditae meaning from the founding of the City (Rome) which is approximately 753 before Jesus and 437 years after the capture of Troy in 1182 BC. It corresponds closely with the Egyptian calendar. It was mainly a governing calendar based on the timing of the two
8 Roman counsel meetings. As many of the traditions and festivals of the Roman empire are mentioned in the Bible, most were based upon this calendar. Part II VIEWING THE CHURCH YEAR AS AN INNER PROGRESSIVE PATHWAY OR JOURNEY/PILGRIMAGE TO UNION WITH THE DIVINE/SELF Most people don t see the cycle of the Church as a journey, or if they do, it is the journey of Christ to which they are witnesses as objective and often disengaged followers. Rarely do people see the liturgical cycles as the cycles of their own life, their own pilgrimage. They do not take ownership of this journey mainly because they are not sure of the destination. We know that were are attempting to become holy and in doing so express kindness, compassion, and love through service and prayer. But that still is not telling us the whole story of what we are BECOMING in THIS LIFE and not after we die and go to heaven. If we don t know this and if the churches aren t crystal clear on telling us about our purpose in life the adult version of our purpose- not the Baltimore catechism version please of to know, love and serve God in this world and the next, then we can t fulfill our true potential. We must believe what Jesus says,-- that we are here to do all that I do and more that is the adult version of our purpose, and that is the version that the first Christians signed on to; and that is the scary version as well. The process of transformation begins here and now, our true destination on earth which we must accomplish first in ourselves, then to teach others to DO the same. Most people feel that this is not possible and that false belief, based upon us having a flawed nature not really capable of such glorious deeds is at the base of it. But we must have faith in what Jesus said we are to become. We must at least try. This is not a joy ride of candy canes, Christmas carols, presents, hot cross buns, Easter eggs, bunnies and bonnets. The joy of this ride is eternal peace, loving friendships and eternal happiness. Which would one prefer? The Christian Mystics all knew that this life offered us the opportunity to experience oneness with God. They all had the experience and they all talked and wrote about it so that we may know that we too can experience what they did. It is not a route only for saints. It is a route for all people to become saints while on this earth. Every last one of them is entitled to this honor, but it is up to us to decide to do it and it is up to the church to help mentor souls through the process. A byline of an Orthodox Church that I passed once was that it was their mission to make saints of anyone who came through their doors. They took their mission seriously.
9 In Nan Merrill s Journey into Love (p. 14 ), she quotes a conversation she had with a man who expresses a common feeling of many, many Christians: I am 45 years old and have attended church most of my life. I never knew until now that we all of us are on a journey. It never occurred to me that following Jesus meant anything more than doing good and going to church. I never saw Jesus Story as my story. I feel as if I now have one foot on the road and even though it seems late, I am excited. I am also afraid that I will not get very far without someone to walk a ways with me To me as clergy, that is what Church is all about to open another s eyes to their true majesty and destination with God, the original blessing, and walk a bit with them until they firmly see their true destination, and have the map that Jesus ( not the Church scholars) gave them in front of them, and then reveal to them the host of angels and saints that walk beside them constantly for support. So while I have presented above a comparison of the ways various churches externally commemorate the moments in Jesus life as a tribute to him, what I believe he wants us to do is get off of our knees and out of our church buildings which serve to commemorate him, and practice the presence of God he experienced at each stage of his life. Jesus constantly entreated that is was the creator working through him that was to be praised and glorified and worshipped. That is key. Life is to be a tribute to God as revealed through Jesus, not a tribute to Jesus as many churches have done. Is this not the golden calf? And if we walk the way of Jesus we also see that the Presence is revealed to our own culture more and more each day, through us today as it was in Jesus day. Thus we can view the Liturgical Year as one rotation in a series of say 80 or more years in a person s Liturgical Lifespan where they progressively uplevel their consciousness by sequentially discovering through prayer, meditation, and service that higher Self within and courageously all