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Steps of Ascent 5: The Way of the Master

“I have thrown fire on the world. Look! I watch it until it blazes.” —Jesus, The Gospel of Thomas

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IN MY PREVIOUS POST I spoke of a restoration process underway since the Fall, so far made in two approaches.  The first one was initiated with Abraham and the nation of Israel. The second approach, from the physical plane as was the first, was initiated with King Solomon.  Both failed to bring mankind back into the Garden state and alignment with the governance of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

      The third and forth approaches were from the mental and spiritual planes respectively and was initiated by the Master Jesus Christ, the incarnate Lord of Love.  Both of these approaches failed as well due to the hardness of men’s hearts and failure to comprehend his dual command to love the Lord God above all and one’s neighbor as oneself, which embodies the essence of his life and teachings.

This post is about the third approach which led to a fourth for him personally, opening the Way to restoration and ascension for all of mankind.  The following is from my book SACRED ANATOMY. 

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The Way of the Master                                        

       There was a Man sent from God—an incarnate God Being—who returned to Heaven with his human capacities restored to their glorified state.  His name was Jesus and he was called “Master” by those who loved and followed him closely. 

       Putting these cycles of restoration in a certain perspective, Uranda called them “Sacred Schools” in that they were periods of spiritual education, a time when human beings were taught by great spirits and masters how to function spiritually in each level of ascent as the restoration continued to unfold. Jesus initiated the second cycle, at the level of the mental plane, and opened the door to the third, the level of the expression of Spirit, with his two Great Commandments of Love. But those to whom he brought the Way back into the “kingdom of heaven” either didn’t comprehend him or rejected him out of hand and sought to erase him from the face of the Earth by destroying his personal temple.  This time it was men who failed to defeat the Divine Design for restoration, as it was beyond their reach.

       Jesus dealt with human consciousness from the “mental plane approach.” He offered tranquility, a quality of the Spirit of the Single Eye in the second plane of being, to minds frantically busy with the letter of the law and the prophets.  “Peace, be still,” were words he often spoke before preaching and ministering to his disciples. He took issue with the Scribes and Pharisees, for example, which he blatantly characterized as “hypocrites” and “whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones” for  the way they allowed the letter of the law to overshadow the “spirit that giveth life.” 

      He came to fulfill the law and the prophets, not to impose them upon the faithful in order to “lord it over them.” Above all, he met and dealt forthrightly and in singleness of purpose with his own human mind and restored order and beauty to his house of Being.  “Get thee behind me, Satan” were his words of rebuke more than once to his own human mind and through it to the collective mind in the larger body of mankind.

       He brought one law, the law of love, to replace the many laws that were on the books and enforced in order to keep the people subdued and under control. That law was stated as two Great Commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart and all of thy mind and with all of thy strength,” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 

In giving this one law of love, He began opening the third level of consciousness and plane of being, the spiritual-expression plane approach, which is made from the level of the heart.  It is simply the expression of the spirit of God in living, which brings a realization of the presence of God in one’s temple and an outpouring of blessing into one’s world.  We have seen how this level is the domain of the Spirit of Blessing.

       “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God,” He taught, and in so teaching began to open the way leading up into the fourth level of consciousness, which is the plane of being connecting heaven and earth and the level of awareness of divine identity. The Spirit of Purification reins here to bring clarity to the heaven.

In order to enter this level of consciousness, where one knows with assurance one’s own divine presence in the world, the heart must be purified by the continual and consistent outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Love.  It is the only way—and the Master Jesus went that way, even though no one at the time was willing to go with Him.  “I am the way, the truth and the life,” He proclaimed and then proceeded to exemplify for all who had ears to hear and eyes to see. 

      Here was the Lord of Love himself incarnate on earth attempting to gather human beings back under his wings, “as a hen with her brood,” but they “would not.”  The gospels say Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem.  It was not for himself that he wept but for what he saw human beings were doing to themselves.  He came to initiate the process by which human beings could come out of the state of dying souls and back into the state of original innocence as living souls, only he was met by all sorts of resistance and considerable opposition. 

      When it became apparent to him that he was not going to be allowed to initiate that process for the whole body of mankind through His personal hedge of followers, he accepted the responsibility himself of ascending to the third and fourth planes of being.  But he did not stop here.  There had already been too much failure in the past.  He went all the way through the remaining three levels of being: the fifth which is that of radiance under the domain of the Spirit of Life, the sixth which is that of wisdom under the domain of the Spirit of Truth, or the Womb, and finally the seventh, the dwelling place of the Spirit of Love, with his transfiguration, resurrection and ascension into heaven.

       He stepped from earth back into heaven from whence he had come—and from whence we all have come—giving the simple and apparently achievable instruction to simply follow him: “He that believes in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)

      Going unto the Father is the first step and the last that leads to union with God and glorious transfiguration.  He established agreement on earth with His Father in heaven, and where two agree on earth as touching anything “in my name” (in the vibration of love), it shall be done of them by the Father in heaven.  He was able to step, body, soul and spirit, back into the realms of light by reason of the working of this law of love, and the process of ascension manifested in His humanity.

      Each one of these steps of ascent, from one level of consciousness to the next, manifested changes in his outer form.  They each had their impact on Him physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Throughout this process he experienced amazing feats of all sorts: levitation, transfiguration, command of the wind, mental telepathy, long distance healing power,  a potently radiant and highly charged personal atmosphere that when but touched by those around him in faith, wrought healing, power to raise the dead, and many other miracles of transformation. The greatest transformation was that of his own consciousness to the clear, absolute realization that “I and my Father are one.”   He attained to the vibration of the Father, who is love, as he himself had long since earned the title of “Lord of Love.” 

       Probably the toughest of all the outer manifestations of change to move through was his betrayal and subsequent crucifixion. Yet move through it he did, maintaining His connection with his Father and thereby maintaining the continuity of the cycle he had initiated which took him step by step back into the Realms of Light from whence he had come.  He surely saw that experience as a door through which he had to pass in order to go the Way he had chosen. Death with its seeming finality was to him but the shadow side of eternal life itself, and not just for his spirit but for his own body temple as well. 

