The Ten Birds in THE WAY
In Rolf A. F. Witzsche’s book Discovering Infinity – Universal Divine Science – Spiritual Pedagogicals, of 2008, he speaks of the ten birds seen in the second Illustration for THE WAY, the eleventh Illustration of Christ and Christmas.
He explains how these birds relate to ten names defined in the “Glossary” in SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES, by Mary Baker Eddy. I differ with him on one point, however, even though the name is not found in the “Glossary” I feel that all ten birds represent Jacob’s children. Rolf feels that the white dove (“A symbol of divine Science; purity and peace; hope and faith.” S&H 584:26), which is actually descending downward with an olive branch of peace in its beak, represents Jacob, the father of seven sons (the darker birds). I see this white dove representing womanhood, as she descends (she is not ascending as some of the male birds are). Some of the birds, however, are going nowhere.
What Rolf does not bring out is that Leah does not begin conceiving children until after Jacob and Rachel are married (Jacob worked fourteen years before he could marry the woman he loved). Thus, it was up to Jacob, in reality, to begin his conception of his children via his womanhood, which was manifested as his wives. Jacob journeyed through two cycles of seven days – Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love so he was prepared to conceive his children (or Stars). Anyway, I feel that Jacob, as Israel (prefiguring the woman God-crowned), represents the crown at the top of the Illustration – THE WAY. What is also of importance, that Rolf also ignores, is that the Illustration he speaks about and uses for his diagrams is the second Illustration of THE WAY and not the first one. In the first Illustration for THE WAY – it is shaped like a loaf of bread (sort of) or a portion of an egg – thus it is a feminine shaped symbol.
Also, the flowered-cross with the birds seen in the first Illustration for THE WAY is different in that it is buried in the earth, while the flowered-cross in the second Illustration for THE WAY is floating above ground, it has no more material ties. Another difference is that in the first Illustration of THE WAY the dove has no olive branch in its beak, so it resembles the dove in the story of Noah that returns before it is sent out again. When it returns the second time it does have an olive branch in its beak. The first Illustration was drawn before The First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts, was built, so Motherhood was tied to the ground, while the second Illustration had the crowned-cross (I feel representing the Extension-Edifice united as one) floating above ground. This symbolizes the fact that Motherhood is no more, that Mary Baker Eddy is no longer our Mother, but the descending Bride City of our God (as Womanhood). Her Church Manual made it possible, with its estoppel clauses, to free the children of Israel (Christian Science Branches) from being controlled by personal sensed ecclesiastical despotism (if obeyed). The black cross, in the foreground, represents a warning of prophecy to the church if it holds on to material organization, because a certain board of directors decide to disobey the Church Manual.
What is interesting about the section where the thirteen children are born is that this section takes place in the tone of Christianity as the Christ. This means that these children of Israel represent the one Christ in Jacob’s (who represents the tone of Christianity) conscious thought. Rolf explains the birds as follows, that Reuben, Leah’s first born son, is born because Leah insists on conceiving via her husband Jacob (who she accepts as being a material man, she does not see Jacob’s true divine nature – my idea). This leads to error – Reuben. Her thought does not ascend any with her second child Simeon, so Reuben and Simeon are basically the same bird. (In the past I have always placed Simeon and Levi [the third son] together because they are so similar in nature.) I do like the point he makes about Leah’s thought process and am willing to say that Reuben and Simeon go together (however, Simeon and Levi could actually represent the same bird on the cross instead of his way of putting it). There is no definition for Simeon in the “Glossary.”
The diagram above is basically how Rolf explains it. I made one change on the middle picture, and other changes on the smaller picture. This is how I think it could be. However, I could be wrong, Gad and Asher may be higher than Joseph and Judah because Judah is defined as “A corporeal mortal; a higher sense of Truth rebuking moral belief, or error, and showing the immortality and supremacy of Truth; pure affection blessing its enemies.” (S&H 589:19) and Joseph is defined as “A corporeal material belief progressing and disappearing; the spiritual understanding of God and man appearing” (S&H 589:23). So both of these sons are on a “corporeal” level.
Rolf places Reuben on the right side of the flowered cross, on the farthest right side of Church. Then he places Levi on the left side of the cross (the Temple side), as he represents ecclesiastical despotism and is by himself. Unless Simeon and Levi really go together (which I think they do.) What is important, I suppose, is that all three sons are found on the same level of thought.
Leah’s thought process rises before she gives birth to her fourth son – Judah. Judah is not said to be Jacob’s son in the “Glossary”. Thus he has a higher nature. Rolf places Judah on the side of Church as the bird resting on top of the cross. However, I think that Judah could be placed upon the Temple side because of the definition of his name “to praise Jehovah”. Also, I think that Judah could be one of the flying birds above the cross instead of being a bird sitting upon the top of the cross. Mary Baker Eddy does not say that Reuben is “Jacob’s son,” and this is another reason why I feel that Judah is a flying bird.
