" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

June 3, 2016

The Fool on the Hill?

St Thomas Anglican Church

- Port Macquarie

I visited St. Thomas Anglican Church at Port Macquarie on my recent road-trip and call me a doubting Thomas, but I couldn't help thinking this church was paying homage to the zero card of the tarot deck ... not that there is anything wrong with that.
The sun?
The light body of Thomas?
The Holy Spirit?
Thomas the Apostle
 "Thomas the Apostle (called Didymus which means "the twin") was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament
He is informally called doubting Thomas because he doubted Jesus' resurrection when first told (in the Gospel of John), followed later by his confession of faith, "My Lord and my God", on seeing Jesus' wounded body. 
Thomas first speaks in the Gospel of John. In John 11:16, when Lazarus had recently died, the apostles do not wish to go back to Judea, where some Jews had attempted to stone Jesus. 
Thomas says: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (NIV).
He speaks again in John 14:5
There, Jesus had just explained that he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for his followers, and that one day they would join him there. 
Thomas reacted by saying, "Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" (NIV)
John 20:24-29 tells how doubting Thomas was skeptical at first when he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the other apostles, saying, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." (v.25) 
But when Jesus appeared later and invited Thomas to touch his wounds and behold him, Thomas showed his belief by saying, "My Lord and my God". (v.28) 
Jesus then said, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed." (v.29) 
The Nag Hammadi copy of the Gospel of Thomas begins: 
"These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded." 
Early Syrian traditions also relate the apostle's full name as Judas Thomas. 
Some have seen in the Acts of Thomas (written in east Syria in the early 3rd century, or perhaps as early as the first half of the 2nd century) an identification of Saint Thomas with the apostle Judas, brother of James, better known in English as Jude
However, the first sentence of the Acts follows the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in distinguishing the apostle Thomas and the apostle Judas son of James. 
Few texts identify Thomas' twin. 
In the Book of Thomas the Contender, part of the Nag Hammadi, it is said to be Jesus himself: 
"Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself…""
A saint who has the title Fool-for-Christ is one who is known for his apparent, yet holy, insanity. 
This title in Russian is Yurodivyi.
Let no man deceive himself. 
If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. 
For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 
(1 Corinthians 3:18-19 KJV)
One form of the ascetic Christian life is called foolishness for the sake of Christ. 

The fool-for-Christ set for himself the task of battling within himself the root of all sin, pride
In order to accomplish this he took on an unusual style of life, appearing as someone bereft of his mental faculties, thus bringing upon himself the ridicule of others. 
In addition he exposed the evil in the world through metaphorical and symbolic words and actions. 
He took this ascetic endeavor upon himself in order to humble himself and to also more effectively influence others, since most people respond to the usual ordinary sermon with indifference. 
The spiritual feat of foolishness for Christ was especially widespread in Russia. --
(Excerpted from The Law of God, Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY: 1993)
Doubting Thomas?
Rector John West?!
fishy is going on here I think;-)
The rector John West may reject my suspicions, but there are a few tell-tale signs around the church to suggest I could be right. 
1st of April, 1967?!
(Click image to read it)
St. Thomas is built over the top of a grave, which is located in the front pew of the church, under a trap door.
The grave is in the corner of the front pew where this red arrow is
St Thomas Anglican Church - Port Macquarie
"During your visit to Port Macquarie you will be drawn to St Thomas' Church. 
One of Port Macquarie's most historic buildings, the St Thomas' Church dominates the landscape by land and river, as it did in early times.
It is the fifth oldest Anglican Church still is use in Australia and was built by convict labour under military supervision. 
Although the foundation stone was laid in 1824 the first service was not held until 1828.
Beneath the floor of the front pews is the grave of Captain Rolland, who died of sunstroke and was buried one month before his second-in-command laid the foundation stone during a service by Reverend Thomas Hassall."
Beneath the floor of the front pews is the grave
of Captain Rolland
, who died of sunstroke.
The Nag Hammadi Library
The Book of Thomas the Contender
"Now Thomas answered and said to the savior, "Tell us about these things that you say are not visible, but are hidden from us.""
The ceiling of the roof is red cedar/mohogany?
Toona ciliata is a forest tree in the mahogany family which grows throughout southern Asia from Afghanistan to Papua New Guinea and Australia
It is commonly known as the red cedar (a name shared by other trees), toon or toona (also applied to other members of the genus Toona), Australian redcedar,
Burma cedar, Indian cedar, Moulmein cedar or the Queensland red cedar. 
It is also sometimes known as Indian mahogany
In Australia its natural habitat is now extensively cleared subtropical rainforests of New South Wales and Queensland.
The Australian population was formerly treated as distinct species under the name Toona australis. 
The species can grow to around 60 m (200 ft) in height and its trunk can reach 3 m (10 ft) in girth. 
The largest recorded T. ciliata tree in Australia grew near Nulla Nulla Creek, west of Kempsey, New South Wales and was felled in 1883.
The southernmost limit of natural distribution is on basaltic soils, growing west of the Princes Highway near the village of Termeil, south of Ulladulla, southern Illawarra, NSW
It also naturally occurs at Norfolk Island.
It is one of Australia's few native deciduous trees. 
The timber is red in colour, easy to work and very highly valued. It was used extensively for furniture, wood panelling and construction, including shipbuilding, and was referred to as "red gold" by Australian settlers 
Heavily and unsustainably exploited in the 19th Century and early 20th Century, almost all the large trees have been cut out and the species is essentially commercially extinct.
Availability of this timber is now limited.
Fool on the hill?
It's a sun Mrs. Walker,
 it's a boy
The fool on the hill/Tommy?
The twins?
Friend or anima?

