Monday, 18 February 2019

Let It Happen to Me

          It is only in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke that the conception of Mary is described. Neither in Mark nor in John is this event mentioned. Incidentally, the immaculate conception isn't spoken of in the Gnostic Nag Hammadi scriptures either. It is almost as if the conception is something of a mythological sideshow, a literary filler-in to get the show on the road. Yet I do think that story is important because it tells us something about the psycho-spiritual Mary that lives in each one of us.
          Now unless one believes that a woman in the physical world can conceive whilst remaining a virgin, one must look elsewhere for the meaning of her conception, because as the story goes,

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow." [One might add that Joseph was not going to be involved.]

Here is biblical confirmation that Mary's pregnancy is not of the physical kind, any more than the pregnancies of Demeter or Ceres or any other fertility goddess was of the physical kind. Indeed, I have my doubts even about the existence of Mary, except as a literary figure, an armature on which to construct a myth, a story of a creation within the human psyche.
          Clearly, Mary had no choice in the matter. She was there, not to create life, but to carry life. I say again, she had no choice.

"Let it happen to me as you [the archangel Gabriel] have said."

For me, that statement speaks of submission and the complete absence of psychological denial. Therein lies the spiritual strength of Mary, that symbol of inner creation in the fertile soil of the spirit. What was to come was, what some have called, the 'Inner Christ', the true/authentic/real/higher self. Now whether our Christic Selves were always there but covered in an egoistic shroud, I am uncertain. Maybe there was a point in history when we evolved to a state when we could, if we so chose, break free from the dominion of the ego. Mary's wisdom lay in her acknowledgement of, and submission to, that psycho-spiritual evolution.


  1. Hi Tom,
    Certainly a novel way to interpret the scriptures but who is to say how this is to be done. There is no reason, in a timeless fashion, one is able to dip the toes into the unknown and take that leap in faith as your posts suggest. After all that is the future of religion, that we don’t remain hostage to old ways but find our own interior meaning that speaks to us Individually.

    In a way your posts remind me of Soren Kierkegaard in his dense work entitled sickness unto death where he talks about the knight of resignation and how such a leap of faith represents a future meaningful unconditional commitment.
    If you get a chance you might like to read it. But I must confess I could not make head nor tale of it to start with, but on re reading the dense passages it did finally sink in. It’s not a parody on Hegel as some erroneously suggested.
    Best wishes

    1. A thoughtful comment, Lindsay. It does take a little gritting of the teeth, not only to make the leap of faith, but also to make the leap public. Yet I feel it is only by broadcasting my leaps of faith can I expect to have appropriate returns.

      I do sincerely believe that we must approach that which claims to express truth in a different way. Literalism is a killer of understanding. And even if my interpretations are wrong, always a possibility of course, one must at least seek to understand.

  2. One of the mysteries of the Bible (or the Universe, if you will) that I have never been able to come to understanding is the Virgin Birth of Jesus. Now I understand that much of the Bible is written as a fictional representation of some event but a LOT of people take it as literal truth. And that I can't agree with. So I'm stuck. Can your search for "meaning" help me, friend Tom?

    1. Hello Bruce. I agree with your comment. Unlike so many people, I cannot [will not!] dump the bible and other spiritual writings in the "rubbish bin". If there is truth to be found then I will continue to search for it for as long as my time lasts. That has required that I search through my life experiences to determine what has worked, and what hasn't.

      I am fortunate in being an introvert, so exploring my inner world is not the pointless task some people would have it to be. Can my search for "meaning" help you. I don't know, but if it is possible I will do my best.

  3. Tom, there's no way that exploring one's inner world can be seen as a pointless task! The wisest minds in human history have put "Know Thyself" as a primary goal so you're in very good company. For me, as mentioned before, while the Bible (Old and New Testaments) is certainly a source of inspiration, it's not where I go for that sense of Presence we were talking about earlier. Your finding of hidden truths within Biblical narratives and reading them as messages to the Self is indeed fascinating and salutary. My own search takes a different path though the goal is the same. Surrendering to the Presence is the key. I remember a talk Alistair Hardy gave in Oxford (he led a research project into religious experiences).Answering a question from a skeptic in the audience who said he couldn't put aside his rational objections to the whole idea of "God", Hardy said: imagine you're a dog, put your mind in that position as vividly as you can (not his exact words but that was the message. He went on to describe a state of mind that is humble but alert, a dog watching its Master with a sort of excited devotion. That's when 'belief' no longer has anything to do with rational analysis but is simply trust in the Presence.

    1. Dear Natalie, A lengthy comment deserves a lengthy response perhaps. Yet the one sentence which stands out is, "Surrendering to the Presence is the key." I need add nothing more except, thank you.