“The Apocalypse is the way the world looks after the ego has disappeared”
Sit back, but not comfortably, and watch the enactment of the end of the world. The fates of the sinful and the righteous and the destruction of the old earth and the creation of the new are all presented as flesh and blood reality. This journey is not for the squeamish.
There is war, rape, cannibalism, burning flesh, martyrdom, the burning of the earth, the terrorizing by seven headed beasts, and the dead coming back to life. Your seat is conveniently placed at the edge of the bottomless pit, the abyss of chaos. But look around-there is a heavenly liturgy and a wedding feast and a beautiful city of hope.
The abyss is a fantastic poetic, postmodern space. But traditionally the abyss represents the hell to be avoided at all costs.
All the enemies, those evil and dangerous political powers that oppress the earth, have been thrown into the abyss, which is an especially good reason to avoid the void. In the Tanakh the abyss is the ocean surrounding the land and also the chaos out of which the world was created. Abyss has an alternate meaning of ” intellectual or spiritual profundity”; the dark night of the soul which leads to enlighten.
So apocalypse may not be an end but a new beginning, a time when we are invited into the power of the spiritual life.
Whether it will be a new beginning depends on our understanding of spiritual truth and our capacity to follow its call”, I contend that traditional (and dominant) readings of the Apocalypse are patriarchal and limit the use of the text as a spiritual resource to a male vision of the end of time, the worship of the throne (phallus), and the distortion and destruction of goddess-based religion and women’s power. A rereading of/into the abyss and of Wisdom in the Apocalypse leads to some new interaction with and questioning of the past and the future.
After the Apocalypse all chaos is removed to the “outside” in the Apocalypse-the sea, the dangerous women, the evil monsters, all the unfaithful, and death. A new Eden is created as a new paradise with the tree of life restored.
Where is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the wisdom tree? Where is the wise serpent? The need for wisdom is in the time before the end of time. “Anyone who has an ear to hear” is given the chance to gain wisdom and discernment enough to make the choice for good and against the powers of evil.
Both powers are seductive and mysterious. Paradise is the reward for making the wise choice. But where is Wisdom, the female personification and deity, in the Apocalypse?
She exists in the future world in a different form; or rather, she has been re-formed. Women are placed either in the pit (as spiritually dangerous and impure and therefore needing to be murdered) or on the throne, where they are worshiped for their “spiritual purity” and confined in a bright future.
Do you doubt the wisdom of the Apocalypse? Then fall, fall, fall into the abyss. You were on the threshold, at the edge of the opening of the mouth. Were you thrown? Or did you get too close to the edge, straining to peer in?
Art by Aisa Gots, Ukrainian Lithography artist. Click here to view more artworks!