      The door that leads into the light is always hidden in the shadow, because it is closed.  He opened that door and found resurrection and ascension on the other side, and he opened it with unconditional love for and forgiveness of those who had put him on the cross.  His heart was utterly purified in the fire of love he shared with his Heavenly Father, and which he sought unceasingly to share with his disciples and the world which his Father so loved and had sent him to save.  His outer form was transformed by the Spirit of Purification as He moved through the fourth plane of being on his way up in the ascension process.  Indeed, he became the Spirit of Purification himself at the fourth level of being, the crossover point between spirit and form, and burned his way through the thick veil of the impure heart of humanity. 

      In a service entitled “The Way of the Master,” Martin Cecil describes these events in a remarkably clear and thought-provoking presentation.  He refers to a “tone” sounded:

What a task!  What an unbelievable undertaking, and yet He did it, in spite of everything . . .   He established what we have called the true tone of life for man, an actual vibratory radiation that has been sounding on earth all down the centuries . . . .  It was set of course not by a man as such but by the Lord through a man.  That trumpet tone has been sounding without diminishing for nineteen centuries . . . .

     When He did proceed through the creative cycle in His own personal experience on earth He did what He might to assist those who were present with Him to come along into an experience of greater understanding, but they didn’t get very far.  You may recall, in the Gospel of John, Philip and Thomas, two of the disciples, had no faintest idea as to what it was that our Master was talking about.  He’d been speaking: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”  And He said, “I go to prepare a place for you.”  That’s the way He was going, moving through these successive levels of consciousness in the creative cycle, the ascending cycle, thereby preparing the way.  Nobody was going with Him at that time.  The disciples were completely at sea. They enjoyed being with Him, they loved Him, but they didn’t know what was happening and apparently no one has known since. Some beliefs have been generated, some ideas have been produced, and there may have been a little truth back of some of these things. But only now, when it begins to surface and come within the range of present human experience, does it once more become meaningful.  It becomes meaningful to the extent that it is experienced; not to the extent that it is thought about or discussed, or to the extent that doctrines are established; it means something only on the basis of actual experience.  So because there begins to be some actual experience it begins to be meaningful . . . .  (Excerpted from Third Sacred School, Vol. 2, Chapter 28)

       It is the experience that this One Divine Man undertook himself that has established what the body of mankind is to experience and has experienced since he set this tone and sounded it all the way through the seven levels of being as he ascended with his body temple restored to its glorified state.  This is the path that all of mankind has been invited to take and that we each must travel if we are to experience fully the salvation which he brought, the path leading well beyond worship of God to resurrection and ascension in sacred union with God.  Until the reality of such union is actually known, man shall continue his search for Eden outside himself and worship God at the foot of altars made of wood and stone — but not for long. ♦

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The purpose of restoration relates primarily to the return of this world, the earth and the fulness thereof, to the One whose world it is, through Man restored.  In my next post, “The Transmutation of Planet Earth,” I will give in-depth and specific consideration to the divine design by which the Earth is restored to the One who is responsible for it.  Until then,

Be love.  Be loved.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

Steps of Ascent 2: BE The Fire of Fusion

“Eventually, the time comes when you mourn the comfort you felt in the chaos of the fire. You embrace the smoke and you rise up into your purpose.” (Embracing the Smoke, JESSICA LYNN)

(Jessica Lynn just started following my blog.  I went to her blog and liked what I found there.  You might like it as well.  Click on her name above to visit her.)

As much as I enjoy and value our virtual gatherings by Zoom, I do miss our physical gatherings where we sat in a circle and shared attunement with one another and shared face-to-face our thoughtful expressions of the One Spirit as it moved around the circle to find who is the one it wished to speak through next.  I just love working and sharing in the group dynamic, especially when we tone together, something we can’t do on Zoom very effectively.

I would like to share such an event from out of the past when we were all exploring diverse and innovative ways of generating spiritual substance together.  This event took place at an attunement workshop here in the South.

     A group of about forty were participating in such a musical release one weekend attunement practitioners gathering and something absolutely wonderful and coherent revealed itself.  I had instructed those standing beside their partners, who were sitting, to hold a contact point with their right hand over the chest of their partner, where the Thymus gland is located, and position the left hand above the crown of the head, where the pointed fingers would be in direct alignment with the Pineal Body located in the center of the brain.  I then asked them to be very still and quiet and listen for a tone sounding silently in the dense substance of pneumaplasm that was by then permeating this particular gathering of friends, who had been moving together for several hours that day in a weekend workshop. As this was done, I asked them to sound that tone with their voices upon my signal.  Much to our delightful surprise, everyone sounded the exact same tone right on key, with one or two exceptions who sounded a tone that was one of the natural harmonic overtones of the one tone the majority were chanting. You can imagine the beautiful sound that this unified expression made. It was exquisite, with just the right and balanced volume laced with just the right and fitting number of harmonic tones being sounded, again just the right number.

       This experience demonstrated to us that we are one yet different from each other, and that One Tone sounds throughout the entire body of mankind, finding a point of focused resonance in each one at the level of the pure and silent heart. The Thymus, as we have seen, is the fourth of the seven endocrine glands, representing the connecting point between the three above and the three below it, bringing to focus the Spirit of Purification, which brings to us assurance about our identity as beautiful, innocent, and radiant angelic beings.

       From that moment on throughout the balance of our time together we were an entirely different group. Something entirely new had come into focus, through each one individually and through the collective gathering. We had participated in the shining of light through flesh, of fusion between spirit and form, as the glow in the room gave ample evidence.  Spirit, released through musical sound as a carrier wave, had created a new entity with our grouping, or perhaps had allowed the Presence of the One Great Spirit we comprise altogether to be made manifest in our midst. Whatever it was and with whatever words one may use to describe it, we as a group were not the same as before, and we knew it.

