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Dane Rudhyar's Fire Out of the Stone. Image Copyright 2007 by Michael R. Meyer.

A Reformulation of the
Basic Images of the
Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Dane Rudhyar, 1962

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This title was first published by Sevire, 1963.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2008
by Michael R. Meyer.

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"Thy God is a cosumming fire."
Duet. 4:25

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"I am come to send fire on the earth."
Luke 12:49

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"When man is as the woman and the woman as the man, there you will find me,"
Gnostic Saying of Jesus

The Beatitudes

In the Beatitudes which begin the Sermon on the Mount, we are given terse statements of the paradoxical steps which a man seeking to follow the way of Christ must take. One can hardly be certain that there is a special meaning in the fact that there are nine such statements; nor do we know the precise meaning which the word Jesus used in his Aramaic tongue sought to convey. "Blessed" in English, "heureux" in French are translations of a Greek term which seems to mean more exactly "enjoyer of bliss". Most likely these nine sayings refer to basic steps in a process of psychological repolarization and transformation which gradually leads to an increasing sense of fulfillment and beatitude. It is this process as a whole which needs to be understood and applied.

The sequence of the nine statements presents a very symmetrical pattern which has not usually been seen or understood, partly because of the manner in which the eighth is formulated, a manner which hides its basic character. One should divide the Beatitudes into two sections of four corresponding statements, plus a culminating clause which brings the entire teaching to a concrete and actional focus. The first four Beatitudes are negative in their initial statements; the second four are positive, though the last of these is couched in apparently negative terms; and the final Beatitude repeats the eight statement in a personally directed sense. We have thus in Matthew's Gospel the following sequence:

A. Negative traits

1. The poor in spirit (. . . theirs is the Kingdom of heaven)
2. The mourners ( . . . they shall be comforted)
3. The meek ( . . . they shall inherit the earth)
4. Those who hunger after righteousness ( . . . they shall be filled)
B. Positive traits
1. The merciful ( . . . they shall obtain mercy)
2. The pure in heart ( . . . they shall see God)
3. The peacemakers ( . . . they shall be called children of God)
4. Those who, as they are being persecuted for right's sake, demonstrate the new way of righteousness shown by Christ ( . . . theirs is the Kingdom of heaven)
C. Focusing conclusion
You (my disciples) who will be reviled for my sake (. . . great is your reward in heaven)

The double fourfold pattern is confirmed, as it were, by the formulation of these teachings of Jesus found in Luke's Gospel — the only other one of the Gospels to incorporate, in a different form, these Beatitudes. In Luke's version (6 : 20-32) those who are blessed are: 1) the poor, 2) those who hunger, 3) those who weep now, 4) those who are reviled and cast out by men "for the son of Man's sake". And the polar opposition to these four Beatitudes is not, as in Matthew, a second set of four more blessednesses, but a corresponding sequence of four "woes": 1) Woe unto you that are rich, 2) Woe unto you that are full, 3) Woe unto you that laugh now, 4) Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you, as their fathers did to the false prophets. Moreover, the Beatitudes in Matthew are pronounced by Jesus on the Mount, while in Luke they are uttered after Jesus and the Twelve had "come down" from the Mount and while they "stood in the plain" — thus in two significantly opposite frames of reference!

If we consider the first four Beatitudes in Matthew's Gospel we should realize that they set into opposition the two terms of a "dialectical" situation. The Beatitudes in Luke provide, as it were, the first terms of the situation (thesis), and the Woes their repudiation in an antithetical manner. The "rich" become "poor", but gain (according to Matthew: synthesis) the "Kingdom of heaven". Those who are "full" (Luke) become through deprivation "mourners" (Matthew), but they shall "be comforted". Those who "laugh" shall "weep" — they must become "meek" — but they "shall inherit the earth". Those who are socially well accepted come to be "reviled", as they "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (a kind of righteousness not acceptable by tradition), but they "shall be filled".

Here then we have four basic paradoxes; and it makes little sense to try to blunt the sharp edge of the paradoxes by softening the meanings of the phrase "poor in spirit", which actually means in Greek "beggars in spirit." Jesus evidently was always ready to shock his listeners: Lose your life in order to gain it; serve, if you want to be master; leave behind and "hate" father, mother and all attachments of the life-realm, and follow me, etc. "Who is my mother, or my brethren? . . . Whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother" (Mark 3 : 32-35).

