The image of Theotokos is part of a world treasury of image, myth, legend, and oral tradition. The wisdom of the world contains few primary themes which are intended to report fundamental causative principles related to being human and to the purpose of the human kingdom. As such, the annual repetition of the stories and images through the traditions of the world rhythmically remind us of truths of being: truths related to fully expressing human Beingness and the reasons that we, as a species, exist at all.
Therefore, at this time of the year, I marvel at Theootkos, the Christ within and the embodiment of Presence that brings the inner Christ forward. On a personal level, the Christ represents something innate to us all: the inner light and the power of compassion. We could equally call it our higher nature, Buddha nature, our divine, Goddess or God nature. The Christ-essence could just as correctly be named kindness, goodness, or one’s capacity to bring forward good in the world and live from that essential life-power.
The image of Theotokos is that of of the true mother, present, steadfast, non-dramatic, and simply expressing the power of the feminine principle: to give, to birth, and to nurture unfailingly and undaunted. Her clothing is simple. It represents layers of veiling because the mother is also matter: the very substances necessary to bring something to full embodiment. Mother is womb, dark fertile, mysterious; gestation – ongoing and flawless, and the magic or miracle of appearance/birth. Embodiment is the same fullness. To dare embodiment is to live the promise made before an incarnation. Embodiment is to birth and give rise to oneself as the incarnated Truth of Being that one is, specifically and only for the sake of the World.
This mother principle is not limited to being female. Instead, her image is an invocation to any onlooker: “Be unfailing, be undaunted. Ceaselessly bring forward goodness in the world.” As such, the image of Theotokos reminds one that “You are the Mother, you are the Child, and you are the angelic presence watching, protecting, and standing with others.”
The story goes that Mary was told that she would be made with-child and that the child she would birth would be special. This, among many layers of meaning, is reporting the human incarnational process. In other words, before you incarnated you heard the same thing that she did. “You are called to be light and, being so, to bring forward light. Will you engage this?”
As the thrill of the Life essence and its Truth of Being arose in reply from the very cells of her incarnated form, Mary replied with a profound statement: “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Every time we incarnate, we state similar. Every time we incarnate, we dedicate our existence as the very mechanism by which we will magnify, amplify, and increase the Goodness in the world. We annunciate and vow that with our incarnation, we, like she, will live from Life for Life and foster the Light, lighted Presence, and Goodness in the world.
Every moment, then, is an injunction to restate and live from our purpose of Being. Every interaction is the opportunity to BE the living Light and to realize the Supreme Good that one’s essential nature is. Every moment is a call to be alive, vibrantly expressing the purpose of an incarnation. It is this, and this alone, that will tip the scales of lighted energy for Earth such that this planet becomes sacred. Through living our lives “more radiant than the sun and purer than the snow”, through being that which magnifies the Lord (understood theistically, metaphysically, or esoterically), Earth’s purpose will be amplified and, thereby, brought to its fullness.
In the Greek iconic images, the Christ-nature is often depicted as a wise child, almost outside of Time’s reckoning. This is depicting the eternal youth quality of Being and of the Life essence and principle that is the energy behind every incarnation. The youth of Wisdom-Compassion, of majesty and power is rendered similarly in Mahayana Buddhist imagery in the youthfulness of Manjushri or Tara, always perfectly 16, able to give life or take it. But these, like the young Christ, actually portray one’s eternal vow to Be, and to express incarnated presence lifetime after lifetime. Eternal youth is also an allusion to the Lord of the World and the human (monadic) universal stature and Power that is veiled by our seeming eternal childlike ways in life.
This season of Light, remember your incarnational vow. Celebrate each day’s opportunities to fulfill that dedication with great joy. Magnify, amplify, and increase the Light and Goodness in the World.
Downloadable podcast: Each person is an incarnation of Light.