(Extract from The Coming of the Feminine Christ by Dr. Niamh Clune)
The mystery surrounding the Ark of the Covenant still persists. Many seek the Ark, as they seek the Grail believing it to be a material object rather than a mystical one. Whether or not it actually exists, must be left to archaeologists and relic seekers to determine.
In the context of this story, the Ark of the Covenant is another of those metaphors that describes a Thing-of-God’s, about which nothing may be known or spoken, not even if it exists. It belongs to metaphysical reality as a relic content of the ancient psyche.
The Ark contained four things: Moses’ tablets of the law, Aaron’s rod, golden candelabra and the urn containing manna from heaven. These four sacred things are physical representations of ancient core psychic contents, which were considered sacrosanct, divine Things-of-God and preciously held within the human soul.
These Things-of-God are psychological building blocks through which the human soul is expressed in the world. Over the course of time, as east met west, the four sacred things came to represent the quaternary of being that shape-shifted into representations of the Blessed Trinity and its reciprocity with Humankind.
The tablets of Moses bear early reference to humankind’s relationship with the Father Archetype or God the Father. In this case, the heavenly Father is portrayed as a spiritual lawmaker. As eras moved one into the other and Moses led his people out of Egypt, a new Age was dawning. Humankind was moving out of the astrological sign of Taurus and into the new sign of Aries.
The astrological sign of an Age usually spans two thousand years. As humankind spiritually moves from one Age to another, a new Covenant between Heaven and earth must always begin. Mythically, the tablets signify the embodiment of that New Covenant.
Aaron’s rod symbolises the Son of Father and possibly portrays an early Christ archetype. The golden candelabra correlate with the light of the Holy Spirit which illumines us from within. And the sacred urn symbolises the sanctified human heart in which all three aspects of the Blessed Trinity meet in humankind and radiate their grace. Thus, grace, the manna from heaven, is the gift contained within the chalice. Through grace, land, bloodline, culture and creed receive benediction and healing.
These motifs of the Blessed Trinity and its relationship to Humankind are again resurrected in the Grail myth. The Chalice contains the three persons of the one godhead. Its relationship to Humankind is embodied in the blessed woman who will give us counsel. She symbolises matter that is the sanctified human body, the physical expression of spirit.
In this motif, ancient stories coalesce. Their continued transfiguration had been born of those preceding ages as a creative synthesis of cultures, trends, eras, beliefs, sacred motifs and relic contents. Finally, the prophetic psychic content of the message [Sic. described in The Coming of the Feminine Christ] reaches us and is relevant for the age in which we now live and have our being. This tiny motif, when indwelled, unfolds its mystery and complexity. It tells us that Aquarian seekers of wisdom are destined to integrate the three persons of the one godhead in the awakened, conscious heart, and when they do, they will radiate grace which will separate truth from falsity.
This is the grace bestowed by authenticity. The Grail is not an object to gain, but something we become. Such individuals will become Feminine Christs: not born of the womb but of the sanctified heart. Without father or mother, genealogy, beginning of days or end of life, these are priests forever, in the order of Melchizedek, of the spiritual bloodline of all those Christs who went before and will come again.
As already described, I trod the inner path following the mystic thread of ancient symbols deeper into the labyrinthine passages of the ancient psyche. I indwelled the sacred motifs and images. As I did so, the secrets of a threefold initiation in water, which baptises the emotions, in blood, which baptises the bloodline, and in fire, which baptises the spirit, became revealed.
Each initiation is unique. It is always difficult to impart its secrets. In this description; therefore, I can only generalise and describe my own experience and experience of working as a psychotherapist with many others.
The threefold initiation is experienced over a long period of time. The process begins with a slow, deep, burning sensation in the top of the head. At first, this sensation might be accompanied by what feels like an overstimulation of the chakras. Before we learn how to acknowledge emotion through catharsis, this psychic stimulation can cause us to feel “spaced out!” This is because the emotional body has become congested through tacit stimulation. As yet, it has not begun its release.
