Shakespeare’s diabolical thread connecting sexual abuse, Genesis, The Catholic Church, Harvey Weinstein, you, and #me too to Lucifer.
By Paul Hunting, # 1 Best-Selling Author of Shakespeare’s Revelation Vol I. (Click for free eBook)
And this, above all, to thine own self be true. And thou canst not then be false to any man – Shakespeare
Blessed are they that have undergone ordeals. For they have entered into life – Yeshua (Gospel of Thomas)
Dishonesty forfeits divine aid – Dr. J-R Hinkins
One of the key revelations from Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, is why it’s so easy for those in authority to abuse their power – and seem to get away with it. Why it’s so hard for victims to be believed – and get justice for it. And why it takes such courage for us to stand up for the truth we know inside ourselves. The play dramatises the ancient biblical parable of ‘the fall of man’ where, deep inside our collective unconscious, lies became truths, and truth became lies. We now live in a victim-centred world, where we compulsively blame others or ourselves for the consequences of our own choices and get rewarded with life’s wooden spoons: attention and sympathy.
How’s this for Serendipity? In the space of a fortnight, I just happened to see Measure For Measure at the RSC, watch the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal movie Spotlight on Netflix, and view the documentary Untouchable: the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein on the BBC. And, superficially, they’re all dealing with the same issue: abuse of power, and violation of innocence. Seems this is the very issue that has defined the human condition since the beginning of time.
Get a life, you say? Well my penance is to dig deep into my soul to write this blog. And as if to help, a dear friend just gave me a copy of The Gospel of Thomas, a translation of one of the Nag Hamadi scrolls. Let’s see what healing remedies can be cooked up with these ingredients.
To be or not to be?
Interestingly, having written that intro over six weeks ago, I have been really struggling with copious drafts and rewrites to find a concise, easy-to-grasp way of expressing whatever it is ‘deep in my soul’ that I’m trying to dig out. What I just realised this morning as the gnawing feelings of frustration had the audacity to distract me from my breakfast, is that I’m trying too hard to find words to satisfy the needs of my mind (and yours) to understand things in a tidy, bullet-point, logical, linear kind of executive-summary way. I’ve even called this piece a ‘blog’, so as to present you with a bite-sized snack with which you can entertain your intellectual intestines as you simultaneously watch YouTube clips and deal with texts of the smartphone variety. I feel afraid to dare to challenge you to pay serious attention to these life-transforming, ancient wisdoms lest you switch off and go about your worldly business. It also occurs to me that these wisdoms are always hidden in plain sight. And no matter how vigorously I hammer out perfect phraseologies on the anvil of my tongue, unless we both exeunt the labyrinthine capillaries of the mortal coil, we cannot see them nor hear them. Because it’s only with our spiritual senses that truth and wisdom is available to all. They are simply not accessible to anyone unwilling to let go the whorls of this world and enter a deeper, higher state of consciousness. AND THAT’S THE GOOD NEWS.
The critics, detractors, and cynics in my life (of which there are many) rather than change state and shift paradigms to actually consider, benefit from and find succour in – NOT FROM ME FOR CHRISSAKE!! – but from what’s being given to us all from the pure unmanifest levels of human possibility – in blind ignorance would rather settle for being right, for feeling smug about their position in life and their philosophy. Unknowingly they thus miss out on the levels of bliss, joy, wealth, and abundance (they may very well hear others talk about) and sneer in contempt at those of us who really are tapping into it like notable characters in Shakespeare.
In Macbeth, Shakespeare infamously introduces the metaphor of the cauldron into which are thrown ingredients of the inner story he’s cooking up for us. Does it matter in which order these ingredients are introduced? Not a lot, probably. Salt and pepper season the same as pepper and salt, surely?
Throughout his works, Shakespeare asks us the fundamental existential question: do you want to be, or not to be? If we choose ‘to be’, we choose the reality of the soul that we are; we transcend the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, and gain the abundance of everything. If we choose ‘not to be’, we choose the duality of the mind we think we are (but are not), and enter the living death of endless dilemma, and the downward spiral towards meaningless acquisition, distraction, and nothingness. The rub is that until we have experienced the taste of the authentic state of ‘to be’ we have no reference point for it, and thus no available choice. The possibility of liberation remains maddeningly out of reach.
