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Transfiguration

When:
🗓️ August 6

Where:
🌐 Everywhere

Since:
1456

🌟

Transfiguration is a Christian holiday that commemorates the Transfiguration of the mythical person Jesus Christ. 

The word “transfiguration” comes from the Latin term “transfiguratio,” which is derived from the combination of the prefix “trans,” meaning “across” or “beyond,” and the noun “figura,” meaning “form” or “shape.”
So the word “transfiguration” literally means a change in form or shape that goes beyond what was previously there.
In the context of the biblical story of the Transfiguration, it refers to the sudden and miraculous transformation of Jesus’ appearance in the presence of his disciples.

Came back from the death in an improved form:

According to the Bible, Jesus took three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John, up to a mountain, where he was transfigured before them. Jesus underwent a miraculous transformation, his face shone like the sun and his clothes became dazzling white.
Not long after that Jesus would rise up to heaven, ascending to “another plane of existence”. Which reminds us of many other stories who also used characters “overcoming death and coming back stronger” as a popular story element..

Sounds very familiar:

There are many examples of characters in mythology who return from the dead in a different form than before.

  • In Norse mythology, the god Odin sacrifices himself by hanging from the legendary tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights in order to gain knowledge and wisdom. When he is finally resurrected, he is transformed into a new and more powerful form, with one eye missing and a deeper understanding of the mysteries of the universe.
  • The Inuit goddess of the ocean Sedna was just an ordinary woman until her father threw her into the ocean and chopped off her fingers, then her hands and then her arms to get her to stop clinging on to the boat. Her fingers turned into seals, her hands turned into walruses, her arms turned into whales and Sedna herself became the goddess of the ocean, the most important goddess of the Inuit cosmology because it’s only with her on their side that the people can avoid starvation. 
  • In the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, the hero Arjuna is killed in battle but then resurrected by the god Indra. When he returns, he is transformed into a more powerful and enlightened form, with a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe.
  • Another example is the Greek hero Achilles, who is killed in battle but then resurrected by the god Apollo. In some versions of the story, Achilles is resurrected in a new body, with new powers and abilities that make him even stronger than before.

It’s suggested that the character of Gandalf the Grey’s transformation into Gandalf the White in The Lord of the Rings was inspired by the Transfiguration.
When, after dying in a fierce battle with the Balrog,  Gandalf returns to Middle Earth as Gandalf the White, his appearance is transformed, reflecting his newfound power and status as a leader.
Both stories involve a moment of revelation, in which a figure of great power is revealed in a new and transformative light. It’s also worth noting that J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings, was a devout Catholic, and it’s likely that his faith played a role in shaping the themes and symbolism of his writing.

These are just a few examples of the many myths and legends from around the world that feature characters who return from the dead in a transformed state. These stories speak to our enduring fascination with the mysteries of death and rebirth, and the idea that there is always the possibility for growth and renewal even in the face of great loss and tragedy.

How to celebrate:

You don’t have to climb up a mountain to celebrate it. You can simply attend a church service or a social gathering with friends and family.

  • Attend a church service or a social gathering with friends and family
  • Take some time to reflect on your life and set some personal goals
  • If you’re feeling creative, create a vision board or write down your goals in a journal
  • In some places, people climb up mountains to watch the sunrise on the day of Transfiguration.
  • If your location celebrates Transfiguration with parades, festivals, and or special church services you can consider attending those.

Whether you’re religious or not, it’s an interesting opportunity to reflect on the power of transformation and to celebrate positive change in lives.
Or get a book or watch a movie where characters overcome death in some way.

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