The Symbolic Depths

“For all those lines and circles, to me a mystery,

Eve pull down the apple, and give a taste to me,

If she could it would be wonderful.”

Cherry Tree; 10000 Maniacs

Human being are symbol-makers and symbol-interpreters. These lines and circles you are reading right now are nothing but symbols, created with a specific purpose for specific interpretation by our conscious minds. But what about our unconscious minds? How do they create and interpret symbols? How is this unconscious process brought to consciousness?

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Jesus says, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Thus, He refutes blind working in nature. The deeper one searches, the more difficult it is to believe that so much as one word or symbol is accidental in its use or in its composition. Only a certain form can shield and carry onward a certain truth, or be the “key” to unlock a certain secret that nature hides, which may or may not be known to consciousness, although it is know in the unconscious. For example, Jung says, “Fishes frequently occur as symbols of unconscious contents.” Jesus spoke of fishes in connection with the kingdom of God – the fish was the earliest symbol associated with Him. Is this accidental? Jesus might have left this clue to indicate that His message reveals the contents of the unconscious, His own unconscious giving rise to and dictating use of the fish as symbol. It is difficult to believe that symbols are any more a matter of choice than the letters or words man uses in writing or speaking.

Ah the ICHTHUS! The Greek word for fish which also served as an acronym for Jesus Christ, God’s Son – Savior. Early Christians were said to draw the fish as a code-marking of their faith. According to Preston Harold, this is the surface manifestation of a much deeper understanding. As followers of Jesus’ Way, it seems inevitable that this particular symbol would be the one early Christians would use; they really had no other choice in the matter.

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Jesus also left the cross as symbol. Is it an accident that it appeared on the mathematical scene to denote the positive, the proton? Or that the form this symbol takes appeared also in an experiment which started the fusion of the hitherto separate disciplines of magnetism and electricity? In 1920, Hans Christian Oersted held a wire in which there was an electric current over a compass needle:

“…the needle rotated until it was at right angles to the wire…and when he reversed the direction of the current in the wire, the magnetic needle reversed its direction also, but again came to rest at right angles to the wire.”

The cross, thus drawn by needle and wire, gave rise to the branch of physics known as electromagnetism.

Could Jesus have known or realized anything about electromagnetic phenomena? His description of the opposing forces in the household, following His Equation of One, indicates that He understood like signs repel, opposites attract. Does He attempt to cast a clue also by posing the gifts of the Magi symbolically? This is to say, myrrh and frankincense are two amber substances; gold is a good conductor of electricity and in ground state there is one electron in the outermost energy level, a –1, and when this is removed the +1 ion results; the amber effect, as electrical phenomena was called, was known to exist before Jesus’ birth, but the attraction displayed by amber was long confused with the attraction that lodestones, natural magnets, show for iron, “a phenomenon that was known at least as early as the 6th century B.C.” Realization of the cross-action between the two forces of electricity and magnetism may have dictated the form His symbol must take.

And that brings us to the end of chapter 9. Beginning with Chapter 10 we start looking into Jesus’ miracles and healing ministry. There is some challenging material ahead; put on your thinking caps.

Until then, peace.

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