the revealing of that Divine Life that lies within each one of us more and more each year. They become more aware of and aligned to their expanding consciousness and purpose in this lifetime. At the completion of one rotation on the Jesus path, people will be in a higher consciousness than they were before, a new level of consciousness to explore during the following year for a more virtuous and ethical lifestyle- a new step of the pyramid. This is a series of annual journeys of the people through the various stages of awakening to their true God-self as Love, and set us on that journey to express their potential in The Way of Jesus to union with the Divine. As I began working from this perspective, a myriad of examples flooded into my mind from all of my courses which fit nicely into the framework I was building. Therefore I use them as examples of walking the way to salvation, (not just talking about it), defined as union with the beloved creator, and the reclaiming of the original blessing and thus our soul that I
10 believe Jesus wanted us to emulate in our own way and with our own unique perspective. All roads lead home. --The Way or The Christ Path of Jesus-The goal of Jesus life was to reveal the true nature of God and the true nature of Mankind in himself, and to exemplify the endpoint of human evolution as the embodiment of the union of Divine and Human nature. As we seek to follow his example it is important to realize that we are becoming like Christ whereas Jesus through the path was revealing who he already was. This knowledge and understanding is the saving wisdom of grace, the healing which rescues the world from the darkness of ignorance about their true nature and their relationship to the divine. Teilhard de Chardin so clearly illustrated the Christpath in his book The Omega Point which Figure 8 sees the journey of humankind as an evolution in consciousness from animal consciousness to the Omega point or God-consciousness.
11 The cycle shown in Figure 8 starts with the advent awakening to the vision of what we really are spirit in bodily form. We first intuit a glimpse of our true incarnate Divinity and begin gestating that image until we firmly believe it. It is at this point that we begin the birthing process, The Nativity of the Self, though in immature form or potential Divine-Human. Through life s experiences we begin to see more and more confirmation of our original vision (epiphanies) and actualize the potentiality of our divination, thus little by little revealing the true nature and destiny of ourselves and of all of humankind. The next stage on the Jesus Path is initiated by the awareness of the duality which exists within the self. Recognizing our separation from the True Self, we experience the longing for reunion. Our lesser nature as represented by the ego thinks it is entitled to be in control and we wrestle with evil during the dark night of the soul experiencing great suffering. This period ceases only when we surrender the ego to the higher Self and willingly give up our dual nature to God who does the cleansing. It is with the total, unabashed faith that the God who does the cleansing also does the resurrecting that Jesus went forth to the cross with conviction and trust in ABBA to fulfill the promise of resurrection. It is at after this stage that a transformation or metamorphosis occurs where the fusing begins culminating in the Resurrection of the non-dual self, both transcendent and immanent combined as envisioned at our first glimpse of the incarnated human being. The Divine is now more fully manifest in us, though the process of successive revealing of divine-human nature is a constant and evolving one. Jesus final form was shown to us in his glory body which he showed to his disciples to assure them that this stage was indeed a possible destination for humankind. He shared his authority and powers of this new form with us through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost just as the beloved creator shared with Mary the power of manifesting a Divine- human form through Spirit. We ascend in consciousness to the next level while still in this dimension, and through constant iteration of this cycle endlessly uplevels our consciousness so as to approach the state of consciousness that Jesus had. We begin to see not only ourselves but all of creation in a new light and feel extraordinary love for it. We begin to see past the external appearances of others and see the inner goodness of their God-self shining through. We feel compassion more intensely and reach out to others in need more consistently. We begin to glimpse more and more of that Divine nature calling out to be revealed each day in our acts of kindness and care. And we see that the final step is in service to the world, in passionate radical action. Our eyes are opened wider to our own faults and in effort to transfigure them, we begin the cleansing cycle again, through service to the other.
