The Path to Pentecost Day 17

Hans Memling - detail from St John Altarpiece

4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

Rev   4:1-6

The “door standing open in heaven” is the opening of the crown centre. The fullness of the I AM has not yet entered into us, it is, in the words of St Paul, “Hidden with Christ in God”. The divine self is the being seated on the throne. It is surrounded by “twenty four Elders”. These are the cosmic energies that support the I AM in its rulership. One way of understanding these energies is to think of the energies of the signs of the Zodiac. In traditional astrology there are twelve of these signs and they each have an energy associated with them. For example, Aries has the energy of assertiveness, making things happen, aggressiveness and a fighting spirit. Taurus has the energy of holding, retaining, conserving and fixing in place and so on. In spirit however, each sign has a partner energy. A masculine sign like Aries has a feminine partner energy, a feminine sign like Taurus has a masculine partner energy. This means that in evolution, the sign of Aries, and its ruler Mars, will transform from war into peace, and from assertiveness into acceptance. The sign of Taurus will transform from rigidity into strength of purpose, and from resistance to change into manifesting change, beauty and justice in the world.

These cosmic energies also represent the energies running through the twelve pairs of cranial nerves. These nerves emerge from the brain and relay information to and from every part of the body. They especially convey nerve impulses from the senses, so they represent information which the body is continually communicating to the brain. Normally the cranial nerves act on an unconscious level. We feel hungry, so we eat. We hear a noise, so we turn around. They are always talking to us, competing for our attention. To achieve the mystical, visionary experience of the I AM consciousness, we need to ask these voices to mute, to become silent for a while. As we enter into this silence, the twenty four elders, our sense perceptions, focus on the being on the throne. They are in awe, for here is Reality.

The seven spirits before the throne are the archetypes of our spiritual centres. Eventually these divine energies will pour into us through the centres and transform them into living flames.

Today then, we can contemplate the divine template of our being. We are truly spiritual beings on an earthly journey, and in incarnations to come our divine template, the I AM, will manifest through us more and more until we become completely transformed into the spiritual reality of who we are.

The image

Hans Memling - detail from St John Altarpiece
Memling, Detail of enthroned God within a rainbow, the Lamb of God breaking the seven seals, the 24 elders seated in a semi-circle, from St John Altarpiece, (right-hand panel) c. 1479

We have focused on the major event illustrated in Hans Memling’s vision of the Apocalypse. Memling must have thought this scene from Revelation especially important, but then every true artist has a strong connection to the I AM. Here we see the I AM portrayed as Jesus Christ. That is, the I AM has to be embodied within each of us. It cannot remain an abstraction or theological dogma, it is up to us to make it real.

It is a struggle to seat the I AM on the throne and make it the ruler of our being. We may have to endure mockery, criticism, ridicule, false accusations and judgment - just as Christ endured the worst of the world when he was embodied within Jesus.

For today, let us seat the I AM on the throne within. Let us make “Christ in you” not just a hope of glory, but the reality of glory. With every encounter, with every exchange within today, let us allow that inner glory to speak. Of course, this may mean that our normal consciousness becomes very silent, but in that silence we too may hear the voices of the twenty-four elders, our inner powers and energies, lifted in praise and acknowledgment of the divine self within.

To worship with stilled emotions is mysticism at its peak. Not to will, nor to want, not to desire, nor to ask, is mysticism. There is nothing at that moment when you place your twenty-four cranial nerves [elders] before the one sitting on the throne. All your emotions and senses are stilled, there is absolute emptiness, a void within you, a darkness which is brilliant, a silence that is shattering, and this is signified by the sea of glass.  

Rev Mario Schoenmaker, The Book of Revelation, 1982 Lecture Series

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