In order to determine where we are going, we must determine where we are, and in order to determine where we are, we must determine where we have been and from whence we have come. Mentors help us to do that. Because they have often trod the same path as us, they are able to warn us of the pitfalls, help us free ourselves from snares, and direct us as we move closer toward our goal of becoming what we imagine ourselves to be.
According to Joseph Campbell, a consistent step along the Hero’s Journey is the meeting of a mentor. Luke Skywalker met Obi Wan Kenobi. The Karate Kid met Mr. Miyagi. Neo met Morpheus. Considering that I haven’t yet met anyone who has inspired and taught me as much since we first met when I was younger (and I realize this probably sounds hokey, but it’s the first day of December and the world is supposed to end in 21 days so whatever), I think the most consistent mentor that I have had has been Jesus.
I’ve obviously never met him face to face, and we’ve never sat down for a chat or run practice drills, and to be honest, I’m still a little sketchy about many of the words that have been written about him, even the red ones. And to be really honest, after seeing how horrifically those who call themselves His followers have been about carrying out His work, I’m not really sure about how much credibility I’d put in his factual existence or even exactly how the whole death and resurrection went down. However, I totally believe it is possible, regale the man as the greatest hero the world has ever known, and see His essence every day in people that selflessly share love, give hope, have faith, and spread peace. Once again, I stand in a place where traditional Christians would disagree with me, but I’ve learned that they just tend to do that a lot so I don’t take it personally.
So I’m probably going to be talking about Jesus a lot here over the next 21 days or so. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really not a religious freak or anything. I just think that the religion of Christianity has usurped the discussion about this cultural icon in order to build itself up long enough, and I think it’s important to take a second look at the man who split time in half with fresh eyes that are not predisposed to the myopia of dogmatic necessity.
To me, Jesus was the first Renaissance Man. A carpenter by trade, he also excelled in the healing arts, the culinary arts, the literary arts, the teaching arts, the magical arts, and considering the mythic proportions his story has achieved, he was an incredible artist of life. Also considering that he probably knew how it would end, cultivating the self control to endure such pain and mockery, and having the grace to still offer forgiveness, even to those that delivered the brunt of the suffering, he stands in my mind as the coolest cat the world has ever known, hands down.
As far as the mentorship goes, the greatest lesson Jesus taught was to love your God (and I assume that to mean whatever Source from which you have been spawned and continues to provide you with life) with all of your heart, mind, body, and strength. While I recognize that there is a difference between the magical and the miraculous, I find it interesting that Jesus’ most profound message, what he called the greatest commandment, so incredibly aligns with the message of The Magician, the first person the Fool meets on his journey through the Major Arcana of the Tarot. On the card, the Magician (a Magus, not dissimilar to the Magi that supposedly visited Jesus shortly after his birth) stands in front of a table on which are spread the four suits of the Tarot – a cup, a sword, a wand, and a coin. Each of these suits is representative of the four avenues of love that Jesus prescribes in order to establish a healthy relationship with your God.
The cup represents love, emotion, the heart, and is indicative of the mythical Holy Grail which caught the blood of Jesus after the greatest display of love for mankind to ever occur. The sword represents the mind, as in the double-edged sword of truth that cuts through the illusions of this world (also interesting to note that Jesus was quoted as saying that he did not come to bring peace, but to bring a sword). The wand represents the physical world, the body, the temporal resources from which we construct the lives around us. And the coin represents strength, value, and spiritual connection, from where our true strength comes, although in our warped civilization, based largely on the shaky foundation of the misinterpretations of the Man from Galilee, strength is seen more in symbol than in spirit.
However, if we can look at this story again with the same sort of forgiveness that Jesus displayed on the cross as he demonstrated the second greatest lesson of loving your neighbor as yourself, we can forgive the generations of imperfect men that have gone before us for developing imperfect systems based upon imperfect understanding to bring us the imperfect civilization we regard as reality today. For although the religion that hails Him has fallen incredibly short of carrying out His mission, and many are tempted to turn away from the whole scenario and ignore the fulcrum upon which Western civilization was based, if we do not allow for the forgiveness of proven human imperfection through the stages of our education and our evolution as a species, we will never find the balance that we seek, and we will most assuredly crumble into nothingness. But if we can open our eyes to the deeper truths which are always revealed to those willing to love the Source of All Life entirely, with heart, mind, body, and strength, then the apocalypse we seek truly will be the lifting of the veil required to allow us to see reality as it really is instead of the system of enslavement and lack that limits the access to our birthright of abundance as sons and daughters of God.
The Magician’s magical word is abracadabra, which is directly interpreted as “what I will say like what will become,” and it is aligning your will with the will of what will be. This is akin to how God described Himself to Moses when he spoke through a fire that did not consume the bush that it burned when He called himself “I Am That I Am.” Jesus, realizing the power that each of us has in creating the life around us, left our interpretation of his role up to us when he said, “Who do you say that I am?” As you create the magic of your own life and open yourself up to the miraculous, should you listen to the Mentor and let love course through all of your heart, mind, body, and strength, you will most certainly realize that you are I Am. And once you determine who you are, you can determine who you’re going to become.