The fifth and sixth sons (of Jacob) are attributed to Rachel (Jacob’s true love). However, they are not her offspring, they are her handmaiden’s sons. Thus, these two sons represent the bird next to Reuben. Dan is the fifth son and he is defined in the “Glossary” as animal magnetism. There is no definition in the “Glossary” for the sixth son Naphtali. So Rolf explains that these two brothers go together, as Rachel’s thought process was on the same level as her sister’s Leah when Reuben, Simeon and Levi were conceived.
Next are discussed the two birds in flight about the cross. However, I do not understand why they could not be the two birds sitting on top of the cross instead. They represent Leah’s handmaiden’s two sons – Gad (Temple side) and Asher (Church side). Yet, if Asher is supposed to be higher in thought than Gad is (which I think is the way it should be) then why is Asher actually lower than Gad in the Illustration? Rolf does not explain this point. If they were the two birds upon the top of the cross they would be mentally even – or on an even playing field. However, it would make since that Gad is higher than Asher if we are placing Gad on a rung of Jacob’s ladder (pyramid or ramp), for he is Love, and then the descending down from the ladder begins with Asher.
Issachar and Zebulun (the 9th and 10th sons) are once more Leah giving birth to her actual fifth and six sons. They are counted as one son (again) as they represent the bird on the cross next to Dan (Naphtali). Rolf explains that they are lower than Gad and Asher because Leah becomes jealous of Rachel and has her son Reuben go fetch mandrakes for her (to make her fertile again). Because Leah trades with Rachel, she gives her sister mandrakes in exchange for Jacob’s love, she conceives Issachar hire, “reward.” Zebulun is no hire than Issachar because Leah says, “Now my husband will dwell with me.” Yet, we must wonder if Rolf is correct in his assumption, as W. Gordon Brown, in FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION, p. 84, feels that this son represents the divine dwelling with the human. This, however, would not explain these two (this one son?) sons being on the same level as Reuben. The reason why I think that Brown is correct is that after Zebulun is born Leah has her seventh child – Dinah, the only daughter. This seventh child must represent Love misunderstood (physically seen, by mortal men, as a sexual material female) and abused (raped). Yet, when rightfully interpreted and spiritually understood, Dinah is Israel’s descending Womanhood – the Word or Bride city foursquare. And this would explain why there is a detached branch in the dove’s beak. As the detached branch is symbolic of the peace that comes to Earth when the Branch Churches are detached from an all controlling Mother Church (the Branches are independently governed). If Rachel had remained alive (in our BIBLE account) then her second son would have been nothing but trouble, she had to release her hold upon her son. Then true Womanhood, Israel (Jacob’s divine Womanhood) as the Bride could descend, for the Branch Church was not detached from the Mother Church.
The eleventh son is Joseph. He is Rachel’s highest idea, so Joseph (again he is not described as being Jacob’s son by Mary Baker Eddy in the “Glossary”) is the bird sitting next to Judah on the cross’s Temple side. Yet, I ask, why would not Gad and Asher be these two birds and Judah and Joseph not be the two birds flying in the air? To me this makes more since, in that they are not claimed as being Jacob’s son. And it would explain why Joseph (if a flying bird for Temple) would be higher in flight than Judah (if a flying bird for Church).
Finally, Rolf explains, because Rachel’s name for her second son is “son of my sorrow” is the reason why he is placed (on the Church side) below all the other birds (the Christian flock). He explains that Benjamin is ascending upward because Jacob renamed him.
I say, Jacob is renamed Israel before the birth of Benjamin. Israel is Jacob’s true womanhood, and it is the Word-Bride which renames the twelfth son, identifies him spiritually, and this raises up this twelfth son to “son of my right hand” – so Benjamin is Jacob’s ascending manhood.
To explain the difference between the two Illustrations for THE WAY we must recognize what the two Illustrations mean symbolically. In the first Illustration the flowered cross (the only cross seen) is buried in Mother Earth (Motherhood, or a Mother Church mentality). While the second Illustration was given to us after Mary Baker Eddy gave up her title (role) as our Mother and closed up Mother’s Room in the original edifice in Boston. So the second Illustration for THE WAY must represent the coming of the Bride (Dinah with the olive branch of peace). In the first Illustration of THE WAY, the dove is descending, however, there is no detached branch in its beak, thus this dove is still fulfilling its Motherhood God-crowned mission. In the second Illustration for THE WAY there is danger lurking in the foreground – the black cross which is buried in Mother Earth (a holding on to Mother Church control over the Branch Churches). This control is kept over the Field of Branch Churches via disobedience to the estoppel clauses located in the Church Manual. Yet, there is hope that the flock of the flowered-cross Temple/Church (Universal/Individual) will give up ecclesiastical despotism of a SMothering Church and rise above Motherhood to marry the Word (the Bride) of the city foursquare which is descending downward with the olive branch church of Peace where it is independently governed and not globally controlled by a board of directors.