25. Christian Mysticism

 

The Christian mysticism was an experience of divine love. By his Semitic name Abba the ascetic from the desert of Egypt reveals the Semitic origin of his ideology [1]. And his ideology was a bridal mysticism typical to both Origen and Macarios:

“As the bride goes to rest with her groom, so will he come to rest … Sometimes they become without body (asômatos) like angels so that they are not reckoned at one with a body. Sometimes they are like those making themselves joyful by intoxicating drink and are drunk in the spirit with the divine and spiritual drunkenness of spiritual mysteries”[2]. “…and gives you true prayer, true love, true faith, and true joy, which is when the Lord himself becomes everything inside you. For one will go to bow one's knees and the heart will be filled with divine energy, and the soul will frolic with the Lord as the bride takes delight in her bridegroom”[3]. “…and those who are burned up by the heavenly Eros of the spirit, and by holy desire, and by the Eros of God´s love…[4]. This bridal mysticism is already felt in the so-called Odes of Solomon, a Christian collection of psalms from 2nd cent. A.C.: “I long for my beloved, my soul loves him, and where he has his rest I will also be dwelling” (3,5).

It is very obvious that this kind of mysticism has taken its vocabulary from the Song of Songs. Christian mysticism is also more positive to the great god-created nature than the kind of mysticism seeking Nirvana/the great void. The gazelles and hinds are a picture of the women returning to the state of nature, building their huts of branches and leafy twigs. “I beseech you, daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles..” 2,7. The inner mood of these gazelle and hind metaphors becomes clear to us when we remember that these animals were the inhabitants of wild nature, the forests, the mountains outside the civilised zone (O.Keel [5]). It is the voice and moods of nature, a scent or breeze coming from the deep, quiet thickets of the forests. Symbols of Paradise and mysticism of nature are mixed together. Paradise is reflected in the grace of nature in spring: the kids of the gazelle grazing among lotus (4,5 shoshannim is by Keel trans. into lotus). When the lips of the beloved are compared to lotus flowers (plural), it is not so much the form and colour of the flower we have to call to our mind as the mystical paradise flower (a red lotus does not exist). Like in India, the lotus of thousand petals, it is a mystical symbol.

 

 

In Egypt, the king of the world beyond, Osiris, is pictured as enthroned, looking into a gigantic lotus flower[6]. The motif is also well known from Syria. The picture shows a god, probably the Highgod El, sitting in the gate of the sun looking into the mystical flower. He is approached by a younger god or man with an raised snake in his hand, and perhaps also an uraeus on his forehead.[7] The mystical flower can also be placed at the top of the scull, exactly where, in India, the highest chakra represented by the lotus w 1000 petals is situated. The picture below is Melqart, the god of Tyre, travelling over the sea with the torches of the morning and evening star in his hands and with a flower on top of his head.[8] The man seeking the flower on top of Mt.Argaios is a symbol of man seeking the highest vision, the vision of God, but threatened by the snake (1.Mo 3,1) The flower, when it opens, is a revelation of intense beauty, even in the micro-parts of the world, and it creates an ecstatic impression of the beauty given by God when nature wakens to life in spring.

 



[1] Quispel p.117

[2] Makarios/Symeon, Reden und Briefe I,1973,ed.H.Berthold,p.158,20ff.

[3] ibd.,p.50,30ff.

[4] ibd.,p.174,25f.

[5] Deine Blicke sind Tauben. Zur Metaphorik des Hohen Liedes,1984,pp.84f.

[6] Keel, fig.88,p.170.

[7] Stele found in Ugarit 1936 and publ. by C.F.A.Schaeffer,SYRIA 18,1937,t.17

[8] Cabinet des Medailles Paris, thin plate of gold from 2nd-3rd cent A.C. Gazette archéologique vol. 1,pl II,1