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Essays listed in chronological order starting with most recent. For archives, please see previous volumes below.
  • Writer's pictureRudy Bauer

Light and Archetypes in Every Tradition

Sharon Bauer, M.S.N., Author, Mimi Malfitano, EditI

It is said in the Upanishads that as a yogi experiences the truth of the self, he becomes infused with light.  As light is experienced in meditation, sometimes light forms are also experienced.  At first they are experienced as light forms, and later as archetypes.  What are the archetypes of light?  These great archetypes are personifications of the field itself.  So, just as you and I are personifications of the field as human beings in the physical realm, the archetypes are personifications of the field at a much more subtle level.  They represent the qualities of the primordial field.  Their function is quite clear, to help us merge with our own eternal field of awareness… to help us become as much as we can become in any given moment… to help us know and recognize all the dimensions of our being, our awareness.  Like Dante’s Virgil, they guide us along the path, they comfort us, they love us, they heal us, they are always available and all we have to do it remember to connect with the field and open to them.

Carl Jung described the collective unconscious in this way:

“The collective unconscious surrounds us on all sides. It is more like an atmosphere in which we live than something found in us; also, it does not by any means behave merely psychologically: in the case of so called synchronicity, it proves to be universal substrate presence in the environment rather than a psychological premise. Wherever we come into contact with an archetype we enter into relationship with transconscious, metapsychic factors.”

The collective unconscious or these great archetypes of light may be experienced through transmission, they may be invoked, or sometimes they just show up when you are either meditating or just hanging out.   We experience them sometimes like a caress on the head, as brightening on the side of the head, a pressure in the back of the head or 3rd eye, or as pulsation in a particular energy center.  The crown center, called the 1000 petalled lotus, at the top of the head is known as the seat of the primordial teacher. So very often we will experience some movement or light in the head, indicating the presence of an archetype of light.  We also begin to have an inner sense of the meaning and form of the archetype, and the light which are connecting to in that moment.

The presence of these archetypes may also be experienced in the ears and throat.   One might experience a kind of crackling or opening in the ears.  When the ears are opened,  it can allow one to bypass cognition and directly perceive experience from the field of awareness.

St. Theresa of Avila describes this experience:“It is as if, when we are praying, we discover the person to whom we are going to speak.”  But, when her confessor asked her “Who said that is was Jesus Christ.”    She replied, “He often tells me so himself.”

Another place in the body in which we feel moved by the archetypes of light is in the heart.  As the heart opens, we weep from gladness, from joy, from kindness and sometimes from the release of pain.  And often we feel that finally, we have come home again.

The appearance of archetypes is recorded in every tradition.  In the Hebrew tradition, eight thousand years ago, Enoch described “two very tall men, different than any I have seen in the lowlands.  Their faces shone like the sun and their eyes burned like lamps.”  The ancient prophet Ezekiel is transported from Chaldea to Jerusalem and back in an aerial chariot of God, operated my angels.  Elijah also ascended in a fiery chariot and was gathered up “in a windstorm to the heavens.” Five thousand years later, the prophet Daniel recorded:“… a man dressed in linen with a girdle of pure gold around his waist, with a face that shone like lightening, eyes that were like fiery torches, arms and legs gleaming of burnished bronze, and the sound of his voice was like the noise of the crowd.”

A few years ago, a group of Rabbis met with the Dalai Lama to exchange religious traditions.  One of the Hasidic (more mystical) Rabbis brought up the subject of angels.  The Dalai Lama wanted to know about angels.  The Rabbi replied, “There are all kinds of angels.  Right now there is the angel of Tibet and the angel of the Jews, who are talking on a different level.”  The other Rabbis tried to change the subject, but the Dalai Lama kept asking more and more questions about angels.  The Rabbi responded by saying:“Ultimately there are no angels. 

Ultimately there is God.  But the garment God wears appears to us as an angel.  So God has a little finger, as it were and the glove has another glove and the outermost glove is what we call the angel, or what we would call a wind or force in the universe.  But what moves them is always the power of the creator.” In the Kabbalah, it is understood that the angels go up and down Jacob’s ladder, ascending to God and descending, bringing God’s messages to earth.”

In another tradition, that of Islam, the prophet Muhammad is said to have received the revealed scripture of the Koran from the angel Gabriel.  Muhammad would experience the presence of Gabriel as an intense weight on him.  This presence would come to him day or night.  Muhammad described it as if the weight of a camel had descended upon him.  As he surrendered to the presence of Gabriel, the Koran would be dictated to him. 

In the eastern tradition of Hinduism, we see Ramakrishna, the great 19th century mystic being totally absorbed in the vision of the Divine Mother.  Our own root teacher, Swami Muktananda experiences the blue pearl exploding into visions of heaven, hell, and into the blue person prior to his self realization. One of the great literary texts of Hinduism, the epic poem The Bhagavad-Gita, describes the divine cosmic form of Krishna as he reveals himself to Arjuna. 

In the Chinese tradition, the princess Miao Shan attains the light body and ascends to the immortal realms after being executed by her father, the emperor.  She is thereafter known as Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion who particularly assists those in poverty, those suffering from oppression, disease and war. In the Tibetan tradition, the book Dzyan speaks of the luminous sons who are the producers of form from no form.  One leader shines forth as the sun.  He is the blazing divine dragon serpent of wisdom. 

In Christianity, the appearance of light forms are seen as, the Divine Mother, as the angels, and as Christ.  These appearances have been recorded through history and particularly by the great artists who have influenced our experience of the divine forms.  Mary is told she will become the mother of God by the angel Gabriel, who proclaims “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee and blessed is the fruit of thy womb – Jesus.”    The Christ rises again after three days in the form of light. 

For the Dzogchen Buddhist, the practitioner works towards the goal of achieving the rainbow body.  He does this not only for himself, but also works to help all sentient beings attain the body of light. 

It is a conviction that this light and light forms of archetypes are not only experienced by saints and prophets, but also these experiences are available to each of us.   All we have to do is release ourselves from prejudice and open to them. So let’s do it now, once again.

We will extend the energy from the back of the head  forward into the forehead; extend the energy from the back of the head into the eyes; extend the energy from the back of the head to the mouth; extend the energy from the back of the head to the throat; we’ll extend the energy from the back of the head to the heart; extend the energy forward from the back of the head into the belly and extending the energy forward from the back of the head into the lower body.  And then relaxing even more and opening into the light. Letting all the pores of the body open into the light and becoming one with the light…

And now again we will extend to each other inside to inside, sensing that connection with each other. And we will extend to our generational field, the field of the ancestors our family and friends, the great yogis, the great teachers we have known in our life and to all those we have mentored, sensing that resonance.  And now we will extend to all our traditions and to the great archetypes of all the different traditions understanding that they are not different than us.

And if this light were to speak, it might say:

I am continuous; I have no beginning and no end.

I have always been and will always be.

I am invincible, I am indestructible.

I am who am.  I am your awareness, your life, your source.

I infuse your mind and your body.  I am your very being.

I am who am. 

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