If you have been following my blogs in recent weeks you will be aware that it seems like I am being inundated with Christian saints. They have been showing up everywhere, not in form or apparition, but as clear guidance, things to consider as I enter into the Seven Sacred Seals sessions over the next 9 weeks. It is not a Christian teaching, it has tantric elements to it too, but as it has the deepest resonance in our western world it is where I am being guided.
This last week especially I have been feeling a pull to look into the lives of two saints, St Francis of Assisi and Theresa De Avila. Both I know a little of, but I was drawn to explore their lives a little more deeply. My wife had just been gifted a book about St Teresa, so I snapped it up from underneath her, the pull to read it very strong.
As it turned out I also received a copy of the book Seven Sacred Seals after a month long delay. It showed up between seals sessions on the day my groups began. Would you believe it the book fell open at the page about the 7 Saints associated with each seal, something I wasn't even aware was a thing. And then I saw that Teresa was the 5th Sacred Seal, the 4th Gene key, which happens to be my Purpose key. And St Francis is the 3rd Sacred seal, a seal I had been working with last weekend. To me this reveals that we truly can tap into the field of this work, it is a transmission. I had no idea they were the associated saints and to feel such a strong pull to them in recent weeks should then come as no surprise, but it was.
What stood out for me straight away from Teresa's story was that from a young age she wanted to be a martyr, an idea that many of us avoid in our modern world, seeing it connected to a sense of powerlessness and manipulation in many circles. But she wanted to 'suffer for Christ' as she called it, living a strict life in a nunnery, praying her guilt away daily. By today's standards she would still be considered a saint, but to her, in her mind, she was far from it, with many thoughts of her human failings. For her it was prayer that carried her through her life, as well as the odd visitation from an apparition.
And then when I started reading into the life of St Francis, one of the first things I read about him was also his desire to be a martyr, to suffer for Christ. And in those days that often meant being burned at the stake, or something worse inflicted upon them by the Inquisition authorities. But what Francis demonstrated through his martyrdom was a surrender of his lower self into the arms of the divine, a true sacrifice.
This took me back to childhood memories of staring at the cross at the back of my church, with the figure of Jesus surrendered on it. That symbol has carried such deep meaning in the western psyche, the crucifixion, and I do believe it is something that we are beginning to collectively come to right relationship around. But as a young boy staring at the cross I know I took on the opinion that I too would have to suffer in order to deserve heaven. And boy has that taken me on a journey, one that I now have a very different idea about today thankfully.
As we learn in the 7 Sacred Seals, 'Suffering is Grace'. Playing those words over in our minds can lead to some deep contemplation, I know it has every time I have facilitated a seals group. But it doesn't mean that we need to cause our own suffering, that we need to seek out unnecessary suffering. In my life I am certain that I did. I saw the life my grandfather lived as a POW in Poland in WW2 and his resilience spoke to me, but it also affirmed the idea that I must suffer. But suffering for the lower self and suffering to free others are quiet different acts altogether.
"Living for God is martyrdom." said Paramhansa Yogananda. Now isn't that a bit of a different idea to what martyrdom is than the one I learned? The belief that we need to sacrifice ourselves for the lower desires of others. We don't have to burn at the stake to be a martyr, we are martyrs when we sacrifice our base desires for higher desires, when we live for God.
There are those who may appear to play the role of martyr in the world, but if they were alive today they would probably tell us that they sacrificed only their lower nature. Throughout the history of Christianity we have heard of it, the Cathars who willingly walked on to the pyre to burn into the light, the Templars who burned at the stake, refusing to reveal the true nature of the treasure that others sought to take from them. In those times and those places it appears that it would have to play out that way. They chose God.
But today, to speak those truths, to hold them in our daily lives, does not usually bring us an automatic burning. We may be criticised by others who hold to different belief systems but thankfully in the part of the world where we live I can speak my truths without fear of this. If anything the memory is stored within our DNA, I have observed it in past life regressions in many over the years. The fear of it can immobilise even the most devoted.
For me it has often shown up in the form of people pleasing, something I can still catch in myself as I journey deeper into the work. We try to please others and we find ourselves sacrificing ourselves. When we serve God we find that we will release those who need us to please them and be surrounded by those who also serve God.
Caroline Myss actually speaks to the archetype of the martyr and references the martyrdom that the self help world wants to avoid at all costs, but also the martyrdom that is the higher frequency expression of that archetype.
"Within the self-help field, the shadow Martyr is viewed as a person who has learned to utilize a combination of service and suffering for others as the primary means of controlling and manipulating her environment. Ironically, in the social and political world, the martyr is often highly respected for having the courage to represent a cause, even if it requires dying for that cause for the sake of others. Suffering so that others might be redeemed, whether that redemption take a spiritual or political form, is among the most sacred of human acts. While people recognize this archetype in others, particularly when they are directly influenced by the individual sporting this pattern, they often cannot see it in themselves."
- Caroline Myss
My contemplation around this would lead me to look at dharma and the script that we are part of. For Gandhi (who incidentally shares a birthday with Caroline Myss) his dharma was to die for the cause, as it was for Martin Luther King. But for others who have fought for causes they have gone on to live longs lives. Can we trust the script? Can we stand in our truth even with that possibility hanging over us?
I don't think this contemplation is over. Saint Teresa and Francis has opened up a line of contemplation for me this week that I will continue to take into the work with the Seven Sacred Seals. I leave you with these words from Richard about both of these saints.
St Teresa of Avila
Teresa of Avila was a mediaeval mystic who attained very high States of ecstatic God-consciousness. She had a series of embodied visions in which Christ became visible to her. These experiences gave her a lifelong understanding of the nature of sin and the means to transcend it through a kind of four level 'Christian tantra'.
St Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis one of the best known and most fondly loved of all Christian saints. Saint Francis represents the vast humility of the love for all humans and creatures, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Saint Francis's life is also a representation of the complete surrender of the lower self into the arms of the divine."
- Richard Rudd, the Seven Sacred Seals
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