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Religious Revolutionaries and the Morning Star

 

It seems to me that very few ‘religious’ people are ever willing to open their eyes to the realization that the founder of their religion was most assuredly a revolutionary and quite possibly a heretical mystic:

 

Jesus was a Jewish heretic, Buddha was a Hindu heretic. The ancient Greek state executed the great philosopher Socrates for his heretical beliefs. Pythagoras was burnt to death along with most of his followers. Al-Hallaj, the tenth-century Islamic Sufi mystic, was crucified by the Muslim authorities. The thirteenth-century German mystic Meister Eckhart was prohibited from writing by the Catholic Church and eventually excommunicated a few days after his death. The sixteenth/seventeenth-century mystic Jacob Boehme, known as ‘the inspired shoemaker’, was chased out of his home town of Görlitz in Silesia by the Protestant authorities, who even desecrated his grave after his death. The Church of Rome tortured the Italian mystic philosopher Giordano Bruno over a period of eight years before he was burnt at the stake.

 

Ironically, it is by losing themselves in God that mystics find the rugged individualism courageously to follow their visions wherever they may lead, in a world usually hostile to their penetrating insight and spiritual values. The figure of the mystic appears eccentric and challenging to those who want to remain secure in the commonly accepted view of the world that happens to be prevalent at the time. This is why so many mystics have been forced to live precarious lives on the edges of social acceptability.

 

While some managed to maintain an uneasy alliance with the religious authorities of their day, most mystics were vilified and horribly persecuted for claiming direct personal knowledge of a God whom the religious establishment wished to make accessible only via their hierarchy of priests and theologians. Yet the natural experience of spiritual awakening that lies at the heart of mysticism is the birthplace of all religions, and they find their common ground in this common source. Mystical experiences inspired the founders and reformers of religion as well as its greatest heretics—indeed, they have often been the same people. The history of mysticism is the history of their revelations.[i]

 

Let’s use common sense for a moment to investigate this revelation. A visionary is a person that ‘sees’ things differently. As well, he or she is able to determine the potentialities and possibilities of the future. In addition, a visionary discerns the various intertwining treads of people, places and things that others may miss. A religious visionary, on the other hand is gifted with an additional ability. He/she is a true mystic gifted with the ability to ‘see’ and to experience from their heart heavenly and earthly truths in a manner that allows them to bring a new ‘way’ and a new message to people.

 

A religious visionary is often times viewed as a radical—a revolutionary—as he or she brings a different ‘way’ and a new message that up-sets the proverbial ‘applecart.’ If you are firmly established and/or already have deep roots and belief in a certain way of religious being and thought, how could you, or would you, even be able to bring something radically new? You may see the failure within workings or dogma of the ‘church’ but you would not be capable of ‘seeing’ a totally new ‘church’ (i.e. religion) or way of being. A religious visionary, or if you will, revolutionary, only has ‘baby eyes’[ii] when it comes to religion and the workings of heaven and earth. He or she would not be an indoctrinated member of the prevailing religion(s):

 

Throughout history, the orthodox, the past-oriented, have feared any degree of spiritual rebellion. Not a single founder of any of today’s socially acceptable religions has come from an established priesthood or hierarchy.

 

Two thousand years ago, the Sanhedrin, the council that defined Hebraic law, was not too happy with a cultist rebel from Galilee who was contradicting the laws of Moses. Moses himself rebelled against his adopted Egyptian society to become what Pharaoh viewed as a cult leader of the Jews. Mohammed rebelled against the pantheistic faiths of fellow Arabs. And then there’s Gautama Siddhartha, the Hindu heretic and spiritual hippie. He tuned in to a Dharma of a different and non-Brahmin vein turned on to Nirvana and dropped out of Hindu society to hang out by the Bodhi trees in Bihar province.[iii]

 

Working outside the ‘box’ of established religious dogma and doctrine, a religious revolutionary many times is never seen by the masses and is many times likened to the proverbial ‘thief in the night.’ This is one of the reason why the prophets/messengers of the past have been connected with the morning star—Venus in its dawn appearance. In addition, according to Russian myth and folklore, Venus was the star of truth: "Venus was said to help people see the truth."

