Ask the Spiritual Explorer
Dear Spiritual Explorer: I have always wondered about the gifts of the Magi. What was that about? Loren C., Berlin, Germany
Dear Loren: I think that those are the only three listings of items that actually appear many times without a comma; it’s just one of those forgiven grammatical mistakes. In truth, when one uses those words, it’s as if gold, frankincense and myrrh are one melded substance with decided spiritual properties which it miraculously disperses when it is recited. Perhaps that is why these three magical words have eluded the opprobrium of so called grammarian experts.In this regard I am going to suggest the magical Crown Chakra Anointing Oil with frankincense as one of its major ingredients.
I think it is obvious that one would offer gold, a very rare metal, to a beloved spiritual personage. One cannot ever stint on a gift to someone special. Gold, of course, during the time of Christ,was just a standard gift to offer a king or deity in the ancient world. I think one might possibly wonder more about frankincense and myrrh. I myself sometimes wonder if it had not been part of the gift and the renown that occurred, that these herbs might never have achieved such significance.
The gift of myrrh
Myrrh, similar to frankincense, is known as an anointing oil. When one speaks of anointing someone special, one would think of applying some oil in a ceremonial fashion to his or her body. To anoint one is to also confer upon and acknowledge them for a certain sanctity that they possess. It is an acknowledgment of their spiritual stature.
Since the early days of Christianity, it might surprise you to know that scholars and theologians have offered various and numerous explanations as to why gold, frankincense and myrrh were offered to Jesus. Even before the birth of Christ in fact, it as said that these three items of gold, frankincense and myrrh were offered to the God Apollo in 243 BC. This is not surprising since we often see parallels of worship and ritual in other traditions before the birth of Christ. Another interesting fact is that it has been conjectured that since there were these three gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that this how there came to be three wise men.
Gold, frankincense and myrrh chosen
In addition to the honor and status implied by the value of the gifts of the Magi, scholars think that gold, frankincense and myrrh were chosen for the special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself—gold representing his kingship, frankincense a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming—an interpretation made popular in the well-known Christmas carol “We Three Kings.” This latter explanation of embalming is quite surprising, recognizing that perhaps these three Wise Men knew of his potential death.
Frankincense these days has had a huge resurgence in popularity. Notwithstanding its oldest popularity as burned in Catholic Psalters, frankincense has become a quite renowned incense and an essential oil. My friend who suffered from cancer and fortunately has recovered often spoke of frankincense being part of the healing oil applied to her feet.Frankincense is considered medicinal and able to travel through the pathways of the feet to certain areas of the body for healing.
Healing quality of frankincense
Another friend told me of the healing quality of frankincense as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis. The trees that produce the resin within frankincense grow in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, which might be the reason for a higher price. But she swears by it and often uses it as balm to her injured joints.
Whatever the mythology or belief behind the birth of Christ, this joining of three items, one metal, one an ointment and one an oil, will forever be remembered as a Holy Trinity of gifts, thus reminding us of another trinity, the Holy Trinity of Christ.
Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer
If you have a question about “Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.