Intimacy, and Christ and Christmas by Mary Baker Eddy -

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Rolf A. F. Witzsche


A Shine of Butterflies


 


Leopard Lacewing Butterfly -by Richard Bartz

 

On colored wings she lifts itself above the ground


 

 

The butterfly has stood as symbol for many things throughout the ages, both for its color, softness, and shape; and its ability to lift itself off the ground. Between 1974 and 1979 the butterfly has also been utilized as a symbol in the development of a large art project to address one of mankind's deepest-reaching, most profound dimension of its humanity that is central to its existence and its civilization, and is at the same time its most-perplexing and greatest problem, posing its deepest challenges. 

The exploration that begins here combines the symbolism of the butterfly and its art-project, with the spiritual symbolism of an earlier, 1893, art project of the same nature, for a combination that makes mankind shine on the wings of its butterflies. Thus, the tile of this exploration, A Shine of Butterflies, is intentionally modeled after the 2009 movie, A Shine of Rainbows, which uplifts the principle of mother to ever higher levels of expression.

The art project that is reviewed here in an exploratory mode is focused on the sexual dimension that stands at the center of the subjugation of women in society that began with the fading of the primordial times and grew from there into the dark ages with outright female persecution at its worst stages, then leading into the modern revolutionary period where the fight for equality began a reversal of the great darkness that has not yet been fully won. The art project that is under review focuses on the historic achievements of woman in terms of them not only holding their ground during the dark periods, but also in terms of their successes in lifting themselves above the background of the times to higher ground, both in their self-recognition and in the achievements that were build thereon.  

The art project, created by the American artist Judy Chicago, features the butterfly as a symbol in this context. The butterfly has four wings with which it lifts itself off the ground, and in the art project its body stands symbolic at the center signifying the vaginal core - the very core of the subjugation of women that has blacked the ages which the historic women of achievement have been able to uplift, each in its own way. Judy Chicago and her teem of hundreds of supporters for the project selected 999 historic women of achievement in western civilization, and selected 39 of these as representatives who are given a place of honor at a triangular art installation that she named The Dinner Party. The Dinner Party is a lavish construct of exquisite place setting for the honored women, complete with embroidered individual place runners laid out an large triangular table, each representing one of them three main periods of history. The dinner plate for each of the women is a large 14-inch plate individually painted, each one a work of art in itself, a combination of main symbol - the butterfly with its four wings and the vaginal core at the center that the butterfly lifts off the 'plate' to higher ground to an elevated civil, moral, and spiritual significance. The art installation has been presented in six counties and has been seen by over a million visitors, together with a book that lists the achievements of the celebrated women and presents their plate in full color.

The book and the installation were created during a critical period in modern history at a time when dark shadows were fast falling on civilization. Though neither were intentionally created for this context, it stands to reason that the huge effort that projects represents, to raise an awareness in society of the historic achievements of woman, and thereby raise the self-perception of society itself, has had a tangible healing effect on society during the 41-year span of the project since its creation. While we will never know what the world would by like had this project not been created, it is possible present a scientific sense of its importance in the context of review of the historic book that was created as a part of the project at its very beginning, published 41 years ago. (see detals: Symbol of Our Heritage


Since the scientific sense is the key for the review of Judy Chicago's book and project, considering that the healing of society is far from being fully accomplished, the review is combined with an exploration of another historic book that contains an illustrated poem centered on that very issue of lifting society above the background of its tragically low self-perception, especially in the sexual dimension that is deeply intertwined with it. The book of this poem has been created in 1893 by America's scientific pioneer in spiritual healing, named Mary Baker Eddy. The art for the book, commissioned by Mary Baker Eddy in the form of 11 paintings, was created by artist James F. Gilman. The title of the book is, Christ and Christmas.

The poem, and the illustrations for it, are of special significance here, for the reason that Mary Baker Eddy established a new Christian church in America, near the end of the 19th Century, which she termed, The Mother Church. The mothering principle is female in nature and at the same time universal in its manifestation across the whole of society.

 Mary Baker Eddy gave her church the legal title: The First Church of Christ Scientist, in Boston Massachusetts but its core identity remain as, The Mother Church. Mary Baker Eddy founded this church on her discovery of what she called, the "absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing," which she termed Christian Science (p.107) - which history records as her primary achievement. But she didn't leave it with that. She set out to discover the science of it; document it in a textbook; chartered a college to teach it for the purpose of establishing a platform for healing in society; and founded a worldwide church to promote its healing principles that she established herself as the Pastor Emeritus of. And above that stands her poem and illustration to define in metaphor what her achievement consists of and represents.

Mary Baker Eddy stood as a woman in a male dominated world and a religious scene laced with many dark-age concepts, both of which she met head on, not defeat them, but to uplift them with a higher sense of God and Truth and humanity in the image of God.

The term The Mother Church, which she chose as spiritual identifier, evidently refers not to a hierarchical human relationship between mother and children, but refers to the enriching and uplifting mother-principle that is female at its core, but which is not grounded there, which instead being grounded in Mind lifts itself above the Earth and all mankind with it. 

