03:30. For the first time, what you read below is something that I had grave questions about posting on the Internet, as you will see, for several reasons. It happened just like all my other Active Imagination sessions. I opened the Iris of Time and found myself somewhere. It started with a few fleeting images and a situation, as they always do. But I found myself searching for something, someone, and it went beyond curiosity. I was seeking solace and the answer to burning questions I’ve had all my life. That isn’t to say that I feel that I got them answered. I was given answers, but I don’t know if I believe them as fact.
As for my own religious beliefs, I always say that I am spiritual, but not religious. That said, I love the rituals and symbolism of the Catholic Church, although, I am suspicious and condemning of all those who occupy an official position within any organized religion. Am I a pagan? No, but I resent the word “pagan” to identify ancient religions of the world. I believe they have had an understanding, a profound understanding of some of the universal forces that exist, and in particular those within the human psyche. If you’ve read Oedipus on a Pale Horse, you should have a vague idea of where I stand on religious subjects. Seventeen years ago, I visited the Church of the Apocalypse on Patmos, the burial site of St. John at Ephesus, and the home of the Virgin Mary in the hills east of Ephesus. Am I a Christian? Well, that’s a good question that I cannot answer myself, although I do say a prayer now and then, perhaps more so than I will admit. I make no attempt to hide my schizophrenic approach to religion and accept my inconsistencies without a need to try to resolve them.
So did the encounter that you’re about to read about actually happen? I love that question because it gets to the heart of Active Imagination (emphasis on the imagination). It happened in my imagination. The encounter was not highly emotional, it was heart felt. I had no revelations given me, although I can say that it explored territory that was new to me, and answered some questions. It does not resolve any major religious issues for me because I am so suspicious of this process. If I had more faith in the process, perhaps it would.
The one thing about all my Active Imagination sessions is that consciousness wants to discredit them. They generally come across as imaginative instead of actual, although they seem actual when they present themselves, but in the bright light of consciousness they dim into a fog of fantasy, much as does a dream. But that’s what Active Imagination is. Subjected to the scrutiny of consciousness and associated disbelief, it dissipates into fantasy. Or it comes to us as insanity. Jung wondered while he was practicing it on himself if he was going insane. And certainly that can happen.
I guess my biggest objection to religions, or perhaps I should say religious people, is that they make what are to me such ridiculous pronouncements about God. “God never gives you anything you can’t handle,” and “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” Any one who has seen the inside of a mental institution, and I have, knows that this is not true. And their proclamation that being saved by the grace of God from a tornado and tsunami, or a fire, I find patiently ridiculous. If this is the way, he operates, then what about the abuse of women and children? The abuse of children, the physical and emotional battering of children, if their god is has the capability to stop it and doesn’t, is so horrible as to be unimaginable. I know not this god, nor do I care to ever meet him. If this is the status of the Universe, then I don’t want to exist here. He could have prevented the entire affair. If he’d wanted to do a good job, he could have prevented the atrocities to begin with. All this gets into really stupid logic, and I just walk away from it.
I would put this encounter in the same light as I would that with the Pythia, the Unicorn, and the Centaur. It was not a heavily emotional experience, as you would expect if it were, how can I say, an absolute reality. I present it for your consideration, much as would Rod Serling a Twilight Zone episode.
Anyway, here it is.
Sometime during the night, I wake and open the Iris of Time.
I’m in some far eastern country with a family in a large tent, and one of their women is trying to get me to go to bed with her. She’s massaged my feet, and I believe I’m in love. But this is not the reason I’m here. This would be an empty encounter, and I’m not looking for that. She’s not pleased with me. “Okay,” she says and leaves. But I’m looking for Christ. I didn’t know that that was the reason I came here. I just showed up here, and it turns out that I’m look for Christ.
“Is he here?” I ask.
“He has been here,” they say. “Yes, he is here.” I see their dark faces with gnarled beards, short. But they are not helping me find him.
“Will he see me?” I ask
“He is here, but we don’t know where,” they say. “We don’t know if he will see you.”
“Where would I look for him?”
“If you go out, he will find you, if he wants to meet you. But why do you want to see him?”
“I don’t know. I would like to see if he wants to tell me something. I’m not sure why I’m here. I was just suddenly here.”
“Well, go look for him. He is not so hard to find.”
I leave the group of men. They are playing music, and the girls are dancing for them. I hear it as it fades into the background.
I’m out in the desert, just outside the oasis. It’s full of bushes scattered among the sand dunes. It’s not as dark as I thought it was, and I can find my way among them without much trouble. I see a faint glow of sunset in the west that reminds me of my home in Carlsbad, New Mexico. I’m looking for a place to sit so I can wait for Christ to join me, if he chooses. Do I see him coming? Is that him or a figment of my imagination?
