Images of the Divine Child

Another Christian story in the book of Revelation is paradigmatic of the miraculous birth of the Child for he is threatened by the monster until he is taken up into heaven. Illustrations show the six-headed dragon waiting for the delivery while the woman and child are in a circle of flames. To the right an angel takes the child out of reach of the dragon into the heavenly world (Figures 25 and 26).

[aras-image:5Ek.032,,7,,,Figure 25 Woman of the Apocalypse with seven-headed dragon.]

We can find the quintessential characteristics of the divine child in Indian mythology most clearly in the stories of Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu. The new-born infant is taken from his mother and raised by cowherds so that Kansa, the frightened king could not reach him before his own prophesied death.
We see the pattern of imminent, early death threatening the divine child, and he escapes this outcome by hiding in his early years from this potential destruction of his mission.

[aras-image:5Ek.613,,7,,,Figure 26 Woman of the Apocalypse with seven-headed dragon.]

But as the child survives his precarious beginnings, he is noticed by his exploits, sometimes in the trickster mode. A Greek vase painting shows a group of nymphs hiding the child Hermes from the wrath of his brother after he had stolen the cattle which belonged to Apollo. He appeased Apollo by giving him the lyre which he had already invented to accompany his own songs. By this gift Apollo becomes associated with music even though Hermes made the first lyre. Hermes, the trickster, is the god of thieves and deception, as well as the messenger and envoy of Zeus. "His impudence proves to be a conscious return of the offspring to his source. Indeed, Hermes' impudence is the consciousness of his own origin and reason for being."6 The association of trickery, thievery and love is an old one, and associated with Hermes; he is unpredictable, mercurial.