Here again we cannot measure the achievement that has been wrought by her work, because it is simply no possible to determine what the world would be like today had Mary Baker Eddy not been a part of it and done the work she has accomplished in an effort to uplift the world. The closest we can come to finding a measurement of her impact on the world - apart from the countless thousands that were healed by the application of her science - is the fact of history that the 44-year period of her work in scientific spiritual development coincides with essentially with the only general period of peace and humanity in the world to the present since the days of the Golden Renaissance. While the coincidence itself proves nothing, it is nevertheless noteworthy, especially since the train to hell started to roll again after her death (December 1910), and is now moving faster than  ever.

Mary Baker Eddy defines "Mother" as:

"God, divine and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love." 

The term Mother Church, thus can be seen as combination of the female mothering principle acknowledged and understood, and then raised above the ground to its divine dimension in a process that is designed to uplift the whole of mankind. In a verse of her poem in, Christ and Christmas, she states:

For Christian Science brings to view 
The great I Am, - 
Omniscient power, - gleaming through 
Mind, mother, man.


What the mothering principle implies in human terms in the personal sense is well illustrated in the recent (2009) film, "A Shine of Rainbows" where the spiritual idea of mother is raised to ever-higher levels, first by a woman, then by a child, and at last by a man.

With "mother" being grounded in the female dimension, the exploration of the sexual dimension as a divine idea - which it is, including its manifest in sexual intimacy, which it promotes - necessarily involves a recognition of the status of women that to a large degree determines the status of civilization, and also involves a processes that lifts the sexual dimension up unversally to ever greater height.  It may have been for this reason that Mary Baker Eddy gave the focus on the rights of women a prominent place in the spiritual structure of her church.

Mary Baker Eddy created a foursquare scientific structure for her church for the development of Divine Science. Her work, Christ and Christmas, is a part of this structure. The structure is logically recognized as a structure for four rows, pertaining to four main levels of perception, and as a structure of four columns as rivers for progressive development. The names of the rivers are the biblical rivers listed in Genesis 2, but her definition for them in her glossary, is her own, and is closely related to her foursquare structure. It is among these where the subject of the rights of women comes rhetorically into play in her definition for the second river: Gihon, defined as:

 "The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially." 

The river is coincident with the domain of the structure that is labeled, the Christ. With this definition for the river Gihon, she sets up a high stage for women's right to be acknowledged, and for herself with it. This demanded high-stage setting is not surprising if one considers how deeply the state of civilization on our planet is determined by the recognition and self-recognition of men and women in society, and women in particular, where at the present time much progress needs yet to be achieved by mankind for its self-healing.

The river Gihon is preceded in Mary Baker Eddy's foursquare structure, by the first river, Pison, defined as:

 "The love of the good and beautiful, and their immortality." 

These two rivers make up the first half of her foursquare structure which culminates in the development of the highest sense of woman, coincident with the highest form of human rights.

The second half of the structure is related to Church, the development of the processes that uplift civilization. Its first river is "Hiddekel," defined as:

"Divine Science understood and acknowledged." 

The final river is a complex one. The river is named, "Euphrates." It is defined by Mary Baker Eddy as:

"Divine Science encompassing the universe and man; the true idea of God; a type of the glory which is to come; metaphysics taking the place of physics; the reign of righteousness." 

The river is also focused on limitation: 

"The atmosphere of human belief before it accepts sin, sickness, or death; a state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation; finity; the opposite of infinity."



The above four rivers are reflected in Judy Chicago's art project, The Dinner Party. 

It is fitting therefore that the review of Judy Chicago's historic art project is pursued in the context of Mary Baker Eddy's book of art metaphors that reflect the same basic theme, though from different standpoint. The drawing together here highlights the necessary coincidence of the scientifically spiritual and its reflection in already attained historic achievements, reflecting the dawning coincidence of the human and the divine, or in the less esoteric sense, the coincidence of civilization and the Principle and Intelligence of the Universe. 
(See: What is God that Man is an Expression of?)

The need thus is not to kill the significance of sex that is the rudimental promoter of the principle of intimacy, but to raise it up to gain its spiritual significance that is essential for the development of civilization. Right now, all this is trashed in the modern world. There is no real intimacy in any direction. Society is isolated from one another by countless factors, stretching far beyond sexual division, becoming isolated by money, property, status, fame, power. For example, when money enters the scene the intimacy between people ends, or politics, or religion, ideologies, and so on. If the principle of intimacy isn't there, or is too feeble and nothing raises it up, the doom of civilization is not far off. Society has become so deeply isolated, even from itself, that it listens unmoved by rhetoric from the masters of empire that argue for the population reduction of our planet to below the two billion mark, and who promote policies towards this end, while hardly anyone as much as protests, and most of the world leaders sing along with the imperial song and clamor for war.

The healing of society is extremely far distant at the moment, while the pioneers on this front are few. Two are combined for a project of scientific healing, two who are recognized at the leading edge for their profound achievements.

-
Mary Baker Eddy, 1821-1910 -- artist Judy Chicago, in 1979

Go to the index page of 
"Intimacy, and Christ and Christmas"


 

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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