Issues dissolve in tears of cathartic self-forgiveness. At first, as we confront negative traits and tendencies and wrestle with our demons, many experience shame. This is the first baptism in water. Tears baptise personal emotions, purging anger, hurt, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, grief and the whole gamut of emotions that we, as feeling, sentient beings are capable of feeling. Such emotions have their focus in the solar plexus. As we enter into cathartic process, these are raised into the heart. Gradually, we awaken to the wider world of feeling and meaning, developing a deeper sensibility, empathy, participation, presence and resonance. We have begun to experience the broader unity of being.
This is an ongoing process, during which time, the astral body is vastly expanded. The feeling function is enhanced and differentiated, enabled to be in communion with a whole field of experience, yet valuing differences contained with that field. And just as the pupa is transformed into a butterfly, the astral body is being gradually transformed into an emotionally purer receptacle for the emergent soul. The spiritual heart is now prepared for the second baptism.
Our journey now shifts from the personal to the transpersonal into psychological core issues and mythic complexes that keep the soul in bondage. This is the baptism in blood, and this journey leads us deeper into the Mystic Labyrinth. We begin to recognise the psychic DNA pulsing through our veins. We recognise how personal issues are deeply connected to much more ancient stuff connected to the psyches of our fathers and mothers and through them, connected to our ancestry. We begin to recognise underlying collective patterns and how they shape-shift over time as they are influenced by differing cultural mores.
Once recognised, we begin a process of detachment, not brought on by denial, but through the development of right relationship to self. We have come to know our demons, which are never eradicated. They are always there, waiting to take possession of us. But, because we know them, they lose much of their impact on the psyche. We have learned how to extricate ourselves from obsessive engagement with them bringing them under control through conscious recognition. They cease to have their wicked way with us!
Metaphorically, the sins of the fathers are no longer visited upon daughters or sons. And although we are always aware of those patterns, we have learned how to transform negative contents into something positive, creative and light-giving.
Psychologically, the heart is split asunder, washed clean by the Blood of Christ, archetype of the human soul, spark of divinity within us. We have come to the heart’s core and experienced Love as the purifying force. The purified heart is the embodied Chalice. And it will guide the seeker to the third baptism.
By now, the Initiate recognises the sacred vibration of her or his secret name. At last, s/he has come to the sacred place to the centre of the heart where the four quarters of being stand still. This stillness cannot be achieved by an act of will or visualisation. It is born only of inner baptism and subsequent real transfiguration.
The Spirit descends in response to the call of the awakening soul. But in order to speak of the final act of spiritual baptism, I must, once again, resort to more poetical, metaphorical language…
The soul calls out to the One Initiator to extend the rod of spiritual fire and strike the chord of sudden knowing. This kind of dynamic thought is born only of the impelling silence in which the inner thinker thrives. It comes from the world of idea, is felt in the centre of being where the power of God stands still. In that stillness, salvation for Adam and all his descendants is accomplished. This is a baptism of fire; it consecrates the spirit.
The chord reverberates throughout the Initiate. It tunes up the whole of being bringing all dissonance into alignment. The soul is liberated, energy trapped is freed. Each chakra opens and is illuminated. From octave to octave, each sounds its note of perfect harmony.
The Apocalypse speaks cryptically of this initiation. John the Divine describes the opening of the Seven Seals and how, in his vision, he had seen Seven Spirits sit before the Throne of God. The Seven Seals refer to the chakras, which open unto the light of the Seven Spirits, the seven great cosmic archangels in whom we live and move and have our being. When this happens, we become linked to the universe, plugged in and charged up!
When their perfection comes into communion with the seven chakras, it also brings imperfection to the surface. Archaic remnants sealed in the murky depths of unconsciousness spill out like plagues.
This process happens naturally. It is unwise to call it forth. This is each individual’s Apocalypse. And only the awakened heart can transfigure us.
I speak now in more detail of another ancient mystery, the raising of the Kundalini, a mystery that is little understood but which underlies much of our ancient symbolism.
