Forty days after the Resurrection, Christ, having fulfilled his earthly mission as it were, ascends into Heaven in preparation for the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end. AmenBook of Common Prayer
Alan Watts On The Meaning of the Ascension
Alan Watts explores the implications of the mythos in his book Myth and Ritual in Christianity in these terms:
The Ascension of Christ and the carrying of manhod into heaven with his own Body involves, of course, an extension of the truth already signified in the Resurrection – that what has hitherto been known as the material, bodily universe of “things”, is, in the light of the Eternal Now, divinity itself. But this transfiguration of the world is not realized while it remains “in symbol” only – that is to say, so long as the myth is not realized, so long as the Resurrection and Ascension seem to have happened only to Jesus of Nazareth. It is for this reason that the Spirit, the real understanding, cannot come until Jesus departs. The mission of Christ is not, therefore, fulfilled until the historical Jesus has vanished into eternity, until man finds God supremely revealed in the Now, and no more in the record of the Gospels.Alan Watt, Myth and Ritual in Christianity, pp. 186-7
A Crowded Shelf
In May the shelf can get crowded with the seasonal arcana, the arcana of the week, the arcana for Mary’s month, and today the arcana for Ascension Day, the (21) World, marking the return of the Son to the Father. In addition, I like to have two images in the background, flanking the mirror. The arcana on the right is the (14) Temperance arcana from the Masonic Tarot Deck, which expressed the time of careful living that I was going through in May 2019. On the left is a photo of the lady chapel at Saint Mark’s Anglican Church in Florence, with the wonderful Pre-Raphaellite painting of the Annunciation by Giuseppe Catani Chiti (1866-1945).