Wax Statues, Cotton Candy,
and the Second Coming
An Inner Exploration of the Essenes,
the Birth of Christianity,
and Its Impending Renewal
Chapter 1: The Reawakening of an Ideal
The transition was abrupt. One week we were immersed in the warm womb of those creature comforts to which we had become thoroughly accustomed–light and heat at the touch of a switch; a washer-dryer in the garage; hot showers in the morning; TV or music in the evening; a phone and a newspaper to keep in touch with current events; and a supermarket just down the road.
The next week it was as if all our former amenities had been an elaborate illusion, fashioned out of clouds, and that a strong wind had suddenly arisen, scattering them into pleasant memories. In their place was a wood cook stove and kerosene lamps; a hand pump beneath the willow tree; small tents for sleeping in (they had to be kept free of snow in the winter or they’d collapse); and a drafty, 10 x 12 granary shed, from which the rats had to be evicted, which served as our “community shelter.” We knew no one. Almost every point of contact with the outside world had been severed.
If at times the lifestyle seemed romantic and pioneering, there were other times when it was cold and lonely and downright frightening. The loneliness was compounded by the sundering of ways that had taken place during the transition. Our individual paths having called some of us in different directions, we were deprived of that full bond of fellowship that had developed over the previous year. The loving recognition of the necessity for such a parting did not make it easier.
Equally, or perhaps even more traumatic than the change in living conditions or the breaking of emotional ties, was the sense of estrangement that we experienced at the termination of the readings. For if our prior environment had been as a womb, then the readings were the umbilical cord that had nourished us with inspiration, guidance, and encouragement. Again, there was the painful realization that with the completion of that stage of our growth, the cord had to be cut. The dependence upon an external source would have to be replaced, first by a hunger and a longing, and then, eventually, by a turning inward in order to receive that which was needed.
It was in response to this hunger that a dream came, toward the end of the first night that we spent on the land. The day before had been a busy one — unloading supplies, setting up the tents, and cutting a hole in the east wall of the granary shed in order to install a window and to vent the small wood-burning cook stove. The weather was turning cold. It was the eve of St. Valentine’s Day and snow was expected.
Taken into the sleep of that night was the desire to understand the central purpose of the community. In the morning, everything was blanketed in white and there was the recollection of a short but evocative dream.
I am sitting with some friends in a small outdoor theater. Someone shows me a tiny sculpture, carved out of wax, fastened to one end of a piece of copper wire. Looking more closely, I can see that the single figure is composed of two miniature statues of Jesus, standing back to back.
In one representation his right hand is uplifted, the first two fingers raised, the others folded into the palm of his hand. The second statue shows his arms crossed over his chest, as if in a gesture of surrender. Given its small size, the sculpture is surprisingly detailed. The workmanship is exquisite.
The scene suddenly dissolves into someone passing me a grapefruit. Then another shift to a vendor at a fair, standing intently over his machine, making cotton candy. This scene, too, fades away and I awake.
The images of the dream, while numinous, were little understood at the time. Nearly five years were to pass before their deep relevance to the desire which had been raised before sleep would be perceived. Significantly, the ripening of this perception would coincide with our realization of the close relationship between psychic readings and the process of meditation.
In the intervening years our attention turned outward. First there was a garden to be planted and tended. Then the harvest had to be either canned or dried. A root cellar came next, so that the colorful two-quart jars of peaches, applesauce, tomatoes, and green beans would not freeze and break during the rapidly approaching winter. The day after finishing the roof and moving in the food, we awoke to the season’s first snowfall.
Gardening returned with the spring, and the round of weeding and mulching, harvesting and preserving, continued. A woodshed was built and the community shelter enlarged. The following year saw the construction of several small cabins and we bid a grateful farewell to the tents. Meanwhile, many friends and visitors were passing through. A few stayed on. Others bought land down the road and a neighborhood developed. The days were long and rich and full of doing.
Perhaps it could be said that we fell asleep during those years; that we became enamored of the challenge and excitement of homesteading and visitors and forgot about the primary purpose of the community; and that this purpose had slumbered, seed-like, waiting for the reawakening of our desire to understand and fulfill it.