Hence my work as a leadership coach. I often have clients interact with my horses. Even when faced with asking a horse to do something very simple and non-threatening, if the clients are not being true to themselves, the horse will refuse. As I work with them to find the source of their authentic ‘to be’, the horse immediately responds positively and willingly. What was impossible, is now ‘I’m possible!’ – only if the client is willing to let go of what’s not working and make the inner hero’s journey.
Measure For Measure is a parable about how the pure, innocent, truth of the soul, (the ‘to be’) was, in the beginning, and is now every time a child is born, usurped by the lies, greed and insatiable lust of the shadow side of consciousness (the ‘not to be’) and how, through supra-human trials and absolute forgiveness, we can now choose back again into the truth of who we really are.
Of course, the door to truth is locked to the mind and by the mind. Truth, to the mind, is a lie. Lies, to the mind are true. Psychologically, what we believe and hold in the mind becomes true – for us. And the pale caste of thought condemns us to a life sentence driven by fear and lust until we dare to turn the key of self-awareness and untwist the truth hidden in the falsehood.
The truth so few believe
Consider the possibility that Shakespeare has fathomed the truth hidden in the deep, complex, symbolisms of the mystical poem known to us mere mortals as The Holy Bible. He knows it’s all, entirely, and completely a metaphor of the creation of our inner consciousness. And it is us, our soul consciousness, that is creating the illusion we call ‘the outer world’ and the sense experience we believe is ‘reality’.
Throughout his sub-text, transmitted via gut-rending drama, side-splitting comedy, mind-boggling satire, heroic courage, exquisite blasphemy, and brazen heresy, he is offering us an account of the scriptures that would boil the blood of the priesthoods who hold their cruel, tyrannical, dogmatic, doctrines, and interpretations exclusive, sacred and immutable.
It defies linguistic analysis, but in his re-telling of the essence of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation he implies that in the beginning, the supreme intelligence we call ‘God’ created a kind of hologram of Itself that could be cloned into an infinite variety of individual god-images called souls – of which we, you and I, are one. God did not know what he could experience through us, so gave us absolute freedom to do whatever we wanted.
Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so – Hamlet
There was no so-called ‘morality’ in the beginning, in paradise, in Eden, in the heart of God, everything was just what it was – no judgment at all ‘nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so’. Can you imagine what that must be like? God charged us with positive and negative polarities so energy could flow within us and between us. These polarities are often called Day and Night, male and female, God and Lucifer, and exist on an infinite spectrum. As original souls we were always blissfully aware of our divine nature, our oneness with each other and with the ultimate source of our energy supply we might metaphorically call ‘the Father’. This awareness was characterised by the sweet mystical sounds that sang, danced, and vibrated through all of the Creation. It was through intoning variations of these harmonics, sounds, melodies and vibrations that we could travel to-and-fro from the spirit worlds to the physical worlds, be born into a body, and have an infinite variety of experiences to enable God to know itself completely. Through these mystical sounds, we would always know what level of the Creation we were experiencing and how to instantly reconnect with the absolute truth of ‘the Father’ at any time.
Originally, then, we were pure sound-energy forms referred to through the Bible in many diverse symbologies including ‘the waters’, the tree of life’, ‘the Word’, and ‘the wind from heaven’. Shakespeare dramatises this metaphor as The Tempest. Originally we were and are still born as totally innocent, trusting, and unconditionally loving. God had also ‘deputised’ his own ‘shadow’ form, an angelic consciousness known as Lucifer, the light bearer. Lucifer’s role was to rule the worlds below the soul and enable us, the souls, freely to experience God’s possibility through the agency of a physical body, an imagination, the emotions, a mind, and an unconscious. Always we were free to explore and create in these lower worlds secure in the knowledge that the way out was always as open as the way in – we could create and experience infinite life and worlds without end in the shadows, safe in the knowledge we could turn towards the light and return to the blissful heart of God at any moment.
Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t. – Lady Macbeth
Then the energy we call Lucifer rebelled. In Shakespeare’s implicit model, Lucifer (Serpent) raped and abused our innocent consciousness – and has never stopped! (Lucrece, Lavinia, Isabella).
