Archive for the ‘child archetype’ category

The Radiant Child

August 19, 2009

Mystic teachings are multi-layered.  They tend to transform and take on new meaning as we go through progressive initiations.  “Gnosis” is a Greek word meaning “knowledge”.  There is another layer of meaning, which is “personal knowledge of God.”  (Many early Christians believed, because Christ taught it, that one could know [“gno”] God without the need for intervening clergy.  For this reason they were labeled “Gnostics” and declared heretical by the burgeoning church establishment.)  Below this second level of understanding, lies the knowledge that our knowing is possible because we too are divine.  Below that lies the realization that the universe is one entity – everything is one.  Finally we come to the experience- the gnosis, of being one, in which the mind finally finally dissolves and allows us to feel the oneness that we have heretofore only comprehended.

 Lately, I’ve been reading The Gospel of Judas.  This is yet another Gostic text, discovered almost forty years ago in the Egyptian desert, but only translated and released in this century.  For me the most fascinating line in the text occurs almost at the beginning.  Speaking about Jesus, it says: 

 “Frequently, however, he would not reveal himself to his disciples but you would find him in their midst as a child.”

 You probably remember that in the traditional gospels, Jesus mentions children at least twice; first welcoming them into his presence and then telling  his followers that they must change and become like children to understand him.  The Gnostic gospels from Nag Hammadi also contain many references like this.  Several biblical and apocryphal stories exist about Jesus as a child including the one of his magical birth. 

 The radiant Divine Child is an archetype common to many cultures, stories and myths.  The Child Archetype is a pattern related to the hope and promise of new beginnings.  Fairy tales are full of both children and symbols of the child, such as most flower and circle related images like the golden ring and the golden ball.  Whenever The Child appears in a story, its appearance points to the hidden or unexpected presence of the divine.  The birth of the Christ Child who unites Heaven and Earth, Man and God, is a powerful archetypal event.  Had the life story of Jesus not included this archetype, it would have lost much of its meaning.

 Karl Jung believed that the child archetype represented an inevitable compelling urge in every being toward “self realization.” Ancient Greeks and Romans saw the Divine child as one’s “genius”.  By genius they meant something like, guardian spirit, but the word “genius” also means: “exceptional creative power.”

 In many Tarot decks, the nineteenth card of the Major Arcana called, The Sun, depicts a Radiant Child, arms out flung, riding bareback on a horse.  The horse is a lunar as well as a solar symbol, representing at various times both life and death.  In Buddhist and Hindu texts and in the writings of Greek authors influenced by Plato, the horse above all is a symbol of the senses, harnessed to the chariot of the spirit and controlled by the Self who is the charioteer. 

 However, the Sun Card shows us a divine child so harmonious in aspect that the senses need no bridle to move in the same direction as the child.  Their agreement is born out of trust, love and understanding.

 I mention the Sun today because we have just passed the summer solstice, longest day of the year, when the Sun shows its full glory and splendor.  Springtime– the time of mating and fertility, has preceded us.  Now wombs grow gravid; skins glow; the female gait changes and slows to a statelier pace.  Six months from now the Divine child will be born , on the other side of the year, in the depths of the darkest, longest night. 

So here we have the birth of a sacred child, a result of the coming together of masculine and feminine forces, the fruit of the sacred marriage.  Who is this child? 

Inside ourselves, we experience the child of the sacred marriage as intuitive knowing, spontaneous inspiration, deep insight.  The name of this child, born out of the integration of our differing energies ,is “Gnosis”. It’s playground is the corpus callosum, that amazing bridge which connects the right and left sides of the human brain.  Back and forth it skips turning out plots and poems, salads and stews, quilts, soft-ware, paintings, and pots.

The child is also our core true self, the deepest, most hidden authentic us – there since the beginning.  The Self-generated child of Gnostic myth.  This is the guardian spirit who always wishes us well; who urges us towards health, sanity, and integration.  It sends us teaching dreams.  It sends us healing dreams.  It alerts us to guides, teachers and mentors.  It whispers wake up, wake up, wake up.  It wants to come out of hiding.  It wants us to shine.  It wants to be born. 

The Sacred Marriage calls forth this radiant hidden child, promising it protection, sanctuary and nurture.  Marrying our self to ourselves we open to potential, to the unexpected, to promise, to new beginnings.