       We also knew that the current of unified radiation that had surely been released through us went forth into the world to accomplish whatever the Great Spirit had to accomplish in and through us that day. It was a beautiful and intense, yet simple and very humbling experience. Humbling because we knew that what we had generated and gathered together within our sacred circle as refined substance, as fun as the gathering was and as delightfully healing and transforming the intense substance felt in our own bodies, the purpose for it was beyond us.  We were available and therefore used by Spirit for the purposes of Spirit. What those purposes were no one of us had the slightest clue, in the sense of something specific that might have been influenced by the impact of the release of spirit through us.  We were not interested in speculating about it either. Our own personal and collective experience of transformation, real as it was, was certainly not the purpose. That was merely a phase in the whole process of what needed to find release through us. In that sense it was a necessary part of the purpose, but the purpose was larger than us. Our purpose in letting the vehicle of our collective substance come into form in order to accommodate the greater release through us of Spirit was simply that, to provide Love with a means of action in the world where we are. That is all.  And it was, incidentally, a wonderful experience of healing and transformation.

       Moments of intensity, such as this, are truly delightful. The fact that a larger purpose, often beyond our scope of vision and ability to observe, is served in and through them in no way diminishes the feeling of exhilaration and sense of wonderment.  It is our holding onto them and wanting more of such moments for our own satisfaction, or even entertainment, that diminishes their potency and eventually prevents us from experiencing them at all. On the other hand, allowing them to serve a higher order and larger purpose in our own consciousness of inclusiveness, broadens our depth of ecstasy and brings us more completely into the very hub of creativity at the core of our being where “firm control and awful power eternally abide.” In this way we are not thrown out into utter confusion, or carried away in emotional bubbles that vanish into thin air, by our mental interpretation of or emotional reaction to what we are experiencing.  We are held steady in the place of absolute stillness where we may continue to abide in the safety and clarity of assurance that the truth is true and all is well, an assurance of the truth of love that only the Spirit of Purification can bring about. ♦

MEETING FIRE WITH FIRE

      Speaking of purification, there’s nothing more pure than fire.  When a conflagration is completed, nothing remains but the fire and a bit of smoking ash.  This is so in what is vogue these days in the cremation of our human remains, what we leave behind when we make our transition back Home into the realms of light.  It is likewise so when the fire of purifying love moves through heart, mind and body.  One may feel a bit frayed and fragile after a fire of rebuke has burned through one’s heart and mind, especially when one’s human ego is sizzled in the process and left limp.  I’ve had that experience more than once when it felt like words being spoken by someone were directed toward me specifically.  Ouch!  But it’s a good hurt.  We can meet the fire of purification with our own angelic fire and discover in the encounter that they are one and the same.  Our angelic fire is the fire of purification. 

     I recall a phase in my initial awakening decades ago when my entire outer being was so fused with my angelic emergence that my eyes were ablaze with light and my body felt it was in the cool blue center of a flame.  I remember how my receptionist, who was also on this path to spiritual transformation, could not look into my eyes they were so bright. When I went outdoors into the summer sunshine I felt no heat from the sun and I welcomed the rays of sunlight as part of what and who I Am.  I was meeting fire with fire and it felt so wholesome and natural.  I Am the Sun!

     That went on for several months and eventually led to a moment of transmutation and levitation during a shared group attunement and weekly world blessing service in which I participated, along with several others in various locations around the globe.  I was alone in a garden setting of a monastery when this occurred. I will share insights and implications relating to this experience in a future post. 

     At this time of increasing intensity, it suffices to say that if we are to ascend to a higher vibration — rise up into our purpose, as Jessica worded it — we must be utterly in love with Love, with the fire of transmutation, and meet the fire as our own angelic fire.  Identify with the fire.  BE the fire of fusion.  Find the cool blue undisturbed center of the flame and dwell there.  It’s the one and only way to move out of the heat and discomfort zone in a world aflame — physically, mentally, emotionally as well as spiritually.  It’s only going to get hotter around the edges of the flame.  So stay in the cool blue center.  Let’s up our radiant expression of uplifting spirit and help the world renew itself . . . while embracing the smoke and blessing the ash left behind.   I welcome your thoughts. ♥ 

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

Steps of Ascent 1: Fusing Flesh with Spirit

When two substances vibrate together at the same rate of frequency, they fuse into one substance.

I would like to complete this cycle of sharing from my book SACRED ANATOMY in my blog.  In this post, I visit the final chapters where I meditate on the process of transmutation of flesh and ascension to higher levels of vibration, in some instances where the “rainbow body” is experienced.  The way of ascension is available and open to those who seek that path.  I am such a seeker.  Here is an excerpt from the last chapter of my book.  I think you will enjoy reading it. 

STEPS OF ASCENT 

     LET US COMPLETE our meditative journey through the sacred anatomy of the body temple with a final meditation on the steps of ascent that can take us, individually and collectively, into the garden state within, where we would know our oneness with God while we are incarnate in these flesh temples. I will start by returning to the very beginning of this writing. 

     What if, indeed, we could travel through all the dimensions of the seven planes of being; if there were no veil between heaven and earth; and if we could ascend back up into the Realms of Light and return to this plane once we had rejuvenated our bodies and souls. 

     As we have just finished considering at length, the love-technology, chemistry and alchemy to enable this process are already available to us in our sacred anatomy.  All we need do is take the steps leading to absolute and total attunement with love so that our bodies absorb the radiation of love so fully that they become as radiant as love itself. All we need do is utterly abandon ourselves to the Father’s will within and let love work its wonderful magic upon our hearts, our minds and our bodies.

     The technology of love is inherent in what I have spoken of as the Creative Process, sometimes referred to as The Divine Formula: radiation, response, attraction, union, unified radiation.  The irresistible attraction of love, the Father within, will do all the work of drawing us upward into the Garden state.  Our work is to take the steps leading into the Temple of Light where oneness is known with the All and with all of Creation.

Fusing Flesh with Spirit

       RESONANCE with the vibration of love induces the processes of resurrection and ascension.  There is a law of physics which states that when two substances vibrate together at the same rate of frequency, they fuse into one substance. The Universal Entity within which we are contained—and yet, strangely, from which we feel so separate—sounds the Tone that summons all resonant substance out of chaos and into order.  This Tone is conveyed to all things in the universe through the connecting substance of what I will call “pneumaplasmic space” and is carried through tissue by the current of life itself.  [The word pneumaplasm was coined by Lloyd A. Meeker (Uranda) to identify the substance of connection between spirit and flesh that provides a medium for the transmission of life’s designs and instructions for creating and maintaining our body temples.]