Lucifer, looking like the innocent flower, but being the serpent under it (Lady Macbeth), came to the original soul (Adam-Eve) and lied. He made a false promise. God had warned us not to entertain the seductive, addictive ideas of ‘good and evil’ and be tempted by the false power and the glory of making judgments, of pretending to know more than did the Father what was meant to be, what was right and wrong, good or evil. The serpent promised eternal glory and infinite knowledge, but he lied. He lied when he told Eve, the soul, that God had lied, that when God had warned us we would die if we even listened to this delusion of grandeur, Lucifer said it was not true. He told us that God was the liar, that he was the true God, we believed Lucifer. In the mind, the knowledge of ‘good and evil’ sounds so valuable, and we entered into an unearthly intercourse with him out of which issued the monstrous birth, the vile collusion, the god-devil hybrid, Shakespeare calls Cain-Abel, who usurped the kingdom of the soul, and put it in an oubliette from which there was no way out.
This original process of our spiritual phylogeny is mirrored repeatedly in our physical ontogeny, every time a baby is born.
In hoping to gain the glory Lucifer promises us, we lose the joy and happiness we already have. In choosing to follow Lucifer’s lies, beliefs and perfect reasons conjured by the mind, we lose God’s truth. To this very day as we develop cognitively, we lose the bliss of the soul’s sweet songs and innocent consciousness and inherit the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to (Hamlet).
The victim game: we’re not here to change the world, but be changed by it
In our own ways, we’re all abusing ourselves, others and allowing ourselves to be abused much of the time. Perhaps this is why we’re here. Abuse does change us, I suppose, as long as we learn how not to do it or allow it. I seem to have been struggling with ‘feeling victimised’ all my life. When I was about 7 years-old, I was sexually abused by the 16 year-old brother of my best friend.
The act itself did not traumatise me. But my mother’s reaction to my telling her did! Ain’t that a bitch? Sounds crazy, but although I kind of knew the abuse was ‘wrong’ I chose not to scream and fight and scratch and run away – not because of fear for my life – because, as I remember, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I didn’t repress it. I told my mother. And then she became hysterical with rage and venom. She told me that next time I should scream and run away. (Implying this is what I should have done the first time, and it was I who had done wrong, see?) And soon after it did happen again. This second time I did try to scream, but was unable to make a sound. This second time it must have been a dream – because, apparently, this second time never happened. Years later my mother told me that when I mentioned the incident, she had forced herself to appear calm so as not to further traumatise me. She denied ever telling me to scream. Ironically, in trying to protect me, she unwittingly exacerbated the trauma. What a kick in the head – too much love damages as much as too little!
Kids see so much more than adults realise. I must have ‘psychically seen’ my mother’s suppressed rage, stuffed it into my unconscious, and then dreamt a distorted version of our conversation as well. So, for me as I grew up, I believed I had been assaulted twice by the same person, the second time far worse, because I felt I had let myself and my mother down really badly! Compared to some horror stories, this was a minor incident, yet the way even this morphed into a deep unconscious trauma leaves me in no doubt that the whole issue of abuse has its roots firmly planted in our karmic destiny – we have come into this life to work this issue through!
The real abuse was not the sexual assault, but the way my mother, in trying to protect me, lied and covered up her horror (judgment) at what happened!!
My mother also told me she and my father had confronted the boy and his parents. But it wasn’t till 30 years on, in a personal development workshop, that the repressed scream I had dreamt erupted from my being and sent me flying across the room in a gloriously cathartic cleansing of kicking, crying and convulsing. Not resisting at the time wasn’t a conscious, aware, responsible choice I made as a child, but a compulsive choice driven by an existential need to be seen as a ‘good person’. Ironically in order to appear ‘good’ I had allowed something ‘evil’ into my being.
Measure For Measure: transcending the victim game
Most normal people do not spend their waking hours divining the symbolism of Shakespearean and biblical texts. They get more than enough to deal with from the surface structure. Not me, not any more. I am fascinated by the thrill of discovering buried treasure. This treasure has been buried for thousands of years and has priceless value for all mankind.
