On this day of Epiphany, I thought I would revel in revealing the multiple levels of meaning in this word and explore experiencing epiphanies. Please join me in this revel!
- to take part in a revel: carouse
- to take intense pleasure or satisfaction
- a usually wild party or celebration
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French reveler, literally, to rebel, from Latin rebellare.
Similar to: réveillon, a festive supper commonly eaten in France following Christmas midnight mass. French, from Middle French reveillon, from reveiller to awaken, arouse.
Sounds like: a revelation, an act of revealing or communicating divine truth, an act of revealing to view or making known, a pleasant often enlightening surprise.
- The festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
- The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
- A manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
- A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
Middle English: from Greek epiphainein ‘reveal’. The sense relating to the Christian festival is via Old French epiphanie and ecclesiastical Latin epiphania.
1. The Festival Commemorating the Epiphany
Ah yes, today commemorates the ‘nativity scene’ with Jesus in the manger, as told in the Biblical New Testament book of Matthew, which traditionally includes three Magi, or ‘wise men,’ bestowing upon the child Jesus three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh—the scene we sang about in one of my favourite Christmas carols, “We Three Kings.”
Marking the end of the Christmas season (note to self: take down Christmas tree or start calling it the ‘New Years tree’), and also called ‘Three Kings Day,’ “Epiphany, also known as Theophany in the east, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus Christ’s physical manifestation to the Gentiles.” (Wikipedia)
So, to appropriately celebrate the occasion, I adorned myself with my favourite gold necklace, added some frankincense essential oil to my diffuser, anointed myself with myrrh (okay, cinnamon; I didn’t have any myrrh), and planned to feast like royalty (by taking a stashed package of macarons out of the freezer to enjoy with afternoon tea). I returned to my bright window seat with my laptop to contemplate epiphany and set the intention that this exultant pomp and ceremony would inspire me to exuberant revelation and insight!
7And then Herodus secretly called The Magi and learned from them at what time the star had appeared to them. 8And he sent them to Bethlehem and said to them, “Go inquire about The Boy very carefully and when you find him, come show me, so that I also may go worship him.” 9But when they heard from the King, they went, and behold, that star which they had seen in The East went before them, until it came and stood over where The Boy was. 10And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with a very great joy. 11And they entered the house and saw The Boy with Maryam his mother, and they fell and worshiped him and opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, myrrh, and frankincense. 12And it was seen by them in a dream that they should not return to Herodus, and they went to their country by another road.
2. The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles
I wondered, which came first, the religious term or the general meaning of the word ‘epiphany’? (I also wondered if this celebration originated with Christianity or evolved out of a more ancient pagan celebration—not surprisingly, its timing also aligns with other traditions.) But, according to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘epiphany’ was first used in the 14th century, in the meaning defined in sense 1 above. So, apparently, the word originated as a religious term and then evolved into more general use.
For me, I suppose, the religious meaning of the word epiphany also came first. I grew up within the Christian religion and all its traditions; my parents’ religious views evolved through my childhood from very evangelical to more inclusive. As a teenager, I recognized that I was on a spiritual journey—but one that quickly led me to seek knowledge beyond the Christian Bible, which I found tedious to read and difficult to comprehend.
At age 18, while on exchange in Brazil, my host family introduced me to the Spiritist religion; based on my curiosity, they sought out for me an English version of The Spirits’ Book and The Gospel According to Spiritism by Allan Kardec, who had founded the religious movement in the 1800s. The information in the books were channeled to him by spirits through various clairvoyant mediums.
I gratefully accepted the books and immediately read them with interest. The books, along with my host families and Brazilian friends, introduced me to the presence and influence of spirits; channeling through a medium (with various demonstrations); the concept of reincarnation, including discussing past-life memories and regression; the concept of karma and spiritual progress. One of my closest friends communicated regularly with her sister, who had died in a car accident years before; this friend also regularly received and passed on messages from other deceased friends and family members. Interestingly, this information and ability did not feel like an epiphany to me. Though these beliefs departed radically from my Christian indoctrination, they felt familiar to me, like I already knew them but they had just slipped my mind—the books simply reminded me—and that was the epiphany!
My spiritual journey led me to continue to explore many spiritual pathways. The autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda, entitled Autobiography of a Yogi, introduced me to a yogic spiritual perspective focusing on meditation. Over the years, I read many New Age spiritual books by authors like Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra. And, somehow, I wandered into the realms of more esoteric teachings from the ancient Egyptian mystery schools, and even further back in time (like the Hermetic teachings we explore in my Seven Universal Laws course).
