Christ and Christmas, by Mary Baker Eddy - presented by Rolf A. F. Witzsche


Thus olden faith's pale star now blends 
In seven-hued white! 
Life, without birth and without end, 
Emitting light!


(Wise and Babes)

I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because 
Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 
- Christ Jesus -
(Matthew 11)


Life, without birth and without end, 
Emitting light!



Verily I say unto you, Among them
that are born of women there hath not
risen a greater than John the Baptist:
notwithstanding he that is least in
the kingdom of heaven is greater than
he... For my yoke is easy, and my burden
is light. - Matthew 11


In the above verses the Master of Christianity remarks on the lack of spiritual understanding in general society, where the wise and noble are so chock full of self-limiting perceptions, so that they cannot see what unfolds before their very eyes. And with it the Master celebrates that the perception of Truth naturally asserts itself in those whose heart has not been blocked. 

The Master might have referred to Mary Magdalene, for she is mentioned by name relatively early in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 8) as being with his disciples.

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:

A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold...

The really 'poor' in the world of discrimination are always those who discriminate. The loss they create, is towards themselves. The roadblocks they erect, makes them poor. Some latch on to this poverty and make it their own. Other's protest and step away from it and fight it for the greater riches of themselves and of mankind. One of these who stood up to fight is the musical genius Ethel Smyth who refused to let her worth be trampled under foot by those who were too blind to see it.

Judy Chicago treated her in a unique manner. The plate for Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) is the only plate for The Dinner Party which has not a trace of the "vaginal core" found on it, with which she put symbolically at the center to be representative of women in a fundamental way, reflecting the female mothering quality. The plate for Ethel Smyth is a exception in this regard. Also it is the only plate that does not incorporate in its symbolism the four wings of the butterfly. Instead it shows a grand piano in the top-down view with its lid closed.

Ethel Smyth represents symbolically all the women in the field of classical music in the modern world. The piano on the plate is as black as the place of women the field of classical composers and conductors. It is black, perhaps, because black is not a color but a void of color. In her context it represents a void in human civilization, caused by the exclusion of the female of humanity. Sadly this void in music has had a long historic trend. The exclusion has become a lid placed over all the color of the female potential, to hide it, as if out of fear that its unfolding might expose a certain poverty that has been falsely accepted as the crown of riches.

Judy Chicago writes about this general scene of the female exclusion in the field of major classical music - to which there are exceptions of course - and she celebrates those rare few exceptions that have paved the way to greater freedoms and expanded expressions in music, symbolized by Ethel Smyth who stands with Clara Schumann and few others whom she also celebrates in this context. 

Judy Chicago writes about Ethel Smyth, "Literature was one of the first creative fields women were able to penetrate. If a woman was sufficiently motivated and personally strong enough to withstand isolation, lack of support, and social censure, she could - with sufficient time and privacy - find the means to write. Only the publisher then stood between her and the public, and if that publisher was sympathetic, a woman's voice might be heard. But in music it was different... Despite the fact that a number of women have proven themselves capable of composing and conducting, most have encountered a solid wall of resistance based on the continuing prejudice holding that major music is the property of men."

Ethel Smyth is a perfect example. Judy Chicago presents her story. "Ethel Smyth, a gifted young composer raised in an upper-class English family, arrived in Leipzig in 1877 and quickly became involved in its lively musical world... by 1889 her compositions were being performed in Germany and receiving glowing reviews. Upon her return to England, however, she discovered that few conductors would perform her compositions. - Smyth struggled desperately to establish herself, but even when she was able to arrange a concert, something would immediately go wrong. The orchestra would be inadequately prepared or the conductor unable to attend. If she was invited to participate in a program, male composers would complain. If her work was included anyway, there would rarely be any critical response in the musical journals. Or if she was mentioned by a critic, he would accuse her of plagiarizing a male composer's work... - While Smyth's early work consisted of orchestral and chamber music, she later became interested on operas and and large choral works. She wanted to compose on a scale previously reserved for men and wrote her 'Mass in D,' one of the most ambitious pieces ever undertaken by a female composer. Its production was made possible only because of the support of two influential women; the audience was wildly enthusiastic, but the work was attacked by critics and eclipsed for thirty years... - Angry and frustrated at the obstacles she encountered, Smyth became involved in the struggle for women's rights."