12 --Following The Way of Jesus as a Process of Theosis in the Orthodox Church While many of the Western Catholic rites, the Roman Rite in particular, hint at the human transfiguration or deification process, usually inferring that only the most holy of religious are called to that state rather than it is general calling for all humans to enter the path of transformation, the Eastern Orthodox Churches are entirely Figure 9 based on the doctrine of theosis, that is the divination process for the human which is also mankind s destiny. This is not becoming God in its transcendent essence. It is incorporating the energies of the transcendent God through grace. The steps of this divinization process, of Theosis, are clearly laid out as Theoria which incorporates the vision of union with Jesus as the loadstone to help us in the process. Thus he is not only the example, he is the catalyst the primary substrate for the process to occur, and the attractor which surrounds us with beings of like or higher consciousness to escort us. The next explicit stage is Katharsis or a purification of the mind and body, through repentance, in preparation for the union with Spirit. Control of the passions is the next stage which allows inner space to be filled with Divine uncreated energies of grace. The greatest experience of Divine grace is the vision of the uncreated light of God with which one also shines forth as in the Transfiguration of Christ. In many cases the grace of Theosis is said to preserve the bodies ( the incorruptibles) which continue to work miracles. Jesus is the center of all life, and Divinization, not moral enhancement, is the goal of human existence. (extracted from Archimandrite George s booklet, Theosis: the true purpose of the Human Life).
13 -- The Way, The Via of Creation Spirituality -- One insight that struck me while examining the cycles was the similarity to other cycles put forth by modern mystics either for the alleviation of suffering or the advancement of the soul, or to recapture the original blessing. In Figure 10, I have diagramed the road to recapturing the Original Blessing of Matthew Fox and to reclaim our right of union with God as the Cosmic Christ. Figure 10 Briefly, The Via Positiva corresponds to the awakening to the vision of what we can become as portrayed in the Advent, Nativity and Epiphany Cycle. The Via Negativa corresponds to the Lenten and Holy Week cycle where we wrestle with our ego and surrender ourselves fully to God for transformation. The Via Creativa is analogous to the Easter Resurrection where we assume our real nature and begin our journey once again. And finally the Via Transformative corresponds to the ascension/ Pentecost cycle where we spread the love of God through the gifts offered by the Holy Spirit.
14 -- The Way of Asian Transmutation Theology This pathway is an ancient one of the Asian culture with the explicit purpose of alleviating world suffering by alleviating the suffering in ourselves first. With this comes the recognition that we must be whole persons first in order to walk the path of union with the Source of all Chi/Energy. The reward for surviving the ordeal becomes peace of mind. Figure 11 The stage of awakening to the Eschatological vision of the self is very similar to the awakening of awareness to God s incarnation and birth in us during the Advent Cycle. The perception of the reality of the separation of ourselves from our vision held of the self, caused by an imbalance in energies results in suffering as in the Lenten cycle. Through practices such as meditation and Yoga, the energies are realigned once more to source and the resurrection process has begun. With further wisdom gained and grace bestowed through the experience, the courage to continue the sacred action of righting unjust situations can continue. This also allows for the healed individual to begin another cycle of attaining a state of higher consciousness commensurate with their vision of the higher self.
15 -- The Way of Jungian Psychology as a Journey to Personhood - One of the most profound and explicit examples of the journey to Self-realization is found in Carl Jung s work. While it was his intention as a psychiatrist, working in the insane asylums of Europe, to help restore the person s ability to function in everyday life, his pathways to personhood are very similar to the pathways to divinization, and the reclaiming of the God-self. He intuited that just as the creator is whole, so too his creature, his son/daughter ought to be whole- but, a splitting of the whole has occurred in consciousness. Thus it seems to hold true, that It is only when the conscious identity as a functioning human being is