There will be a Second Coming . . . but not in the sense of the distorted myth that is gripping so many Christian fundamentalists, with its extraverted Rapture and literalized End Times.
No. It will be the gradual discovery of the “Christ Consciousness,” the atman, the centerpoint of Jung’s “Self” within each of us and certainly not just Christians! If you think about it in terms of the Astrological Ages and the Evolution of Consciousness [the topic of my recent book THE HEAVENS DECLARE ], there seem to be messengers that make the bridge between one state of collective awareness and another. In the East, there was Krishna for Hinduism, followed by Buddha, who was the Bridge to Buddhism, and Padmasambhva, who was the bridge to Tibetan Buddhism. In the West Moses was the bridge between the Canaanites and their worship of the Bull (Age of Taurus). The eponym of I AM THAT I AM is the cry of every Aries, even today, and that Age marked the birth of the collective ego. Jesus was the bridge from the monotheistic and fiercely exclusive religion at that time to sharing that one God with other people, and, dare I point it out, Mohammed was the bridge of the People of the Book (the Torah, the New Testament and the Koran), and if you know your history, you can be of any race on Earth and be a Muslim. If you read the Koran, honor is given to Abraham and Jesus and Mary, only Mohammed saw Jesus as a prophet and not an exclusive son of God. The message of Jesus the Christ was that once you have an ego, it must be surrendered to the Father (i.e., the Spirit). “I am the light that lighteth every man,” says John of the Logos. The hypostatic union becomes a psychological reality and the goal of Jung’s ‘individuation’.
St. Columba was the bridge in Ireland between Druidism and Celtic Christianity in the sixth century. Guru Nanak was the bridge to recognizing the wisdom inherent in all religions. I have been to the Golden Temple in Amritsar and witnessed the 24/7 reading aloud of the famous inclusive Book. Ramakrishna, an Aquarian himself, studied all the religions one by one until he had a vision and so he taught his disciples tolerance. When asked to speak of God, he would answer ‘With or without form?” as easily as “How do you take your tea, cream or lemon”! His disciple Vivekananda spoke movingly at what I think was the first Conference on World Religions and formed a bridge to Vedanta in America, which influenced Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, et al. Then there is Bahai.
The point I am trying to make is that the “Second Coming” is the gift of the opening Age to come. The gift of the Christian myth (myth as defined by Jung is not an untrue story but a story true of the psyche!) is that once we have an ego (center of consciousness) it has to surrender with devotion to the Divine Guest within. Jung points out that this is problematic because the Self dwells in the unconscious! It can only be reached through the heart, can only be done through the heart of love and the realization that the flame on every candle is the same flame! I was an aesthetic snob for years and looked down at what I thought were those saccharine pictures and glass candles depicting a sentimental Jesus with a large radiating heart! Until I saw what it really symbolizes. Now I am ashamed. Jung said that these religious symbols affect the unconscious directly, and now we know that they are perceived by the right brain. A neurologist told me that when you drive down the highway and see a sign that says TURN RIGHT FOR AIRPORT, we read with left brain and the next arrow pointing right, with the left.
It breaks my heart when communion for or anointing the sick can only be done if you are a member of the Roman Catholic Church, as if it were an exclusive club and that in many places today fundamentalists of ALL the religions (except Buddhism) insist that theirs is the ‘only way’. I confess if there is one thing I am intolerant of, it is intolerance!
I read a book by an English admiral who spent five years in a Buddhist monastery and on saying adieu to the abbot was asked what his religion had been. He replied he had been an Anglican. The abbot smiled and replied, “Well, now you can become a better and wiser Anglican!”
I have not mentioned the ethnic so-called pagan religions in the world – they are much closer to nature and filled with instinctive wisdom we have largely lost and need desperately to include.
Fortunately, throughout history there has been the hidden catena aurae, the Golden Chain, of the Gnostics, the mystics, the alchemists, who have kept the esoteric wisdom alive through generations. The motto was “Know and be silent.”
At the turn of the twentieth century, a breakthrough occurs! The last woman spiritual teacher in the West, outside of the church, was Hypatia of Alexandria, who was brutally murdered by the Christian Cyril in 443 A.D. But now some remarkable women emerged: Helena Blavatsky, Anna Bonus Kingsford, and Mary Baker Eddy: the first two founders of the Theosophists and Eddy of Christian Science.
Blavatsky impacted Krishnamurti, who impacted the theoretical physicist David Bohm.
The concept of the Divine Guest is one that goes back to the founders of Hinduism! But Hindu philosophy only reached the West in the late eighteenth century with the first translation of the Upanishads in Germany. After the American Revolution, Bostonians refused to send their sons to Oxford/Cambridge and sent them to Germany. They were exposed to the ages-old wisdom of Hinduism, returned to Boston and influenced Emerson, Thoreau and Alcott, who founded Transcendentalism in Concord.*
Thoreau gave ahimsa (non-violence) a pragmatic twist and went to jail rather than pay his taxes for something he disapproved of! Then he wrote a pamphlet, On Civil Disobedience, which was read by an Indian lawyer living in South Africa. His name was Mohandas Gandhi, and he freed India from British rule without a shot being fired. This in turn inspired Martin Luther King and possibly inspired Nelson Mandela. Both Gandhi and King were martyred, but Mandela was honored this very day by the unveiling of a nine-foot statue of him in London in Parliament Square!
* For more on this read The Flowering of New England by Van Wyck Brooks, who with the poet John Hall Wheelock were classmates at Harvard with my uncle, the composer George Luther Foote. I met the former two frequently when in my late teens and JHW gave me my first job in NYC working at Scribner’s Bookstore on 5th Avenue.