Different schools of healing teach the opening of the chakras and raising of the Kundalini. This is often performed through breathing exercises or the use of visualised Colour. However, the Kundalini can only safely be raised through an awakened, conscious heart. The reason for this is that subtly, each chakra is connected to its corresponding World Chakra. Should the seeker begin sequentially (which is often the taught system) from the root chakra working up the spine without first having purified the heart; and thereby, expanding the astral body, premature raising of the Kundalini could dramatically burn through the etheric web leaving the seeker with no protection from the full force of the world’s undifferentiated primal root chakra energy. This psychic refuse could destroy the Initiate, causing insanity or disease. Only character, courage and heart-centred consciousness can withstand the opening of the Seven Seals, when the forces of the underworld spew their psychic plagues, those negative traits and tendencies inherited through our psychological DNA.
The Initiate’s odyssey involves a conscious journey into each of the chakras in esoteric order, catharting each sorrow and confronting each demon.
The secrets of raising the Kundalini have never been written. Personal experience allows me to understand the esoteric order in which the chakras open. This opening is by no means sequential. And, fortunately, this inner event takes place over a long period of time.
As already mentioned, the process of initiation begins with the slow burning in the head centre. This continues for a number of years. This is the first call of spirit, as it gradually begins the threefold baptism. Its focus in the Crown Chakra, known also as the Thousand Petal Lotus subtly vitalises the pineal gland. Energy of the greater Will begins in a trickle through the head centre. From there, spiritual force moves into the brow centre and arouses the pituitary gland into fuller functioning.
When Christ spoke to Joseph during his confinement in prison, He told him: “As the trunk bore the apple that grew from the tree by the miracle of God, so too had the Son of God to die upon the wood, in order to accomplish this salvation.”
The apple that grew by the miracle of God refers to the pituitary gland, which is the ruler of the Ajna centre, the mythical seat of consciousness. The down-pouring, threefold fire of Spirit super-stimulates the gland and brings with it, direct spirit knowing. The pituitary is thus referred to as the apple, fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
The pituitary gland is also said to rule the third eye: the organ of perception that enables us to see into inner realms. When fully awakened, the Initiate’s perception of metaphysical realms is greatly enhanced. S/he will die upon the inner tree, in other words, transfigure through a deepening perception of Spirit. The inner tree is the Alta Major, whose roots burrow deep into the root chakra, with branches reaching up to the crown chakra. This is the tree of knowledge upon which the Initiate stands alone, and upon which, spiritual salvation for the bloodline is accomplished.
This is why, when Christ visits Joseph during his confinement in prison, he tells him that because of the chalice, no victim shall be offered up. This signified that future sacrifice would be an internal one bringing about real transfiguration: the foundation-shift of Asraya Pavravrtti.
There are many, mythic references to the apple or fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Indeed, Avalon was known as the Island of Apples. Perhaps this metaphor referred to Initiates who entered the inner realms via the Avalon of their own beings, awakening the third eye and thus becoming seers and keepers of the sacred knowledge hidden in the soul.
The ancients thought the right functioning of the endocrine system held the secret of immortality. Should the pituitary gland be stimulated by the down-pouring fire of Spirit, it was believed by the ancients that elixirs would be discharged into the bloodstream. This elixir of life was the healing promised to the one who found the Grail. Metaphorically, these elixirs are supposed to purify the blood. The blood will carry them to stimulate all other glands in the endocrine system.
Whether or not an elixir or positive hormone is actually secreted during this process must be left to speculation. What is clear is that something triggers the endocrine system to set in motion a process that will open the chakras and raise the Kundalini. Proving this would be impossible. It would involve monitoring the secretion of hormones into the bloodstream preceding the raising of the Kundalini! As raising the Kundalini usually happens unbidden, such processes must remain in the domain of metaphysical reality. These hormones probably leave no discernible, physical trace. But I can attest that the process is experienced physically as a tremendous surge of energy accompanied by a burning sensation, a kind of electric fire in the soles of the feet surging throughout the whole being, right up to the crown!
The down-pouring fire of spirit first began the opening of the Alta Major chakra. The carotid gland governs the condition of the Alta Major which, in turn, is spiritual ruler of the spine. During the slow process of initiation, the Alta Major projects the fire of down-pouring Spirit into the channel situated on the right-hand side of the spine. This channel, or nadis, is known as Pingala. As the fire of illumination penetrates deeper into the chakras, the psychic refuse of our ancestral lives is gradually discharged upwards, flowing up the channel on the left-hand side of the spine, known as Ida.
