In the past few weeks eagles have featured. A great coincidence of eagles. I heard somebody say, ‘if you are a Catholic there is no such thing as coincidence’ – and then I can not remember if the next phrase was ‘its just little miracles’, or ‘its the Holy Spirit’. I have to be so careful at times not just to put my own ‘thoughts’ in place of others ‘truths’. However for me whether it be coincidences, or little miracles, the Holy Spirit or God, eagles have featured more often than usual, which is unusual as eagles have rarely featured quite so frequently before now.
Occasionally I have been known to register visual symbols which others seemingly don’t register, for e.g. (my car number plate) which no one else quite gets, and sometimes I count things (like the pillars in the theatre :O) – No idea why, in fact mostly I am unaware of my quirks, The number 13, and the rhythm of the children’s birth dates all speak louder to me, of what I don’t know. It is a little like that out of focus eye test at the opticians when one part suddenly stands out 3D and proud and full of clarity and yet all the other parts are a merge of blurs. Significant non-understandings. This might be thought of today by some as ever so slightly autistic, in my day it would have been seen by most as artistic. And now my creative nature with its gentle contemplative peace and its hot charged passion combined would have been seen as nothing more than an expressive free spirit, now some people would try to label it floating mobile on a scale of bi-polar. Y fronts to those labels.
I know I have a pants memory for endless dates facts and tit-bits of information but I remember other things, things which I guess are significant to me in a different way – by charge – by braille of the soul – by feeling – by faith – by eye contact – by thought – by silence – by Love. Memory by Love. By prayer – in prayer by raising our hearts up towards Him. I remember things by an unnamed intangible sense, a sense which can not be seen. It is the way I encounter something that allows me to remember it in a multi dimensional way, like a child that learns with all the senses, a sensory remembering, a memory by experience and not just from a book or rote. And within that way, what I remember is of absolute spirit-level accuracy at the moment of revelation. And in a way the living in the now, looking back, fulfills with hindsight the past, which prophesied the future. Silly ole world.
I know that by observing people around me I can separate out the ‘intelligent’ ones. The ‘intelligent’ people I can see are the ones with the Great memory, their ability to memorize endless dates and facts, and to be blessed with having the skill of relaying those facts in an appealing way to others, they have such a wonderful gift that they inspire me to turn towards them. It’s a one way turning, you see my lack of remembering endless facts and my quite different ways wouldn’t naturally make those same people turn towards me, and therein lies the problem, those that stimulate and inspire me, I do not stimulate and inspire, how endlessly absolutely frustrating. I am inspired by their intelligence, and their captivating skill of presenting is compelling to me, what a gift – and I fail to mirror it back :O(
My gift is unknown to me mostly, God knows it. I know a little of it; I am kind and I have a friendly outgoing personality, I am bright and open and am honest, and I smile joy above all the sadnesses. And I see things in a mags kinda way, and I think that I warm-people who might otherwise be cold and hard. Maybe. And that I think is my gift. That and that I write poetry, and though some poets or people may hate it, I believe it is my gift.
It’s always a wonder to me that others see and know our gifts far more visibly than we know them ourselves. In fact I have a bone to pick with the world. How dare we congratulate and recognise people for their gifts when they are dead. How dare we give thanks and praise to God for a life when it is has died, when we don’t give thanks or praise for that same life whilst it is alive. Cant we see that when we buy flowers as a tribute and a final gift of gratitude for the life passed over, that it was a missed opportunity of not sharing those flowers in kindness when they were alive. Who wouldn’t love to receive that kindness and that Love in their lifetime.
We know that when we praise and Love a child, they are secure and they excel, they believe in themselves and have a sense of self and a mitre for their worth. I know from myself and from my own five children’s school reports, that in the lessons where they positively like their teacher, the children will flourish and respond well, they will have higher aspirations and achieve great merit, and yet in those classes where they find the teacher less encouraging, difficult or less affirming they have far poorer results, lack morale, and achieve less even in their stronger subject. Their gifts can fade into the background and become obscured because of inattentiveness, lack of intuition and weak direction.
After my eagle coincidences these past few weeks I decided just for some lighthearted fun to do a little quirky research, nothing too taxing, just to split the difficult week up around poorly childcare, and just to keep the grey matter ticking over whilst assignments were broken by babysitting. The eagle most definitely has a clarity of gifts perfectly befitting her majestic ministry, which are precise and defined and as sharp as crystal. Bird of prey admirable. Bird of pray admirable. So here I present to you some of the gifts of the eagle – who I first noticed adorning the lecterns in some of the Sacred temples I visit.
The eyes of the eagle behold the sun, just as the Son’s eyes behold the Father. Just as Magdalene’s eyes behold her Beloved Rabboni’. She is the bird that rises closest to the sun without getting burnt. Magdalene rises closest to the Son, and the Son rises closest to His Father in Heaven – One – neither being burnt.
