John Nosta: THINKOLOGY The Intersection of Thought, Creativity and Inspiration


Holy Moses! Is the Burning Bush Still on Fire?

The Power of the Flame

Moses, so the biblical story goes, had a conversation with God as explained in the Book of Exodus (3:1-21).  I've always found the reference to fire and the many and varied explinations most interesting. Some find it silly...the idea of a "burning bush" that speaks.  Yet other find profound significance.   It's even been suggested that Moses was under the influence of a hallucinatory drug!  The concept has taken like in many forms:

The burning bush has been a popular symbol among Reformed churches since it was first adopted by the Huguenots (French Calvinists) in 1583 during its 12th National Synod:

The logo of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America is also an image of the Burning Bush with the phrase "and the bush was not consumed" in both English and in Hebrew.

The Strange, but Similar Experience of a Modern Day Mystic

But yesterday's Moses reminds me of more recent physician named Richard Maurice Bucke (18 March 1837 – 19 February 1902), often called Maurice Bucke. He was an important Canadian progressive psychiatrist in the late nineteenth century. An adventurer in his youth, he went on to study medicine, practice psychiatry in Ontario, and befriend a number of noted men of letters in Canada, the U.S., and England.  In addition to writing and delivering professional papers, Bucke wrote three book-length studies: Man's Moral NatureWalt Whitman, and – his best known work – Cosmic Consciousness, a classic in the modern study of mystical experience.  

But what I find very interesting is Bucke's actual experience in "transcendence" and how it so closely matches that of Moses!  Not to mention the amazing likeness to the "typical" image associated with Moses!

'My mind...was calm and peaceful. I was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment, not actually thinking, but letting ideas, images and emotions flow themselves, as it were, through my mind. All at once...I found myself wrapped in a flame-colored cloud. For an instant I thought of fire...the next I knew the fire was within myself...there came upon me a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness... immediately followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe...I saw that the a living Presence; I became conscious in myself of eternal life. It was not a conviction that I would have eternal life, but a consciousness that I possessed eternal life then; I saw that all men are immortal...cosmic order is such...all things work together for the good of each and all..." 

So, we find a man...engulfed in a flame...bestowed with profound wisdom, knowledge and a mission to make the world better.

Some call it the Holy Spirit.

Some called it Christ Consciosuness.

Some called Krishna Consciousness.

Some called Nirvana.

Some call it Gaia.

Some called by words that are left unspoken.

But the flame of truth and transcendence is alive and well...and maybe that "burning bush" was so much more than a simple analogy.  I find it most interesting that the feeling, simple visual and high artistic interpretations so frequently use fire as a central theme.  Can you feel the heat?

Final thought--I wonder about how our own search for the mystical experience and that flame within is somehow sidetracked by the fire hose of ego.

  • Angelique

    Don’t forget the purple flame of St. Germaine!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Sandra Raftie

    What happened to the mountain and the burning bush?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0