The Hidden Meaning of Noah and the Ark; Pt. 3


What are the Biblical writers trying to tell us about our inner worlds through the storied roles of Ham, Shem and Japeth? According to Preston Harold…

Ham appears to represent a preconscious ego-sense which is one of both helplessness and cunning, subject to all other psychic factors. Having looked upon the naked parent, it is subject to the Oedipus curse – the curse so involved with the physical intermingling of person and parent, of impotence despite man’s might and cunning.

Japeth appears to represent a subconscious ego-sense which is enlarged as its store of data grows through experience and learning – it becomes “a mighty one in the earth…the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…” and man’s subconscious is indeed a babble of selves within him, subject to an enlarging and mighty conscience.

Shem, the blessed, appears to represent the superconscious ego-sense as it is described in this study: a natural grasp of truth, a natural responsiveness to right that needs not to be belabored by conscience or memory.

The Lord God who shuts in the ark and sets the rainbow is seen to be a visitation in man’s consciousness – this, the Authority-Ego, his sense of certainty in being, dwells in the “tents” of Shem. The word, “tents,” indicates that consciousness is always on the move.

One might also be reminded here of the prologue to the Gospel of John, in which the Logos, the Word, is said to have pitched his “tent” among us, referring to the Incarnation. And as much as we receive Him, this visitation of our Lord God, our Authority-Ego, our inner Christ, to us He gives power to become “Children of God.”


So what about Noah himself? What does Harold have to say about him? Here he conveys while wrapping up the roles of Ham, Shem and Japeth nicely…

Noah appears to be representative of man’s sense of having been – he represents memory residue, which resides in infant consciousness long enough to ratify or to activate God-consciousness in man and then to create a schism between itself and the preconscious level before it subsides into the unconscious. Noah’s demise coincides with infant amnesia, and his cursing of Ham indicates that every person suffers a trauma in infancy as a result of his partial glimpsing of his naked past. But the legend tells man that he cannot know himself through the exposure of his unconscious memory although it is parent of his present consciousness, for this memory spends itself in the constructive work of fetal development and birth. Thus, prior life or generation is a closed episode: the head of its household sinks into the unknown realm – a part of man’s consciousness may have glimpsed it in infancy, but a part refrained from viewing the naked body of the past and this part will always cover it quickly, hiding it from curiosity’s eyes. Thus, the Noah legend reveals the inner drama.

Amen, brothers and sisters! Although Harold’s approach isn’t the only way to understand the Biblical text, it is certainly the deepest and most relevant to understanding ourselves as part of the legend. The challenge for us is to interpret the other Biblical stories in this same manner. Preston Harold will continue to help us do so. Until next time, peace…

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