       When the body oscillates at the same frequency as this Tone, which is differentiated into seven frequencies, as with light, the two become one.  Light, or spirit, no longer remains silent and invisible, and form no longer remains mere physical flesh.  Spirit is seen and experienced as radiating through flesh and flesh as transparent substance.  An entirely new and different state of being is known when flesh fuses with spirit. 

     Now, what that is is yet largely unknown for all practical purposes.  However, it is certainly not mere theory and speculation any longer.  From my own personal though very limited experience, it is entirely knowable and, in fact, known in isolated human experience, including the Master Jesus’s experience as it has been recorded and handed down to us.  

       ATTUNEMENT is a technology of love and as such a sacred healing art purposed for facilitating transformation, resurrection, transmutation and ascension—essentially the fusion of flesh with spirit.  In the attunement process, the molecules that make up the cells of the body are drawn upward to resonate with the vibration of love.  All the molecules of the body are obedient to the commands of love as they are sent forth into the body-temple by the Seven Spirits of Love, which are energetic vibratory forces operating through the seven endocrine glands and their many and varied hormone crystals, which, as we have seen, carry the vibrational directives of spirit in the form of light to the body cells.

     As the attunement practitioner works with the seven endocrine glands and corresponding Chakra centers, attuning them and bringing them into a state of coherence within themselves and into harmony and balance with one another, the Seven Spirits, or vibratory forces of the Spirit of Love, find clearer and, therefore, more potent focus.  Rarified substance of pneumaplasm begins to accumulate and fill the sacred space between spirit and flesh, providing a medium for the propagation of the Tone throughout the entire body-temple. The differentiated Tone goes forth creating harmonics throughout the body-temple manifesting as health and wellness.  Flesh is imbed and fused with Spirit. 

     This is a technology anyone may learn and utilize as a spiritual practice in uplifting the vibratory frequency of the physical body so as to make it more available to the process of attraction and union with one’s own incarnate Divine Being.  A simple act of kindness or an expression of thankfulness generates this substance as well.  

       Further, each one of us oscillates to the Tone in unique sets of harmonic frequencies.  A perfect analogy of this can be readily enjoyed while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or some other choral group.  Here one may hear voices ranging from high soprano to deep bass, and, although they are all singing at least in four-part harmony and blend together in their parts to create ideally a pure and single sound as though it were one voice singing each part, if you listened to each voice individually you would discover that no two of them are alike. Each one has its own unique quality of tone and resonance, as well as projection and penetration. 

     Well, one might argue, these differences in vocal capacity and pitch are determined by hormones and resonant structures in the vocal apparatus and cranial bones and so forth, and  I would agree.  But what force and design determines the number and varying combinations of hormones used in the growth and development, and further refinement and playing, of the artist’s musical instrument, which the body is to the incarnate angel?  It is spirit, of course, and each one of us is unique.

     Here is something you can do right now to find your own uniqueness of spirit and tonal frequency. Come to a place of stillness and quiet and listen for those harmonic tones as they vibrate in the inner and inaudible spaces within.  They are often felt in the thymus region just over the heart.  There will be a dominant tone sounding above all the rest in each one, depending upon which endocrine gland is dominant in the individual—and there is a dominant endocrine gland in each one of us.  When you find that tone, begin sounding it, softly and then loudly. Notice how you feel as you sound it.

     Now place your open hands on your lap about six inches apart with palms facing one another to create an energy ball. Then go to a part in your body that hurts or is ill and place an image of that part inside the energy ball.

     The key here is to be still and sense which part of your body has a certain pressure within it seeking, as it were, to find release. Now, allow yourself to enter into that place of pressure in your body, wherever it may be, and listen carefully to what is going on in this space, naming the color, taste and even the smell of what you feel.

       Initially, one may feel emotional patterns of grief or deep frustration and self-pity, even worry and anxiety. That is all right. That is what is present in this particular space.  Now, go ahead and start groaning with your voice, perhaps just sighing or breathing deeply and fiercely at first.  Let those deep feelings be vented outward through whatever sounds they may naturally make.  (You might wish to be somewhere private where no one will hear you and think you are in distress or something.)  Do not be surprised or alarmed if you start crying without seeming cause.  Keep on letting the flow of the feeling currents translate themselves into audible sounds. 

     Now, gently move those harsh sounds upward a pitch or two until they become more coherent and you reach a pitch that just locks in and holds your voice in an easy but strong release of sound.  Hone in on that sound so that it becomes more clear and beautiful.  Then just pour out your spirit of unconditional love and acceptance of yourself and your feelings through that clear and beautiful note.  Soften it a bit and just enjoy playing around with it.  Listen to it lovingly, because that is your own unique resonant expression of the Tone that orchestrates the entire Universe.  It is your resonant tone, or at least a close relative harmonic of it.  Sing some of the other harmonic notes and create “your song.”  Obtain a quartz crystal bowl tuned to that pitch, or one of its harmonics, and play it as you sing your song. Use this to help fuse your spirit with your body, your Self with your incarnating equipment, your harp.

       As you become more adept in utilizing this simple technique of toning, you will actually begin to feel lighter physically and your flesh will feel as though it were glowing with light.  That is because it is.  This is magic—white-light magic—and it is fun and practical as well.

       Now, one can team up with a friend and have a lot more fun harmonizing your individual tones. Two people make an entirely new configuration of harmonic possibilities. Add a third and a fourth and still further possibilities of harmonic chanting are possible. As the numbers in the group change, so do the overall harmonics change creating a unified expression of a single sound. Perhaps this is an echo of the “sound of many waters.”  Notice it is not plural.  It is a single consolidated blend of sound of many waters that make audible the silent Tone that plays all of our instruments at the same time from one Core of Being. In that place at the Core of Being we are one.  We are the One. This is the essence of true community. ♦

I will tell you about an amazing experience of group toning in my next post. Until then, 

Keep toning.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

      

Kenosis: Self-Emptying Love 2, “The Gift of the Magi”

“Jesus said: Whoever has found the world and become rich should renounce the world . . . . The world is not worthy of one who finds himself.” — From The Gospel of Thomas

THE GIFT IS LOVE

Continuing with Cynthia Bourgeault’s insight into Jesus’s chosen kenotic path, I will forgo any introductory comments so as not to clutter the space with thoughts other than those presented in this excerpt from her book THE WISDOM JESUS:

A Pointless Sacrifice?

