by Tanis Helliwell
Let’s turn our attention to the question of “What are the Christian Mysteries and how are they relevant today?” This is an essential question because many people of Western cultures who have been raised as Christians have lost their faith in the teachings of Jesus and are turning either to different religions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, New Agism, or to no religion at all. Although I am in full support of each of these and many other paths to consciousness it is important to have an awareness of how Jesus’s life is a clear and pertinent example of the predictable steps that each of us will follow to attain consciousness and enlightenment.
Until Jesus came on the scene there had always been schools of initiation based on spiritual wisdom. These schools existed in Egypt, Greece, Britain, India, and even in North America. Jesus told the secrets of initiation to the common people through parables and moral stories. He did this to raise the consciousness of the common man to a point where he, or she, would be able to grasp the deeper significance of these teachings and be transformed by them. Jesus attempted in his parables to make those pearls of wisdom understandable so that the common people could develop their consciousness.
Through Jesus’ teachings the new law of the Piscean Age based on love “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” replaced the law of the Arian Age of the ten commandments of the Old Testament. Now the Piscean Age has ended and we are in the Aquarian Age for the next 2000 years. The symbol of Aquarius is the enlightened human who pours the water of life on the Earth—the one who is a guardian for all beings living on our planet. The Gnostic Gospels and mystical Christian teachings are now re-entering our world because it is time for humanity to see for themselves that the seed kernel of all religions is the same and this is seen clearly if one knows the mysteries.
I intend to discuss Jesus’ life as an example of the predictable steps that each of us takes to reach consciousness. When he was born, there were three wise men that came to honour him. The three wise men were representatives of three races: Casper was black, Balthazar was Asiatic and Melchior was white. Members of three races came to honour Jesus to demonstrate that through him the underlying essence of all races unite.
At twelve years of age, Jesus performs his first public act. At that age, Jewish boys entering puberty would be taken to the temple to be questioned by the rabbis, who were the spiritual elders, to see how spiritually conscious they were. This questioning took the form that we still see in Tibetan Buddhism where a senior monk questions a junior monk and the junior monk has to give the right answers. And it’s a very aggressive kind of debating technique. However, what happened was that Jesus turned the tables on the learned people and instead of him answering the questions he was the one who was questioning them to ascertain their spiritual consciousness. By doing this, he demonstrated that he was, even at age twelve, more advanced in his consciousness than the ones who were questioning him.
Jesus drops out of our sight until he is age thirty. Was he back in Galilee being a carpenter like Joseph, his foster-father? No! He was learning his spiritual father’s, not his earthly father’s, business. Some stories say that he and his uncle Joseph of Arimathea went to Glastonbury in Britain to study with the druid priests. Other traditions say he went to Egypt and studied with the Egyptians. Still others say he went to India and studied with the yogis. It is not as important where he was studying, but the fact that he was studying the deeper spiritual truths.
The first we hear of Jesus is at his baptism, referred to in wisdom teachings as the second initiation, which is the initiate is able to control his, or her emotions. The first initiation is the control of the physical element and Jesus did this when he was born into this world. The emotional element is one of water, it’s an astral element. John the Baptist recognized Jesus and didn’t want to baptize him because he knew that, if anything, the role should be reversed and he should be asking Jesus to baptize him. Jesus, however, asked to be baptized by John because sometimes the greater person needs to do homage to the lesser person. Jesus was honouring John the Baptist’s role to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah, and, and also Jesus was not yet ready to be the teacher, as he still was going through his purification process.
Following the baptism, Jesus went by himself into the desert for 40 days and nights where he went through a series of temptations. It is very important that we look at these three main temptations because each and every one of us has to go through them in our own lives. Jesus’ life is an example of the issues we also need to face. The three temptations spoken of move from grosser to increasingly subtle and difficult to overcome. In the first the devil, which is our own inner tempter, says, “If you are really the Son of God, why don’t you turn this stone into bread so that you have something to eat?” This is a temptation to feed the physical nature through gluttony, greed, or lust.
The second temptation was that Jesus should cast himself down from a high place and the angels would rescue him and then all people would know that he really was the Son of God. The second temptation is spiritual pride, and after we have conquered the baser temptations of gluttony and greed, we still have to contend with spiritual pride.
The third temptation was for Jesus to use his spiritual talents to gain power in the world. And it is only after Jesus said “No” to all of these things – just as we have to say “No” to all of our temptations – did he pass on to his next stage, which was to become a teacher. Although we glimpse Jesus’ temptations, the majority of the 40 days and nights were in more subtle dimensions that are unseen by physical eyes.
And there may be temptations that all of us go through in our life that are unseen by others. We’re doing the best we can to overcome them, but others aren’t aware of what a serious problem it is for us— Or we may not be aware of how serious the temptation is either. The tempter that we have to face is called the devil in Christianity and illusion, or Maya, in Buddhism and Hinduism.
As a teacher of the parables and the sermon on the mountain Jesus goes through a period of productivity, where everyone loves him. And that might happen for us as well. We, too, may get through our temptations and have our physical and emotional world under control. Everyone loves us and it looks as if we have got it made.
But success in the world leads to the next stage in our development of consciousness, which is exemplified by the experience of the Garden of Gethsemane. In that stage Jesus knows that others seek to crucify him and he is praying that the cup will pass from him. All the disciples were sleeping and Jesus undergoes this test, once again alone, as the disciples have no idea of what is soon to happen. The cup, of which Jesus speaks, is another one of those words that has a deeper significance and it is a symbol for the third initiation that entails sacrificing our personal will for God’s will.
This is a very frustrating time for people when they are going through difficulties and they’re all alone. The disciples sleeping are symbolic of the sleep of unconsciousness of the mass of humanity. Jesus asked three times not to die and finally he said, “Not my will, but Thy will be done”. The third initiation, which Jesus exemplifies for us, is this sacrifice of our will to God’s will.
You might be asking yourself, “If Jesus is really the Son of God why is he having to do the tests, which we less evolved humans need to do?” He is going through these predictable stages for our benefit to bring the mysteries out of secrecy and into the world so that we would have a guide to follow. He taught for only three years, from age thirty to thirty-three. During those three years he completed the second, third, fourth and fifth initiations. He was an enlightened being who decided to walk through those initiations in public view to – as I said earlier – show us the path. Then he was arrested and that takes us to the next initiation.
After completing the third initiation, he embarks on the fourth initiation—the crucifixion. The fourth initiation is a continuance from the third and a further surrendering of our will to the divine will. Remember everything that Jesus had to go through because similar things might happen to us during the fourth initiation. He was beaten, tried, and condemned by both the spiritual and physical leaders and had to carry the cross past all the people who had loved him only a short while ago. His chosen disciples betrayed him and denied that they had ever known him.
Jesus forgave his persecutors as he died, which is the fourth initiation that completes the process of surrender. Unlike the third initiation that is done in the dark and in private, the fourth is in public with others witnessing and even advocating your condemnation. In earlier times, initiates physically died when taking the fourth initiation, called in esoteric terms the crucifixion, however that does not always happen in the present day.
The ascension, the fifth initiation, occurs when one is no longer confined by death and by the physical body and can remanifest another body, which we saw that Jesus could do. You remember that he was entombed for three days and it takes three days to work with the body elemental that creates our bodily vessel to create a new light body. This is the esoteric meaning behind Jesus’ words, “Lest you be born again, you will not enter the kingdom of God.” The five initiations that Jesus the Christ demonstrated for us give us incredible insight into what each of us needs to do to attain consciousness.