Imagine the scene: You walk into your local place of worship – church, synagogue, mosque, meditation center or whatever. The pastor or rabbi has apparently decided to redecorate while you were away on vacation. You find that he has installed atop the ark or altar a statue of sexually intertwined golden figures. In addition he positions another free standing set of sexually embraced figures among the pews. And just in case you missed the point, vivid pictures of these effigies adorn most of the sanctuary walls.
I daresay that sexually open as we are, much as we affirm sexuality as a wonder and central good in our lives, the pastor’s contract would not be renewed.
However, in the pastor’s defense, let me share with you a secret. These precise images were the central display in the archetype of all holy places – the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. The figures were called cherubs. The primary set was positioned in the center of the Temple, atop the Ark of the Covenant.
According to Hebrew myth this spot is the earth’s epicenter, the axis mundi, the place where heaven and earth kiss.
A second set of golden cherubs was freestanding and the rest were in pictographic form on the walls and even on some of the Temple vessels.
These provocatively entwined cherubs were for the mystics the very key to the mystery of love, a mystery that lay at the heart of the Jerusalem Temple, a mystery that lays at the heart of all of our lives.