Having been delving for several years into what Dante calls the ‘anagogical (spiritual/mystical) level of interpretation’ of biblical and Shakespearean sub-texts, I no longer feel the need to ‘prove’ my hypothesis: that every play is an iteration of one common theme: the loss and restoration of the Holy Grail (read Shakespeare’s Revelation – free). I am now enthralled by the magical ways he weaves this thread of invisible ink connecting all his works.
The Pharisees and the scribes have received the keys of knowledge and hidden them. They did not go within, and prevented those who wanted to from doing so – Yeshua, Gospel of Thomas
Superficially, then, Measure For Measure is a story about, Vincentio, a Duke, who leaves his trusted deputy, Angelo in charge of his dukedom. Angelo, disdaining the laisser-faire, freedom of spirit of the Duke’s approach to the law, enforces the letter of the law to the hilt and in so doing becomes an icy, tyrannical Pharisee who shows no mercy.
Angelo, has sentenced to death a young man, Claudio, for the ‘crime’ of consensual sex with the woman he loves (AKA: natural human love-making; AKA: fornication; AKA: sin). When Claudio’s sister, novitiate nun Isabella, comes to Angelo pleading for the life of her brother, Angelo falls into his own trap. He is consumed by lust for her saint-like qualities, harasses her menacingly, and offers her a Faustian bargain that makes Weinstein himself look like a saint: give me your virginity in exchange for Claudio’s life – and if you refuse, as punishment, I shall make him suffer a slow lingering death.
We can so empathise with his dilemma, poor fellow:
O cunning enemy, that to catch a saint, with saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous is that temptation that doth goad us on to sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet with all her double vigour, art, and nature, once stir my temper: but this virtuous maid subdues me quite. – Angelo
Why is this particular species of lust so hard to temper? Shakespeare might say it is the mortal self’s yearning for our lost immortal beloved soul within. We see our original innocence, beauty and virginity projected like a mirage from our own soul onto the form of an innocent child or virtuous maid. He might also say this is the lost ‘Holy Grail’ we are born to seek and find.
That ultimate truth of who we really are ironically becomes our downfall. Because instead of going within ourselves for the essence of the spiritual fulfilment we really crave, we seek out in the physical world, in the form of the other – where it cannot be – and reap the whirlwind of utter frustration, despair, guilt, and all-consuming, compulsive addiction.
And how’s this for a shocking insinuation:
Is this her fault, or mine? The tempter or the tempted, who sins most, ha? – Angelo
Was it Eve’s naked, innocent beauty that in the very beginning, when the seeds of consciousness were planted, compelled Lucifer, the deputy of God, himself to betray Him.
The integrity of the true self
Unlike how most of us would respond, Isabella refuses to submit. Christ-like, she vows never to lose her self-respect and honour.
Would we choose death before rape??
If she cannot take his place in death, she would rather see her brother die than give away her ‘Holy Grail’. This act of self-esteem sets in motion a chain of events leading to the downfall of Angelo and extraordinary acts of forgiveness to all concerned granted by the returning Duke – including, ultimately, for Angelo (the fallen angel) himself.
Honesty engenders divine aid
While it is said ‘dishonesty forfeits divine aid’, honesty, in contrast, engenders it. The Duke, hearing of Angelo’s foul endeavour thwarted by Isabella’s courageous sacrifice, has a plan to save Isabella’s honour and Claudio’s life as well – a true win-win. He has Angelo’s former fiancée, Mariana take Isabella’s place in Angelo’s bed. Mariana is a jilted woman who nevertheless still wants to sleep with and marry Angelo. The ruse comes off seamlessly, Angelo believes he’s had his way with Isabella – but callously reneges on his promise, betrays Isabella again and orders Claudio’s execution anyway.
This kind of ‘substitution’ and absurd disguise is a ubiquitous device that only Shakespeare can get away with (Sleuth excepted!). Very possibly, he’s using it as a metaphor of how ‘truth and lies’ have been switched around in our consciousness.
Original sin. Original lie.
Angelo’s deception, betrayal and lie is an analogy of the fundamental existential lie upon which our mortal consciousness is predicated. That we define ourselves as ‘unworthy sinners’, is also the very lie (misunderstanding?) upon which all Judaeo-Christian religions are built: the lie and fallacy of original sin. We inherit this lie at birth, and when we build our life upon it, it’s no wonder we abuse others, suffer abuse, guilt, hatred, disease and utter confusion.
