In this sign you will conquer
In the Paradise myth, Adam and Eve leave their place of birth and move to their new residence: the world of matter, time and space. In the Christmas narrative, Joseph and Mary leave their residence and set off to their place of birth. The journey that Joseph and Mary make is therefore the opposite of the journey of Adam and Eve. As a human being, you are called to return to your origin.
You can start that return journey only if you have entered the Zacharias-Elizabeth-state, only when you have deeply experienced how fruitless it is to allow your thinking and desiring to be focused exclusively on the world that is perceived with the senses.
When you, as a result of countless experiences, start to understand that lasting happiness does not exist in the world in which we live, then you will, step by step, become the John-personality who is preparing for the inner journey.
Through purifying your thought life (Joseph) and your orientation in life (Mary), Jesus (the new soul) is born within you. The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God saves’ – the new soul is connected to the spirit of the original Life Field, and through the soul, eternity can literally descend into the world of time and space.
For nearly twenty centuries the Christian community has seen the birth of Jesus as a wonderful event that occurred long ago and far away. This thinking about the Christmas narrative is certainly not wrong.
Esoteric Christianity views Christ as a force, the most powerful force in the universe, a force which was actually ‘born’ in the heart of our planet Earth around the beginning of our era and which ever since has expanded around the earth as a radiant field. Christ is also called the ‘Planetary Spirit’ of the earth.
The Earth as a planet has received the light birth, thus ushering in a new phase for humanity living on the earth.
Since the light-birth of the earth, the forces of the higher field of life have been made available to every human being on earth who wants to go the path of return. He or she no longer needs a priest, a guru or a master in order to re-establish the connection with the divine. Every human being in whom the germ of Light in the heart makes itself felt as ‘the great nostalgia’ is enabled to begin his way back in self-authority and according to his own decision.
In this sense, Jesus was the Messiah for whom the prophets of ancient times were longing.
Should we, however, see the Christmas narrative only as an historical event or an event outside ourselves, then we would not progress any further on the spiritual path. A well-known hermetic law says: as above so below; as in the greater so in the lesser; as the outside so the inside. Thus the outward Christmas narrative is the blueprint for an entirely inner process.
A helping hand reaching out
Everything that is born from the realm of the soul receives protection, help and strength from that realm. If we choose to go the spiritual path, there is always help available. Then what matters is that we learn to grasp the helping hand reaching out to us.
What does that help consist of? Firstly there is a life field of the human souls who walked the liberating path previously. In The Aquarian Gospel this field-of-life is referred to as Elijah. Secondly there is a cosmic force called ‘Christ’ which connected itself with the organic and atmospheric layers of the earth at the Mystery of Golgotha shortly after the beginning of our era.
And thirdly there is the living spiritual tradition which has been active in the physical, material reality, for example in the form of mystery schools.
These three helping forces are closely intertwined, and cannot be considered separately. For example, the living spiritual tradition can only be truly effective if it is linked with the radiation fields of ‘Elijah’ and ‘Christ’.
This living tradition is mentioned several times at the beginning of The Aquarian Gospel. Mary received an education in Jewish law in the Temple. Joseph was a dedicated member of the Essenes. The priest Zacharias led temple services. When Jesus was forty days old, he was consecrated by a priest in the temple of Jerusalem.
Living spiritual tradition
The living spiritual tradition – the transfer of knowledge by initiates such as Elihu and Salome – runs like a thread throughout The Aquarian Gospel. Why is this? It is because it is virtually impossible to go the spiritual path on your own. There are too many opposing forces.
The Christ-force enables the human being to connect to the higher life on an individual basis, on the basis of the awakened soul kernel in the heart. We can develop our own spiritual strength to a certain level but soon we inevitably reach a certain limit.
The forces of the new soul are totally unknown to the I-consciousness and will be experienced as threatening forces that are stronger than oneself. The natural human defence system will take action to neutralize these alien forces, either consciously or unconsciously, just as it does when pathogenic viruses or bacteria enter the body.
But when through trial and error the spiritually striving human being manages to continue listening to the voice of the soul, then an inner peace and certainty develop. Therefore on the spiritual path we need not only knowledge, but also power. At his birth Jesus received three fundamental forces: strength, wisdom and love.
Strength is released within a living spiritual tradition of dedicated people working at all levels of development. Tradition literally means ‘to transfer’. What is meant here is the transfer from generation to generation and from person to person.
Just as in ordinary journeys, many obstacles and threatening situations will occur on the spiritual path. If somebody goes the spiritual path within an authentic living tradition, those dangers can more easily be recognized and neutralized.
Simeon (meaning ‘listener’) in the temple of Jerusalem not only listened intently to the teachings of his tradition but he also listened to his inner voice, the voice of silence. He put the teachings into practice; because as the text says, he was a pious Jew. The old widow who day and night worshipped God in the temple was also pious. In the Gospel of Luke she is called Anna (meaning ‘grace’).
The fullness of experience and the new sign
It is said that Anna is 84 years old, meaning that she has passed 12 cycles of 7 years, or 7 cycles of 12 years. So the number 84 expresses a fullness. As was the case with Elizabeth, Anna’s advanced age refers to a fullness of experience and also to maturity in the spiritual sense.
The Light of Christ has not only manifested itself in the earth field and in a full-grown living spiritual tradition in the form of a mystery school, but above all it must be revealed within man himself: this is the true mission of Christianity for this time.
“… Behold, this child will bring a sword upon my people, Israel, and all the world; but he will break the sword and then the nations will learn war no more. The master’s cross I see upon the forehead of this child, and he will conquer by this sign.”
A sword has the shape of a cross and can have several symbolic meanings. Of course, there is the sword as a symbol of strife, not only of outward strife but also of inward strife. Once a new soul is born in a human being and becomes active, an inner conflict inevitably arises.
The sword also stands for pure strength and discernment. The new soul discloses to the human consciousness not only the opportunities but also the obstacles in his or her path.
By means of falling down and above all by standing up again, we must learn to deal with both the eternal and the temporal within ourselves. Such is the process of walking the inner path; it is the highest form of spirituality, the highest form of yoga.
The eternal and the temporary, the heavenly and the earthly, are diametrically opposed. Thus a cross is planted in us, the cross of the higher life which has broken into our ordinary life. If in that situation we are willing to conform to the lessons of the soul, we will break the sword as a result of which “the nations will learn war no more”.
Simeon sees the cross of the master on the forehead of the young Jesus. The vertical beam of the cross symbolizes the forces flowing in from the new field of life, forces which can transform the human being on the path according to the suggestions of the soul. Subsequently he or she will be able to radiate these forces into the world, as symbolized by the horizontal beam. In this way the human being carries his own cross.
When the new soul is born in the heart and sufficient attention is given to the new soul, then ‘the sign of the forehead’ will start to shine. This special radiation from the sign of the Son of man on the forehead is proof that the new soul is active not only in the heart but also in the head. Through this sign, man will conquer and bring his Path to a good end.
When the new soul is born, the tendency may arise to linger here because it is such a special feeling. However, the birth of the soul is only the beginning of the spiritual path. Therefore in the fourth chapter of The Aquarian Gospel we are given the advice:
“Good woman, stay; take heed to what you do; you may not worship man; this is idolatry. This child is man, the son of man, and worthy of all praise. You shall adore and worship God; him only shall you serve.”