To flesh out a bit further what this path actually looks like, for­give me if I make a sudden leap into the world of modern litera­ture. Kenosis does not lend itself easily to spiritual theorizing. By far its most powerful and moving enactments have come in the form of story and drama.

One of the most precise descriptions of this path, believe it or not, is the familiar and well-loved story “The Gift of the Magi” by the American author O. Henry. You probably remember the tale. Della and James are newlyweds; they’re madly in love with each other. They are also poor as church mice, and their first Christmas together finds them without sufficient funds to buy each other gifts. But each of these lovers does have one prize possession. James owns a gold watch given to him by his grandfather; Della has stunning auburn hair falling all the way to her waist. Unbeknownst to Della, James pawns his gold watch in order to buy her beautiful silver combs for her hair. Unbe­knownst to James, Della cuts and sells her hair in order to buy him a gold watch chain. On Christmas eve the two of them stare bewilderedly at their completely useless gifts.  It has been a pointless sacrifice—pointless, that is, unless love itself is “the gift of the magi.”

And of course, this is exactly what O. Henry is getting at. In the voluntary relinquishing of their most cherished possessions, they make manifest what love really looks like; they give tangible shape to the bond that holds them together. That’s what kenosis is all about.

Another profoundly kenotic parable of our times is the tale that forms the 1987 movie Babette’s Feast, adapted from a short story by Isak Dinesen.  As the drama unfolds we discover that its heroine, Babette, had until recently been one of the most celebrated chefs in Paris, but during the political riots of 1871 she loses everything—restaurant, livelihood, and family. She flees for her life to rural Denmark and is taken in by two aging sisters who have given their lives to religious work, trying to hold together the spiritual community that their father founded. When Babette arrives, the remaining believers have grown old and weary, lost in petty bickering. Babette tries as best she can to lift their spirits, but nothing seems to be turning the situation around. Out of the blue a letter arrives informing her that she has won three million francs in a lottery back in Paris, and then and there she decides to treat these Danish peasants to a proper French dinner. She imports all the necessary ingredients: not only exotic gourmet delicacies for the seven-course meal itself (each with its appropriate wines, champagnes, and liqueurs) but the china dinnerware, silver cutlery, damask table cloths, and crystal glassware. The film zeroes in on the banquet table as the astonished Danish peasants are suddenly faced with this extrava­gant abundance. At first they are frightened and suspicious, but little by little the mood mellows as they slowly relax into gratitude and forgiveness. The last scene of that banquet night has them all stumbling, a bit drunk but very happy, out into the village square, where they form a circle around the fountain (a vivid image in its own right) and begin to sing and dance togeth­er. After all these years they have finally touched the wellspring, and their hearts are overflowing. Then someone says to Babette, “Well, I guess you’ll be leaving us soon, won’t you, now that you’re a rich woman?” She says, “Rich? I’m not rich. I spent every penny I had on that banquet, three million francs.”

Again we see the same leitmotif as in the O. Henry story. An extravagant sacrifice is in one sense wasted, because these poor peasants cannot really comprehend the magnitude of the gift, and by morning, when they’ve sobered up, they will probably have lost most of its beneficial effect. But no matter; the banquet table is set before them anyway. In her no-holds-barred generos­ity Babette offers these broken, dispirited souls a taste of reassur­ance that their long years of faithfulness have not been in vain. She mirrors to them what God is like, what love is like, what true humanness is like. And she does it precisely by throwing away her entire escape route in a single act of extravagant abundance, extravagant beyond the bounds of earth (and therefore invoking the presence of heaven). That’s the kenotic path.

Theologians have sometimes commented that if the goal of ascent mysticism is to bring about union through convergence at the point of origin, the effect of the kenotic path seems to be. self-disclosure and new manifestation. The act of self-giving brings new realms into being. It shows what God is like in new and different ways. Some of the most intuitive theologians of our times say that this is how the world was created in the first place—because, in the words of Karl Rahner, “God is the prodi­gal who squanders himself.” The act of self-giving is simulta­neously an act of self-communication; it allows something that was coiled and latent to manifest outwardly. “Letting go” (as in non-clinging, or self-emptying) is but a hair’s breadth away from letting be,” and our Judeo-Christian tradition remembers that it is through God’s original “Let there be . . . ” that our visible world tumbled into existence.

I love Cynthia’s authentic thinking and writing outside the box of conventional belief.  She presents a theology that I, as a former Catholic seminary student, can easily accept and understand at a heart level.  In my own published writings and blogging, I have ascribed to “ascent mysticism” as the path of ascension to the “point of origin” we think to be up in some Heaven, a point that Jesus himself taught is within.  When he reportedly ascended into Heaven, did he go up or within? 

There is a passage in my SACRED ANATOMY book where I contemplate this paradoxical dynamic.  The word “up” can be both dimensional and non-dimensional, or vibrational, as in moving up to a higher frequency.  The same is true of the word “down.” The biblical account of Jesus’s ascension indicates that he ascended into “the clouds of heaven.”

For example, I mentioned the “clouds of heaven.”  Jesus was seen by his disciples as ascending into the clouds above their heads. These clouds may have been the conditions in their own (transforming) collective consciousness through which the Lord of Love was making his royal exit from the earthly planes back into the higher planes of being from which he had come, and from which we all come—the “kingdom of heaven” which he had told them more than once “is within you.” This could also be the inference made by the two men in white apparel whom they reportedly saw standing with him and whom they heard say to them:  “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”  This may well be a classic case where the dimensional state simply did not comprehend the non-dimensional.  The darkness did not comprehend the light.  The lower planes simply cannot comprehend the higher.  But the one who stands in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, the seven planes of being, in the fourth dimension has both physical and spiritual eyes and can see and comprehend the non-dimensional as clearly and easily as the dimensional.