What can it mean if not that what Jesus sought to impress so powerfully upon his followers was the need for a fundamental repolarization of consciousness, for a radical change of values. To a society still controlled by tribal concepts of absolute paternal authority, of ritual law, of racial and religious exclusivism (the seed of Abraham, the "elect people" of God, etc.), he brought an essentially different level and scale of values. While using the three most basic concepts and Images of the Hebraic society — the Father, the Law, the Kingdom — he told the people, at times bluntly and at others in parables, that these concepts and traditional images had reality and value at an entirely new level where they meant something totally different. The Father was "in Heaven"; the Mosaic laws, though valid socially, were all absorbed into one new great commandment (actually, a universal Principle); and the Kingdom, so longed for traditionally by the Jews, was not of this world, but actually "within you". The result: nothing really was where and what you expected it to be! The level of all values had been changed by the New Covenant written in the heart of every man. For the old set of allegiances, a new set had been substituted, whose hold upon man was of an entirely different character.

That everything is inwardly different while remaining outwardly the same — this is the great paradox of the true life lived according to the spirit of Christ. Here a man is walking; yet God is in him, God is he. Nevertheless he remains a man. Jesus' outer appearance had apparently not changed when he and his disciples descended from the Mount of the Transfiguration — not even after the Resurrection when he appeared to his disciples and they touched his flesh and later ate with him. What then did happen? This: What was the human pole of the relationship with the Divine had now became the relationship itself. In this consists essentially the life of mediation. The mediator becomes the relatedness of the divine Whole to the individual part, as this divine Whole expresses itself in focused activity through that part, here and now.

Such a process of mediation implies inevitably a paradoxical situation, because the attainment of the goal requires the surrender of all normally valued means. The end requires the devaluation of the means. One reaches the end — the divine Marriage, the mediating power — only when one has abandoned all faith in any means whatsoever, and especially in all traditional means.

In a sense it is the paradox found in the creative activity of true genius. Only when the laboriously acquired techniques are forgotten does the direct and seemingly "unconscious" act of creation flash through the quieted, yet expectant, organs of creation. But this does not mean that discipline and muscular-mental exercise are not necessary! So are nine months in a womb a preliminary requirement for wholesome birthing as a human being.

The paradox is that you can never operate creatively and spiritually except by surrendering all that was needed to build you up to the point at which, having surrendered, you can act as an integrated and creative whole. The building up is the thesis; the birth out of the matrix (the surrender) is the antithesis; and the synthesis is the fact that when you are thus "free" you have only achieved a state of more inclusive allegiance not only to whatever had built you up but to what had produced what had built you up, etc. This new allegiance, however, has a new character; a new quality of consciousness pervades it, because what this new allegiance "binds" is not you, as the individual ego you were, but a "you" that is now the relationship between that old, narrow, exclusivistic you and a vast Power, divine in essence, that has become focused within this new "you".

Thus in terms of the Beatitudes, he who had gained riches in the old tribal society and, above all, who felt himself rich in traditional wisdom and great in mind, has to become a "beggar" in the realm of all that the world considers "spiritual". He must become denuded inwardly of all familiar and respected values; he must experience the "dark night of the soul" of Christian mystics, the "great doubt" known to the Zen disciple. He must be born out of all he owned, even while still owning it if that external ownership should be of value in what will follow. He must beg, as one who has absolutely nothing and perhaps believes in nothing.

Then what happens? Out of the darkness emerges the sense of the relationship of God (the Whole and the One) to the particular condition and place the individual had been occupying in the world. God's power focuses itself upon that condition and place — that is upon that man's individual potential of existence (not upon his "self" as it actually is!) — and a relationship, a "Marriage", takes place in terms of the possibility of divine manifestation which this man's condition, place and capacity represent for God. The individual thus becomes that relationship; he is now the mediating link between the Divine and a small or big function inside of the society from which he had freed himself. Now the individual person is a "personage". He has an office to fulfill; he is, as mediator, this office — very much as the person who assumes the Presidency of the United States is the mediator between the whole of the national, racial, cultural potential of America and the conditions, circumstances and needs he finds when he takes office. But in the case of him who lives in the way of Christ, the state of mediation is not an impermanent function. He is established in a state or relatedness which is essentially permanent, even though up to a certain point "along the way" there may still be failure and at least temporary disintegration.

This edition copyright © 2008 by Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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