The problem in perception that currently divides the world in countless ways and tears it apart, cannot be healed on the platform on which the problem has been created, which is rooted in to so many mythologies. The problem can only be resolved by raising civilization above the ground to higher levels of reality than the mythological. This implies the healing of 'Christianity.' We are still far from this happening, or even being attempted in any serious way. In this sense the field of classical music remains still a largely barren land with half of mankind 'amputated' from it.

Much of the same can also be said about the social landscape in the face of the sexual 'amputation' of the female world from the male world, and the male world from the female world, except in the smallest domain of 'privatized' living and 'authorized' unions. This scene too, needs to be pulled up to a higher level. For this, the symbolism in Christ and Christmas become critical.

It interesting to note that the patient in the third column is always a male. But is it only the male of society who has isolated itself into its own desert, and is thereby in need of healing in this column that is focused on the healing of 'Christianity?' This is evidently not the case. The sex of the patient is symbolic for a specific reason. The reason becomes evident when we look at the face of the patients in the lower three elements in this column, beginning with the lowest.

- -

The first face is that which has become symbolic for general society. The second face represents theology. And the third face is that of Adam. We have seen those faces before in previous paintings, specific to these three contexts.

- -  

What is interesting here is the progression in which the sexual mythology is progressively cleared out of the way towards the biblical Adam standing alone at the core as the real patient with a lot of the mythology peeled away. Isn't that what Mary Magdalene had addressed scientifically in her days, which Jesus' help, who has been called by Mary Baker Eddy "the most scientific man who ever trod the globe," (S&H 313)? Didn't she cut boldly through the Adam separation, the Adam myth, the Adam nakedness, the modern Adam arrogance, the new near universal Adam fascism; including the Adam theologian to whom the Scriptures are a closed book, and the cynical in society who claims that woman is nothing more than a bit of flesh and rib taken from man to fashion a help-maid and toy thing for him, as the Adam mythology proclaims?

Mary Baker Eddy defined 26 such 'names' for Adam in her glossary of the textbook. The 26 definitions for the name Adam stand in opposition to the 26 topics covered in her "class book" that she had developed for her class teaching, which later added to the textbook as the chapter, Recapitulation. These 26 topics fundamentally invalidate the 26 'names' for Adam. They also stand in conjunction with the 26 topics of the Christian Science Bible Lesson sermons that Mary Baker Eddy has instituted. Adam, thus, is the universal patient throughout this column, focused on the healing of 'Christianity.' 

Of the three faces above, we deal with the center one on this page, the face of theology that is steeped in the Adam mythology and is intellectually crippled by it so that it cannot scientifically move to higher ground. Mary Baker Eddy provided a length textbook chapter to deal with this subject. The title is: Science of Being. In this chapter the she pulls the entire human scene up to higher ground, way beyond the theological context, to the context of divine Science, and at the end of the chapter she presents a 32-part platform, which is often referred to as the Christian Science Platform,  which totally overturns the Adam-bound mortal-mind concept.

And yes, we do see Mary Magdalene here, who historically stepped away from the Adam-mythology concept that divides and smothers the whole of mankind, and stepped into the light.

The historic Mary Magdalene studied with Jesus of Nazareth. In the modern world the budding representative of Mary Magdalene, so distant from Adam, studies with Mary Baker Eddy. Here a puzzle seems to unfold, for Mary Baker Eddy associated the painting with Christ Jesus' words:

I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because 
Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 
- Christ Jesus -
(Matthew 11)

The general perception of the above verse is likely backwards, for Christ Jesus would likely have said:

I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that 
That thou hast revealed these things unto babes, for they would surely never be gleamed from theology,
 from the wise and prudent, and if it wasn't for the babes, the unobstructed thought,
divine Science would remain forever hidden.

Speaking of John the Baptist, the greatest theologian of his time, Jesus said, that none greater than John had been born, but that, nevertheless, even the least in the kingdom of God was greater than he. Evidently, science, which opens the channels of perception to the greatest intimacy with the divine that is achievable, affords the greatest health and makes the best men. The book of life that theology and philosophy had kept closed, divine Science has laid bare before mankind.

