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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Hidden Meaning of the "Virgin Birth."


"Adoration of the Virgin"  Sandro Botticelli
  
A great number of Gods and Goddesses were conceived in a unique and supernatural manner, consequentially their “Virgin Birth” stands as a central theme in the world’s sacred texts. The reason behind the virginity of their Mothers has kept the faithful guessing on its' real significance for ages. No doubt this is because religious beliefs originated from the depths of the human psyche and can only be understood through parables, symbols, and allegory. There was never any eyewitness account of the ancient Gods and their virgin births, except in the form of sacred stories.


The ancient myths are more akin to "poetry of the soul" than literal history.
A common misunderstanding of the enigmatic “Virgin Birth” trope is due to the literal interpretation of ancient metaphors. This statement doesn't mean that God doesn't exist, only that their dimension of reality is more within than without, more abstract and therefore has to be symbolized.

It is essential to find a reasonable explanation for such epithets as the “Virgin Birth,” “Virgin Mother,” “Twice–Born” and “Reborn” since these supernatural births are glaring contradictions of the essential facts of life, yet have these metaphors have managed to become an unquestioned doctrines within Christianity, the largest religion in the world.

Ultimately a multidisciplinary group of researchers should verify that the sublimation of sexual energy, is a biological process related to the evolution of the brain and an important aspect of a Kundalini awakening. Thus the phrase “Virgin Birth” would denote the birth of higher consciousness brought about by reversing one's sexual energy.

A general analysis of the most popular supernatural births in Mythology reveals a typical pattern that depicts the “Virgin Birth” of a “Divine Child.” When stripped of their cultural components, each of the ancient civilizations possessed a religion cult featuring a virgin birth, for example, Krishna, Christ, Buddha, Mithra, Horus, and Dionysus were all begot without regular physical intercourse and were considered “Virgin Born” or “twice-born”.

In Hinduism, Lord Krishna is believed to be virgin born even after his mother Devaki had five previous children. The Virgin Mary birthed Christ, while Buddha was born of the Virgin Maya. Egyptians worshiped Isis as the Virgin Goddess and Mother of Horus. In Greek mythology, there was Myrrh the Virgin Mother of Adonis, while Dionysus was revered as a 'Twice Born.' Mithra is an Indo-Persian-Roman God whose birthday is celebrated around the winter solstice December 25 as he was Virgin born in a cave for an egg-shaped stone. There is an endless trail of miraculous events leading to the birth of each God, mystifying aspirants with a sense of awe and wonder even to this day.

Edward Carpenter comes to the same conclusion in his book “Christian and Pagan Creeds” but has no explanation for the widespread dissemination of this particular motif. He had written, “A Virgin-Mother was, therefore, a quite imaginable (not to say 'conceivable') thing; and indeed a beautiful and fascinating thing, combining in one image the potent magic of two very wonderful words. It does not seem impossible that considerations of this kind led to the adoption of the doctrine or legend of the virgin-mother and the heavenly father among so many races and in so many localities--even without any contagion of tradition among them. Anyhow, and as a matter of fact, the worldwide dissemination of the legend is most remarkable."

It was Almighty Zeus, "The father of the gods and men" impregnated the mortal Semele, in the form of a thunderstorm; she gave birth to the great savior and deliverer Dionysus. In another myth, Zeus impregnated Danae in a shower of gold; her child became Perseus, who slew the Gorgons (the powers of darkness) and saved Andromeda (the human soul. Devaki, the radiant Virgin of the Hindu mythology, became the wife of the god Vishnu and bore Krishna, the beloved hero, and prototype of Christ.

"With regard to Buddha St.Jerome says, "It is handed down among the Gymnosophists, of India that Buddha, the founder of their system, was brought forth by a Virgin from her side." The Egyptian Isis, with the child Horus, on her knee, was honored centuries before the Christian era and worshiped under the names of "Our Lady," "Queen of Heaven," "Star of the Sea," "Mother of God," and so forth. Before her, Neith, the Virgin of the World, whose figure bends from the sky over the earthly plains and the children of men, was acclaimed as the mother of the great god Osiris. The savior Mithra, too, was born of a Virgin, as we have had occasion to notice before; and on the Mithras monuments the mother suckling her child is a not uncommon figure.’’

