By Cal Garrison, a.k.a. Mother of the Skye
This week’s Horoscopes are coming out in the wake of the Full Moon, and the annual Easter rituals. As I sit down to write my weekly astrological musings, with the light of a Scorpio Moon bearing down on my raft of Scorpio planets, and my mind burnt out from being the answer woman, I have decided to skip the usual routine and use Easter as an excuse to offer you something a little different. It is a treatise on Easter that I wrote for the first chapter of “The Weiser’s Field Guide to Ascension.”
My time in Sunday school was limited to an annual blossoming of spiritual fervor that only affected my family on Easter. Every now and then we’d get dressed up and appear in church on other occasions, but there was no routine when it came to Sunday school. I’m not sure if it’s because my parents wanted to sleep late or if it had something to do with the fact that we were Unitarian.
As most of you know, Unitarians don’t have a lot of fixed ideas about God or any hard and fast rules regarding what people choose to do with their Sundays.
Since most of us haven’t had to consider the finer points of Christian dogma for quite some time, it might be good for you to review the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the Pentecost as well, because those three events were intimately entwined with the Christ’s ascent into heaven…
For the past 2000 years Christ’s followers have gone crazy trying to figure out what his three most mind blowing miracles were really all about. Unfortunately, the Bible is worded in a way that doesn’t make it very clear. In addition to that, the good book has been rewritten and translated so many times there are over 800 versions of the same story. If that isn’t enough to confuse us, the fact that the Council of Nicaea removed so much of the original text means that what we take to be the last word on everything is in reality the skeletal remains of the truth.
Time and time again Jesus reminded us, “What I do all men can do.” I am pretty sure he wasn’t kidding. Everything Christ did was meant to teach us about the full extent of our connection to Spirit and to help us evolve into the fullest realization of the potentialities inherent in the archetype “Man.” Each time he made an appearance, this was done, not to glorify his own remarkable abilities, but to demonstrate to all mankind that for anyone who has been awakened to Christ Consciousness life can never be extinguished. An apparent miracle, his resurrection could just as easily be seen as a “live demonstration,” one that was meant to show us that we are capable of the same thing.
His ascension took the lesson one step further. If in resurrecting himself Christ proved that it is possible to come back from the dead, his ascension showed us that for anyone who follows his example, it is also possible to leave this world and ascend to the higher levels without having to discard the physical body in the process. All of us have the inherent capacity to do this, but it is a birthright that only comes to life if we develop the Christed being within ourselves.
When it comes to the Pentecost, the different takes on what actually happened when the tongues of fire touched the hearts of the faithful have divided the Christian Church for centuries. I won’t pretend to have it all figured out but it seems to me that the descent of the Holy Spirit was another part of the same lesson. If his ascension taught us that the stairway to heaven goes up, the baptism of the Holy Spirit showed us, quite simply, that it goes both ways; spirit can ascend, but it can also descend into matter and shine as brightly here in the material world as it does in the higher realms.
Ultimately the resurrection, the ascension, and the events of the Pentecost were all part of one lesson – a lesson that was meant to teach us about our own inherent abilities. “What I do all men can do”; if we take Christ at his word the miraculous things we attribute to him, and the level of consciousness he developed in order to perform those miracles, exist as potential in all of us. Underneath it all, all Christ was trying to show us is that the Holy Spirit lives inside each and every one of us, and that our purpose for living has to do with developing that aspect of ourselves as fully and completely as we can; which gets us to the heart of the matter.
Why did Christ go to such great lengths to teach us these things? What did we learn from him? Did those lessons inspire us to follow his example? And aside from what the Bible tells us, why do you suppose he went through all that just to inform us that we could do it too? …
It wasn’t until I outgrew my patent leather shoes and gave up on my Easter intensives that I found out that Christ didn’t have a monopoly on the ascension process any more than the Christian Church had a monopoly on spirituality. This discovery totally blew me away, but it was the 60s, and everything was getting blown away.
Between the psychedelic explosion and the New Age Movement much of what we learned in church got displaced by ideas that came from other belief systems. Taoism, Buddhism, Theosophy, Tantra, Gnosticism, Rosicrucian-ism, Wicca, Yoga, the ancient Egyptian and Atlantean wisdom; you name it – old and new bodies of knowledge came out of the woodwork, opening the space for more light to shine on what the Bible didn’t tell us.
In conjunction with this expansion of spiritual awareness something else began to happen. It was around that time that the term ‘ascension’ started coming up more and more in conversation, not in reference to the Christ story but in reference to some miraculous, mysterious process that humanity was about to go through. Up until the mid-60s, Easter Sunday was the one and only day of the year that the word ‘ascension’ even came up in conversation – but the minute it came to be associated with the Great Shift of the Ages, the term was on everyone’s lips, begging for a clear definition.
Framed in a new light, the concept challenged too many core beliefs for anyone, including me, to fully comprehend it at the time… Forty-five years and who knows how many books later, I can’t claim to know all about it – but one thing I know for sure: we won’t get very far with this subject if we don’t check out of Sunday school.