Easter is symbolically the time of the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. This thread of story and principle runs through our civilisation very deeply; and Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar.
Jesus (the) Christ did not proclaim himself king, despite being labelled ‘King of the Jews’ – quite the opposite. He said he came ‘from the Father,’ not from some royal and kingly forebear. The lineage he claimed was of a deeper and less material nature – one that would only manifest itself in right actions and the generation of goodwill through a deeper understanding.
In so doing, Christianity is more explicit in the nature of the change to human nature represented by the older and more ‘pagan’ stories of the Sacrificed King. The common elements are worthy of exploration.
Would we expect any ‘king’ to be the subject of sacrifice? Killed by his enemy, perhaps, as in the case of the Egyptian king Osiris – cut into pieces by his brother, Set. But would we expect sacrifice as part of a process of psychological or spiritual transformation? Surely the state of kingship represents the pinnacle of temporal existence?
The King does, indeed, represent the ‘fullness’ of mundane existence, and it is precisely this quality of achievement that brings on a ripeness for a transition to a higher order (or plane) of consciousness. To continue the metaphor of ripeness, the King becomes the self-sown seed for what is to come. King in this sense may, of course, be male or female, though our patriarchal history more frequently assigns the male.
The Kingly achievements become the soil in which the seed of the sacrifice is sown, the fuel for the journey. The parallel stories of alchemy teach that, once begun, the transformation will continue as a ‘descending fire’ until the earthly nature is symbolically burned away, and the new and reborn spiritual nature shines for the first time in this world, potent and filled with the innocence of a consciousness that has no past.
The Sacrificed King has much to teach us. The force behind this transformation is particularly strong at this time of year, as the long winter gives way to the spirit of the spring – the astrological year, renewed…
A deeper understanding of this process will reprise the story of Osiris. The many parts into which he is cut are lovingly re-assembled – minus his penis – by Isis, who searches his ‘kingdom’ tirelessly. Eventually, he comes to rule a different land – the Egyptian underworld, the place of the ‘Gods’.
This year, surrounded by the horrors and frustrations of the Covid-19 situation, we have much to consider about life and death. The Sacrificed King stories refer to a symbolic rather than a literal death – but one which carries just as much potency… some would say, more.
We wish you healthy, happy and reflective Easter.
©Stephen Tanham 2020
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit teaching school of modern mysticism that helps people find a personal path to a deeper place within their internal and external lives.
The Silent Eye provides home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised. The course materials and corresponding supervision are provided month by month without further commitment.