Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh and The Three Wise Men, or Magi (Symbolism)

Then, opening their treasure chests,
they offered him gifts of gold,
frankincense, and myrrh.

- Matthew 2:1-12

Three is the number which Symbolizes creation, the creative
principles, and the creative process (See: "The Three Gunas").
Here we find the number Three represented by the Three Wise
Men, or Magi, along with their Three Gifts of Gold, Frankincense,
and Myrrh.

But, who were these Wise Men, or Magi? And why did they
specifically offer the gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh?

In order to un-Veil the answers these questions we must first
examine the mysticism and and Esoteric meanings hidden
within these ancient and mysterious Wise Men and their Gifts.

The Three Magi (Wise Men): Magi is the plural of Magician;
a word which has become corrupted, abused, and discredited
by modern society.

However, in ancient times, a Magician was someone who
understood herbs, potions, elixirs, healing, divination, the
Cycles of Eternity, and the movement of the heavens. They were
the Initiates who received secret and sacred Instruction regarding
the divine spiritual essences, or "magic", which lies behind all
cosmic and worldly things and Events.

Therefore, in ancient times a magician, and its plural magi, was
a term used to describe Wise Men, Holy Men, Shamans and

Gold: The characteristics and Symbolism of Gold have been
discussed in detail in a previous article titled: Gold - As A Symbol.
Gold is Symbolic of the uncorruptible, the untarnishable, and the
eternal. Therefore Gold is the color used to represent the "Son",
or Atman; the divine spiritual essence which burns within each
one of us.

Frankincense is an aromatic resin which is obtained from an
extremely hardy tree called Bosaellia Sacra which has the ability
to grow in the most hostile, rugged and unforgiving environments.
It has the ability to grow where there is no soil; it can even grow
out of solid rock. Therefore this tree is a Symbol for resilience,
strength, endurance and Sovereignty.

Frankincense is obtained by cutting or slashing the tree so that
its sap can bleed out. The sap bleeds out in the form of "tears";
and this may be the same "tears" referred to in religious lore as
the "tears of the Madonna".

Its pleasant aroma, which was associated with the masculine
energy of the heavens and of life, was mixed with other oils to
anoint newborn babies. Frankincense was also used during
Initiation Ceremonies to anoint worthy Initiates who were entering
into the newer, higher, and more sublime phases of their spiritual
life. Frankincense may have been the same fragrance, mixed with
oils, which was used to anoint the feet of The Christ.

Myrrh is a resin obtained from a thorny tree which grows in dry
and arid desert regions. When the bark of this tree is cut open,
its resin seeps out as a gum.

Myrrh was valued for its medicinal values and was used to disinfect
and cleanse wounds. It also has the ability to mask odors and was
therefore used in embalming Rituals.

Myrrh Symbolizes a feminine and nurturing essence, or energy,
which is linked with the earth.

Conclusion: In ancient times, Frankincense and Myrrh were often
considered to be more valuable than Gold; with Myrrh being the
most valuable of the three.

As Gold represents the untarnishable, the uncorruptible, and the
eternal, it Symbolizes the eternal Source, the eternal Unity, from
which everything in the material realm originates.

As Frankincense Symbolizes the masculine essence and Myrrh
the feminine essence, these two fragrant essences represent the
duality, and extremes of duality, which permeate the created, or
physical, realm.

Frankincense is the fragrance used in the Symbolic anointing oil
which was used to welcome the newborn Christ, and thereby all
newborn infants, into the physical world.

The thorns of the Myrrh tree represent the "Crown of Thorns"
placed upon the head of Jesus at the end of his life. Furthermore,
because Myrrh was used in embalming Rituals, and is linked
to the Earth, it Symbolizes the end of our physical life; the time
when our spiritually vacated bodies are Ceremoniously prepared
for entrance into their final resting place within the nurturing Womb
of Mother Earth. This is the time when our physical bodies are no
longer required as our spirit has already left it to return back to
the Golden Unity from which it originally came.

Therefore, as Gold Symbolizes the One eternal Source of all
creation, Frankincense and Myrrh, on the other hand, represent
the dual result of all creation: life and death; beginning and end.
They are Symbolic the two extremes of duality in the Life-Death
Cycle of the created, or manifested, realm.

And finally, the Three Wise Men (The Three Magi, or Magicians)
represent The Three Gunas. They are Symbolic of the creative
processes, and energies, which permeate all realms of creation.

See also: "The Winter Solstice"

Comments and Emails: I welcome comments and emails from
people with similar thoughts and feelings. My email address is
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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 2011
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HAROLD said...

Thank you for this post. The bible is filled with much esoteric wisdom and symbology. Yet the ordinary religious person is not taught this.

The bible, when studied from the standpoint of the deeper meaning behind the symbolism, a whole vast array of knowledge unfolds to us.

Your research has provided me with more information in my quest to understand and assimilate the esoteric knowledge into my spiritual journey in this earth plane.

Sarah said...

I truly appreciate this post. I found it in a search for a possible hermetic/alchemical connection between the story of the three wise men, their gifts and the baby "Jesus." I've noticed that the three wise men are depicted as white, black and red. These are the three colors of the three alchemical stages toward creating gold.