Monday, April 2, 2012

The Golden Calf

Last weekend Marco, The Hollow Man indulged himself at an expensive spa retreat after an arduous year of work. He enjoyed the gourmet meals and fond attentions of his hosts. By Sunday morning, after a sauna, he was sufficiently relaxed to plunge into the swimming pool and emerge refreshed and happy.

Drying himself beside the pool which overlooked the city sprawled out below, an object caught his eye. It was something he'd not seen before. A metal sculpture of a deer stood at the water's edge looking back at him. A chill flowed through him. It reminded him of a recurring dream featuring idolatrous statues of golden calves. In the dream the animals were set upon by a rioting crowd.

Marco asked himself, what was the meaning of this icon? Guilt, was his first emotion, then he thought some more. Had he committed a sin? He thought not. The Golden Calf and similar sculptures represent the false Gods of riches and indulgence. They also have another meaning, one that is more subtle and more threatening to the good of one's soul. Unlike Marco, Worldboy is sophisticated and wise enough not to put much of his trust in worldly possessions. He views them as means to an end. Yet he is still quite vulnerable to the hidden temptations of the Golden Calves.

His brother in spirit, Marco, is more cynical, and would trade a friend for the chance to escape with a few pieces of silver or gold. It's not so much that he loves money, he needs money to support the artificial world he lives in. He respects the power of wealth. Sadly he doesn't believe himself to be worthy of the same respect and so he desires to cloak himself in the attributes of success to trade on the respect of others.

This attitude leads us to the hidden, and more dangerous temptation symbolised by the Golden Calves. This is the temptation of class. The Hollow Man, and even Worldboy are particularly susceptible to this enticement. This is Marco's greatest weakness. He longs to infiltrate the highest levels of society where he might enjoy approval, praise, generosity and comfort in a world far above his station. He will do whatever is required to conform to the expectations of his superiors, but not having their breeding or training he will eventually fail and be found out as a fraud. His downfall will be swift and tragic.

On the other hand, as Worldboy he can skate across this thin ice with relative ease because he does not believe in deep relationships and using his brilliant mind and humour; he can keep his audience enchanted, while in this superficial thrall they are kept at bay. He will not face a challenge that might unmask him - until he violates their trust.

At this moment he will feel that it was he himself who was betrayed. He will be angry and yet fearful of rebuke and banishment. This will signal the pain and torment of a higher spirit, The Princess, but without her powers, he will succumb to his failure and it's punishment.

The temptation of the Golden Calf is Marco's desire for money and this path is a dangerous one for him. Yet should he be successful, he will transform himself into Worldboy, defeating this temptation, the longing for status and privilege that is at the core of his character. Depending on how he manages this crisis, he will be reborn or he will be banished and will have to work his way back into society as The Hollow Man.

Do not fear the Golden Calf. It is not something to be avoided. Indeed it represents a gateway to the next level in your development. You must view it as a test. If you learn it's lessons you will be safe and you will advance to the next level; you will assume the power of the next spirit. If you fail, you will be banished from this life of privilege and revert to a lower spiritual plane, where you will struggle once more to learn the lessons and overcome the challenge presented to you at that level. Those who are not ready to pass this test will not pass through the gateway. Those who are ready will earn respect and assume a new life at a higher plane. In either case, the right choice will have been made.

When faced with the splendor of the Golden Calf, do not resile from it, approach it as a gift, with humility. You will be welcomed with open arms by those people who truly have earned their success, who exemplify the values of a higher class. By becoming authentic, honest, humble yet forthright, you will achieve a position of respect in their world. Never sabotage your position by lying, cheating or betraying their trust. You will face this challenge repeatedly, even daily, so remember, the Golden Calf represents the vanity of these false gods, so the lesson you must learn is integrity, authenticity, humility and self-discipline. This is a challenge that can not be avoided if one is to progress to the next level.

I would wake from my recurring nightmare of the Golden Calves in a cold sweat with a sickening feeling in my stomach. Last weekend beside the pool that feeling returned, but now I know not to be afraid or ashamed. I understand the challenge ahead of me and I see through the veil of vanity.

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