More and more, I focused on reading ‘channeled’ works—meaning that they were directly communicated by non-physical beings to a physical person. Most works were channeled directly and privately through an ‘inner voice’ that the person heard inside their head—such as Neale Donald Walsch experienced and detailed in his book Conversations with God. Or, the epic work, A Course in Miracles, which is purported to be the voice of Christ. The preface of ACIM details how it came about:
How It Came
A Course in Miracles began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. It does not matter who they were, except that the story shows that with God all things are possible. They were anything but spiritual. Their relationship with each other was difficult and often strained, and they were concerned with personal and professional acceptance and status. In general, they had considerable investment in the values of the world. Their lives were hardly in accord with anything that the Course advocates. Helen, the one who received the material, describes herself:
Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief, I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that “there must be another way.” As if on cue, I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way.
Although their intention was serious, they had great difficulty in starting out on their joint venture. But they had given the Holy Spirit the “little willingness” that, as the Course itself was to emphasize again and again, is sufficient to enable Him to use any situation for His purposes and provide it with His power.
To continue Helen’s first-person account:
Three startling months preceded the actual writing, during which time Bill suggested that I write down the highly symbolic dreams and descriptions of the strange images that were coming to me. Although I had grown more accustomed to the unexpected by that time, I was still very surprised when I wrote, “This is a course in miracles.” That was my introduction to the Voice. It made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made me very uncomfortable, but it never seriously occurred to me to stop. It seemed to be a special assignment I had somehow, somewhere agreed to complete. It represented a truly collaborative venture between Bill and myself, and much of its significance, I am sure, lies in that. I would take down what the Voice “said” and read it to him the next day, and he typed it from my dictation. I expect he had his special assignment, too. Without his encouragement and support I would never have been able to fulfill mine. The whole process took about seven years. The Text came first, then the Workbook for Students, and finally the Manual for Teachers. Only a few minor changes have been made. Chapter titles and subheadings have been inserted in the Text, and some of the more personal references that occurred at the beginning have been omitted. Otherwise the material is substantially unchanged.
I also enjoyed reading about past-life experiences gleaned through past-life regression, with such experts as Dolores Cannon. As noted on her website, her career “as a hypnotherapist specializing in past life regression spanned almost 50 years and had taken her on an incredible journey along countless fascinating destinations.” Dolores’ Convoluted Universe series is sheer mind candy! Some of her books, like Jesus and the Essenes, chronicle the experiences of people who lived close to Jesus.
3. A Manifestation of a Divine or Supernatural Being
Many times, I re-read Glenda Green’s books, Love Without End: Jesus Speaks and The Keys of Jeshua, which transcribed conversations she had with Jeshua (Jesus—’Jeshua’ was his true Aramaic name, pronounced ‘Yeshua’) when he embodied himself so she could paint his portrait—an experience that was certainly an epiphany for Glenda in the sense of an actual physical ‘manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.’ Yes, Glenda states that Jeshua actually appeared to her in physical form and he explained to her how he did it! Jeshua also explained and clarified many passages from the Bible that I had previously found incomprehensible—correcting lost translation and bringing them to light in a revelatory way that brought with them many epiphanies for me. (For example, see the post, Blessings and Happiness, The Eight Beatitudes.)
These kinds of ‘visitations’ were not novel to Glenda—I read a number of books that related similar experiences, including Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard. The insights within them led me back around to my Christian roots with a new appreciation for the true foundational teachings of Christ.
The Magi experienced an epiphany, in the sense of definition 3, when “it was seen by them in a dream that they should not return to Herodus, and they went to their country by another road.” And, apparently, Jesus’ father, Joseph, also experienced an epiphany (or several):
13And as they went, The Angel of THE LORD JEHOVAH appeared in a dream to Yoseph, and said to him, “Arise, take The Boy and his mother, and flee to Egypt and stay there, until I speak to you, for Herodus is going to seek The Boy to destroy him.”
In the Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament, we read many references to these kinds of epiphanies—visits by divine or supernatural beings, sometimes in dreams and sometimes in awakened states. Yet, in my experience anyway, today’s Christian church appears to have lost sight of the ability to directly access guidance from divine or supernatural beings. In my upbringing, the focus lay upon asking—by praying to God—rather than on receiving direct guidance from angels or other supernatural beings, as Mary and Joseph did.