The eagle who soars upward towards the Heavens is for Christians a symbol of the ascension of Christ, a symbol of the resurrection, and a symbol of baptised Christians who have symbolically died and risen with Christ. With age the eagle’s eyes become obscured by a mist which causes her to surge up towards the sun staring into the scorching rays thus burning the mist away, and when her feathers are tired her youth is renewed when she plunges into the fountain, just as the renewal of the soul is through baptism. Even today an eagle may be spied on the baptismal fonts in some older churches.
‘As the eagle renews its youth, so too can the man with “old clothes and dim eyes”, who should seek the spiritual spring and raise the eyes of his mind to God. The rock on which the eagle sharpens her beak is Christ, on which man can sharpen his soul; the eagle also represents Christ, who came from heaven to catch souls, just as the eagle catches fish.’
I discovered upon my research that ‘The eagle adorning the lectern is the symbol of John the Evangelist’. I am compellingly in Love with John’s Gospel. It is my absolute favourite of the four. It has a far more ‘reflective and meditative discourse with extended dialogue developed by Jesus or John’. But it is the sheer extended wonder and contemplation it provokes in me, that leaves me spellbound. The eagle apparently is said to represent John because of his ‘lofty and “soaring” Gospel’ (it is much more theological in nature than the other three).’
In Johns Gospel the relationship between mutual opposites and contradictory poles is realized, understood and addressed, and the wisdom of revelation by seeing beyond the senses is revealed. The writer clearly is a seeker who questions and seeks through deepest meditation, and one that questions and seeks in this way is rewarded with treasure, treasure which is so obvious to see within the illuminating words. The treasure is John’s enlightenment. In Johns Gospel we can not fail to know Jesus as absolutely human and truly divine.
Love alone, allows us to see in such an elevated way. Above the heights, below the depths, beyond the widths and the breadths, no place is left out of reach. Only Love arouses us to such a Sacred place – a Sacred place which allows us the expression to reveal what it is that we see. Love is the temple of Light.
Only Love can reflect the Holy Spirit – in Truth.
This Gospel is entirely different from the other three Gospels. This one is entirely the expression of Love. The Word of God. God who is Love and Spirit. The poetry transcends all being – it intimately draws us up with longing and wonder, into the very essence and being of The Word. The Holy Spirit made visible and tangible, becomes flesh through our flesh.
On John’s Gospel Augustine writes; ‘John as though scorning to tread upon the earth, rose by his very first words not only above the earth, above the atmosphere, above the heavens, but even above the whole army of angels and all the array of invisible powers’.
Only Love can empower someone to ‘see’ in this heightened way.
Here we see St John symbolized by an eagle, clutching in his beak the first words to the Gospel of John in Latin (stained glass, St. Mary’s Church, Oxford).
In April 2010 I wrote my John Donne, Mary Magdalene and The Gnostic Gospel blog, ← John Donne, Mary Magdalene and The Gnostic Gospels, – Throughout the Nag Hammadi Gospels Mary Magdalene is said to be the woman Loved more than all the others. Below is a quote from the Gnostic Gospel.
The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas reads;
“Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven”
I believe this could be interpreted in a few ways;
1. To characteristically transform someone who is of the earthly life (depicted by the fruit of the feminine nature) into that of the spiritual life (depicted by the seed of the male nature).
2. To be referring to The Good News being shared by Mary Magdalene but under a pseudonym (I believe) The Gospel of John (so as to be accepted and received) which of course at that time would have been counter cultural, Mary being a female.
3. Mary was recorded as sitting at the feet of Jesus and contemplating His every word as He spent time in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, the family whom he so Loved. Every word that Mary contemplated would have equipped her to evangelise as a missionary; as an apostle. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that our Lord knew exactly why He was teaching her. Apostle of the apostles. Her mission as first witness to the resurrection meant ultimately taking on a counter cultural male role of ‘inseminating’ others with the seed of the kingdom. Evangelising The Word of God.’.
And now on the 8th July 2013 it suddenly comes to me; that there was nothing esoteric at all in this statement. ‘Behold I shall lead her that I shall make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males.’ Only males were aloud to be taught spiritual lessons in the temples, and so He says ‘For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven’, meaning that every woman who allows herself to be taught His teachings ~ by Him ~ the ways of His Spirit, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven’ ~ His Temple ~ That absolutely is the meaning.
Thus the devoted shepherdess joins the shepherds of the earth, the fishermen of the Sea and the eagles of the Heavens. No wonder she/he Magdalene/John is a Saint. No wonder they are the Beloved disciple. No wonder they are;
Beloved of the Beloved.