The clock in the background of the above painting shows the time as 5 after 5. In Revelation 5:5 we read: "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." 

Mary Baker Eddy may have found this comment true in her own experience as a woman challenging the masters of traditional religion to open their eyes to the scientific dimension of the spiritual Universe, thereby challenging their poverty, but this, coming from a woman, they regarded as infantile. Thus, the religions cheated themselves. One wonders in this context how great Mary Magdalene might have stood among all those who followed Christ Jesus. She had dared to offer what many had sought, but which theology could not acknowledge in those highly-schooled empty hearts that it created. Thus her story remains hidden under many cloaks, except to admit that she was there with at the cross, in the hour of his greatest trial when all of his disciples, but one, had disserted him. How many, like Mary Magdalene, who by his standard were giants among men, have remained hidden?

 False tradition and knowledge is evidently hard to unlearn, staging a hopeless scene without the aid of science.

Mary Baker Eddy became the modern "Lion of the tribe of Judah." She pried open the scene. She did change the world. The 44 years of her unyielding building of the Mother Church on the foundation of her discovery in 1866 of the intimate unity of God and man, coincided with the only major period of peace and humanity that history records to have occurred during the last several hundred years. All the wars suddenly ended in the light of her discovery. Even the bestial Spanish Inquisition that had ruled for centuries had ended just a few years prior. Later, after her death, the train to hell started moving again and has been switched to the fast track.

Of course, the historic coincidence of her healing work with the period of peace doesn't prove anything by itself, and much less so since The Mother Church is fast collapsing and the world is collapsing into terrorism, war, ever-greater fascism and inhumanity, and an ever-deeper economic collapse, poverty and chaos. While none of this was visible on the horizon in 1893 when the above painting was created, she appears to have understood from the experiences of her own struggles that the advancing idea and the freedom of mankind cannot be extinguished. Thus she provided a place for it in her college without a teacher where the development of mankind's scientific self-perception could continue, nourished by those who work unseen, but are giants.

That challenge that theology is faced with, is that it allows itself to be uplifted from its own rigid 'coffin' and be inspired by the achievements of those it considers "the least in the kingdom of God," whereby ecclesiastical faith and despotism is left behind in the demonstration of the divine idea that has itself no infancy as a reflection of God in man's intimacy with God. The rocking chair in the painting is symbolic of movement. It is symbolic of moving with divine Truth, which invariably translates into Christ-movements in thought, or thought moving with the Christ. 

The rocking chair that symbolizes forms of spiritual movement, flowing with the Truth, appears in three different places in Christ and Christmas. In the scene applicable to this element, theology is symbolically placed in the rocking chair, representing also ideology in its countless forms, whenever there is a movement with divine Truth happening, even to some degree. One of these forms where movement is happening is Judy Chicago's art work, The Dinner Party.  


Thus olden faith's pale star now blends 
In seven-hued white! 
Life, without birth and without end, 
Emitting light!

My perception of Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party is that its greatest value in not in its profound commitment to honor the achievements of women, which the art has accomplished, especially those women who have for far too long been obscured, but that its greatest value lies in its contribution to the healing of the learned poverty in society, especially that towards the spiritual core of the mother-principle - thereby contributing to the healing of mankind and civilization. She took the soul of women from all ages and attached butterfly wings - their wings - and challenged society to fly with them to higher ground that is more real, more beautiful, and more powerful to behold and to experience.

Next part

Associated elements:

Lord's Prayer: - Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections;

Textbook Chapters: 

10a - Science of Being

10b - Platform of Christian Science

The Church Manual: Segment 10 - The Christian Science Publishing Society

lead-in: A Shine of Butterflies - Christ and Christmas Index  

related articles:
"A Shine of Rainbows"  
- Symbol of Our Heritage
Sex, Brain,  Intimacy, Spirituality
The singly powered universe
- What is God that Man is an Expression of?

- Sublime Science
- The Taj Mahal  
- Temples of India
- The Power of 56
- Morning Prayer Hymns

- related copyrights


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