"The old Teutonic goddess Hertha (the Earth) was a Virgin but was impregnated by the heavenly Spirit (the Sky), and her image with a child in her arms was to be seen in the sacred groves of Germany. The Scandinavian Frigga, in much the same way, being caught in the embraces of Odin, the All-father, conceived and bore a son, the blessed Balder, healer, and savior of mankind. Quetzalcoatl, the (crucified) savior of the Aztecs, was the son of Chimalman, the Virgin Queen of Heaven. Even the Chinese had a mother-goddess and virgin with a child in her arms, and the ancient Etruscans the same.” (1)

When interpreting the ancient texts one needs to acknowledge the mythical accounts were created when humanities mental processes were still very subjective. A rationalistic attitude of mind along with its’ literal interpretations fails to understand that symbols carry a great number of layered meanings. One had to be initiated into the ancient mysteries before a full exposition was revealed. A process that required moral and physical trials which only a few select initiates achieved. This fact along with the initiates’ vow of silences partially explains the misinterpretation of the ancient's worldview. While another factor results from mythology being a visual language that our own modern mind does not grasp fully because humanities experiences of higher consciousness are still in the process of unfolding and evolving.


What does the "Virgin Birth" signify?

Viewed from the perspective of the Kundalini thesis 'Virginity' symbolizes the 'Sublimation of Sexual energy' leading to a connection to the individualized soul. Phrases such as 'Reborn,' 'Born again,' 'Twice Born,' and 'Resurrected' reflect the tremendous physical and mental expansion caused by this transformation. A transformation that may occur suddenly, sometimes within months, but usually, it takes many years (or decades) for the brain and nerves to physically evolve. This process completely alters the normal state of consciousness as if the old personality died and was 'born again' or 'resurrected' from the dead. It is this spiritual transformation of body and mind, that is the foundation on which religions, mythology, and legends are built.

There is a long historical precedent in the ancient religious practices which considered chastity and celibacy an indispensable practice for spiritual advancement. Even to this day, Catholic and Buddhists monks take a vow of celibacy. Different religious sects had understood the link between sublimation of sexual energies and spirituality but through the long march of history have lost its significance. While in Yogic and Taoist Philosophies this knowledge of the biological nature of recirculated sexual essences has never been forgotten and is taught openly. Western patriarchal religions regard sexual procreation as a legitimate avenue open to expression, but Urdhva–Retas , (i.e., sublimation) does not factor into their belief system except in a subconscious manner. There are particular faiths such as the Catholic religion that still practices celibacy but without any link to higher consciousness.

The ancient philosophers believed that humanity was a reflection of the universe, as indicated in their universal motto, "As Above so Below." Interpreted in this way, the Gods, Goddess, and Divine child become personifications of psychological forces within oneself. Therefore the trinity of forces exists within, as the Virgin Goddess is a personification of Kundalini. She is the dormant Shakti, whose feminine creative energy (Shakti) rises upward to meet the archetypal masculine God, that flows downward from the heavens starting with the crown chakra. Once the two opposites are purified, conjoined and married,(symbolized by the sacred marriage), a Divine Child (spirit) is born within.

In India, Kundalini is worshiped as a Goddess. Her activities, actions, and wisdom portray the effects of an intense awakening. The emphasis on virginity teaches purity, restraint, chastity, and self-discipline because these efforts are an integral part of the biological and psychological conditions necessary for enlightenment. Similarly, the Greek Virgin Goddess Athena and Egyptian Isis have the same function in denoting in mythic form the proper practices for further evolution. Arthur Avalon presents an insight into this aspect in his book “Serpent Power.”