The truth is we are all, without exception divine. We are born as a soul into a rapidly enveloping shroud of darkness and ignorance that creeps over us layer by layer as we feel guilt, feel bad, and define ourselves by our feelings. That, friends, is the true definition of sin. Sin is not the action we take but the feeling of guilt we choose afterwards! The guilt is the Original Sin, the self-judgment that, unlike Isabella’s example, we make more important than our word, our honour, our integrity.
One of the keys to our freedom is to confront this lie as it runs amok in our life and seek to find the truth hidden deep beneath the surface – a truth Shakespeare has risked his life, and devoted his genius and his works to bring us.
The anagogical analogy
For the past 5 years, I have been healing my own life from eons of wounds by delving deep into (what Dante calls) the anagogical (spiritual/mystical) levels of interpretation of Shakespeare’s sub-text, the underlying parable driving the plots and characterisations of his works.
As soon as I began watching Measure For Measure I could see, feel and hear another iteration of the familiar sub-text humming in the background. Yet another perspective on the biblical parable of how the original trusting relationship between God and his ‘deputy’ Lucifer was broken by Lucifer when he beguiled the soul (Adam and Eve) into becoming blinded by the consciousness of ‘good and evil’ (Cain and Abel). When Lucifer fell from grace and took our original soul with him, we paid the ultimate price that humanity has been paying ever since: the loss of (what has become known as) ‘The Holy Grail’: the awareness of ourselves as a divine soul and all the bliss, joy, fun, laughter, and happiness that goes with it.
The body of Christ is Lucifer
Biblically, the body is the Word made flesh (John 1). The Word is the name and sound of God uttered in the beginning out of which came all things. The soul was made in the pure ‘image of God’. The physical body (plus the imagination, emotions, mind, and unconscious levels of consciousness) are made in the image of Lucifer, God’s deputy, as it were, in the Creation. God was the architect, Lucifer, the contracted builder.
Lucifer is not some horned beast with cloven hooves. Any more than God is an old man with a beard sitting on a cloud. Lucifer is the duality, the energy field of, ‘good and evil’, the manifest outer physical world and the inner psychic worlds. Lucifer is inside us all as our body and ‘false self’. What Hamlet calls, ‘the mortal coil’: the entrapment of the soul by the serpent’s coils. When, at the Last Supper, Jesus gave Judas the sop of bread soaked in wine, the Bible says ‘Satan entered him’. When he died on the cross, it was not the Christ who ‘died’ but Satan (Lucifer). The Christ (soul) in Jesus triumphed over all forces of darkness and ignorance that had held the soul in bondage for thousands of years. As Shakespeare alludes to, Yeshua Meshia, Jesus, passed all the prophesied trials and tests, all the symbolic acts of the original betrayal. Finally, all he had to do to vanquish Lucifer’s reign, re-open the way to the Grail, and give us a free choice to escape the cruel tyranny of Lucifer’s law, was to allow Lucifer to enter his energy field, suffer the long lingering death (with which Angelo threatened to give Claudio), resurrect, forgive everyone and everything for all time, return himself to the God realm, take his body with him, and unseal the tempest, the wind from heaven, the Word. Rather him than me! And because he has done this, it means we all can: the way is open and the heavy lifting has been done.
Heresy: the new choice
The lies and suffering are all still with us (Satan must have his ‘1000 years’: Revelation) but we now have a choice to transcend this level of illusion and misery. A choice, see? Our default consciousness is ‘good and evil’, the duality. If we want out of duality into reality, we need to choose out. And keep choosing till we break free.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
And herein lies the lie: the truth inherent in ‘the Word’, is nothing like the dogma pre-digested by the church and fed to the masses at holy communion. Angelo is also perhaps another of Shakespeare’s many satirical representations of the Pope and /or head of the English Church, the Queen. Through thousands of years of misinformation, terror, cruelty, inquisition, and ignorance, the true truth inherent in the scriptures is now condemned and forbidden as HERESY! But lo, ‘heresy’, comes from the Greek, heraitikos, meaning choice. Choice is the one thing the church fears above all, they do not want us to have free choice, they want us to obey and worship them as gods!