Yet, ‘channeled’ messages from non-physical, ‘higher beings’ have guided my spiritual journey from a young age, as noted above. Further, since the pivotal year 2012 (in astrological terms, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and, based on Mayan prophecies, the beginning of a new 25,920-year cycle—the Precession of the Zodiac), the channels of communication appear to have opened significantly more and more people have begun to share messages from higher beings.
The entities communicating these messages include:
- Angels, guides, and your ‘higher self.’
- Beings who incarnated on Earth in the past.
- Beings who incarnated on Earth in the future and have come back to assist us, including future aspects of the person channeling them.
- Beings who have never incarnated on Earth and sometimes who have never incarnated into any physical body.
- Extraterrestrial beings who have incarnated on other planets in other star systems.
- Beings we have considered only as myth, like faeries or elementals.
- Extra-dimensional beings who reside either physically or non-physically in other dimensions (here on earth, we currently reside in the dense physical reality of the 3rd and 4th dimensions).
- Individual souls or collective consciousnesses.
- Enlightened Masters who have incarnated many times as humans but have ‘graduated’ from physical existence.
You can find people channeling non-physical beings on many YouTube channels—and these channels have tens- to sometimes hundreds-of thousands of subscribers, so they have certainly become more mainstream.
My current favourite channeled beings include:
- Micheila Sheldan channels many beings, including Mary Magdalene, etc.
on Micheila Sheldan and AAE tv.
- Lorie Ladd channels various beings, including the Galactic Federation of Light, etc.
on Lorie Ladd.
- Adamus Saint-Germain, channeled by Geoffrey Hoppe
- Bashar channeled by Darryl Anka
on Bashar Channeled by Darryl Anka.
- Kryon, channeled by Lee Carroll
on Kryon Lee Carroll.
4. A Moment of Sudden Revelation or Insight
In the sense of definition 4, listening to higher beings through channeled works have brought me too many insights or epiphanies than I could possibly relate here (though I relate many of them in other posts on this site). That said, access to the information these beings provide has brought me several overriding revelations:
Clarification & Deeper Insight
Although I believe that the Bible contains deep wisdom, I always distrusted the translations and deviations from the original works. Wading through the inaccuracies to uncover the true messages felt futile. If only there were a way to access the original information and to seek clarification, when needed…. What many Christians wouldn’t do to speak directly with Jesus—to sit at his feet, like a disciple! Channeling an ascended Master like Jeshua or Mary Magdalene offers that direct connection.
To my surprise, these beings, including Jeshua, do not limit their information to spiritual topics; they also speak on science and technology, as well as topics like astronomy, astrology, mathematics, and sacred geometry. In a complete departure from the traditional Christian view of Jesus as simple and uneducated—the son of a poor, lowly carpenter and a meek, ignorant girl—Jeshua has been revealed as a well-traveled (with his Uncle Joseph of Arimathea, who was a respected and widely known ship builder and trader), widely educated (in the Egyptian mystery school from which his mother and Mary Magdalene came, Indian yogic tradition, and with the British druids), and highly knowledgeable enlightened Master with a full understanding of universal and physical laws.
References to these broader topics led me to study the connection between ancient myths and symbols and leading-edge science like quantum physics. I’ve intensely enjoyed learning from visionary physicists like Nassim Haramein, who contends that God consciousness plays a key role in understanding the universe and his quest for a unified field theory for everything—a theory that will not only further our understanding of reality but also lead to revolutionary practical discoveries like free, zero-point energy and anti-gravity machines, thereby helping us to make the leap from science fiction to science reality.
Sci-fi movies typically depict ‘first contact’ in epically physical proportions, like giant spaceships bringing alien legions; conversely, the extraterrestrial beings I’ve listened to point out the gentle beauty of their non-confrontational form of non-physical ‘first contact’—through channeled messages.
In addition to the insights available through information passed on by other people channeling these beings, the beings themselves state emphatically that anyone can speak with them directly—anyone can channel. All it takes is the ‘little willingness’ to sit in silence for long enough to hear them and trust that the voice is real. Some people hear a clear voice inside their head; others practice ‘automatic writing’ in which the being writes through them; others receive ‘downloads’ of information that they then ‘unpack’; others allow a being to speak through their voice to an audience. Whatever form or process works best for us, we are all capable of opening these channels of communication—with our higher selves, angels, and guides, in addition to making contact with these many other enlightened beings. And, they have stated that they eagerly await our decision to initiate the conversation—our own ‘first contact.’ That realization is truly the epiphany.