Sacrifice of Isaac

  image: Wikimedia commons (   link   ). Modified. 

image: Wikimedia commons (link). Modified. 

The upper half of the year can be demonstrated to metaphorically represent heaven, the spirit world, the realm of the gods. The lower half can be demonstrated to metaphorically represent hell, the material world of incarnation, and the underworld of ancient Egyptand many other mythologies.

The equinoxes, then, being the crossing points between these two realms, were the points at which the two worlds intersected. As such, they were associated with birth and with death, with incarnation in the physical body and with release back to the world of spirit at the end of each incarnational cycle -- and they were often depicted in ancient myth and sacred tradition with the metaphor of a sacrifice, which befits their status as the points of contact between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead.

In the video above, one example of such an equinox-sacrifice is examined: the story of Abraham and Isaac found in Genesis 22. Evidence is provided that this event was not meant to be understood literally, but rather that it takes place on the way up a metaphorical mountain (the mountain which leads to the top of the year, and to "heaven"), and that the Ram which was ultimately sacrificed is directly connected to the zodiac sign of Aries.

The ramifications of this understanding of the scriptures are far-reaching. One important conclusion we can draw is that -- like the stars over our heads -- these stories are universal in their scope, and they are part of the celestial inheritance of all humanity. Various literalistic interpretations of these scriptures have been used in the past -- and continue to be used to this day -- to try to separate out one or another family of humanity from the others. The celestial understanding of these stories overturns such a usage of the ancient mythologies.

One of the important interpretations of the celestial metaphors contained in the sacred traditions of the human race is the teaching that we all have a spiritual component, and are not ultimately defined or bounded by our physical body and our material form. Using these scriptures to divide humanity based on different physical lineages focuses on the physical form instead of the inner spiritual spark which the scriptures themselves are trying to point us towards.

There are many other important messages that these star myths convey to us, messages that have been hidden and even deliberately obscured for thousands of years. Ultimately, I believe they teach a very liberating message, and one that is intended to advance human consciousness -- and one that will ultimately prevail over the forces which seek to suppress human consciousness.

According to my interpretation of the celestial players, the constellation Perseus corresponds to Abraham. Both arms of the constellation are stretched out, and it does not take much imagination to envision a knife or a short sword in either of the two hands (the illustrator of the 1860 drawing above has chosen to place the knife in the "easternmost" of his two hands -- east is to the left as we look at the chart below, and west is to the right).

Flying in from the upper right is the Angel, played by the stars of the constellation Andromeda. Note how close the stars of Andromeda come to the westernmost arm of Perseus: close enough to be seen as "staying his hand," if we use our imagination. In the outline of Andromeda as envisioned by H. A. Rey, she is actually lying with her feet towards Perseus, but if you look at the image of the Angel as envisioned by the illustrator of the 1860 print, you can re-imagine the stars as outlining an Angel flying towards Perseus, with wings arching above the body and arm reaching out to stay Perseus' hand.

Directly below the Angel in the night sky is the Ram of Aries, just as the Ram in the illustration is directly below the Angel. 

Finally, the column of the Milky Way rises up like smoke from the horizon and passes right beside Perseus (he is actually partly in it). This column of smoke corresponds to the smoke of the "burnt offering" described in Genesis 22.

The Genesis 22 episode of Abraham and Isaac and the Angel and the Ram is, of course, one of the most formative and sacred stories in the entire Old Testament scripture. But understanding that it, like the other sacred stories of humanity, is founded upon a celestial metaphor does not take away its profound message: quite the contrary. For, as Alvin Boyd Kuhn has asserted, "the sacred scriptures of the world are a thousand times more precious as myths than as alleged history" (Lost Light, 24: emphasis in the original). 

The meaning of these sacred Star Myths is profound, and operates on many levels, each deeper than the one before. The full import of what I believe them to be teaching is explored in The Undying Stars and other books about the Star Myths of humanity, and even after literally thousands of pages of examination, it can be said that we only scratch the surface of the depths of ancient wisdom contained in these esoteric stories. 