Prey, let us hear Angelo’s (Lucifer’s) chilling confession, as he sneers at Isabella’s threat to expose his lies and hypocrisy:
Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true.
Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil’d name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i’ the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report
And smell of calumny. I have begun,
And now I give my sensual race the rein:
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
Lay by all nicety and prolixious blushes,
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will;
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance. Answer me to-morrow,
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I’ll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,
Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true.
This is precisely what the Weinsteins do and what the church has always done to us. Use their image, their power to quash belief in our truth. Compared to the dogma and the pomp, majesty, and authority with which the lies are fed to us like pigswill, whoever tells us the truth will not be believed, will appear slanderous, and will be torn to pieces by the ‘faithful’!
This is still happening.
Chances are you won’t believe any of what I’m saying here, because in your mind it will seem like some insane rant. Lucifer has done a very good job.
Thanks to the appalling abuse I suffered under the church, as soon as I was old enough to buck the system and get away with it, I went on a quest for the true truth, a truth I could validate, a truth that would heal my wounds, let my light shine and allow me to bask in the sunshine. Eventually, I found something that really did work for me – but I still feared the consequences of telling a soul about it – until I began to see the wisdom of the ancient masters glistering under the surface of Shakespeare’s plays.
My hope is that your love of Shakespeare, your awe of his genius and wisdom will allow you to open even a hairline crack in your armour – and let enough light in to consider something so similar to the teachings of the church, yet so utterly different – it can hide itself in plain sight and avoid the whips and scorns of time.
Spare a thought for our abusers
It’s not our right to punish our abusers, nor to forgive them. The crime (perhaps also the sin) is often more than enough punishment in itself. The inner spiritual law, in its own sweet way, exacts ‘measure for measure’, ‘eye for eye’, ‘tooth for tooth’. No one ever gets away with it – ever. If you want to be happy, if you don’t want to be another victim, then it’s best to walk away from the lust for vengeance. Why let some psycho ruin your life as well? Why let anyone control you through your own anger? Why let anyone hurt you with their insults? Yeah, because we’re human and we haven’t yet learned how to rise above the slings and arrows of outrage. That’s why we’re back here again. We’ve got another chance to learn.
While it’s perfectly understandable to pillory those who abuse us and cast the first stone at their execution, does it really do us any good to bay for revenge and martyr ourselves in the cause of justice? Only up to a point, a point upon which an angel dances trying to keep his balance.
There are occasional stories of outrageous acts of Christ-like forgiveness, compassion, and understanding from (seemingly) ordinary folk. The man who lost a daughter in the Armagh bombing and immediately ‘forgave’ the perpetrators. But could the perpetrators forgive themselves? In forgiving ‘them’ he was in reality sparing himself the self-poison of his own negative thoughts and judgments. The loss of his daughter was pain enough, hating her killers would have bestowed a death-sentence on himself as well.
To the church, self-forgiveness is heresy. They want to be the only conduit for God’s forgiveness. But Shakespeare defies this repeatedly. Famously in Macbeth, when his wife is dying of guilt, he asks the doctor if there exists a cure. He replies poignantly, ‘Therein the patient must minister to himself.’ Blink and you’ll miss it!
In our play, the Duke (God) forgives everyone including Angelo (Lucifer/the Pharisees) and the dissolute prisoner, Barnardine (Barabbas).
Now, it’s up to us.
To be or not to be: forgiveness
It’s all very well for me to utter homilies on self-forgiveness, as I still struggle with it daily. But what the hell:
The key to unbridled happiness is the most misunderstood process on earth: forgiveness. First we need to understand what true forgiveness really is not and practice, practice, practice what it really is until we have mastered it.
Forgiveness is not so much an action as a state of being. A very high state of being that transcends judgment, transcends duality and can do nothing else but understand, empathise, and love. It is a state of pure spiritual being that has on the one hand absolutely no attachment to anything or anyone in the material world, and on the other would sacrifice its own life to save you from pain. As Shakespeare famously said via Hamlet, ‘to be or not to be, that is the question’. To be forgiveness? How? That is my question.
