“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” ~ Nikola Tesla
Science and religion have a difficult time meeting on the middle ground. It’s hardly surprising. Religious views appear irrational and mystical. Science only believes what can be measured.
Yet there are a reasonable number of scientists that also relate to religious faith. However, because the belief in God is frowned upon and dismissed by academia, spiritual scientists hide their faith for fear of ridicule and persecution.
Spirituality and science rarely enter the same conversation. The irony is that in ancient times, spiritual practices were known as the sacred sciences.
If today’s scientists could openly express their views on phenomena that appear “mystical”, modern science would find answers to their questions about the physical world embedded in sacred texts.
Once you uncover the symbolism and you unearth timeless wisdom; the Laws of the Universe.
This assumption is, of course, another controversial theory that is outright dismissed by scholars. Archaeologists refuse to entertain the idea that “primitive man” could even understand the laws of nature let alone disguise this knowledge in mythological stories.
Yet a growing number of researchers have discovered that ancient cultures were not only master builders, but they had the metric system, knew the dimensions of the earth, that sight is due to light entering from the outside and many other facts that, supposedly, were not discovered by scientists until the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
A prime example of how this is reincarnation, resurrection, rebirth and the second coming.
The general view is that the second coming is the rebirth of the soul in a future lifetime. It lends a hand to the theory of past lives and karmic energies.
Personally, I don’t know whether that is true because I have never had a past life experience – or at least not one I am aware of. I have met people that do have convincing stories, however. I keep an open mind but do not have an opinion one way or the other.
There is certainly a scientific scope for reincarnation: the laws of thermodynamics state that energy does not die, it transmutes.
The law of thermodynamics, therefore, explains the rebirth of energy.
But energy does not only transmute from one lifetime to the next. It has a cyclical nature which is determined by thoughts, emotions and actions. The alchemists call this phenomenon, The Triangle of Manifestation.
“Understanding the creative power of our thoughts and powers us to use them wisely and deliberately, attuning to the thought fields of love, kindness, and creativity.” ~ Dawson Church, Mind To Matter
Attunement changes the way you transmute energy. And how you transmute energy determines your experiences in life.
The Science of Self-Development
Self-development relies heavily on changing habits. Actions are how you transform energy. Ancient mythologies describe countless examples of how mankind transforms energy in the inner world and projects it into the outer world.
The gods in mythology, for example, create problems for the hero by placing obstacles in their way or by providing them with tools that help them overcome their enemies.
This example is analogous to archetypal qualities. You have either integrated them into your conscious personality or you haven’t.
Archetypal energies that are dormant – or “dead” in symbolism – want to be given life. To draw energies to your conscious mind, the unconscious causes problems for you. This is what it means to “learn lessons the hard way.”
Hera’s meddling during the 12 Labours of Hercules is a good example of how the archetypes of the unconscious can drive you (the hero) towards your goals. Overcoming challenges bring new qualities.
Essentially, you are projecting subtle energies all the time. Like the Hydra, when one task is completed, another grows in its place. Energy is cyclical and constantly in motion.
Moreover, all energy carries information that informs the mind and body how to respond.
“For every qubit of quantum information, there is a well-defined notion of “the amount of energy that carries it,” because it is a conserved quantity. This generalizes to larger systems and any conserved quantities: the eigenvalue spectrum of conserved charges has to be preserved while transferring quantum information. It is possible to “apparently” violate these conservations by losing a small fraction of information, but that must invoke a specific process which requires a large scale coherence.” ~ Irfan Ilgin and I.Sheng Yang World Scientific
Overcoming harmful forces such as self-sabotage and destructive behaviours are represented in mythology by heroes (or gods) overcoming adversity, slaying monsters and defeating demons etc.
Saint George slaying the dragon is a classic example in Europe. St. Michael and his angels defeating Satan and his angels is another.
“In the mythological prototype of psychological processes, the liberation of the Feminine from the power of the patriarchal uroboros is the task of the male hero, who must redeem the captured virgin from the dragon. In contrast to the patriarchal uroboros, the archetypal Masculine now appears in individual and personal form and conducts the Feminine-as woman or as anima liberated from the powers of the patriarchal and of the matriarchal uroboros.” ~ Erich Neumann, The Fear of the Feminine
Otherworld mythologies have countless tales of Gods overcoming demons in various battles, some of which have striking similarities across all cultures.
For example, Indra’s defeat of the serpent-dragon monster Vritra shares a striking resemblance to Apollo slaying the serpent-dragon Python in Greco-Roman myths and Ra’s defeat of the Serpent God, Apep.
A man killing his brother is another common theme that transcends cultures. Cain and Abel, Remus and Romulus, Set and Osiris, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca for example.
In the image above, we see the Egyptian god Horus killing his uncle Set who transformed into a crocodile to escape the sun god. The crocodile is a symbol of ignorance and aggression. Horus, the sun god, understanding and replaces his uncle Set as the ruler of the Kingdom.
