On the Christian calendar we have just experienced the annual (somewhat commercialised) re-imagining of the sacrifice, underworld journey and resurrection of Jesus Christ the saviour: the one who brought light (the Sun of God) to the world; the one willing to surrender his life for the benefit of humankind, and as such was given a place in heaven eternal. However before his resurrection, he had to spend three days and nights in the tombs of death, of the underworld. What transpired there? What was the purpose of this undertaking? And what did he emerge with on his day of resurrection?
We may know that there are many ancient stories that deal with winter and the coming of spring via the underworld (e.g. Innana in Sumerian myth), and the possible pagan origins of the Oestre festival. In another story, that of the Greeks, the god Prometheus plays a sometimes similar role to Jesus. After crafting them from mud, and having Athena breathe them to life. Like Jesus he too walks amongst men as a teacher, and at a crucial time, he steals fire (light) from his King and friend Zeus and, out of love for humans, gives it to them as a gift. As such he is sacrificed, chained to a mountain side and daily pierced by an eagle who devours his immortal liver. At the same time, Zeus punishes all of humanity by delivering Pandora and her box (or jar) of malevolent human qualities, all of our woes and sufferings, and of course HOPE. In essence it is the fall from grace, and a transition into the world of sin and suffering. For Prometheus, many generations later it is only the love and sacrifice of centaur Chiron, and the heroics of Herakles that releases him and returns him to the heavens. But what of the rest of humanity?
This myth has been working me for a while now… and at no time have I felt it more alive in the world. The gift of humans receiving the creative powers of fire, as well as it’s “Pandora’s box” of consequences, has been brought strongly into the global consciousness… the rapid escalation of technology alongside the destruction of the world and the violent abuse of “fire” power has been a theme of our world for some time. And NOW, in the middle of our Corona crisis, many are re-living the Chrisitian story of Christ entering the underworld tomb… where in a place of darkness, death and fear we can also discover light, love, and hope… and use it as a time to prepare for our individual and collective rebirth.
My question right now is this...
How will WE be reborn?
Our time in the tomb may end up being shorter (or longer) lived than expected. Regardless, if we rush to enter the world again before our mythical “3 days” are complete, will we have the depth of vision to carry ourselves and humanity into a new age? What lessons and longings are being brought into our consciousness right now, and how do we hold those things deep in our hearts as we slowly re-enter the world, with a somewhat deepened perspective on things?
I have asked it before many times, but I believe now it is a more crucial question than ever… What is it that I TRULY long for, what life do I want for myself, my family and my Earth community? And what is my unique place in all of it? What is my mythical “wild nature”?
It may not be a question that is ever completely answerable, nor does it always have to be asked with a serious tone; however it might be a guiding constellation in our journey towards creating the world both we, and the Earth, want and need. One that we can take to the trees, the birds, the ocean, our CHILDREN (external and internal) in these quiet times… and see what nature reflects back to us. We humans have indeed been given a creative and powerful gift beyond all other creatures on the Earth. I dare say it is our responsibility to live fully the question of how we can use it for the benefit of all. I truly HOPE I/we have the courage to do so.