A complementary view would be that the sustained burst of external activity was the necessary laying of a foundation that would support the emerging ideal. In any case, after the novelty of gardening and building had worn off and a certain assurance had been acquired, we started to wonder what we were doing here, beyond learning how to provide ourselves with the minimum requirements of food, fuel, shelter, and clothing.
In exploring the roots of this discontentedness, we returned to the original body of psychic material that had inspired both the book and the community. One passage in particular stood out.
You have come together to build an example of family living, of cooperation, of child and adult education on the many different levels, and the expression of the greater perfection and love within you, that you know man may become.
But the greatest ideal, the greatest purpose for your coming together rests on one idea, one ideal, and one principle; and your whole community must hinge on this. And that is to be a vehicle, a vessel by which the Christ Consciousness, by which the Christ may again enter into the earth. For He shall not come but for those who build to make this possible, that are also already within the earth plane.
This is not to say that this would be the only group that would do such a thing, that would help with such a vibration and such a purpose. But it is important that you add your power and love and dignity to such a matter. This is your greatest desire and purpose, and this is why those peoples, those groups of Carmel (the Essenes) were given as examples to you. For this, you see, is what they had done.
Although the coming of this time shall be in different form than at that time, the activity is the same. For men have forgotten miracles. They have forgotten love. They have forgotten that God does speak through many, in many ways; not as you think of, in such terms only as here [through this particular channel], but through each one of you, every day, in every manner and way.
According to a literal interpretation of biblical prophecy, the Second Coming refers to the anticipated arrival (“in the end times”) of One who shall right the world’s wrongs and establish a thousand years of peace. Secular historians, on the other hand, point to the fervent but vain expectations of the numerous millennial cults that have periodically swept through the Christian world. After having promised their followers deliverance from the pointless and often desperate circumstances of their daily lives, these movements eventually succumb both to ridicule and persecution from without and to frustration and disillusionment from within.
Having been influenced as much by history as by scripture, we were familiar with this pattern of deluded expectations. We were also aware of the subtle pitfalls of glamour and special destiny. Furthermore, there already existed a seemingly endless array of conflicting opinions concerning the nature and purpose of the Second Coming. So our approach to this passage from the readings was decidedly cautious.
Yet the caution was itself tempered in several important ways. First, we realized that beneath the literal content of the biblical parables and prophecies is an inspired body of teachings. Second, current events were reinforcing our belief that the world is undergoing a profound and irrevocable transformation. Finally, it was becoming apparent that traditional ways of responding to this planetary crisis are inadequate, and that a radically new perspective is needed.
So we attempted to free ourselves from preconceptions as we once again considered the admonition that our primary responsibility was to help “bring about again the Way, the entry of the Christ into man in the earth.” But what exactly was this “Way”? And what was the distinction that had been drawn between the “Christ” and the “Christ Consciousness”? Were we to witness the return of a man, or of a myth, or of some mystical state of awareness? And to what purpose? How would such a coming speak to our deepest needs, both as individuals and as a species?
Why, too, had it been said that “He shall not come but for those who build to make this possible, that are also already within the earth plane”? What kind of building was being referred to? And why had the Essenes, an obscure religious sect living in Palestine during the time of Jesus, been given as a model?
What had they done, and how could we learn from their example without becoming entangled in it? For as the readings had also warned, “the coming of this time shall be in different form than at that time.” How, too, did all this relate to the earlier but still numinous dream images of wax statues, grapefruit, and cotton candy?
As the questions multiplied, we would sometimes miss our former easy access to an externalized psychic channel. Yet we also recalled it having been said that “each soul is psychic,” and that our prior work, in which a single person had served as the channel, was to be “an example, then, of those things which will be of a normal nature in future times.”
It was in this spirit that we began looking more seriously to our dreams and meditations for the answers to those questions which were now arising with an increasing sense of urgency. In subsequent chapters we shall consider how the response to this inward turning cast further light upon the vision and the purpose which had given birth to the community. Before doing so, however, it is necessary to examine, from an historical perspective, who the Essenes were, and how their withdrawal to the Judean wilderness coincided with the religious revolution that occurred approximately two thousand years ago.
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