I can appreciate Cynthia’s inference that Jesus descended down all the way—actually “into hell” according to the biblical text—in order to encompass and include all the dimensions of the vast spectrum of Creation in both heaven and earth, in the cycles of restoration, which he was very intentionally in the process of initiating.  In so doing he opened the gates to the Garden of Paradise here on Earth.  As Cynthia states so well in the next excerpt from this chapter, which I will publish in my next post:

It was not love stored up but love utterly poured out that opened the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Until my next post, be love, be loved and be blessed.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

Paradise Remembered: Tending the Garden of Consciousness

HAPPY EASTER

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Einstein 

The miracle of life lies in the alchemy it creates to manifest forms from out of “nowhere” to “now here”—out of an invisible Heaven and into a visible Earth. “As above so below.” We invoke this alchemy, consciously or unconsciously, each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer and pray the will of God in heaven to manifest on earth. How this works is by Divine Alchemy — only it can’t and won’t work in human affairs without Man’s/our participation.

Words of the Teacher speak to this order of creation: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”– counsel my passionate father imparted repeatedly, and for which I am most grateful.

ALCHEMY Vs CHEMISTRY

In our scientific approach, we employ elemental interactions in chemistry, and physical labor, to manufacture products.  We even view conception and embryonic development as a biologically driven process. We till the ground to grow our foods and rape the earth for our fuel and building materials.

Forms may appear to rise up from out of the earth, and they do, as my sprouting beans in the garden magically demonstrate.  However, it is the subtle energy of life that creates the irresistible force of attraction that draws form up from out of the earth.  Man uses chemistry to make things.  Life uses Divine Alchemy to manifest Creation.  Everything is a miracle, including the chemistry. Even this coronavirus!

What is it that drives these alleged “lifeless” germs, made of RNA messaging molecules with protein mooring apparatuses, held together with fat, to attach themselves to cells so they can steal their DNA to reproduce themselves?  As Krishna exclaims in the Gita: “Life it is! Life’s urge it is! . . . man’s enemy or friend!” A harbinger of death, perhaps, nevertheless a miracle of life!

Consolation may be found in words penned by Charles Eisenstein in an excellent online article entitled The Coronation: “Remember, death is no ending. Death is going home.” Why, then, do we fight it and stave it off? Seems we would be happy to be going Home.

That said, my heart goes out to those who are mourning the loss of loved ones and dear friends, and to those special souls, heroes all, who are taking care of the afflicted, putting their lives on the line while struggling with fear and uncertainty, yet passionately going about their tasks caring for the sick. God bless and protect them each one. 

ORIGIN MYTHS ABOUND 

There are many myths about the origin of our species, including the Creation Story of Genesis.  In the previous post I excerpted passages from The Book of Grace in which its author, my dearest late friend Grace Van Duzen, offers insights into the biblical account of the Creation and Fall of Man from grace, stature and dominion.  I also shared excerpts from Richard Heinberg’s MEMORIES and VISIONS of PARADISE, and I’ve received several comments, one from a friend and fellow wayfarer, Donald White, who offered this critique and encouragement:

While I agree with much of your treatise here, I’m still wondering why the “story of man” as presented by the most ancient cultures known to have lived upon the planet with actual written records (the Sumerians and the civilizations that followed) are not part of your consideration of our origins on planet Earth. Atlantis (and Lemuria) may have existed…I don’t dispute that they MIGHT have…but we really don’t know (with apologies to the late Edgar Cayce!).

(True, even the Greek philosopher Plato used the Atlantis legend in his Socratic Dialogues as a fictitious tale, a mythical parable about the cultural and political deterioration of life in the state — casting a shadow onto our modern day.)

The biblical texts regarding these ancient times are highly mythologized, having been translated several times so that we have a version in English (King James Bible), but they still allude to more substantive, extant ancient writings in cuneiform from Mesopotamia (Sumer, Assyria, Akkadia & Babylonia). It just seems that what these ancient scribes had to say about their ‘gods’ and the origins of their culture (attributed to their gods) should have at least equal validity to any of today’s lucid dreamers, biblical pundits, and scholarly professional authors on this subject.

Are we as a species the product of a ”magical’ divine Creation or a design-driven, divine Evolution? Are we still evolving (with fits and starts from proto-human to Neanderthal to Cro Magnon) where angelic consciousness emerges as a whole in the world, or do we need to experience a resurrection from a fall from a place of divine identity where we already knew that identity in human form? These questions are key to your subject matter and I welcome your current focus in this area as it has allowed some deep meditation on my part about where we are today as God’s vessel and representation for this world. This I agree with wholeheartedly, beyond belief!

THE GARDEN OF HEAVEN 

In the Beginning, Man was given a garden called Eden to dress and to keep. No tilling was required because this garden was, and still is, an invisible one.  It was the Consciousness of the Creator, who was willing and eager to share with Man its care and creating magic, along with its material manifestation — a desire that awaits fulfillment.  That’s why we are here today.  Eden awaits Man’s return to dressing and keeping it — the topic of my next post.  

In this series I have also been sharing some of Peter Watson’s commentaries, which have actually provided thought-provoking upgrades for my own understanding of things hidden in the Creation Story handed down to us in the Book of Genesis, for which I am profoundly grateful.  Here is an excerpt from his most recent dialogue:

As the heaven – the realm of preform – must logically precede the realm of form, as with invisible life that designs and then grows the forms it inhabits, the idea of debris from dead suns being drawn together by gravity, so that under the right circumstances, with water air and earth, and a safe distance from the fire of a sun, the collection of debris would be suitable to support animated ecosystems is far-fetched to say the least. Such a materialistic view is clearly in denial of heavenly preordination, and is therefore flawed inasmuch as it cannot account for our invisible animating force, life, nor its origin; i.e. the Father and Mother of Life.

Fortunately Jesus foresaw the scientific dilemma that would eventually surface as men of intellect probed only the heavens, and the past, for mankind’s meaning and origins, instead of looking within, and perceiving the kingdom-of-heaven as instructed. His remedial advice, and blueprint for the way life works, are contained concisely in the so-called Lord’s Prayer, portraying the simple outline of the order in which life works (i.e. from the heaven and then into the earth; “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”), which must be complied with if our latent human potential is to be realized and made manifest. All of this he liberally demonstrated in working with the four forces, starting his ministry in a water cycle, and miraculously healing those who responded appropriately to his presence, “Wilt thou be made whole?