 

Venus, the brightest object in our sky outside of the sun and moon, is still visible in the dawn sky as the sun rises. It is the herald of the light out of the dark of the night. Venus and the Sun are intertwined in an immortal dance of re-birth. As the morning star, or the light coming out of the dark of the night, Venus announces the arrival of the Sun. It is the harbinger of the day to come. It stands at the breaking of dawn as the last star to disappear into the glory of the Sun.

 

Since Venus is the brightest heavenly body apart from the sun and the moon, its brilliance has always symbolized enlightenment as well as the journey to bring this light to the world. Venus spends part of its time as being either the morning star or the evening star. This perception of Venus as being ‘twins’ and the significance of its luminosity underscores the mythological religious ideals of many cultures. The ‘twins’ designation symbolizes the dual forces manifested in humans and the dualities of life, the light and the dark, male and female which contain the potentiality for a unified balance of wholeness or oneness—non-dual interpenetration. For that reason, Venus is viewed as being the bridge-builder between pairs of opposites, specifically spirit and matter. This is also the role of the religious revolutionary who teaches that equality and balance are of the utmost importance in achieving spiritual transformation.

 

There is no greater external sign of the Holy Spirit of God than the morning star, the star that symbolizes re-birth in Judaism. The Sun and the Moon, the two great eyes of God, represent the male and female dualities of the oneness of God but the morning star—the planet Venus, as the most brilliant star in the heavens, signifies God’s Spirit. This holy-spirit, symbolized by the divine dove of Venus, brings balance to the dualities of life resulting in a spiritual wholeness or a holiness of existence.

 

As I stated before, down through the ages various prophets, teachers and messengers of a revolutionary view of religion (i.e. Jesus, Buddha and quite possibly Moses and Mohammed) have been associated with Venus as the morning star—the bright light that shines in the darkness:

 

The morning star carries the title "Pillar of the Dawn" in Hebrew. Jesus is the "Day-spring from on high" in Luke 1, 78; "the bright and morning star" in Revelations 22.16; and in II Peter, 1.19 he is to be remembered as "a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

 

The morning star brought not only light but dew. In the ancient world, dew was known as the most powerful conceptual fluid of Nature. Pliny says of the morning star: "Its influence is the cause of the birth of all things upon earth; at both its risings it scatters genital dew with which it not only fills the conceptual organs of the earth but also stimulates those of all animals" (Natural History II.38). Pliny also tells of the healing powers of dew (XI.37), which in Exodus 16, 13ff is described as bringing manna, the bread of heaven, and in Psalm 110 is linked to the conception of the Son of God: "from the womb of the dawn, in dew I have begotten thee."

 

The implication is that behind the imagery of light as knowledge of God lies a deeper, more ancient principle of the divine light bringing fertility to the earth. Jesus, the dayspring from on high, can be seen as a personification or channel for that light.[iv]

 

It is documented that Buddha ‘awakened’ at the sight of the morning star. From this awakening, he brought a message, a path and a way that we know today as Buddhism: 

 

On the full moon of May, with the rising of the morning star, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha, the enlightened one. The Buddha wandered the plains of northeastern India for 45 years more, teaching the path (or Dharma) he had realized in that moment under the Bodhi tree.[v]

 

On the other hand, it is much harder to present hard evidence that both Moses and Mohammad were influenced by and/or were connected with the morning star. However, circumstantial evidence and common sense may open our eyes enough to let us see the possibility of their morning star connection.



[i] Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy, The Complete Guide to World Mysticism, pp. 15 - 16

 

[ii] These are eyes that are ‘fresh,’ non-judgmental and tolerant, that views the world with awe and excitement and recognizes the oneness of the light and the dark of existence.

 

[iii] John Hogue, The Millennium Book of Prophecy, pp. 254 – 255

 

[iv] http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Brown_Allegro_Myth.htm

 

[v] According to C. George Boeree, professor Buddhist Psychology, Shippensburg, PA

 


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