“Man is a microcosm, (Ksudra-Bramanda).3 the world is a microcosm (Bramandra), there are numberless worlds, each governed by its own Lords, though there is one great mother of all whom these Lords themselves worship, placing on their heads the dust of her feet. In everything, there is all that is in anything else. There is thus nothing in the universe which is not in the human body. There is no need to throw one’s eyes into the heavens to find god. He is within, being known as the ‘’ ruler within ‘’ (Antarymina) or “Inner Self” (Antaratma).” (2)

The birth of the Divine child takes place by the power of the “Great Mother of All,” the Goddess, Kundalini. When she rises up the Sushumna into the crown chakra the individual experiences, an expansion of consciousness which lasts until the Pranic energy in the form sublimated essences (Ojas) is expended. Brahmacharya is a major biological factor responsible for spiritual enlightenment; it is the energetic component bonding together two ends of spirit and matter. Without a considerable amount of Ojas obtained from sexual essences, no expansion of consciousness can occur. It has been stated in yogic philosophy that continuous celibacy over a period of twelve years is required for a permanent state of Samadhi. Yoga and Taoism have understood the intimate connection between the physical body and higher awareness. Yogic practices such as Brahmacharya and The Taoist “Microcosmic Orbit’’ are based entirely on re-circulation and sublimation of sexual essences.

Physical postures (asana) along with pranayama were predicated on the knowledge gathered through observing initiates spontaneous awakenings. By repeating the exact movements, the yogi could attune the body to the increasing intensity of the Pranic spectrum. Why would anyone believe that the physical stretching (asana) or Breathing (Pranayama) could affect the spiritual unless of course the human body itself is saturated with cosmic intelligence? The yogic system is focused on merging individual consciousness with Brahman; the vital energy for this is provided in Brahmacharya; to understand the symbol of the "Virgin Birth" one needs to be conversant with Yogic Philosophy. Sri Swami Sivananda has written these thoughts on Brahmacharya:

                                       
THE MEANING OF BRAHMACHARYA

“Brahmacharya literally means Achara or conduct that leads to the realization of Brahman or one’s own self. It means the control of semen, the study of the Vedas and contemplation on God. The technical meaning of Brahmacharya is self-restraint, particularly mastery of perfect control over the sexual organ or freedom from lust in thought, word, and deed."

                      





Isis Relief

The great Isis of the Egyptian pantheon is a Virgin Goddess portrayed with the lunar orb above her head between two horns of a cow while nursing her son Horus. Isis is the prototypical Virgin Goddess, who existed centuries before Christianity and the only Goddess worshiped equally in all of Egypt. Additionally, images in hieroglyphics reveal Isis wearing a crown made of cypress branches with a serpent interwoven in a circle among olive leaves, biting its own tail. Here is the legendary myth of the virgin birth of Horus,
“Set held a banquet for Osiris in which he brought in a beautiful box and said that whoever could fit in the box perfectly would get to keep it. Set had measured Osiris in his sleep and made sure that he was the only one who could fit the box. Several tried to see whether they fit. Once it was Osiris's turn to see if he could fit in the box, Set closed the lid on him so that the box was now a coffin for Osiris. Set flung the box in the Nile so that it would drift far away. Isis went looking for the box so that Osiris could have a proper burial. She found the box in a tree in Byblos, a city along the Phoenician coast, and brought it back to Egypt, hiding it in a swamp. But Set went hunting that night and found the box. Enraged, Set chopped Osiris's body into fourteen pieces and scattered them all over Egypt to ensure that Isis could never find Osiris again for a proper burial."

“Isis and her sister Nephthys went looking for these pieces, but could only find thirteen of the fourteen. Fish had swallowed the last piece, his phallus, so Isis made him a new one with magic, putting his body back together after which they conceived Horus. The number of pieces is described on temple walls variously as fourteen and sixteen, and occasionally forty-two, one for each Nome or district.[13]” (5)

Athena's birth from the head of Zeus


A cursory glance of Athena’s mysterious birth presents us with a motif that closely resembles the principal themes in world mythology. She is intimately related to the practices of chastity, Virginity, and Purity and secondly, Athena was predicted to be more powerful than her father (Zeus). These two common motifs appear in over 18 different world myths. Both reveal their secrets from an evolutionary point of view, as each expresses an important aspect of the Kundalini thesis. Athena’s virginity is symbolic of sexual sublimation, while Zeus’s reluctance to her birth portrays the adverse forces fighting against the higher embodiment of the spiritual.