Crocodiles are also a symbol of transformation because they transcend from water – the unconscious – to land; earth – the subconscious mind. You can learn more about the symbolic meaning of crocodiles and Set in this article.
It’s important to understand how subtle energies in the unconscious and the personal unconscious works. A combination of science and symbolism helps.
Let’s start with the science.
The Laws of Thermodynamics
The Laws of Thermodynamics demonstrate that energy regenerates. Energy is not created nor does it cease to exist. Energy transforms.
Furthermore, the amount of energy that is transformed neither loses energy nor gains energy, although its power can weaken.
It’s interesting to note that the Laws of Thermodynamics are said to have been discovered between the mid-19th and early-20th centuries.
The first law is accredited to Rudolf Clausius in 1850. The German physicist and mathematician referred to the cyclic processes of energy and determined that energy is conserved in its totality.
Classius, together with William Thompson, aka Lord Kelvin, is also credited with the second law of thermodynamics which states the total entropy of an isolated system does not decrease over time (although it can weaken).
The third law was developed by the German chemist, Walther Nernst between 1906–12 and states that the entropy of a system at absolute zero is a well-defined constant.
Thousands of years earlier, the ancient sages of modern-day India were discussing the plausibility of reincarnation. It also has names such as resurrection, death and rebirth, reincarnation and the second coming.
Although scripture relating to reincarnation is typically interpreted as life after death, it’s logical to assume that reincarnation occurs in this life also. Whilst ever you are transmuting energy, you are reincarnating.
We know by the patterns of nature that energy impacts the cycles of life. Plants dissolve in Autumn and are reborn in the Spring. Animals shed their skin and grow a new one. The human body renews itself over the course of 7 years or so.
The same is true of your personality. As you mature and become more accustomed to your environment and your psyche, you think, feel and behave differently.
When energy transforms, your view of yourself and the world changes. You become self-realised and approach certain aspects of your life differently. Transformations typically make you a better person and enjoy a richer quality of life.
Transformations can also go the other way of course.
When you are aware of the energies you are making concrete, you have more control over the future experiences you create for yourself. The reverse is true if you are not aware of the energies you are transforming.
If you consistently experience failed relationships, suffer bad experiences, have physical and mental illness and often feel low, you are not transforming energies from your higher nature because you do not have this information in your personal unconscious.
Conscious thoughts that appear in your mind eventually become your experience of reality. If you can make your actions equal to your thoughts, you have more control over your life and can attract more of the things you want.
The Law of Attraction is not that straightforward, however. Before you can attract the things you want into your life, you have to have thoughts (ideas, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes) that align with your desires.
This often involves clearing out subconscious programs that hold you back and upgrading your programs with information that gets you to the next level. We explain this in more depth in the Beginner’s Guide To Symbolism.
In Hindu traditions, the information that enables you to become the best version of yourself lies with Brahman – Absolute Consciousness, the Universal Mind.
Brahma is also portrayed by the Aum symbol – said to be the sound of creation. In the Bible, John 1.1, the Word is the beginning of creation. A word is a sound.
Sanskrit texts explain that you connect with Brahman through the atman, the individual soul or the “god that resides within”. This concept coincides with the Judaeo-Christian traditions that say you can only reach God through Christ.
Therefore, it is important to know that Jesus Christ represents the enlightened man. A self-realised being.
“Christ is conceived to be the Principle of redeeming Good in the contradistinction to the man Jesus, who was viewed as an evil personality.” – Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
In other words, when Jesus was a man, he was not in control of his conscious mind and allowed his emotions to get the better of him. He was ruled by the “sins” stored in the personal unconscious.
However, Jesus had enlightened teachers that gave him good information. He knew the path of the inner world and when he was 33, sacrificed his lower conscious needs and surrendered to his higher wisdom. The number 33 is associated with ascension.
“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” ~ James 1:13-18
The Bible also reveals how Jesus overcomes his emotions (power over the elements); conquers his animal instincts and limitations (riding a donkey) learns compassion (forgives his accusers) and defeats his demons (refuses to accept Satan’s temptations).
Essentially, understanding how your unconscious compels you to take action can either make or break you. Acquiring knowledge of your inner-self enables you to determine which habits, or cravings, you need to give up (sacrifice).
It is the subconscious mind that causes habitual actions. Thoughts trigger neurochemicals that promote an emotion, which, in turn, prompts an action.
Your inner-self, the atman or soul, is your subconscious mind and your subconscious mind needs programming with knowledge of the True Self. To Know Thyself, it is important that you listen to the higher faculty of human nature.
Brahman is the Supreme Self – the point where you attain full “enlightenment”. This is symbolic code for saying self-realisation; you understand your True Nature.
When you step out of the darkness of ignorance you ‘see the light.’ Look at the words: en-light-enment and illuminated.
In western traditions, enlightenment is reflected in esoteric symbolism by using the sun or a halo. The sun provides earth with the vitality of life and light that enables you to see through the darkness (of ignorance). Self-knowledge – the True Self – does the same thing.
