Today, March 25th, is the Feast of The Annunciation. This is the day that marks the announcement from the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to the Christ, the anointed one of God.
This story is familiar to many, and is part of a particular religious truth for those who belong to the Christian faith.
But it is a much larger story. It is part of a cosmic myth. It has implications and a reach that goes far beyond any one religious tradition.
In my mind that is a powerful acknowledgment, giving credence and lending potency to the universal spiritual truth that underpins the particulars of this story. Thus giving comfort and hope to those within the Christian tradition and wonderment and inspiration to those that seek spiritual truth, or operate in different or larger spiritual systems.
It’s a Date
First, lets look at the date. March 25th is exactly 9 months out from December 25th, Christmas Day. It has long been acknowledged that December 25th wasn’t the actual date of the birth of the historical Jesus of Nazareth.
That date was chosen in part to, depending on your point of view, either violently stamp out the various Roman pagan festivals that took place around the winter solstice or in a gentler version, to ease the populations’ transition out of the previous religious system that had run its course, and into the emerging Christian paradigm.
Beyond that though, there is something larger and archetypal at play. The symbolism of the re-birth of the Sun at mid-winter is a universally powerful event of vast proportions.
While December 25th may have been chosen for politically expedient reasons that benefited the Empire, it no doubt was driven by undercurrents of archetypal pattern and power.
The December 25th date corresponding to the winter solstice also allows for the Annunciation, the conception of The Divine Child, to occur right around the spring equinox, the time of the earth’s renewal and re-birth.
The Myth of the Divine Child
The Annunciation holds a key part of an archetypal story.
This is the story of The Divine entering into human life. The intersection of the eternal and the time bound, of Spirit inhabiting Matter.
This is the seed of our true nature being planted within us. It is the story of how we came to not only have consciousness, but the reason we are able to evolve into higher consciousness, and become our higher selves.
This is the rebirth and renewal of The Earth and her Children. Lifting us out of our exile in a realm limited by the constraints of time, space and the three dimensional material world.
The archetype of the Divine Child is a universal, energetic pattern that plays out again and again. Like all archetypes it is multivariate, showing itself in many forms and guises.
It repeats and repeats in an effort to show us that it is True.
The Divine Feminine Revealed
The Christian story of The Annunciation is filled with interesting details that reveal hidden dynamics at play.
Christian legend, and here we can think of this as the collective memory of a community, tells us that Mary was spinning red thread when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her.
This is an important detail because it references memories about Mary. That she was brought to the temple as a child of three years old. In her excitement and joy she danced on the steps of the Temple delighting the High Priest and reminiscent of Sophia, in the apocryphal Book of Wisdom and in the canonical Book of Proverbs, dancing, and at play as the universe was created, much to the delight of God the Father. It is not difficult to see that Mary is being identified with Sophia, the Archetype, and perhaps even the source, of Wisdom.
The collective memory goes on to tell us that when Mary was a bit older she was selected to be one of a group of women who were entrusted with the task of spinning the red thread that was used to weave the curtain, which represented the four elements, and separated the outer court from the timeless golden cube of the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. This is why in works of art showing the moment of the Annunciation Mary is often depicted spinning red thread.
Biblical Scholar Margaret Barker tells us that Mary was herself understood to be the throne in the Holy of Holies. When someone entered the Holy of Holies they were anointed as a sign of kingship, and sat upon the Throne of Wisdom. Further she points out that in the Holy of Holies, the king was with the invisible archetypes of all things, and was able to look out upon all of creation.
Hidden within the story of The Annunciation we find the Divine feminine.
The Divine Child must enter Mary’s womb, which is the Throne of Wisdom within the Holy of Holies, to allow the archetypal pattern of the Benevolent King who rules with Wisdom over all of Creation to manifest in the world.
This is a pattern we see all the way back to Isis in Egypt who wears the hieroglyphic sign of The Throne of the Pharaoh upon her head. Her son Horus is also a Divine Child, and the depictions of Isis holding Horus on her lap or nursing him are the prototype of our many artworks of the Madonna and Child.
This Myth is something we must always know and never forget, that is why it keeps repeating over and over in various forms.
This myth tells us the Divine Feminine Principal is Wisdom. It is the source of creation. It is also the seat or throne upon which the Masculine Principle sits as the archetype of the Benevolent and Wise King or Ruler.
Sovereignty, The Land and Celtic Myth
This understanding brings us to the Celtic myths around The Land itself being a feminine archetype. There is a requirement for the king to marry the land and prove his worthiness to rule fairly and justly, and to respect the Sovereignty of the Divine Feminine symbolized by The Land.
We also see in those myths what happens when the King does not rule with wisdom. A sickness overtakes the creation and the country becomes a wasteland.
In the Arthurian legend of the Fisher King, the king has suffered a magical wound in his thigh, suggesting lust. This is possibly sexual, but more likely symbolic of a lust for domination and exploitation of the earth, and thus the feminine.
As the king suffers from his wound his land also becomes sick. What was once healthy, beautiful and verdant is now a wasteland full of death and decay.
A knight of pure heart, soul and mind (the healed Masculine) on a quest to retrieve the Holy Grail is the necessary remedy.
Here we come full circle to the story of The Annunciation in which the sacred masculine (The Christ) is anointed in the holy of holies ( the womb of Mary/Sophia) and takes his seat on the Throne of Wisdom, (The Divine Child held on Mary’s lap).
His birth signals a healing and renewal of the earth and the human soul.
The Annunciation for our Times
Perhaps the most hopeful thing about The Annunciation is that it announces the return of the Divine Feminine and the healing of the Masculine in human affairs.
This shift has already been born. It was born some two thousand years ago. We are now in a time of living out that destiny.
The Feminine must rise and the Masculine must be healed or the Wasteland will continue.
The web of destiny however is malleable. We see the resistance to the rising Feminine and the healing of the Masculine even as we see the healing taking place.
This is when I begin to realize how important personal inner work is. Each one of us contributes to the collective soul of the world.
When I continue to discover, honor and live into the rising tide of The Feminine and heal my own Masculine Principle bringing it into harmonious union with my Feminine Principle the ripple effect is undeniable.
These tasks often require shadow work, and the courage to leave behind or greatly modify previously held beliefs, concepts, ideologies and worldviews. The resolve needed to look squarely in the mirror of what we have been, what we are, and what we can become takes enormous energy.
When the Archetypes shift the whole world will shift as a result.
Understanding that some of the frightful things that happen in the world are the old powers fighting with ferocity as their time of influence slips away and new archetypal patterns seek to take root and flourish is a key to navigating this changing landscape.
For today, on The Feast of the Annunciation, I invite you to marvel at the way the Divine interacts with the human, and take courage and hope with you, even as Mary did as she embraced her role in an event we still remember and are learning from.