Sunday, September 20, 2009

Imagination & Visionaries Part Two

And one thing is common to all humanity-memories do die out. There may be some clue as to how and why visionary experiences take on new forms as specific images as the group memory fades. However, the basic event-be it psychic or transcendent continues to happen. We could talk about some specific visionary experiences that were reported as objective and try to find any links or commonalities between them. There is a huge question in the background here and this is whether or not any visionary experience is truly transcendent. What we mean by transcendent here is that if the experience leads us to a greater reality than our mundane world. I would like to point out here that our "mundane" world can really be very interesting and even magical at times. I would like to bring in a quote here-don't know who said it, but I think it sort of shows that within each of us (to some a much greater degree than others) the awestruck child lying in a meadow looking up in wonder at the stars and that child "dies" a bit day by day in many of us. Here is the quote: "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live."

The least structured and one of the most variable visionary experiences is a supposed direct contact (usually from) God. The most amazing of these reports is where the boundaries of the self are peeled away like an onion and the hardened exoskeleton of the ego and personality are stripped away. The experience of being entered or transformed by the Holy Ghost, of satori, nirvana, or being overwhelmed by the blinding light of the shekhina, is literally beyond the mere vessel of language to describe. However, there are more accounts of religious encounters where the percipient keeps hold of his or her identity. The famous encounter of Ezekiel could have been in his own psyche, a true manisfestation of the Godhead, a "sundog" or even a "flying saucer" and its beings. Whatever happened to Exekiel, he derived meaning from the experience. There is nothing else recorded in Judaism, Christianity and Islam like Ezekiel's experience. The further visions of Ezekiel did not include reports of anything so wondrous as his first one. What the Lord supposedly communicated to Ezekiel withstood intellectual and ethical tests (although unsettling) and was original.

The Lord put an extreme emphasis on individual moral responsiblility and observance. There was no point during all of this that Ezekiel was overwhelmed by his experiences. Looking over Ezekiel's encounter we can't say if he was really relaying the word of God, or if he was mad as a hatter. If Ezekiel was "projecting" his feelings about the moral desolation of Babylonian Israel, as viewed from the prism of an altered state of consciousness, his perceptions were coherent and stood up to the theological world of his time. He was not ranting and raving like a street-corner preacher. There is also the possibility that he put his fierce and uncompromising views of Israel in visionary language because that was the only politically acceptable way to do it. I would be more than a bit remiss if I didn't mention visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM)-and even more fascinating to me-is that she doesn't always identify herself as the Virgin or anyone else for that matter. The popularity and the success of the cults and those involved in the sightings of the BVM are far more popular than the cults which spring up around UFO contactees, mediums and channels.

There were 230 alleged visions of the BVM between 1928 and 1975; this number also represents only those the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged, not necessarily endorsed. Overall the Roman Church endorses very few BVM sightings. Each sighting or encounter of this type is unique but there are some archetypal details that stay the same over hundreds of years of reported sightings. It is interesting that in many of the BVM encounters, they could as easily be taken for a sighting of Mabh or Maeve, Queen of Fairies, or some of the contactee experiences in the UFO literature. Here is a bit from the experience of Bernadette Soubirous in a French grotto in 1858 (Lourdes): "...suddenly I heard a great noise like the sound of a storm...I was frightened and stood straight up. I had lost all power of speech and thought when, turning my head toward the grotto, I saw at one of the openings of the rock a rosebush, one only, moving as if it were windy. Almost at the same time there came out of the interior of the grotto a golden-colored cloud, and soon after a Lady, young and beautiful...the like of whom I had never seen, came and placed herself at the entrance of the opening of the rosebush. She looked at me immediately, smiled at me and signed to me to advance, as if she had been my mother. All fear had left me but I seemed to know no longer where I was. I rubbed my eyes, I shut them, I opened them, but the Lady was still there..making me understand that I was not mistaken." To be continued...


X. Dell said...

I've come across this discussion on Ezekial lately, but I can't remember where. Must have been a documentary I downloaded soem time last week.

What some were saying is that Ezekial either suffered from delusions, or simply misinterpreted uncommon, but completely natural phenomena (ball lightening frequently mentioned).

Usually, I opt to go with the logical explanation whenever possible. But here, there is no logical explanation, simply because we cannot know anymore about Ezekial than we do already. And the questions we would need to ask to determine, say, schizophrenia, or perhaps even a UFO encounter, are lost to us--assuming the story has a factual basis, and Ezekial actually existed.

In short, it's an area where "nobody knows nuttin'." Thus, everything is speculative from that point, including the mundane explanations.

Devin said...

Xdell -thanks so much for dropping by!! I was just about to sign off for the nigth and saw that you had commented-I agree about going with the logical explanation first if you can-and of course about the difficulty with Ezekiel and his vision-trying to interpret something over 2000 years after the fact -really appreciate your taking an interest in this and best to you as always!!