Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Jesus as the Archetype Shaman (Part 4c): extended journey and communication with spirits
The story of the the death and resurrection of Jesus covers a three day period. In this three day period tradition and Biblical narrative relate to a soul journey by the man in the tomb of Gethsemane: a journey which would take him on a visit to the souls of other departed individuals and a return to life in triumph over death itself.
This journey into death, which appeared to be a hopeless end to a powerfully lived life would become the ultimate statement of his power. Like the initiatory trances, sicknesses, and journeys by many Shamans in many cultures, the journey of Jesus into death is a crisis, which necessitated a return as proof of his power.
This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.'
"Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."
Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.
This three day period is reflected upon by the Apostle Peter who gives insight to the soul travels of Jesus with these words, >I>"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient...."
The journeys of Shamans in a variety of folk traditions from Siberia to South America relate of dangerous trance journeys into the underworld. Communication with spirits is a regular aspect of these travels. We find this motif being reiterated in the death and resurrection of Christ.
For three days Jesus is faced with humanity's greatest enemy - death itself, and according to narrative laid out in Christian tradition, Jesus communicates with the dead, and returns from the grave. In this we see once again that Christ could easily be seen as an archetype Shaman. His communication with spirits of the dead, and his return to life from death become a literal fulfillment of that which is experienced only in traces by Shamans of tribes across the world.
This is a continuation of thoughts on Jesus as the archetype Shaman. Previous posts relating to this topic can be found below:
Part 1 of the series
Part 2 of the series
Part 3 (thoughts on shamanism and glossalalia as it relates to Christians)
Part 4a of the series
Part 4b Descent by crisis or struggle
Passages above come from these Biblical passages and are from the New King James version:
descent for days/ extended journey (Mt. 27:62-28:6)
descent and communication with spirits (1 Peter 3:18-19)