restored, and that one can complete their journey to restore the identity with their inner Divine nature. Figure 12 Unlike most of society, his patients were not able to hold onto their vision of wholeness, and it is thus the job of the analyst to hold the vision for them. (Perhaps that is the role of a priest as well). He viewed spirituality as a process of alchemic transformation, ( using the image of the mandala) whereby more and more of the real spiritual self, often hidden deep within the unconsciousness, is release into beingness by intentionally moving those unconscious pieces into the light of consciousness and claiming them as our own true essence. He recognized the Christ as the life spirit in man as well as
16 also in nature. It was this life spirit that was poured out in everything. Jesus the Christ therefore becomes the self-realization of God in human form; that unconscious wholeness which penetrated into psychic realm of inner experience and made man aware of all that entered into his true configuration. The incarnation becomes the intuition of Christ within each of us when humanity is made aware of its true self and begins the birthing process during the Advent season. He went on to intuit that it becomes the job of humanity to reunite or synthesize the duality. This is the service man can render to God, and when it is occurring, it is felt as Grace. Love of self, necessitates caring for the shadow and it is fear is the most often felt emotion at this stage, leading to an eventual surrender of the control of the ego, allows a resurrection of the wholeness in consciousness. As the process of recovering the lost pieces of the self begins, there is a great deal of suffering and confusion that is met. In the psychotic, the original vision is not caught and it is the erroneous vision of the self which was often told to them in childhood that they identify (i.e. Original Sin with all the trimmings of body hatred and self-loathing). This is the shadow side that must be healed and reintegrated. Jung felt that caring for the shadow was the best means to curing it and thus each unsavory piece of ourselves must be dealt with face on and the permanent part of the collective unconscious is held up to them in the light of consciousness to reveal its intrinsic goodness. The resurrection allows for a further expansion of wisdom (descent of the holy spirit ) and the will and love to keep on the path as the destination becomes clearer and clearer. When people begin to serve others, their journey into wholeness really starts and they are able, this time, by themselves to participate in the cycle to an even higher consciousness once again. -- The Way Of Christian Mystics To Union With The Divine-The Castle Journey Of St Theresa Another spiritual journey, illustrative of the Liturgical cycle is the Journey to the center of the castle which St Theresa of Avila developed as a guide for the nuns in her convent as they undertook the journey to union with the Divine. This path (Fig. 13) was to alert them to the dangers along the way so as to alleviate some of the fear of the unknown as they traveled the path. As with Jung, St Theresa felt that in the beginning there was a need for a companion along the path and that the Spiritual Director was able to help support them along the way, almost in a Shamanic style. In the awakening stage, The Advent, Nativity, Epiphany stage, there is a vision of what the bliss of union would look like, and there also is heard the Call of the Beloved towards this union which is answered by
17 the stirring of the waters deep within each one s soul. It is then that we make the commitment to set out along the pathway. Figure 13 The pathway we discover is littered with reptiles and fears which we conquer one by one as we shed our attachments, possessions, self-love and self-will. The sufferings are debilitating as we rip the old parts of ourselves off to make way for more glorious ones. The agony we liken to the sufferings of Christ during the Lenten and Holy week stage. As we cleanse our souls, we begin to feel a dissolution of our form, a melting into the chrysalis of the silkworm where we transform our very substance into a new form the image of the butterfly is used to symbolize this death and rebirth this resurrection. In this new form we further acquire the wisdom and the grace needed to more fully enter into the inner rooms of the castle, the rooms of the divine where the ecstatic union, which St. Theresa likens to a spiritual marriage, can occur. In this state of union consciousness, we are fully prepared to go back out into the world, and begin transforming it as well through acts of loving kindness and service.
