Actual face of karma

Karma manifests from lifetime to lifetime. It also gets carried from situation to situation in one lifetime. In other words, one doesn’t have to believe in the concept of rebirth to gain benefit from understanding how karma manifests.

At the experiential level, I want to make the concept of karma come alive. So I am taking “literary license” and creating a Portrait Gallery of six historical figures that many of us have at least a passing acquaintance with — Queen Tiye (mother of Akhenaten), Queen of Sparta (aka Helen of Troy), Queen Jezebel, Queen Cleopatra, St. Teresa of Avila, and Sigmund Freud — and present them as a (fictional) string of incarnations.

When certain causes and conditions come together or meet,  our karmic seeds ripen. Another way to put this is that Queen Tiye “ripens” into Queen of Sparta (aka Helen of Troy), who “ripens” into Queen Jezebel who”ripens” into Queen Cleopatra who “ripens” into the  Spanish Carmelite St. Teresa who “ripens” into Sigmund Freud.

What would the life of someone who is the (fictional) present incarnation of these six historical figures look like? In other words, what is the fruition of their karma? To understand that, we’d have to identify the main characteristics of the figures of the Portrait Gallery.

And what would today’s incarnation have to do to change the karmic stream so that future lives would not be just a repeat of the past?

The Roll-Call

Most of us would have at least some awareness of some of these historical figures. Just so we’re singing from the same page of the prayer book, as the expression goes, here’s a few sentences about each.

queen-tiye-black-womanQueen Tiye – Egypt, 18th dynasty. Mother of Akhenaten and grandmother of Tutankhamun. Favourite wife of Amenhotep III. Death circa 1338 BC. Some historians speculate that she was actually the mother of Moses, the Egyptian prince.

helen_of_troy260x382-cropped Helen of Troy, Queen of Sparta circa 1250 BC. It is my understanding that the only historial mention of Helen is by Homer in the Illiad. This website will also have links for all the appearances of Helen in the Illiad. Or you can read the first three chapters of Helen of Troy by Jack Lindsay.

jezebel-croppedJezebel, queen of Israel, 9th BC, known throughout history as the Bible’s Harlot Queen; new views are presented in an excellent book Jezebel, by Lesley Hazelton.

cleopatra-cropped-moreCleopatra Selene VII – 69 BC – 30 BC. Egypt’s last queen and pharoah. History is always written by the victors, in this case, the Romans under Octavius, Julius Caesar’s nephew. That is the view that has come to us of Cleopatra: a wanton seductress who destroyed Marc Antony. As in the case of Queen Jezebel, there are new perspectives on Cleopatra. See for example Jack Lindsay’s book Cleopatra and Margaret George’s Memoirs of Cleopatra.

cropped-st-teresaSt. Teresa of Avila (Spain) – 1515 – 1585. A jewish girl who ran away to a Catholic monastery, reformed the Carmelite order, worked alongside St. John of the Cross, became a saint and first woman doctor of the Church.

freudSigmund Freud – 1856 – 1939. Galileo said that the world went around the sun, not the other way around as people believed. That displacement of man as supreme in the universe angered the Roman Catholic Church to the point of imprisoning Galileo. Freud, like Galileo, also made us question who we are by his concept of the unconscious.