Raiders of the Lost Ark – The Seat of the Secret
Remember the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, featuring Indiana Jones adventuring through the dusty Middle East in search of the Ark of the Covenant? Lives are lost, blood is let. One was tempted to ask why he shouldn’t just let the ark stay lost!
The answer: the ark, perhaps more than any other earthly object, is of overwhelming mystical significance. The ark was an elegant container which held the original tablets on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. Described in the sources as something akin to a spiritually creative, life giving nuclear reactor, it was lost when the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed some 2,000 years ago. It has been sought after – physically and metaphysically – ever since. The search for the ark is the original grail quest of Biblical myth.
Jerusalem holds the secret. It is the cradle of three faiths, each today in its own way in desperate need of renewal and re-souling. At the center of Jerusalem stood the Temple built by Solomon and destroyed by the Greeks, then rebuilt by Ezra and destroyed by the Romans. A Temple that awaits rebuilding in our own inner lives, for the Temple in the Hebrew mystery tradition of the Kabbalah is not so much a place on earth as a powerful idea of the spirit.
Those who have lost touch with the mystery kill each other today in order to control the Temple’s geographical site, a sad betrayal of the spirit which the Temple incarnated.
The Temple myth is so powerful, so fertile and teeming with life, that it has given birth to virtually all the great systems of the spirit created by humanity. The essence of Hebrew mysticism lays hidden in the grain of the Temple’s wood and the folds of her curtains. The loss of the temple is considered by the biblical mystery tradition to be the greatest spiritual disaster in history. The re-building of the temple through the reclaiming of temple energy in our lives is the overarching goal of the entire biblical project. This is the desire which is expressed time and again in a thousand different ways in Hebrew ritual and liturgy. It is the idea that shaped all of the spiritual offspring of Hebrew religion- that is to say virtually all of civilization as we know it.
Hebrew mysticism, beginning with Abraham, gave birth to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All three religions in their pure forms are rooted in the Temple of Jerusalem. Hence the mythic power of the Christian Templars[i], the Islamic Dome of the Rock and the Hebrew Temple mount.
Further, kabbalistic tradition tells of the sons of Abraham who in the book of Genesis are sent eastward, to the land of the Buddha. Abraham’s heirs, teach the Kabbalists, are the progenitors of Buddhism. There is even an old oral kabbalistic tradition[ii] which claims that the builder of the Temple, King Solomon, and the Buddha are, if not the same person, at least masters in the same sacred tradition.[iii] While historically inaccurate, it points to the deep spiritual affinity between Solomon’s teachings and those of the Buddha hundreds of years later.
So the Hebrew Temple with her eternal flame is the source of the fire which sparked, and continues to light, so many of the pure wicks of the spirit which illuminate our world.
But what is the great wisdom hidden in the Temple myth? What perennial message of the spirit does she yearn to share with us? And how can this message heal and transform us, our families and the widespread family of the world?
The simple yet superficial answer is Love. Indeed, the Temple plans were drawn up by David and manifested by his son Yedidya, better known as Solomon. Both names, David and Yedidya, mean ‘Loved by the spirit’. These kings are the great lovers of biblical myth. They love greatly and are greatly loved, Solomon by God, the Queen of Sheba and a thousand wives; David by God, the people, Jonathan, and biblical myth readers throughout history. The Temple mystery was thus born and sired by men whose name was love.
What is the secret of this ancient love hidden in the Temple’s origins? What is the mystery of the Lost Ark, crowned by her sexually intertwined cherubic lovers? Why is the mythic ark’s metaphorical recovery so absolutely crucial for our lives? Could this ancient and esoteric wisdom have something radically new and important to say about the love lost in our lives and the road to its recovery? In a word, can the cherubs lead us back to love?
[i] Mention here background on Templars and Masons. Maybe also mention what a tragic thing is going on as we sit here…that everyday massive amounts of the earth under the temple mount is being simply dug up and tossed out by the Arabs controlling the sight in order to destroy whatever archeological history may be there buried. Add also dome of the rock and temple connection.
[ii] For an expansion of this idea and an extended critique of t
[iii] The first line of Solomon’s great work Ecclesiastes is usually read in English as “Vanity of vanities all is vanity.” It could be better translated. The Hebrew word in question is Hevel as in the wisp of breath on a cold day. Illusive and flickering. “Illusion of illusions, all is illusion” might be a better translation. My friend Jacob Raz, world renowned Buddhist scholar, has pointed out that Solomon’s Ecclesiastes bears remarkable similarity to the classic Heart Sutra of Buddhism