(His brief earthly life and ministry ended in a Fire cycle with his celebratory entrance into Jerusalem, commemorated in the Christian world on Palm Sunday, and his crucifixion and victory over death that led to his resurrection from the tomb and ascension back into Heaven from whence he came — commemorated during Holy Week and Easter Sunday throughout the Christian world.)  

It’s now up to a precious few of us who are remembering and enacting the instructions of Jesus, so that what he initiated may be brought to fruition as intended. I rejoice in sharing these words with you and seeing the seeds planted by Jesus replace the superstitious seeds of religious fear, and bring the Garden-of-God, Eden, back to life on earth. “I am come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

Having followed up on Don’s encouragement to at least expand my research to include the Sumerian and other ancient mythical stories of the formation of the human species, and having meditated on Peter’s commentary on the two accounts of the Creation story in Genesis 1 and 2, as well as on Grace’s insightful interpretation of the biblical Creation Story, I have finally come to terms with my own inner struggle to make sense of it all — and it all comes down to the first paragraph of this post: the Heaven gives form and birth to the Earth.

In Genesis 1, God, Elohim, created Man male and female, in their own image and likeness and placed them in Eden, a Paradise where everything they needed in the way of food and sustenance was freely provided, requiring no tilling but only a thought form to manifest what they needed to sustain their heavenly forms. God blessed them and gave them dominion over all the life forms in Eden, instructing them to be fruitful and multiply and “replenish the earth.” We’ve done a lot of multiplying of our species, but very minimal replenishing of the earth.

In Genesis 2, “The LORD God” (a conclave of God Beings, as Grace explained) is said to have “formed” man (male only) from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man “became a living soul.” Life, the originating and organizing force of Creation, is given to this man after he is formed by matter — the heaven and the earth in reversed order — “when the earth and the heaven were created”— contrary to the way the Law of One works to bring forth Creation out of Heaven.

Here we again have a committee of God Beings, not creating but forming a man out of clay, as many myths describe their various “gods” did.  As for woman, well, she was an after-thought by the rogue creators seeing as how the man was alone and in need of a “help mete”— not an equal partner but a helper.  So, it’s been a man’s world ever since the Fall.

This conclave of God Beings “planted a garden Eastward in Eden, and there they placed the man whom they had formed.” Here we have the first division, that of Man, created by God male and female in His own image and likeness, divided into a man and a woman, a pair of opposites — from oneness to duality.  One myth describes the First Man as being male on one side and female of the other.  Hmm?

Peter’s Comments:

Let it be said that any compromise, or reversal of the principle of cause-and-effect, heaven-and-earth in that order, would inevitably result in a state of decay, and eventual death. We cannot deny or ignore the way-of-life; i.e. what Jesus demonstrated admirably, with impunity.

Let’s say, in Genesis chapter one, we have a true account of creation, with Man, male and female, designated to share God’s dominion . . . .  Alongside, we have chapter two that denigrates mankind (not Man) to have come from the dust-of-the-ground, subject to externals and a tree-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil, a tree-of-death, with no mention of dominion, only subjection, and we have a reliable perspective of how humanity has been coerced into falsely interpreting God’s will.

Earlier on in this commentary:

Fortunately, death and decay can only spread so far in either direction in the microcosm and the macrocosm at a form (material) level, beyond which life reclaims waste and renews it in the mineral kingdom and on up. As is recognized by physicists, no energy is ever lost; you cannot have a ‘dead’ (motionless) atom, or indeed a motionless galaxy. Where there is motion there is evidence of life; where there is life there is the ever-present origin-of-life.

We cannot separate matter from motion. Even using negative numbers, Euclidian geometry, or quantum mechanics, matter and motion are inseparable except in human imagination. However, designed as it is to participate in the furtherance of creation, imagination of the human mind can and will manifest if concentrated over a sufficient period of gestation. Beyond a certain point it becomes questionable as to what human imagination manifests is of any practical value; we may use disease and weaponry as examples of negative manifestation.

Stephen Hawking asks, “What place for God” in his imaginary universe.  Einstein said “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Observational science limits itself to the analytical view of “nothing is a miracle.” Participatory science (ontology) expands its parameters to see “everything is a miracle.” Einstein’s vision extends the reach-of-science beyond the grasp of mankind.

The grasp of mankind is limited to material observation and measurement, a phenomenal mental approach to understanding the universe, but which denies or otherwise ignores the essential encompassment of a motivating force, such as that which makes vegetation grow, human digestion allocate protein where it belongs, and guides the constellations along their celestial paths.

And from an earlier commentary:

So there’s the so-called Fall-of-man in a few lines, sustained by, but not initiated by Eve — the cloned after-thought companion of a simple gardener when it was noticed, “It is not good that the man should be alone”. Unfortunately, Sunday-school translation has made them both appear to have been the original sinners, upon which religion has capitalised in using a ‘sinner’ identity to cover up the rogue’s role of Godlessness, and at the same time keep congregations in the dark regarding our true identity in original Man, male and female, not made from the dust-of-the-ground, but by the male and female spirits of God incarnate. “BIG mistake!” as Schwarzenegger would say.

ANCIENT MYTHS 

Now, the Sumerian, Babylonian and other ancient myths tell of many gods flying in the heavens and roaming the earth making things they needed, which included laborers — more like slaves — to till the ground; and warring with one another over the manner in which things were being done, especially in the slave-making department.  They also created “giants” to do the heavy lifting. 

Donald’s Commentary:

Here’s a short summary of the story of mankind’s creation as told in the Sumerian ‘Enuma ‘Elish’ (deciphered from clay tablets uncovered when ancient Ninevah was excavated circa mid 19th century):

“… What is extremely interesting in the ancient Sumerian Creation Story is the fact that initially, man created by the Gods was not able to reproduce on their own. This is why the Gods ‘MODIFIED’ mankind with the help of Enki and his sister Ninki. After the Gods had modified mankind, Adapa was created as a fully functional human being which had the ability to reproduce. However, this ‘modification’ was done without being approved by Enlil, brother of Enki and Ninki, which created a conflict among the Gods.

The conflict made Enlil the first adversary of human beings and according to ancient Sumerian texts, mankind went through an extremely difficult time while serving the gods.”

As you can see, there are numerous similarities between the creation story of Ancient Sumer and other ancient cultures and religions around the globe, but interestingly, in all of them, we learn that mankind was literally CREATED by the GODS in their own image.”