On the most general level, we can see that the act of encoding the motions of the majestic stars themselves in stories about men and women on earth is a form of "bringing the heavens down to earth," of "clothing" the stars in human flesh, so to speak . . . and this is exactlywhat the ancient scriptures were trying to teach about the nature of human existence: that we ourselves are in one sense "spirit beings" which have been "clothed" in human skins for a time, and that at the end of this earthly incarnation we will reascend into the spirit realm. 

The sign of Aries is located at the spring equinox, where the sun crosses back up from the "lower realm" of darkness and winter (and incarnation, in this realm below the realm of the stars), and thus was associated with transcending the physical and the material and with bringing forth the spiritual or the divine which is hidden away within the physical and the material. For the metaphorical depiction of the stars as human beings does not just bring the heavens down to earth: it then promises to bring the earthly back up with it when it rises again to the heavens.

The fact that Abraham is described in Genesis as not just a father but a father of "a multitude of nations" (see Genesis 17:4) indicates that -- like the story of Adam and Eve, who can also be shown to be celestial -- these sacred stories are trying to convey truths about the common human condition, truths that apply to all incarnate men and women, and not just to a select few. If we only take them literally, then it stands to reason that some people might be descended from Abraham through Isaac while others are not -- a message which divides humanity. 

But if -- like Adam and Eve and like Shem, Ham, and Japheth -- Abraham is a celestial figure, then the assertion that he is a "father of many nations" can be interpreted as teaching that all human beings are in a sense "descended from the stars," in that we are spiritual beings who have descended temporarily into this material realm.

There is also a profoundly shamanic aspect to the world's ancient scriptures, when they are understood to embody celestial metaphors which are designed to convey a teaching about the realm of spirit and the realm of incarnate matter. This shamanic aspect has been explained in numerous previous posts, but at its heart it involves the teaching that access to the spirit world is not only something that is important at the end of our journey through incarnation, but that such access is in fact essential throughout our life in this material realm. 

The scriptures of the Bible are filled with stories meant to teach us that "seeing into" the reality of the Other Realm which surrounds and interpenetrates the material realm is vitally important for gaining knowledge which cannot be obtained any other way, or for solving real problems in the material realm which cannot be solved any other way. Think for example of the episode of 2 Kings 6, in which Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the horsemen and chariots and a great host of warriors from the king of Syria, and Elisha prays that his servant's eyes might be opened, "that he may see" -- and we are told that when the servant's eyes were opened, "behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17). In other words, the servant was enabled to see into the spirit world, which Elisha could apparently always perceive. 

This ability to suddenly see beyond the material world which we perceive with our five senses, and to gain access to a "second sight" or spiritual vision is very similar to the description given in the Norse Eddas of Odin's ascent up the World-Tree, in which he hangs for nine days and nine nights upon the Tree until his eyes are suddenly opened and he can perceive what he could not see before. Odin's ascent up the Tree can be demonstrated to be distinctly shamanic (and it has clear parallels to the New Testament description of Christ on the Cross). For further discussion of the shamanic vision at the heart of the world's sacred myths, see for instance previous posts herehere and here.

The details of the Genesis 22 episode discussed above and in the New Dawn article should be sufficient to demonstrate that the stories of the Bible, like the sacred stories of many other cultures, are built on a system of celestial allegory. Beyond the correspondences in that single episode, there are many more which can be demonstrated in other stories from both the Old and New Testaments.

The understanding that the world's myths are built upon a common celestial foundation has tremendous ramifications. One of these is that this understanding should unite humanity, and not divide us. Another is that these sacred traditions do not lose their message even if they are interpreted other than as literal history. It should be a very positive message, and one that is uplifting and empowering to all men and women from all around the globe, and one that connects us not only to one another but also to nature, to all of nature, all the way out to the stars in the infinite universe.