18 -- The Way Of The Sufi Mystic To Fusion With The Consciousness Of The Beloved The last spiritual pathway that I wish to discuss is that of the Sufi which is the mystical arm of Islam. As the spiritual roots of Islam are Hebraic, it holds much in common with them as well as with the Christian offshoot of Judaism. The Oneness of God, the sacredness of all creation, and the saving power of Love are the key tenets. The Sufis hold great regard for Jesus as prophet and much of the mystical poetry composed by the great Sufi mystics refer to Jesus life and death. Rumi alone has 82 poems about different aspects of Jesus. Thus, it is not surprising that many of the paths to union with the divine are quite closely aligned to the Christpath. Figure 14 The Sufis goal of union with the beloved is an archetypal journey (as shown in Fig. 14) in which the first stage is to hear the call of the Beloved and envision the state of bliss that a union with the heart of one s heart would bring. This awakening of the imaginal eyes and ears and an orientation of the self toward the journey to the Divine is the response to the call. The Advent stage is characterize by
19 a falling in love with love -- with the image of our Divine Self --and a restlessness that sends us on the journey to find the long awaited one. The second stage of the Journey begins with the realization of our separateness from our Beloved and a realization of the still seemingly insurmountable gap between us. The agony caused by this separation can be assuaged only by a surrender, and death of the Human self, so as to begin the transformation of the consciousness during the Dark Night of the Soul into the unified consciousness of the Divine. It is a letting go of resistance and a plunging into our worst terrors of the ego to be transformed. Here with sublime faith, we abandon all arrogance and vanity to acquire majesty we embrace death with rapture knowing that your breath will always revive me (from Rumi s sayings). The third stage embodies not only the resurrection but endless unfoldings of higher and higher love consciousness which occur through the fire of transformation, similar to that zeal conferred at Pentecost to doing God s will. The image of the flaming or burning heart is most important to the Sufi s indicates that the reborn heart is on fire with love and passion for service and pursuing justice in this world. Through the continued love and service, the soul unifies with the Divine, with the Beloved, and ones true being is assumed. Estatic joy and peace follow and lead us to become guides to others in their journey to their own true selves. INTEGRAL PATHWAYS TO DIVINE CONSCIOUSNESS: THE RISE OF SYSTEMS THINKING --The Integral Path of the Individual s Journey the evolution of personal consciousness --In the above section, we have looked in detail at the yearly liturgical cycles of many of the established religious institutions, as well as the inner pathways of transformation for many spiritual seekers. And while diverse in outer expression and form, the goal is similar- to unite with the Divine to become whole. But this wholeness occurs over a lifetime with many trips around the circle more like walking up a spiral staircase. Thus our personal journey into consciousness looks more like a Christmas tree, and our Church community is more like a grove. We only get the star when we get to the top. The vertical axis is important perhaps the most important. It is our personal metric for success. We need to use the height (consciousness axis) as our measure of success not just the
20 number of times we ve gone around the same circle. We need to integrate over many, many cycles to get the full consciousness of a lifetime. So it has become obvious that the cycle is not the journey, and the annual liturgical cycle must be looked at in the context of a life not necessarily only the life of the Church, but the life of the person undertaking the journey. Thus each year needs to be thought of as one level in a progressive spiral upward, marked, a notches on a belt, with the individual s progress toward the Divine. Success in one s own personal journey will result in peace in the individual as well as peace in the collective of which they are a part. But the journey to higher consciousness is to be taken by both the individual and the collective. The two commandments of Love God and Love neighbor hint at this process. The first is the inward, personal journey of the soul where we align our lives to our Creator for the purpose of uniting with God. The second is the outer expression of the inward love which forms bonds between people love tribes if you will, and this is the collective, the Other, that accompany us on our progressive planetary march to Divinity. It is not just raising our consciousness that is important, it is raising the consciousness of the planet which is the result of our individual higher consciousness. Thus it is to be a journey that we take as a collective a collective raising of consciousness. I have put together a spiritual practice for what I call an examination of consciousness based on the stages of consciousness by Ken Wilber as described below. It is patterned after the examination of conscience which the church teaches. I have added it here as an Appendix. Such a self-guided practice can serve as the metric to individually assess where we are on the consciousness scale in our daily lives. --Spiral Dynamics Metrics for Measuring The Evolution of Cultural Consciousness It is no accident that for past 20 years or so, humanity as a whole has been educated about the Mayan Calendar and the birth of a new consciousness scenario. Simultaneously with this education, the more interested and intense spiritual seekers have been introduced to integral theory first popularized by Ken Wilbur. Now it is very interesting that both the Mayan vision of time and the integralist s concept of time are cosmic in scope and linked to the global raising of consciousness. They are talking about the consciousness of collectives, of systems, not just individuals. It is personal, cultural, human, planetary and cosmic consciousness, nested together like Matryoshka dolls that is being raised, and it is led by the individual human in contact with the Divine. The recognition that everything is all part of a divine Plan is big picture or systems thinking and it is only the more evolved human that has that capacity. This recent
