Symbols: The Pelican & Peridot

The Pelican

EACH MERITUS chooses a personal symbol that is embroidered on the front of their scapular, displayed on their Meritus candle, and may be used on stationery. The symbol represents that which the Meritus brings to their office and which flows out from them in their expression and ministry. This symbol, which is located over the heart on the scapular, is connected with an opening up of the heart and what this allows to flow forth.

I have chosen the Pelican as my personal symbol as Meritus. It is depicted taking flight over the water, its feet still touching the water’s surface. The golden glow of the sunrise is lighting the feathers of its wing tips.

The Pelican is graceful and most at home both on the water and in the air. This communicates my desire to engage more fully with the spiritual worlds (flight, the air) and to be sensitive to the promptings of the Brotherhood for the fuller unfoldment of our Centre and its purposes; also my dedication to realising and manifesting the fruits of spiritual insight in everyday life and relationships (life on the water).

This Pelican is working to take flight, depicting the dynamic and vital nature of the above process and my commitment to actively engage in this work. It is an image of my commitment to the ongoing development of dynamism and vitality to sustain and empower me in my life and ministry as a Meritus.

Pelicans (both male and female) take great care of their eggs, supporting them on their feet during incubation. They feed their young on the fish they gather, nurturing them towards their adult life. This speaks to me of a willingness to serve; of working to sustain new life and to nurture spiritual maturity by feeding the ‘little ones’ with the substance of Christ (fish).

Although at times seen alone, Pelicans most often live, nest and feed communally. This reflects my recognition of the importance and value of spiritual community and spiritual companionship, and the wholemaking power of gathering together in the name of Christ to experience the Spirit of Christ.

Pelicans often feed as a group. A flock of Pelicans work together, driving fish into a concentrated mass using their bills and sometimes beating their wings. The fish are herded into shallow water or surrounded in ever- decreasing circles. I am conscious of and committed to the collaborative work we engage in as a spiritual community, and as a priesthood expressing the Melchizedek Brotherhood in this world.

Of the seven species of Pelican, I’ve chosen to depict my symbol using the Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus). I am strongly committed to the global expression of our Centre and of my ministry as a Meritus. I am also aware of my choice to incarnate in this part of the world in order to better fulfil my purposes this lifetime, and of the role new world countries such as Australia play in evolution and building the future.

In legend, the Pelican is said to tear open its breast so its young may feed on its blood. Some legends tell of how dead Pelican chicks are brought back to life by the blood of a selfless parent. The associations with Christ, service, sacrifice and the Eucharist are clear. For me, it expresses willingness to engage in service for others.

Pelicans also strike me as playful and humorous. These qualities will assist me maintain a lightness of being and a sense of perspective, and will enable a wider range of interactions with others.

When originally imaging my symbol, I was keen to include a fish – symbol both of Christ, and of the earliest communities dedicated to living the Christed life. I’d thought a fish might be included swimming in the water. Whilst creating the illustration for me, Monika Bisits placed the fish in the pelican’s beak pouch. Monika thought it would be improper for the pelican to fly off without catching the fish. This speaks of my commitment to fulfil my spiritual purpose and to complete the tasks entrusted to me. It also has resonances with the text, “I will make you fishers of men”. It also symbolises gathering spiritual ideas to sustain purposeful living.

This symbol displays the work of the Christ-bearer, rising up, entering into the light of Christ that is dawning in our consciousness and in our world and willingly bringing and sharing the transforming substance of Christ’s presence with all who will receive.

Reverend Robert John

12 December 2005


EACH MERITUS receives a ring during the Elevation Service that signifies their bond with Christ and vows to the church to be its leader and spiritual guide. The ring is blessed with the words: “Christ, pure Lord of love, whom angel hosts obey, touch with sacred fire this ring, which in your name we bless +, that he who wears it may ever show your love and purity, and they who are touched by it may know your healing grace.”

As the ring is placed onto the finger of the new Meritus, these words are spoken: “Receive this ring in token of the link which binds you to our Lord, a symbol of your office as his representative to his people. In the name of Christ, be a healer of human souls and a channel of his love and grace.”

Gemstones have the power to actually imbue the wearer with certain qualities. They also have traditional symbolic values. My sense is that the purpose of the gemstone is connected with what I will receive, that which will be imbued within my nature and will continue to flow into me to strengthen and empower me in my expression as a Meritus.

I have chosen a peridot to be the feature of my Meritus ring. It is a pale olive green in colour and is a simple baguette (oblong) cut. In a spiritual reading, Rev Mario encouraged me to always surround myself in green and I am sensitive to the nurturing effect this colour has upon me. The peridot is the birthstone (in some systems) for the month of August, so it is connected with the purposes of my incarnation.

Green is the colour of healing. It is associated with the heart centre. It is the colour of balance and harmony. In The New Clairvoyance, Rev Mario writes of the power of green to “stimulate individuality, that which is philosophical and yet practical ... engenders mature intelligence ... creates a constructive attitude towards the affairs of the world ...” (1st Edition, 1986, p182).

Peridot is associated with spring, renewal and new life. Traditionally, it is considered to bring success, promote health and sleep; to attract love, calm anger, soothe nerves and dispel negative emotions.

In the Old Testament, peridot is linked with the tribe of Simeon. Simeon represents the ability to engage in higher listening and to act in obedience to what is heard.

In the New Testament it is associated with the disciple Nathaniel (Bartholomew) and with the mind faculty of imagination. The book Becoming ... describes imagination in terms of the trained intellect’s ability to receive the image-filled communication of the soul and of the heavens / Spirit. In the Book of Revelation, peridot (chrysolite) forms the seventh foundation of the New Jerusalem.

All this speaks to me of the wealth of the spiritual worlds that will sustain, strengthen and empower the expression of my ministry as a Meritus. The simple baguette cut of the stone reminds me of the solid foundation I have established within myself and which will be strengthened through ordination as a Meritus, and of the clarity and focus required to fulfil my purposes.

The biblical associations with Simeon and Bartholomew serve to remind me of the responsibility of a Meritus, expressed in one of the vows, to set my mind on the things above, so that my earthly tasks become imbued with the power of Spirit and my stewardship of this earthly organization (The Centre) is an enactment of spiritual perception and knowledge.

Reverend Robert John
13 December 2005

Site Map  |  Links  |  Contact               © The Independent Church of Australia 1997-2021