Archetypal Bonding and the Blood of Christ

Masaccio, trinità, dettaglio

Masaccio, trinità, dettaglio

A number of archetypes loom large in  our lives from time to time, only to recede into the recesses of our unconscious – others stay dominant in our pyche for long periods. The significance of a particular archetype may be reinforced by rites of bonding; the most central of these for Christians centre around the blood of Christ.

It is a well known image that contracts which are lasting and important are written in blood. In the ancient world blood was believed to hold the life force of an animal as life was seen to drain away with the loss of blood. Commitment to God for the Christian is seen as written in blood – delivered by Christ at the cross and reaffirmed regularly at the Eucharist. But this is not just a contractual arrangement, as some reformers may have it – it becomes a communion – a sharing in a bond of life as through the consecrated wine that the Christian imbibes he is seen to take the life of Christ into himself. It has an ecstatic dimension as the believer takes this life energy of God into him or her self – this ecstatic dimension is reinforced by the element of wine which is used in many cultures as a dis-inhibiter, allowing the energy of the unconscious and spiritual life to seep through our conscious reserves and protection of the ego. In ancient Israel, blood belonged to God and they were forbidden to consume it – it was poured out as a God offering, leaving the meat to be consumed. How fitting then that the union of Christ and his followers is initiated by the offering of his blood.

Nor is it solely an individual experience. Just as blood brothers are bonded together with the sharing of blood so too the community of Christians are united by their sharing in the Eucharist.


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