THE FIRST INITIATION — BASIC SYMBOLISM
When Bailey talks about her various initiations she borrows primarily from the symbolism found in the Christian tradition. She even wrote an entire book about this symbolism titled From Bethlehem to Calvary. (Note: This was one of the books she said she wrote from her own thoughts and did not feel as if she was telepathically getting dictation from the person she called the Tibetan). In this book we find a good break down of the symbolism of the various events surrounding what are considered to be five initiations (major events that involved expansions of consciousness) in the life of Jesus. They are: Birth, Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection.
PARALLELS OF CHRISTIAN BIRTH STORY SYMBOLS WITH OTHER TRADITIONS
In her book From Bethlehem to Calvary, Bailey outlines how these basic elements of the Christian story and many other elements of the life of Jesus parallel events of world saviors or teachers found in other traditions (even from those who were born long before Jesus, such as Krishna and Buddha). In general Bailey says as follows about some of the common themes of Jesus’ life that are found elsewhere. She states, “The Jesus-story, it will now be seen, has a greater number of correspondences with the stories of former Sungods and with the actual career of the Sun through the heavens—so many indeed that they cannot well be attributed to mere coincidence or even to the blasphemous wiles of the Devil! Let us enumerate some of these. There are (1) birth from a Virgin mother; (2) the birth in a stable (cave or underground chamber); and (3) on the 25th December (just after the winter solstice). There is (4) the Star in the East (Sirius) and (5) the arrival of the Magi (the `Three Kings’); there is (6) the threatened Massacre of the Innocents, and the consequent flight into a distant country (told also of Krishna and other Sungods). There are the Church festivals of (7) Candlemas (2nd February), with processions of candles to symbolise the growing light; of (8) Lent, or the arrival of Spring; of (9) Easter Day (normally on 25th March) to celebrate the crossing of the Equator by the Sun; and (10) simultaneously the outburst of lights at the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem.
There is (11) the Crucifixion and death of the Lamb-God, on Good Friday, three days before Easter; there are (12) the nailing to a tree, (13) the empty grave, (14) the glad Resurrection (as in the cases of Osiris, Attis and others); there are (15) the twelve disciples (the Zodiacal signs); and (16) the betrayal by one of the twelve. Then later there is (17) Mid-summer Day, the 24th June, dedicated to the birth of the beloved disciple John, and corresponding to Christmas Day; there are the festivals of (18) the Assumption of the Virgin (15th August) and of (19) the Nativity of the Virgin (8th September), corresponding to the movement of the god through Virgo; there is the conflict of Christ and his disciples with the autumnal asterisms, (20) the Serpent and the Scorpion; and finally there is the curious fact that the Church (21) dedicates the very day of the winter solstice (when any one may very naturally doubt the re-birth of the Sun) to St. Thomas, who doubted the truth of the Resurrection!” [lxviii] 40 Any student of comparative religion can investigate the truth of these statements, and at the end will stand amazed at the persistence of God’s love and the willingness to sacrifice Themselves which all these Sons of God manifest” From Bethlehem to Calvary, pp. 60—61.
Though the above is fascinating I have no desire to suddenly get into a long treatise here on the symbolism surrounding these stages. Though it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the stories of Jesus parallel so many other faiths. The parents of Jesus (Joseph and Mary) are documented to have taken Jesus to Egypt. Hundreds of years before Alexander the Great (of Greece) had conquered all the surrounding territory extending up into Europe, throughout the Mediterranean, down into Egypt and Africa, all the way into India before he was stopped. He carried the spoils of his conquests into the city of Alexandria in Egypt setting up the famous Alexandria library. There it is highly probable that an intermixing of different religions, Though some people claim that Jesus may have traveled to India during his undocumented years from age 2 to 30, he didn’t need to do so to be exposed to various hidden esoteric traditions of Egyptian religion, Buddhist and Hindu religions, and pagan religions from Greece, Rome and beyond. Gurus, monks, rabbis, and priests from these various faiths could easily have come to him in Egypt. (Note: I am not refuting the idea that Jesus may have gone to India and these other regions during his youth. I am simply saying that it would not have been necessary for him to do so since Egypt was already a mecca for these various faiths to intermingle).
Rather I want to focus at this time solely on what the First Initiation may involve that included the following basic symbolism surrounding the birth of Jesus. Mary and Joseph could not find room at the Inn. So they were given a stable (some say a cave) where Mary (who was a virgin when she conceived Jesus) gave birth to Jesus and put him in a manger. The night he was born a star shone brightly over his head. Angels appeared and sang in delight. Shepherds arrived along with the ox and lambs and all bowed down to the baby Jesus laying in his manger. Later (some say that night, others say two years later) three wise men appeared who had followed the star to get to Jesus. They gave him three gifts: frankincense, gold, and myrrh. Quite a remarkable series of events. Obviously this was not just an ordinary infant. There was something special about him to have so many amazing things happen at his birth. That is an exoteric literal reading of the events of the classic Christian story. Having got a general sense of the overall symbolism, let us focus now on just what is involved in the First Initiation and what some of the common themes may represent.
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