When we think of a cherub, we might think of some cute little infant angel. We even say that someone has a cherubic face.
The biblical references to cherubim (plural for cherub) convey something far more powerful. The original story of the loss of consciousness for humanity tells of cherubim who stand at the gates of the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword. That’s a very ancient story—it certainly predates Moses, who is credited with it. It has been interpreted in a moralistic framework in the Judeo-Christian tradition. That moralistic framework is also a victim framework. We got kicked out of the Garden because we did something morally wrong.
That interpretation of the story tends to nullify any real understanding of what is being conveyed. The sad truth is that we were born into a world that has lost consciousness. And most particularly, humanity has lost consciousness of who it is as an embodiment of the Creator, who is within all of Creation. We are creator-beings in human form. So if the Adam and Eve story has meaning, it tells through a symbolic story how it came to be that the body of humanity into which we were born entered a global state of spiritual amnesia.
At the same time, humanity has what Matthew Fox calls original blessing, because spiritual amnesia is not all that is happening in the human experience. We are imbued with the spark of Creation. Spiritual amnesia denies that spark, and so there is great internal conflict for most human beings. We have this spark of creativity within us that is our nature at our core. And yet we’re born into a state of consciousness in humanity that has lost conscious awareness of being the Creator in expression.
As it’s told in the story, there were cherubim placed at the gates of the Garden of Eden. I don’t know if they had rosy, cherubic cheeks, but they are standing at the gates with a flaming sword. According to the traditional religious understanding, this is what prevents humanity from having the experience of being in Paradise.
Roll the clock forward thousands of years later. The cherubim are pictured again in the time of Moses while the children of Israel are in the desert.
The story portrays the way he is commanded from within to do something about the spiritual amnesia that has overtaken humanity, and so he seeks to build a sanctuary according to certain specifications. And who shows up in those specifications but the cherubim! He is instructed to build statues of gold of the two cherubim, and to build them with outstretched wings. The cherubim are enfolding a mercy seat with their wings.
So we have these two depictions. Within them, there is the awesome authority of the flaming sword in the story of Adam and Eve, and the depiction of angels of mercy at the time of Moses. Most people don’t usually associate the God of the Old Testament as being a God of mercy. In fact, many say that the God of the Old Testament was a God of vengeance. But here is the depiction of an opportunity for mercy.
It’s interesting that whatever was being depicted by the cherubim with the flaming sword, which is preventing us as human beings from having an experience of Paradise, is mostly invisible in the human experience. I suppose the cherubim show up in our lives in all the ways we get told no. If you were seeking to enter a country, the immigration officer may say, No, you can’t come in. But I don’t think anyone would mistake the immigration officer for a cherub with a flaming sword!
For the most part, the reality that keeps people from an experience of fulfillment in life is not visible to them. Their misery takes form in their visible world. But what keeps people from entering the Garden can’t be seen by visual sight alone. There is no gate, open or shut. They just know they are not fulfilled.
Roll the clock forward once more to today. What is needed? Two cherubim with outstretched wings. The cherubim represent two polar opposites that belong together in one continuum of experience. Any two polar opposites are brought together by the one unifying reality. This world needs cherubim who offer a clear entryway into the experience of Paradise; the experience of being the Creator in human form.
The cherubim could represent man and woman, male and female, mind and heart or truth and love, or any other true duality embodied in human form. This pattern is at work in the human body through the two hemispheres of the brain. When father and mother are brought together by the spiritual potential that transcends them both, their child is in the mercy seat. Father and mother become conductors for the spiritual potential that brought them together and is then pouring into the child. They are bringing the Creator to the child.
The cherubim could be present through any man and woman who are experiencing the unifying higher love of the Creator that brings them together. And then, anyone who is in their presence has the opportunity to be in the mercy seat—to feel the presence of that higher love relative to themselves.
But of course, the two cherubim do not have to be a man and a woman. Whenever any two people are brought together by unifying higher love, they become a gateway through which the awareness of that higher love pours out. They become two cherubim. Anyone who is with them can feel that happening and enter into that experience with them.
Within one person, when their thoughts and feelings are in concert because they are centered in a higher love, their spiritual presence emanates from them. Their clear thoughts are engendering feelings of love within them. And their feelings of love are inspiring clear thoughts. You can feel the blessing of that presence warming the soul, magnifying the nobility of the Creator in yourself.
The cherubim come together out of a higher love. To really be cherubim, they must embody the same divine justice of the Creator that is present in the love that brought them together. They must embody absolute and total forgiveness, offered in this present moment and in any moment. And not only forgiveness of each other but of the one in the mercy seat. The mercy seat would become a judgment seat without forgiveness.
The cherubim offer an immediate opportunity to enter into attunement with higher love under their outstretched wings. It is divine justice that if a person is not open to it and they do not attune to it, they will not experience it. They will continue in whatever experience they are having. They are shut out of the experience of the Garden that the cherubim offer only if they choose not to receive it. That is the work of the flaming sword. If they are not attuning to the higher love of the Creator, they are attuning to the miserable experience of the victim.
You become one of the cherubim by sitting on the mercy seat yourself and attuning to the Creator; by seeking out your opportunity to be in the presence of polarities brought together by a higher love. And by avoiding all the opportunities that are present in a human life to play the victim.
So I invite you to sit on the mercy seat in this moment. In so doing, you are receiving the forgiveness and connection of the Creator from all those who are performing the function of the cherubim on earth today. And in receiving their blessing, you are, yourself, becoming one of the cherubim. And in being one of the cherubim, you are welcoming the Creator within to dwell with your own humanity and to enter all humanity. You are overcoming your own spiritual amnesia and inviting the whole world to do the same.