21 (3000 years or so) development in consciousness has allowed us to see our pivotal place in this world and thus can see our destiny, a vision lacking in primitive mankind. Figure 15 ( An adaptation from Ken Wilber) illustrates how the consciousness of culture has developed over the past 100,000 years. It is only within the past 5000 years that we begin to see what we recognize as a civilization. The evolution of the consciousness of these civilizations is broken into several ascending Figure 15 stages which are referred to as tribal (the fantasy stage), warrior (the fighting stage), traditional (the fitting-in stage), modern (the flourishing stage), postmodern (the fulfilling stage), and integral (the frontier stage). The small triangle superimposed on the right shows the four steps in our consciousness cycles as represented in the liturgical cycles we have spoken about above. The awakening to the potential divine-self potential is actually indicated in the writings of the Bible and other sacred texts over 5000 years ago. Perceiving oneself in the dual nature often recorded by philosophers is a newer capability, perhaps thousands of years old. The understanding that the dual nature might be unified through the surrender of the self is a fairly recent understanding, fully developed by Jung and others of the 20 th century in the post-modern era. The actual birth of the divine human unified consciousness, the
22 anthropos is still relegated to only a very few individuals; however, the grasping of the process that allows us to evolve to that stage is spreading rapidly over the past 30 years or so, aided in part by internet technology. --Cosmic Calendar of The Mayans Ascent Of World Consciousness Through Eons Since we have examined the development of the individual consciousness and the cultural consciousness, we are now in a position to examine the evolution of planetary consciousness as shown by the Mayan Calendar wheel in Figure 16 and the familiar pyramid of consciousness in Figure 17. Figure 16 The following is summarized from a paper by Tadeja Lazanski from the University of Primorsha, Slovenia. (see references). The Mayan civilization had a way of incorporating higher dimensional knowledge of time into the calculation of the evolution of the planet. They based their knowledge on their understanding of the cosmos. In brief, they worked out cycles of time which could be compared to the rising of higher consciousness on the planet which were actually similar to the calendar wheels of the Vedic and Tibetan calendars. Shamans guarded these wheels and kept track of the cycles. This was their religion, as the increments in time were represented by various deities and spirit guides. It is a systems approach where the part is understood in relation to the whole. The key concept is it is relational. Progress or growth is measured in steps, as on a pyramid, with each ascending step charting the progress from dualistic to unity consciousness at a single level, then back to dualistic consciousness on the next riser of the higher step, and an evolution up to unity consciousness on that
23 level of the step, and so on. The 2012 date represented the completion of the duality-unity dance, as unity consciousness would be a permanent fixture from here out. I use this only as an example as to how some civilizations have measured the progress of their culture by their growth in consciousness rather than a growth in the economy or technology as the Western cultures have tended to do. Figure 17 Further Thoughts -Insights in Assessing our Progress Towards Union as a COA Church It is interesting to see, the common threads of all of the religious calendars presented in this paper. Each one represents its own unique perspective on the spiritual development of their people, and is strongly associated with ethical and moral development which makes up a culture. In our religious structure, we can make the Church calendar represent our own intimate journey towards the Divine. The progress through the seven minor and three major orders in seminary are deliberately configured to gauge a stage in consciousness of the individual walking the path of Christ toward union with the Beloved. Perhaps as we progress, we could chart a similar stepwise progression of consciousness for our own families. Such a structure might serve as a wonderful tool to step out of the individual path and onto the collective path of raising the consciousness of humanity. -Changing the concept of worship from a Day of Rest into a Day of Service -