The Alta Major is the gateway to the emotional/astral world, the back door to the unconscious. The next chakra to open, therefore, is the solar plexus. This is the seat of emotion. When the fires of illumination penetrate the solar plexus, our emotions are raised into the heart. They pierce the spiritual heart from below rupturing the heart’s etheric web.
The heart centre now begins its full awakening. It becomes more inclusive and expansive, attuned to world suffering. It becomes the central force of our being. Acting as a magnet, it begins the slow and painful turn of direction that will draw the primal energy of the lower chakras up into consciousness. All the energy of primal sentience will be transfigured through the heart.
The heart raises sexual energy from the sacral centre. This is the next centre to be vitalised. The Initiate penetrates ancestral miasma. Sexual energy is transmuted via the heart and raised to the brow centre. It feeds and strengthens the third eye so that its vision may penetrate yet deeper, into sentient, desire worlds
Eventually, the fires of illumination reach deep into the energy dormant in the root chakra. When the heart is the centrifugal force of being, it is safe to experience this centre’s expression. It is unnameable, a deep, dark impotence, an ancient yearning. This is the yearning of the spirit trapped in the desire world, the fallen angel seeking its redemption.
It is the primal consciousness of the body, also known to alchemists as the Chthonic spirit.
Situated beneath the base of the spine, and dormant in the root chakra, is coiled the serpent fire known as Kundalini. Mythically, she has been attributed a feminine identity because she rules matter, from whence the term mater or mother derives. She is the mother who has dominion over the latent energy of substance itself. She rules all things physical and has dominion over the world of instinct, survival and desire.
When touched by the fire of spirit, the coiled serpentine energy of the mother awakens. This is the snake that tempted Eve to desire consciousness.
Her fires snake up the spine through the central channel of Sushumna. She burns through the remainder of the etheric web. Her fires now combine with the waters of the astral world. The desire nature has, by now been purged, the astral body greatly expanded.
Her fires are raised heavenward to the crown centre where she unites with the energy of Spiritual Will. When combined with the fires of down-pouring Spirit, we eat of the fruit of the Tree of knowledge. We are visionaries of past and future. This is the conjunctio or sacred inner marriage referred to by alchemists of the Middle Ages, or modern-day transpersonal psychotherapists.
Matter has been raised heavenward and unites with the threefold nature of the one godhead. Raising the feminine spirit latent in matter to consciousness makes the mother blessed. She is the blessed woman who will give us counsel.
In Biblical mythology, the uncorrupted body of Mary, mother of Christ, was raised into heaven after her death. This image was taken literally by the Church. It is, however, symbolic of the raising of the Kundalini. Matter, from the Latin mater, means mother. It is raised heavenward and thus redeemed. All the centres are vitalised. All limitations are destroyed. The Initiate stands perfected, in that God and human are reconciled.
The third eye is fully opened. The crown of the Initiate’s head has been baptised with His blood, and salvation is accomplished. The Initiate has gained the gift of prophecy, priesthood and kingship. S/he is a true seer, a priest of God Most High in the order of Melchizedek. The voice of God is heard to speak the name. This name carries the vibration of a sacred task for which the Initiate is named, only by God.
S/he is touched by an archetype, destined to live out a collective myth. S/he will stand on earth as a conduit through which inpouring spiritual light comes to ground. The raising of the Kundalini creates a vacuum in the etheric web. The Initiate has left an empty, psychic space. By the laws of physics, it must be filled.
The Initiate’s consciousness acts as a magnet that draws the energy of the collective unconscious into the vacuum. The vacuum serves as an open channel that constantly fills with the suffering of the world. The Initiate feels it all. From there, the sins of the world are transmuted through the greatly expanded heart of the Initiate who is now functioning as a living Christ.
The Initiate has become a link between Heaven and Earth. Through her or his intercession, Spirit is invoked that will come to meet the call of earth. The consciousness of the collective is gradually raised, earth’s vibration gradually more attuned to cosmic being.
S/he is a feminine Christ, transmuting the sins of the world through the divine feminine ~ the awakened heart.
– Niamh Clune