This chapter, titled Jesus the Handsome Prince: Reuniting With the Higher Self, surveys the way ancients appeared to interpret many of their myths as symbolic of spiritual processes common to all humanity. The central mythical idea he explores in this chapter, and one with clear links to the Christian myth, is the one that tells the tale of a descent into a world of matter, often accompanied with torment, and a desire to return to an earlier blissful state, often accomplished through another who descends for the purpose of rescue, ascension and reunification.
Murphy is aware of the danger of over generalizing and explains that
not every myth should be interpreted strictly in this manner, and many have other cultural or historical meanings. Still, it is relevant to understand that Greek and Roman myths were usually intimately tied with ethical and spiritual teachings, and intended to hide esoteric truths. The myth of Demeter and Persephone, for example, which is often taken as a simplistic vegetation story describing the changing seasons, was also the foundational myth of the Eleusinian mysteries . . . . (p. 258) read more