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Transformations of the Inner Self

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christ crucified nakedChange. With my focus on healing, an act of transformation that is as much about outer world presence and mental well-being, as it is about the change in the human spirit; I have been doing some diverse readings for a number of reasons. I want to make sure that what I am doing has some validity, has roots that suggest that I am doing something that is worth doing. I have found a book called, Transformations of the Inner Self in Ancient Religions, by Jan Assmann and Guy Strousma. In the book (page 396), I found an old Christian writing by John II, Bishop of Jerusalem, that talks about Baptism, a ritual of transformation in which one leaves and old life and enters into a new life in the 300s and 400s AD. Back in those days, there was no need for political correctness as we know it in our modern world.

“As soon, then, as ye entered, ye put off your tunic; and this was an image of putting off the old man with his deeds. Having stripped yourselves, ye were naked; in this also imitating Christ, who was stripped naked on the cross, and by His nakedness put off from Himself the principalities and powers, and openly triumphed over them on the tree. For since the adverse powers made their lair in your members, you many no longer wear that old garment, I do not at all mean this visible one, but the aid man, which waxeth corrupt in the lusts of deceits. May the soul which has once put him off, never again put him on, but say with the spouse of Christ in the Song of songs, I have put off my garment, how should I put it on? O wondrous thing! Ye were naked in the sight of all, and were not ashamed; for truly ye bore the likeness of the first-formed Adam, who was naked in the garden, and was not ashamed.”  [John of Jerusalem, 387-417 AD, Mystagogical Catecheses]

One is born naked whether one wants it to be that way or not, regardless of one’s beliefs about nakedness and nudity. The purest sense of innocence that we have as an image is that of a naked infant. That purity is often captured in the images of Jesus as a baby in Mary’s arms, a naked baby. Birth is a transformation point that takes one out of the realm of possible into the physical world we inhabit. Baptism is another transformation point that takes us from unconscious to conscious participation in the world of spirit as a human. The idea of rituals to take us from one stage of life into another stage of life is a natural act that predates any written histories. Most rituals that are from the ancients demanded that one be in one’s purest form, the naked form.

Re-writing and re-imaging the past to fit our modern sensibilities.

Re-writing and re-imaging the past to fit our modern sensibilities.

For me, the rituals of meditation and spiritual communion in today’s world are to be done, nude, if possible. For the original Christians, this was the case as well. The same holds true for the Ancient Greeks, Egyptian priests, and for ancestral aboriginal peoples of all continents. Today, we humans know better, or so we think. We have created rituals that demand that we cover as much of our body as possible and in the process, rewrite the past wherever it contradicts our current beliefs.

Why are humans so afraid of their bodies? Why are our bodies considered pornographic and lewd? Why have we turned our backs on the truths given to us about who we are and what we are? We need to remove those things behind which we hide ourselves.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

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