FOI Online Liturgy
Booklet: Sphinx, Goddess Myths and Mysteries
by Olivia Robertson
Yes, indeed, the Sphinx covers a secret. Seen by all, understood by few, this enigmatic figure - man - woman - lion - Leo - Cheops - entices the human imagination into creative fantasies, ranging from Atlantean to Sirius myths. That pathetic piece of consciousness we call our minds intuitively reaches out to a greater whole, and will invent any story to give spiritual meaning to existence. For centuries we have followed the adage of the Priesthood: "do not accept a natural explanation, if a supernatural one will do."
However, increasingly scientific materialism dampens our hopes for any supernatural phenomena; so we have lost the belief of having souls which will enjoy happy reunion with the so-called "dead" in Paradise.
We ask for bread and are given a stone. Dealing with the world's great Mysteries of Death and Resurrection, the Mystical Marriage, the Communion of Deities and ourselves, we attempt to "bring the story down to hard facts", "to get at what really happened", to "debunk". In this context the word "really" ironically relates to transient physical perception, rather than to underlying spiritual truth. We are entrapped in the lower-sphere of Mercury's Caduceus.
I was like than when a child! When I was about seven or eight, I was displeased that the grown-ups did not listen properly to my opinions. Then I observed that my father had immense respect for a girl called "Gertie". I discovered that whenever I prefaced my views with the formula: "Gertie says", the grown-ups paid me respectful, even astonished attention. It was only when I chanced to write out her name and my father saw it, that he was annoyed. Fancy calling Goethe by a girl's name ... what cheek.
Inspired by this agreeable if short-lived success, as I grew into my teens, I was sure I could put grown-ups right on many unsolved mysteries. For instance, "The Man in the Iron Mask" had leprosy! Louis XIV referred to him as "that unfortunate gentleman". Hidden away, servants wore gloves when bringing him food. The mask that covered his face was of cloth. When he died, his clothing, bed-hangings, sheets and wall coverings were burnt. Just imagine what would have happened if leprosy was revealed at the Court of the Grand Monarch! There would have been no Sun King - no court. Courtiers would have fled with that superstitious horror that attends leprosy.
I turned my attention to fiction. Clearly Lady Macbeth was Mary Queen of Scots; Hamlet, James 1st. I studied Shakespeare's sources, and was pleased to find out that Juliet did not die with her Romeo, but sensibly married the Count Paris. As for Hamlet, he was a survivor. He escaped to England, married an Englishwoman, sailed back to Denmark, killed his wicked uncle and acquired a second wife.
My next interest became religion, as an admirer of Christ and Mahatma Ghandi. I was delighted to discover, by careful perusal of the gospels, that Christ had not died on the cross, This was obvious. At the time I was nineteen and an Art student in London. I was due for Easter Holy Communion and roast lamb lunch with my uncle, a vicar in Wimbledon. I decided to bring him the good news. Why blame the Jews for something they hadn't done? I thought better of it ...
But I discovered that the "witch" in real life was a harmless woman who ran a very popular cake shop. Two deranged people, "Hantzel and Gretel", driven mad by superstitious fears, set out to murder her. The authorities could not prevent her from being burnt alive in her own shop.
During this phase of trying to bridge the gap between hard facts and psychic and spiritual awakening, we have inspired plays. Shakespeare's "The Tempest" draws aside the veil between magic and everyday human life. Mozart's "Magic Flute" introduces us to the Temple of Isis and Osiris, to which the hero and heroine are taken after passing various initiatory ordeals. This play was known to be inspired by eighteenth-century Masonry, but Mozart also honoured Catholic mystique.
My aim with these Mystery Plays, related to the eight sacred planets, is to bring into harmony physical facts with inner spiritual reality. The facts are to be respected - but we need to face the elaborate dreams we have built around our material life. The sphinx has an animal body, but also the head of a human-being and spiritual wings. We do not wish to become floating heads with wings and no bodies, nor to be as Circe's transformed swine - neither good pigs nor decent humans.
In these Mysteries I have introduced transcendental meaning with the Deities in their masks. The all-embracing whole, the Winged Disc crowning the caduceus, is presented by the Three Fates, Their Emissary being Mercury, Thoth, Passikola, Who travels through all phases of consciousness. So each ritual has triple significance, a riddle within an enigma within a Mystery, encompassed by the transcendental Fates - Trimurti - Eumenides - Norns. The Priesthood invoke the relevant Deities to elucidate in dramatic form the hidden meaning of our lives. The enclosed dramas present the Three Goddesses: Past, Present and Future: Love, Beauty and Truth: Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. We are given a simple real life story. Then through this, by dance and ceremony, we are offered a wider vision of that very story. The climax is placed in our own days, best expressing the harmony of past myth and present science.
In these myths I make full allowance for the questing mind. After all, facts are the sandalled feet of Truth who has her head in the clouds. Did Rama really try to burn his wife twice, with her agreement? Or were these Aryans, impressing conquered "untouchables" with a dramatic vindication of their Queen's honour? The display would involve fire-walking: a priest in the attire of the Fire God Agni would help Sita through the pyre, and present her as holy and deified before the cheering multitude. Why did Menelaus bring Helen back with great honour to be his Queen once more? Was she instrumental in opening Troy to the invaders? If so, how? I studied "The Little Illiad" carefully ... Why did Pharoah keep letting Moses go - and why were the priests so fearful of his escape? He was a royal heir through his mother, the Egyptian Princess. Why was Osiris blue? Did Isis find his dismembered penis up a sycamore tree, and use it to produce Horus? I found a more likely explanation.
Has religion really been the opium of the masses, as declared by Marx? Yes. Opium opens one of the seven seals that protect the human brain from dangerous excess of the "Kundalini" - "Melusina" lightning power, a sleeping serpent within our chemical bodies. What the great religious institutions have done is to attempt to channel this spontaneous evolution of the human psyche into socially acceptable behaviour. By utilising certain hypnotic techniques - prayers - mantras - spells - by playing particular notes on musical instruments - by the use of contemplation - the brain is lulled into acquiescence. The law of octaves comes into action, linking the spheres of being. The mundane becomes ecstasy: fear of death is transformed into the beatific vision: diseases are cured and sorrow is turned to joy. A love of Goddess is experienced that transcends all thought. When misused, these techniques, especially enhanced by enforced celibacy and fasting, can lead to abnormal outbreaks of persecution and torture. Religious followers become spiritually mummified, bound in unquestioning subservience to the dictatorship of an ecclesiastic hierarchy.
The ultimate release of the soul into Divine Reality may come without any exterior training. There are mystics who prefer to attain union with all that is, surrendering individuality, slipping as a dewdrop into the ocean. But for those who enjoy their own unique originality, there is the way of including the animal body, human face and spiritual wings of the sphinx. A kaleidoscope of lives including varying families, children and friends can be totally recalled. The mind may be enriched through experiencing the harvest of many faiths, philosophies and creeds. In such a pantheist state of consciousness, we use our own Feathers of Light; yet on occasion choose to wrap ourselves in the mummy-robes of a physical body. We love both Heaven and Earth. When we feel the call of the Deities, we can join Them and come Forth by Day.
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