24 The Sabbath has been observed by every religion as a day of worship. But I am beginning to believe that Jesus set about to change that as well. If we look at the last supper, he began by serving the apostles by washing their feet, then he gave the blessing and shared the meal. What an uproar would occur if upon leaving a Sunday service, one were given a scrub brush or a hammer or a baking pan instead of a Church Bulletin. What if keep holy the Sabbath day meant not doing anything for the self but selflessly serving others. What if upon leaving you were given your assignments of where to go to learn the lesson of love, not just the lesson of the day. What if the needs list that the Deacons gathered from the surrounding community were read at the service and followed up with a show of hands for volunteers to fill those needs that week. That is what Jesus called us forth to do. That is The Christ Path. And is not our Church to be the enclave where one comes to and discovers how to recapture the original blessing, denied to us by false doctrines and hidden agendas? Is this not a church which guides people to the recovery of our birthright? The Church of the Recovery! We need to reclaim the body as the sacred vehicle in which the transformations of the soul take place. And in doing so, cleanse all false conceptions of the body as base or vile or shameful and celebrate its magnificence as the bearer of The Divine Human in potential. This is what we as clergy need to do for our church, and this is what our church must do for all humankind. ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Bourgeault, Cynthia ( ). The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity A comprehensive guide to the feminine in the Church Churchdays.com -- I found this a most helpful guide to seeing the eastern, western and protestant feast days side by side Harvey, Andrew, The Teachings of Rumi. an excellent introduction to the Sufi mystics poetic expression of the journey to union through all of the stages. Holy week timeline for Passion week An original and most insightful picturing of events of Holy week in a flow diagram, a form that can give great insight as the relationship between events and people
25 Dues, Greg. Catholic Customs and Traditions: A Popular Guide. Twenty-Third Publications, More of a popular guide to the Roman Catholic year including some of family and cultural traditions surrounding the various feasts. Elliott, Msgr. Peter J. ( ). Ceremonies of The Liturgical Year Ignatius This is a recent well written text based upon the Roman Catholic Year. Press. Kindle Edition.-- George, Archimandrite, Abbot Of The Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios On Mount Athos, Theosis: The True Purpose Of Human Life This is one of the most clear, precise and encompassing explanations of Theosis for today s world that I have read. It acknowledges that the Western mind is not used to this concept and thus gently persuades with kindness and compassion, always based on the New Testament as well as Old Testament words and understanding. Hebrews4christians.com- I found this an excellent explanation of the rationale behind, as well as the display of the Hebrew calendar based on the lunar cycle Lazanski, Tadeja Jere, PhD, University of Primorska, Systems Thinking: Ancient Maya s Evolution of Consciousness and Contemporary Studies A good novice level guide to understanding the Mayan evolution of consciousness scale Merrill, Nan. Journey into Love: From Fear to Freedom, Continuum Press an exploration of love-consciousness in the journeys each of us takes. Parsons, John J. The Jewish Calendar: Mindfulness of the Divine Rhythm an instructive guide to the history of the Jewish calendar. USCCB. Liturgical Calendar for The Dioceses Of The United States Of America 2014, USCCB.org Each year the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America. This calendar is used by authors of ordines and other liturgical aids published to foster the celebration of the liturgy in our country. The calendar is based upon the General Roman Calendar, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on February 14, 1969, subsequently amended by Pope
26 John Paul II, and the Proper Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America, approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.1 This calendar has been updated to reflect the names and titles of the various liturgical days in conformity with the Roman Missal, Third Edition.
27 APPENDIX 1: The Daily Assessment of Degree of Consciousness of Self and World Rev. Mary Altalo The work of the Integral Movement, which includes Ken Wilbur, Paul Smith, Steve McIntosh, and numerous others, has examined the evolution of human consciousness for the past 15,000 years and examines the characteristics that have evolved over the millennia since mankind began to see itself as separate from the Creator. In most cases it addresses the attributes of God in relation to humanity and is broken into several stages which are referred to as tribal (the fantasy stage), warrior (the fighting stage), traditional (the fitting-in stage), modern (the flourishing stage), postmodern (the fulfilling stage), and integral (the frontier stage). The diagram is from Steve McIntosh which shows the slow spiral progress that the world culture has taken on its journey through history. Often we can see ourselves or others acting with certain behaviors which are characteristic of a level of consciousness that was prevalent millennia ago. When we recognize this in ourselves, we often are brought up short but at least thankful of the awareness. The image of the chambered nautilus is used in this practice with each spiral of the shell representing successive and ever-expanding dwelling places. Remember, they are all progressive, linked iterations of the same being over time towards the mature form the form it was created to be. It recalls the last 3 stanzas of Oliver Wendell Holmes s beautiful poem The Chambered Nautilus. Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul. Here are the last three stanzas:
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