At least it’s someone, or two people actually, but then they stop, talk for a minute and one of them walks toward the oasis. The other approaches me. I do not see him very well. I don’t know if it is because of the failing light or if it is the strength of my vision. I remember that I said that I have to have a sort of poetic faith, a suspension of disbelief, to get the imagines to appear. In addition to him, I see a gnarled face, a snickering face, and hands, perhaps a claw, digging for grubs in the dirt.
But I turn back to the man who is now sitting beside me and turned facing me.
“Are you he?” I ask. “Are you really the Christ, the Chosen One?”
“Yes,” he says, “I am and I have come to talk to you because you have sought me out.”
“Who was the man you were talking to?”
“Someone else who wanted to talk to me.”
“But are you really Jesus?”
“Yes, I am really the one you seek.”
“Were you the man who died on the cross?”
“Yes, I’m the man who died on the cross. Or at least it was my physical body that died on the cross.”
“Did you die for our sins?”
“I died for those who believe that that is possible.”
“How about those like me, who have so little faith?”
“Yes, that is the question, isn’t it. Do you want me to have done that?”
“And that’s the sad part,” I say. “Because no, I don’t want you to have died for my sins. I think I should be punished. I should take responsibility for them. They are mine.”
“Then you really don’t need me.”
“Perhaps I need you even more,” I say. “Perhaps, it is that I don’t want you to do something for me, but for me to do something for you. I want to take responsibility for my sins so you won’t have to. That way I can save you the pain. And then I won’t have the guilt of knowing that I did something that you paid for. That I paid my own debt.”
“You would deny me the privilege of saving your soul from torment?”
“It would seem so, but I know that there are some forms of punishment that I couldn’t take. I think my soul would die.”
“And what form does this punishment take?”
“It is claustrophobia. I am so afraid of it that I believe I would want my soul to die rather than suffer it. I would lose my immortality to not suffer that.”
“Then can I have that which you cannot withstand?”
“But I don’t want you to suffer it either. I would not wish that on any man, much less the Son of God.”
“But it is that for which I came, to take that which you cannot.”
“And this is where I have a problem with existence, with wanting to even have a consciousness. If suffering such as that I imagine exists, I would hope for non-existence. I don’t want suffering of that magnitude to exists at all. I want nothing if that has to exist along side existence.“
I turn and look at him His presence has faded, but I can still see him. “I don’t want you to suffer for me,” I say.
“I won’t,” he answers. “But we need to talk about this some more because existence is a marvelous thing, and you must allow me to exercise that for which I have come.”
“Perhaps I could reconcile myself to it, if I knew more of the reason you wish to do this. Why would you do it?”
“Because you are my children. Would you not do it for your children?”
“I would hope that I could, though the pain, misery is so frightening that I’ve often wondered if I could. I think I would, but I also believe I might break.”
“It is my fault that you have to suffer it because I did create the world where you committed your sins, and I created the Universe in which this scheme developed.”
“Did you do it purposely, or did you not know?”
“Oh, I knew alright, for I do foresee all. But I didn’t foresee that I couldn’t handle seeing those I had created suffer, so I like you, want to absorb the suffering, for in the beginning, to build a world with happiness, I also had to build a world of suffering. The two combined equal nothingness.”
“Then I tell you what I wish to do. I will accept my own payment for my sins, and suffer all that I can, but that which goes over what I can stand, I will give that to you willingly, but no more.”
“I accept this offer, at lest until you might change your mind. Our conversation on this subject is not over.”
“I would hope not, because I worry about you too. Perhaps to come to know more of you and of Heaven and whatever there is in the way of a Hell, I would need to know about this Universe and the forces that exist. If I am thy creation, and I believe that I am, then I do have worth, such that it is, and I wish to honor it by serving you in a way that helps you. I’m not much of praise, not because I don’t appreciate you, but because that’s not the way I envision you. I’m not sure that you seek praise. It’s just that what I see of the world that seems valuable to me has nothing to do with your worship, and everything to do with helping your cause. My role in that seems not directed at telling others what to do. I do not see me bringing your message to them. I see myself serving you in the way that it seems you’ve taught me.”
“Then let us leave it there for tonight. I don’t believe that you we should precede any further in this first encounter. We’ve already probably gone further than was warranted. But that’s understandable since we’ve been so estranged.”
“That surprises me, because I thought I’d always been working your will.”
“Yes, that is your way. But when you come to know me better, you’ll also come to understand the nature of our estrangement that exists even today.”
With that he stands up. “Will we meet again, David?” And then he walks off into the darkness.
And I close the Iris of Time.