Are you ready, now that I assume you've been baptized by water, and possibly given your your blood, are you now ready for your Baptism of Fire?
If by any chance you hold the position that Baptism by Water is the only requirement for one's entrance into mythical heaven, you just might want to stop reading now.
If your going to continue on what you are going to encounter here is a symbolic study, albeit a minor one, into the symbolism of the Baptism of Fire, a symbolically necessary state of mind in order to understand John, one of the patron saints of Freemasonry, when he says; 'I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
Gold refined by “fire”?
Two distinct questions arrive, what is the “Gold”, and what of the fire?
Lets look to another great teacher and see of the “fire” he talks about and see if there is a connection and may just aid us in understanding Baptism of Fire, probably a phrase he wouldn't use, but you'd never know.
Since I'm a big believer in the merging philosophies of East and West, her's one of my favorite teachers; Then said the Exalted One to his disciples: 'Everything, O disciples, is in flames. And what Everything, O disciples, is in flames? The eye, O disciples, is in flames, the visible is in flames, the knowledge of the visible is in flames, the contact with the visible is in flames, the feeling which arises from contact with the visible is in flames, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain, this also is in flames. By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of desire, by the fire of hate, by the fire of fascination, it is kindled; by birth, old age, death, pain, lamentation, sorrow, grief, despair, it is kindled: thus I say. The ear is in flames, the audible is in flames, the knowledge of the audible is in flames, the contact with the audible is in flames, the feeling which arises from contact with the audible is in flames, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain, this also is in flames. By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of desire, by the fire of hate, by the fire of fascination, it is kindled; by birth, old age, death, pain, lamentation, sorrow, grief, despair, it is kindled; thus I say. The sense of smell is in flames, and then follows for the third time the same series of propositions; the tongue is in flames; the body is in flames; the mind is in flames.
Knowing this, O disciples, a wise, noble, hearer of the word becomes wearied of the eye, he becomes wearied of the visible, he becomes wearied of the knowledge of the visible, he becomes wearied of contact with the visible, he becomes wearied of the feeling which arises from contact with the visible, be it pleasure, be it pain, be it neither pleasure nor pain. He becomes wearied of the ear', and then follows one after the other the whole series of ideas as above.
While he becomes wearied thereof, he becomes free from desire; free from desire, he becomes delivered; in the delivered arises the knowledge: I am delivered; rebirth is at an end, perfected is holiness, duty done; there is no more returning to this world; he knows this."...The Buddha
In case you had a hard time following the Buddha, and what he is talking about when he says “Everything, O disciples, is in flames”, ego. In away he is describing “Baptism of Fire”, the divine spark within fueled by “ the fire of desire, by the fire of hate, by the fire of fascination, it is kindled; by birth, old age, death, pain, lamentation, sorrow, grief, despair, it is kindled”. In the philosophy of the Buddha craving, hatred, and ignorance, caused by the illusion of separateness, ego, were the hub of cyclical existence, he also realized the first Noble Truth; birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering. Once one realizes the truth of the three poisons of craving, hatred, and ignorance and begins to look at the first Noble Truth, and if one then applies themselves to the path towards realization, “Baptism of Fire” should be the end result, death of the ego and its separateness.
I'll leave it up to the reader. if interested, to look into the philosophies of the Buddha and the other three Noble Truths, they might just ring a bell.
Now let us look at a little Christianity, here we find the famous clergyman William Dell discussing the Baptism of Fire (also known as Baptism of Spirit), the comparison to Buddhist philosophy is uncanny: “Now the other baptism I am to speak of is Christ's which is Spirit or Fire Baptism, and this is the one and only baptism of the New Testament, as we find Paul affirming, Eph. iv. (i, where he saith that in Christ's kingdom, where is but one body, and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, and one Lord, and one faith, there is also but one baptism; and this is the Baptism of the Spirit, as the apostle elsewhere shows, saying, "For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, . . . and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. xii. 13).
When the ego, or illusionary separateness is burned up, only then will we experience the interconnectedness of reality, one body or reality, in Christianity we could call this Christ Consciousness.
“The true baptism is the Baptism of Fire, the growth into the spirit of wisdom, the victory of the spirit over the animal nature of man."...Franz Hartmann, Freemason and Theosophist
“This Fire is the true Spirit of life, the living Word, which inflames the soul of man, and gives it that force by which it can conquer the kingdoms of the lower world, and, crossing the ocean of births and deaths, can finally land itself on the further shore, a holy, purified " Son of God," a Saviour of Worlds to come. Thus runs the Legend of the Holy Grail.”...,Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry and Mediæval Mysticism, Isabel Cooper-Oakley
I remember hearing this wonderful Gnostic creation myth many years, in the story the Demiurge, think lesser God, decides to create humans from mud and water (matter), but the Demiurge can't give his creation life, for this he needed the big guy.
The big guy, because of his all encompassing love, agrees, he breaths the divine spark into the Demiurge's creation, knowing full well creation will eventually seek the divine spark within them and hopefully fan the flame (until creation finally unites in with the divine, Baptism of Fire).
Personal opinion: The Demiurge, the lesser God created good and evil, duality, the Big Guy, although surely not a dude, is beyond duality. Not until the subject object dichotomy, ego, is totally burnt out will “enlightenment” occur. Eradiction of ego does not come by the simple laying on of hands!
One last paragraph of thought, from a Roscrucian perspective: “Degrees of soul-force depend on the rapidity of the vibrations of the flame uniting the three powers which constitute the human ego. This trinity of Intelligence, Will, and Love is a manifestation of the Divine Trinity in Unity, making of man a microcosmic God.
The soul is a glowing spark in an Infinite Flame.
The vibrations of these triune forces develop heat, which is generally diffused throughout the body as a gentle warmth. This heat may be powerfully increased and drawn to a center in the breast, where it burns with a pure and conscious flame.
This is the Baptism with Fire with fire and the Holy Ghost (Geist, Spirit) and is typified by the fire kept burning on the altars of the ancient temples. It is also the transmuting fire of the Rosicrucians, which certain of the old alchemists misunderstood and materialized to mean the transmutation of the baser metals into Gold.
Referring to this flame the great Persian sage, Zoroaster, says, "When you see the fire, listen for the voice of the fire.”