This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Symbolic overlap

It will be noted in what follows, particularly in the various names or titles (epicleses) by which the Virgin is liturgically invoked, that the symbolic imagery that is connected in this context to Mary might in some other context be connected to Christ or to some other aspect of the sacred. This is in the nature of the symbolic language, for which symbols are never ‘closed’ in their meaning but are rather so many letters of a sacred alphabet, and envisioned in this way, the combination and the context must always be taken into account.

In other words, if we come to a liturgical epiclesis for the Virgin that is elsewhere applied to Christ, it should not be seen as a contradiction and does not diminish either meaning, but implies that the interpretation is being carried out from a slightly different point of view.

For example, we will discover that the Virgin is identified as Jacob’s Ladder, even though in other contexts it is Christ who is Jacob’s Ladder. What the ladder signifies is in both cases an exchange between the celestial and the earthly planes, or a point of union between heaven and earth, and this naturally involves two directions or points of view: a divine descent or an earthly ascent. In the case of descent, and especially when emphasis is being placed on the receptivity of nature to the spirit, we can legitimately identify the ladder symbol with Mary, who for reasons we will explain below forms a part of this ladder and permits commerce across it; if on the other hand it is a question of that by which men are enabled to ascend toward God and become deified, then we are dealing with a symbolism of the Logos.

To put it another way, and taking the two points of contact on the ladder as its two aspects: the lower union of the ladder with the earth is Marian, and the higher union of the ladder with heaven is Christic, each playing perfectly the role depicted.

We can recall also that this applies to many traditional symbols, in particular the serpent which in some cases is Satan and in others is Christ, corresponding to the malefic and beneficent meaning attached to the symbol (such as when Christians are advised to be wise as serpents).

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