Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sacrifice - Symbol And Metaphor

"Change is the Essence of life...
Be willing to surrender what you are
for what you could become."

- Unknown

When we study ancient teachings, we begin to discover that the
Act of "Sacrifice" has an entirely different meaning than that which
our religious and social institutions have imposed upon us.

Through guilt-ridden Indoctrination since our childhood, we have
been encouraged to blindly follow the concept that "sacrifice" is
the giving away of our material possessions, or the giving away
of something of ourselves, to bureaucracies, religious groups,
and numerous other "charitable" organizations who will then "best
determine" how to distribute the fruits of our labors.

And while the voluntary giving of ourselves to a noble cause of
our own Choosing is a spiritually rewarding Act of Charity on our
behalf, and is highly encouraged, it is only one aspect of Sacrifice.
For on a much deeper level, the Symbolism and Metaphor that is
associated with the Act of Sacrifice has an entirely different
esoteric meaning.

The Act of Sacrifice referred to in ancient texts is the Sacrificing of
who and what we are today for the who and what we Choose to
become tomorrow.

Sacrifice, in its most ancient and sacred aspect, is an ongoing
process whereby we are continually "Sacrificing", giving up, and
leaving behind us, that which we have already become, and using
our Past achievements, Lessons, and experiences, as stepping-
stones to new Adventures. The Act of Sacrifice, therefore,
Symbolizes the constant metamorphosis to which we must submit
ourselves in order to gain Self-Improvement, Self-Instruction, and
Self-Evolution. Acts of spiritual and mental Sacrifice continually
elevate us to higher and higher planes of Wisdom, Truth, and
knowledge, which eventually lead us to Enlightenment and
Spiritual Perfection.

Legend, Mythology, and Ancient Texts provide us with numerous
Symbols and Metaphors which represent the Act, and process, of

Some of the most familiar are:
...The Christ on the Cross;
...Odin (Wothan) suspended on the World Tree;
...The Pelican piercing its own breast to nourish its offspring;
...The Legendary and Heroic Quests in Mythology and fables;
...And, in perhaps our most familiar, enchanting and beautiful Act
of Sacrifice, we have the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the
butterfly; whereby the caterpillar voluntarily Changes from that
which it currently is into what it ultimately is Destined to Become.

When we contemplate the Act of Sacrifice in its most esoteric
aspect, we find that it consists of three distinct and different types:
Simple, Powerful, and Sublime. And each of these types of Sacrifice
takes place within a different realm: the physical realm, the mental
realm, and the spiritual realm.

Simple Sacrifice: This type of Sacrifice takes place in our physical
realm. It consists of the everyday, mundane, "normal" Changes we
experience and accept as matter-of-fact happenings. Simple Sacrifice
consists of Changing from one style of life to another. Some examples
are: our first day at school, enrolling in a new school, moving to a new
city, pursuing a degree or certificate in a new field, our first job or
career, a new job or career, marriage, parenthood, starting a new
relationship, ending an existing relationship.

Powerful Sacrifice: this type of Sacrifice takes place in our
mental realm. Powerful Sacrifice is the embracing, and following
through, of Life-Changing Adventures. Powerful Sacrifice consists
of the Dreams we passionately pursue, the Guiding Stars we focus
our sights upon, and the Destinies we are anxious to face. When we
pursue Powerful Sacrifice we enter the realm of the Trailblazer,
the Seeker, the Lone Wolf, and the Wizards and Wanderers.

Sublime Sacrifice: this type of Sacrifice takes place in our
Spiritual realm. Spiritual Sacrifice is the continual pursuit of, and
the metamorphosis we experience through, Self-Initiation, Spiritual
Enlightenment, and Esoteric Wisdom. The achievement of Sublime
Sacrifice is depicted within the Symbolism of The Hermit card in
the Tarot deck.

In order for us to Change, and Become more than we currently are,
we must be prepared, and willing, to leave our old Self behind in
order for our new Self to blossom. This is the Divine Principle, and
Lesson, of esoteric Sacrifice.

The Act of voluntary Sacrifice is the prelude to metamorphosis
(Change). It is the Creative Destruction which enables us to
Transcend to the next higher-plane of our Spiritual Journey.
Sacrifice is the Doorway, the Vesica Piscis, the Threshold, which we
must step through in order to experience the Adventure, Growth,
and Awareness awaiting us during our Current Incarnation.

Sacrifice does not require that we forsake the knowledge, Lessons,
and experiences, we have already obtained. The Act of Sacrifice is
the Act of taking what we have already Become with us as we
Journey into our next Adventure. For they are the traits and
essences we will use as cobblestones as we continue to construct
our own very special Path which leads us to our personal Destiny.

Added on August 22, 2012: In its most sublime meaning Sacrifice
is a metaphor for the cleansing and purification processes required
to ascend to higher and higher levels of Initiation; it is the Esoteric
process of Alchemical purification.

In other words, Sacrifice is the willing act of shedding all of our
impuruties, weaknesses and faults. It is also the process whereby
we rid ourselves of all of the Guilt, Threats and Obligations along
with all of the false Indoctrinations which have been heaped upon
us during our Current Incarnation.

In order to Ascend we must Sacrifice; for Ascension is a process of
self-purification whereby we Sacrifice our previous lower self (and
selves) so that we may attain the highest levels of Enlightenment,
Illumination, Wisdom and Perfection.

(See Also: "Refusal of Sacrifice" and "The Higher Cause")

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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.

© copyright Joseph Panek 2010
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