Technically speaking Athena wasn't “Virgin Born”, she was a Virgin Goddess, a distinction in specific details that clarifies her position as a personification of the Kundalini paradigm. Her evolutionary function as “Virgin Goddess’’ promotes the idea of sexual sublimation and parallels the Virgin Mary, Isis, Maya, and other Virgin Mothers. While the objects and animals which surround her express many aspects of a transformation, such as a serpent shield, covered with gorgons. Most importantly Athena’s birth sequence is a metaphor that presents the Greeks' progression of thought in regards to religious worship, that developed over the centuries to a more balanced attitude, thus balancing out the three thousand year reign of Zeus.
"They said that Athena was the daughter of Zeus not from intercourse, but when the god had in mind the making of a world through a word (Logos) his first thought was Athena" (6)


"The Virgin and Child " by Sandro Botticelli



A primary doctrine of Christianity and Islam is the belief in Christ’s virgin birth by his Mother Mary, called “The Mother of God” and Jesus “was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.” It was a universal Christian belief by the third century among all the different sects. The ancient statues depict her in a blue robe, a string of seven or twelve gold stars around her head with heavens above while standing on the head of a serpent. Christian writers would have us believe that she is standing on the devil who is in the form of a serpent. But actually, the image simply depicts the negative aspects of serpent power (lower desires and karma), while Goddess Mary is the positive aspects of Kundalini who is responsible for enlightenment. She conquers the serpent through sublimation which leads to higher awareness, symbolized in the virgin birth of the divine child "Jesus Christ."

Out of all the ancient narratives, the least amount of interest in the Feminine Goddess is shown by the early Christian writers. The biblical texts record her pregnancy by the overshadowing of the holy spirit. The Virgin Mary never exceeds her boundary as a Mother. When comparing her abilities with the Feminine Goddesses Athena or Isis, the Virgin Mary appears as an orphaned child who was awarded little respect or power which historically surrounded Shakti. This probably reflects more on the patriarchal mindset of the Old Testament than it does anything else, whereas all other Gods except Jehovah were eliminated entirely. The same attitude of the early Jewish Christians saturates the new testament, as we create the gods in our own image as much as God creates us.

If one takes a literal view of the Virgin Birth, we are struck with the conclusion that a considerable portion of humanity believes blindly in complete contradiction to the essential facts of life, in a definition of virginity that results in childbirth, which is a physical impossibility. A number of researchers have written that ancient tribes were unaware of the connection between sexual intercourse and childbirth. Therefore they personified feminine fertility by creating the Virgin Goddess, and consequently, this idea expanded over the world. So their explanation for the "Virgin Birth" would be predicted on the ancients ignorance.

James Frazer (1854-1941) in his influential book, The Golden Bough, "thought the belief in the Virgin Birth without regards to sexual intercourse was a common if not universal, among mankind at a certain stage of social evolution."

I'm sure these essential facts of life were well-known in ancient civilization, as some of the most significant philosophers were living at that time. We have inherited a tremendous record of political discourse from the Greeks, religious philosophy from India, the constitutional law of Rome. Assuming they were ignorant of the basic facts of conception is just poor research. The explanation denies the allegorical nature of mythology while considering the most magnificent civilizations of the ancient world were ignorant of life. Frazer’s statement fits into the modern era’s mindset that religion is the “opiate of the masses” while the traditional explanation for the virgin birth relies on unseen miracles. The only solution to the problem of is research into the biological aspects of the Kundalini.

Finally, the practice of celibacy without sexual sublimation would be just as destructive as sexual licentious. Why would someone who reached a higher state of consciousness not have children? It would be going against the natural law of evolution, that seeks to have the most evolved procreate. In fact, during the Vedic Period, there were hundreds of enlightened masters that married and had children. The real point here is that sexual energy (Shakti) is the force behind both religion and evolution.





References

(1) Pagan & Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning by Edward Carpenter (1920)


(2) “The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga” (1950 ) Fourth printing 592 http:/www.scribd.com/doc/30859977/Arthur-Avalon-the-Serpent-Power pg.50

(3) The practice of Brahmacharya by SRI Swami Sivananda ;

A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION © the Divine Life Trust Society ISBN 81-
7052-067-3, Section II. The Glory of Brahmacharya 7.The meaning of Brahmacharya

(4) “The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga” (1950 ) Fourth printing 592



(6) Hesiod, Theogony 890ff, and 924ff.


All the paintings and images are copyright free obtained from

Wikimedia Commons.

@ 2013 copyright article by Joseph Alexander

edited 2/10/2015 @ 12/24/2016 @ 12/8 2017





  


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