Alma 8:7 – LeGrand Baker — Cosmic Myth as a Chaismas
I had one of those “ah-ha — why didn’t think of that before” moments not long ago. It was this: The cosmic myth is always in the pattern of a chaismas. In its simplest form it looks like this from the Hymn of the Pearl
The hero prepares to leave home.
he takes off his coat and toga
he receives his blessing and assignment
he locates the pearl
he struggles under great difficulty
he recognizes who he really is
he receives a renewal of the blessing
he takes the pearl
learns he has fulfilled assignment
he regains his sacred clothing
he returns home.
That version looks better because by making the struggle and the renewal of the blessing concurrent, it is a more accurate representation of reality. But it still has the success happening someplace other than at the focal point. I was thinking of that when I went to church today. Travis Martin was teaching the Gospel Doctrine class. While making a not-too-labored allusion to the cosmic myth he observed that the time in the wilderness was the most important part of the story because that was the time when the Children of Israel had to sort out who they were and what their relationship was with God. His comments helped me realize that the pattern was correct after all.
Modern scholars who recognized in this pattern in ancient literature envisioned the form as an open triangle However it seems to me that it would more accurately depict the ancient’s sense of sacral geometry if we pulled the two ends together so that rather than being a bottomless triangle it became a circle – the eternal round. That appeals to me because then both the cosmic myth and the chaismas could be seen as the triumph of the human soul in an expression of geometric perfection.