The light of the sun also shines on the moon and illuminates it in the night sky. This is reflected in symbolism as the conscious mind – the sun – becoming aware of your True Nature which was formerly hidden in the unconscious mind (the moon).
How you transform energy essentially dictates how you experience life. Your thoughts, actions and emotions create your physical reality. In alchemical symbolism, this process is called the Triangle of Manifestation.
The problem many people have is that the subconscious mind is programmed with ideas of how you think your life should be and how you think you should be treated.
Such perceptions subsequently create your worldview. The thoughts that pop into your head are generated by how you have been programmed to think – which subsequently impacts how you feel.
“What the symbolism of alchemy expresses is the whole problem of the evolution of personality – the so-called individuation process…An old alchemist wrote: “Purge the horrible darkness of our mind, light a light for our senses!) The author of this sentence must have been undergoing the experience of nigredo, the first stage of the work, which was felt as “melancholia” in alchemy and corresponds to the encounter with the shadow in psychology.” ~ Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy
When you later have an experience that conflicts with the information stored in your subconscious, it creates stress.
As a result, your judgement can become clouded, you can feel confused, you act habitually, you have opinions about things you have no true understanding of and you make poor decisions.
If this sounds like you, take heart that you’re not alone. The majority of people on the planet have this problem. The good news is, you can overcome it.
Darkness, meaning to be ignorant of something, is reflected in the symbolism of the moon because the moon is visible at night. The moon motif is also associated with emotions because when you allow your emotions to take control, they cloud your judgement and you do not see the Light of Truth which is represented by the sun.
“The universe is a manifestation of energy, not because it is the creation of a subtle fluid that is continually manipulating or changing it; nor because, by a poetic exuberance, the conscious rhythm of the highest reality has transformed itself into things and activities; but because, change is the form of the universe, and the true meaning of this change which we seek to denote by energy, can only be found in that changeless Self, that pure Consciousness, the ignorance of which assumes for us the form of a universe of manifold things and motions.” – Ghanshamdas Rattanmal Malkani, Fellow of the Indian Institute of Philosophy from the book, Metaphysics of Energy
When you live in darkness and fear, you are ignorant of how your actions impact your reality and your relationships. You are unaware of your higher conscious nature.
Buddhist teachings explain that when full enlightenment is attained – Samadhi, Satori or Nirvana etc – all suffering ends. In turn, Buddha Gautama taught that suffering is caused by the need for self-gratification which produces feelings of greed, lust, hate, ignorance, and anger etc.
Thus the lesson we have to learn is self-sacrifice – giving up bad habits and not being tempted by cravings. Cravings are driven by emotions. On the plus side, the Law of Balance says you can be nice and naughty 😉.
The need to control bad habits is what the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross actually reveals. His resurrection corresponds with the Law of Karma, otherwise known as the Law of Cause and Effect; death and rebirth.
“I will tell you the Word that all the Vedas glorify, all self-sacrifice expresses, all sacred studies and holy life seek. That Word is OM. That Word is the everlasting Brahman: that Word is the highest End. When that sacred Word is known, all longings are fulfilled. It is the supreme means of salvation: it is the help supreme. When that great Word is known, one is great in the heaven of Brahman….The man who surrenders his human will leaves sorrow behind, and beholds the glory of the Atman by the grace of the Creator.” ~ Nachiketas, Katha Upanishad
The same principle is written in other traditions. During a conversation given in the Hindu text, Katha Upanishad, Nachiketas asks Death to explain how he can attain immortality. Death answers:
The Om, or Aum, and Brahman is represented by the circle.
We also find the circle reflected in the multi-symbolism of the Ouroboros, the self-devouring snake or dragon. Just as we find in the circle, the Ouroboros reflects the never-ending cycle of energy that projects, regenerates and goes back into itself.
The functioning of biological energy and your thoughts also project outwards from the self towards the world and back into itself.
Thus you find regeneration in the deeper meaning of the Ouroboros, just as, in nature, the serpent that sheds its skin in order to grow and remove parasites.
And so too, the evolutionary cycle of an individual seeking spiritual growth and understanding must shed old habits, attitudes and character flaws that generate bad energy. In essence, you perform your own reincarnation.
“As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one.” – Bhagavad Gita 2.22
It is no mere coincidence that the circumference of a circle is measured by pi, an irrational mathematical equation that does not have a defining decimal point. Pi, like consciousness, will always expand outwards when provided with an environment in which it can evolve.
On the flip side, when consciousness is not given the opportunity to evolve it becomes stagnant. Blocked energy is how illness manifests. This is why it is important for mankind to break free of habitual behaviours stored in the personal unconscious and develop new programs that enable you to evolve into your True Self.
Ancient texts and modern science help you to understand how you can transform your life by transforming your energy. The symbolic meaning of reincarnation in various myths and religious stories provide a visual that enables you to understand and remember the science. Esoteric symbolism in mythology is arguably the best self-development tool available!