Challenges are simply challenges and choices are simply choices. They cannot possibly be good or bad. Whether they are good or bad depends on how we view it afterwards.
The idea of the divine manifesting in matter is truly universal, but the particulars differ as does the understanding of context. The original meaning of the word avatar is “descent”, but it’s typically translated into English as incarnation. There are many kinds of avatars and different degrees of divine connection from the Voodoo spirit horses, to the Hindu avatars, to the Buddhist bodhisattvas.
“Madness” was often considered evidence of divine possession, which would be, in a sense, incarnation. The Oracles of Greece were not just translators of the Gods. They were seen as temporary vessels, and to harm an Oracle was to bring certain wrath from that God.
Oracles were always consulted? This was the way to receive divine wisdom. It was believed that the Gods were aware of current situations and would have specific things to say.
In the case of the Christian school of thought that was violently expunged, the school of thought was called Docetism, and it held that Jesus never held a flesh and blood form, but was present as an evident spirit and communicated through “hallucinations”, for lack of a better word. So they refused to engage in formal prayer or ritual communion.
Welcome to the world of Shamanism? Yes. Shamanism as a universal instinct has shown up everywhere across the world, but not always accepted for what it is.
How does this relate to avatar mysticism? In the case of Christian thinking, the Christ of your mind and heart is the real Christ, so you already embody him from the thinking of Docetism.
We are all avatars? There are passages from the Bible that corroborate this, “The word of God is written upon the human heart.” In Hermetic thinking, you cannot even have a body not composed of the four elements. So you literally embody the structure of the world itself, earth, air, fire, and water. You are an avatar in that sense.
Did these Christian people have a criteria for discovering ‘mystic avatars’? Actually yes, the Docetists did. They identified God as love, so an avatar would embody love as a force.
I assume the Catholic Saints are mystic avatars? And I believe they have a list of sorts that they must meet? They have to be able to show evidence of a direct relationship with God. Meaning showing an understanding of the Holy Spirit that was Jesus, but the same could be said of the Bodhisattvas and it is present in Shamanism as well. In Shamanism and also in Taoism, you have your presence in this world only by a process of co-arising.
What about those who do channelling? Channelers can become avatars to the degree they allow their inner nature to grow toward the being they channel. Expressing the spiritual equivalent of the old phrase, “Like father, like son.”
An avatar isn’t “doing.” Priests are at the level of doing and their doing is valid, but as in some Shamanic practices there is also a “being.” The totems are the “ancestors” and the ancestors are guardians and are older than humanity. This isn’t necessarily a conscious or deliberate goal in Shamanism, but as one embraces the way/power/medicine of their guardian spirit, your own spirit changes even without your trying. As you learn the way of raven, you become raven in spirit. Showing more traits of your guardian was seen as evidence of strong spiritual power.
The Saints would be much the same. They have meditated on God/Buddha/Tao for so long that without trying these things become their nature and they no longer live as “normal” humans. You can receive many gifts when you are ready.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.