Anima and animus?

"...take the case of the Indian who, after a visit to England, told his friends at home that the English worship animals, because he had found eagles, lions, and oxen inn old churches.
He was not aware (nor are many Christians) that these animals are symbols of the Evangelists and are derived from the vision of Ezekiel, and that this in turn has an analogy in the Egyptian sun god Horus and his four sons.
There are moreover, such objects as the wheel and the cross that are known all over the world, yet that have a symbolic significance under certain conditions.
Precisely what they symbolize is still a matter for controversial speculation.
Thus a word or an image is symbolic when it implies something more than it's obvious and immediate meaning.
It has a wider "unconscious" aspect that is never precisely defined or fully explained.
Nor can one hope to define or explain it.
As the mind explores the symbol, it is lead to ideas that lie beyond the grasp of reason.
The wheel may lead our thoughts toward the concept of a "divine" sun, but at this point reason must admit its incompetence; man is unable to define a "divine" being.
When, with all our intellectual limitations, we call something "divine"we have merely given it a name, which may be based on a creed, but never on factual evidence.  
These animals are symbols of the Evangelists
Because there are innumerable things beyond the range of human understanding, we constantly use symbolic terms to represent concepts that we cannot define or fully comprehend.
This is one reason why all religions employ symbolic language or images.
But this conscious use of symbols is only one aspect of a psychological fact of great importance: Man also produces symbols unconsciously and spontaneously, in the form of dreams."
Carl Jung from, 'Man and his Symbols'.

Thomas the Apostle

You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before you, and you do not know how to read this moment.
"As a general rule, the unconscious aspect of any event is revealed to us in dreams, where it appears not as a rational thought but as a symbolic image.
As a matter of history, it was the study of dreams that first enabled psychologists to investigate the unconscious aspect of conscious psychic events. 
It is on such evidence that psychologists assume the existence of an unconscious psyche - though many scientists and philosophers deny its existence.
They argue naively that such an assumption implies the existence of two "subjects" or (to put it in a common phrase) two personalities within the same individual.
But this is exactly what it does imply - quite correctly.
And it is one of the curses of modern man that many people suffer from this divided personality.
It is by no means a pathological symptom; it is a normal fact that can be observed at any time and everywhere.
It is not merely the neurotic whose right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
This predicament is a symptom of a general unconsciousness that is the undeniable common inheritance of all mankind"
Carl Jung from, 'Man and his Symbols'.
"The cards contain archetypal images, pictures, and symbols that make a connection with one's subconscious mind.
The major arcana focuses on the higher matters of life, while the minor arcana indicates situations in our daily existence.
But both are important.
Think of the major arcana as the bricks and the minor as the mortar that fills the spaces, holding it all together."
Josephine Ellershaw, from the 'Easy Tarot Handbook'.
Oyster shells were used in the mortar of St. Thomas
What I found rather synchronistic on my tour of the church in 
Port Macquaire was I had read that paragraph above about tarot cards being like bricks and mortar, when I was learning the meanings represented by the cards that came with the 'Easy Tarot Handbook' my eldest son and his (ex-)girlfriend had given me one Christmas and then on the tour of St Thomas it was pointed out to us on the tour that St. Thomas was built by convict labour in 1824 with locally made bricks and mortar for which oyster shells were burned to make lime. 
That gave me a chuckle recalling the bricks and mortar of the church on the hill.
The Gilded Tarot deck is a nice deck, but I prefer the Rider Waite tarot deck myself, especially when it comes to the Fool card.

The world is your oyster, or are you just a brick in the wall?

Looking up to the ceiling through
the spiral staircase in
St. Thomas.
Marks on the bricks, used to tally the
number of bricks made per convict.
"The card number of zero represents the very moment before creation: unexplored potential.
 It is the only unnumbered card in the deck.
Yet zero is also the endless circle and cycle of life, without beginning or end - alpha and omega."
Josephine Ellershaw, from the 'Easy Tarot Handbook'.
Anyway, to all you doubting Thomas-es out there, I could go on and on about why I think this church symbolically represents the Fool card from the tarot deck, but maybe I'm on a Fool's errand?-)
All this effort on my part to write this post and bring a bit of light to the topic probably counts for naught to most people who read it.
Either way, happy trails on your own journey and if you're ever in Port Macquarie check the church out for yourself.
I'll be back in Port Macquarie soon on another Fool's journey to try and get a photo of the Powerful Owl that eluded me last time.
Are the Powerful Owls What They Seem?
I may have to pray to that owl like looking saint I saw on the wall in the St. Thomas chapel for a meeting with the owl?-)
Screen shot from Prince''Under the Cherry Moon'

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