And what forgiveness really is not about… is:
- Asking God… God cannot forgive us, because the true God does not judge us in the first place! He has opened the way for us to forgive ourselves. But it is the false god, Lucifer, Angelo, who is the wrathful, punitive, merciless god. The subtext of the Gospels and Revelation tells us that Lucifer’s stranglehold on our lives is broken – but the religious dogma insists on still paying homage to him! The Gospels and Revelation give us the key to self-forgiveness, but the Church ignores it.
- The other person. We cannot forgive someone else any more than we can run their blood or digest their food. The way we feel has nothing whatsoever to do with what someone else has done to us – it has everything to do with the way we are relating to that past experience inside ourselves. I love this saying,
‘Resentment is the poison we take hoping the other will die’.
What forgiveness really is about is our relationship with ourselves. If we can learn to love and respect ourselves enough, then all negative thoughts and feelings to do with justice, fairness, getting even, and punishment have no place in our consciousness.
The big key to this is honesty. And here’s the rub. We might genuinely feel like we had no choice when we were abused, but that defines ‘victim consciousness’. The truth is we always have a choice. And we always have a choice now to not be a victim of our past. I had the choice to scream and fight and run away. But I chose not to. If I can accept the truth of this – that this may have been the lesser of two evils: to be bad versus to be abused, it was the best choice I could make at the time. If I deny my choice, I deny my power, my soul, my true self. If I can accept my choice and forgive myself for making this choice, forgive myself for judging myself, forgive myself for forgetting I am divine…and all the other burdens wrapped up in this yarn, then divine aid (whatever that means) can come in through the door I just opened.
It’s possible to reach to a state of bliss, of oneness, of joy, that is beyond thought, that is beyond words. And in those moments, you see the perfection and the beauty of God’s plan for each person specifically and for all of mankind. In those moments, you know that all is perfect and that there is no suffering. – Dr. J-R Hinkins
Shakespeare’s resurrection: the hero’s journey
It was the work of Joseph Campbell, adapted by Christopher Vogler that gave writers insight into what they call ‘the hero’s journey’. The addictively compelling power of a great story is typically fuelled by around 12 ‘mythic’ stages of transformation of the hero/protagonist, including some kind of symbolic death, rebirth, and final reckoning with the ‘Evil One’/ antagonist. Psycho-spiritually, the power this mythic structure has to enthral us is due largely to the way it mirrors how our own consciousness has evolved not just during this lifetime, but over all our incarnations.
In Shakespeare, you’ll always find an allusion to the crucifixion and resurrection specifically of Jesus Christ. Sometimes exquisitely subtly as with Desdemona, Cordelia, Ophelia & Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet. Other times pretty blatantly (once you look for it) as with Claudio in Measure For Measure.
In the denouement scene, where the Duke (God), confronts Angelo (Lucifer), Isabella is still suffering from the belief that, although she escaped the loss of her honour by way of a deception, Angelo still reneged on his agreement to spare her brother and had him executed. As was Herod’s plan to kill the infant Christ foiled by the Magi, so was Angelo’s plant to kill Claudio also thwarted. Thanks to (divine intervention) the Duke for arranging another substitution to take place: the head of a dead ‘ringer’ fooled Angelo into believing he had succeeded.
The Duke meted out justice and forgiveness in equal measure: including the unconditional freedom granted to Barnardine, an incorrigible thief ‘playing the role of’ Barabbas. Angelo and the other ‘betrayer’, Lucio were both pardoned on condition they married the women they had betrayed in love.
The final revelation is when Claudio is brought in and it is revealed to Isabella, that her beloved brother is not dead but still alive! This revelation was her reward, her blessing, for the courage and integrity she demonstrated.
If you’re still smarting from your abuse, are you smart enough to find the truth, courage and integrity within you to be reborn as a greater, happier, wiser, more fulfilled person?
If you are coming from truth and honesty inside of you, you won’t go far wrong. – Dr. John-Roger Hinkins.
Three ways to get more timeless wisdom:
- Get a free eBook of Shakespeare’s Revelation Vol I.
- Read the other blogs looking at other plays: 12th Night, Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew…The Authorship Mystery…
- Visit Paul’s website and his ‘Happiness Unbridled’ work with horses.