Perhaps the beginning of religion and slavery imposed upon our earliest ancestors? What an awful implication (and indictment) on our false ‘god/creators’!

I think Don is onto a hidden truth.  Here’s an interesting side-story I came upon in my limited studies of ancient cosmology. The word El, as in Elohim, is feminine in gender, indicating that it was a Goddess who created Man — or at least the Elohim may have been a group of feminine deities who were commissioned by the Godhead to create the world and Man in it.  Heinberg cites a man’s near-death-experience in which the God he saw was a woman.  I rather like this kind of musing about God being both male and female and how this works in the invisible order of angelic and creator beings.   

RECLAIMING OUR ORIGINAL INNOCENCE

So, Don, I trust I have adequately addressed your queries about who we are and were we are in our evolution of consciousness — our heaven out of which our earthly forms and world continually and momentarily materializes.  I’m right in there with you meditating on our current role as representatives of God on Earth, and as co-creators and keepers of the Garden — and with you Peter, in uncovering the clarifying truth of the Creation of Heaven and Earth, in that order, and of Man and mankind, hidden in myths until a time when we can bear to hear it — realizing that we can correct the “Original Sin” of Adam by reclaiming our Original Innocence.

In our innocence — not by faith and belief in an unknowable God, but by conscious knowing of our own divine identity as Sons and Daughters of God, co-creators with God — we can intelligently engage the Law of One that governs Creation to create Paradise on Earth.  As we hold the image and likeness of God in our consciousness as the template of our outer forms, letting love radiate without concern for results, our bodies will continue to evolve and be transformed, ultimately transmuted into angelic light forms. “As above so below.”

It was Man’s concern for results and his self-determination that reversed his polarity, repelling our first parents from God and ejecting them from Paradise.  We are here to “repent,” literally turn around, restore our polarity in God, in Love, and allow a resurrection and ascension to take place.  All we have to do is dress and keep the Heaven.

I’ll leave it there for your meditation. Until my next post,

Have a Happy Easter and/or a Joyous Passover.

Anthony

tpal70@gmail.com

 

The Imaginal Realm: “As Above So Below”

I just finished listening to an interview with Dr. Becca Tarnas on the blog Rune Soup. She and George, the moderator, have a most interesting conversation on the topic of the “Imaginal Realm.”  If you have an hour or so to spare, have a listen. In the interview Dr. Tarnas focuses on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and Carl Jung’s “Red Book” as examples of  authors who cross over into the “imaginal realm” from which they tell stories that convey messages for our time and civilization.  I would like to delve into this topic a bit in this blog post.

In her evocative and controversial book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene – The Woman at the Heart of Christianity, author and Episcopal prelate Cynthia Bourgeault makes a distinction between the “imaginal realm” and imagination which I feel deserves in-depth consideration. The context of this consideration is the vision Mary Magdalene has of Jesus just after his resurrection when she reportedly mistakes him for the gardner.  In her gospel, Mary Magdalene tells the apostles of Jesus’ resurrection and goes on to describe her remarkable experience with him. 

I saw the Master in a vision and I said to him, “Lord I see you now in a vision.” And he answered me, “You are blessed, Mary, since the sight of me does not disturb you. For where is the nous [the heart] lies the treasure.” Then I said to him: “Lord, when someone meets you in a Moment of vision, is it through the soul [psyche] that they see, or is it through the Spirit [Pneuma] ?”

The Teacher answered: “It is neither through the soul nor the spirit , but the nous between the two that sees the vision….”

The “nous” is the heart, or the “eye of the heart.” It’s our capacity to discern spiritual or vibrational essences. It’s the space between the infinite and the finite, between pure spirit and gross matter – and it is said to belong to Spirit, generated as it is by Spirit for communicating with the physical world and for conveying “images” for the manifestation of “analogues”– the manifest forms.

From Cynthia’s book:

Most of us, reared in the scientific objectivism of our times, tend to think of visions as “subjective.” They belong to the realm of the personal and interior and, while perhaps illuminating the workings of an individual psyche, do not conform to anything in external reality. These, in fact, were precisely the criticisms that began to be raised during the third and fourth centuries, when visionary revelation was rejected as an authentic mode of knowing within the church. But in the original wisdom anthropologies . . . visionary knowledge is not an “experience,” let alone a private or subjective one; it is “of an ontological reality entirely superior to mere possibility” It emanates from an actual realm, a realm that is in fact more subtle and endowed with real Being than our own. In fact, in the reversal of our usual sense of things, it is the place of origin from which what we usually refer to as “reality” is merely the shadow projected into space and time.

Many centuries later, when this implicit anthropology came to maturity in the work of some remarkable Near Eastern Is­lamic mystics, this realm would be given the title “the imaginal realm.” Imaginal does not mean “imaginary”—that is, fictitious or subjective. It means the realm in which the images—the eternal prototypes—reveal themselves in their full authenticity. Remember how, in dialogue I, Jesus introduced the notion of “image” as a kind of primordial template? The imaginal is the realm from which these images emanate. . . . “that in-between zone where spirits become embodied and bod­ies become spiritualized.”

“Pneumaplasm”

The word “pneumaplasm” was coined by Lloyd Meeker (Uranda) eighty some years ago to represent this substance through which Spirit communicates with the material world.  Uranda was the founder of the Attunement service now being offered by attunement practitioners the world over.  I have incorporated sacred sound in my personal attunement service and have written a book about this sacred technology. I would like to share an excerpt from my book, Attunnement With Sacred Sound, from the section “Cellular Replication in a Musical Matrix of Light.”

“Image” and “Analogue” — “As Above so Below”

“From a mystical and metaphysical perspective, the Hermetic teaching ‘as above so below’ is restated by the great mystic Jesus who left a profound teaching himself with his disciples in a stream of dialogue that was recorded in both the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Thomas, manuscripts that were discovered as early as 1896 (the Magdalene text) and as late as the mid twentieth century [1945] when Nag Hammadi material was discovered. In both of these Gospels, Jesus speaks about an ‘Image.’

“In her powerfully compelling and provocative book, The Meaning of MARY MAGADALENE—Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity, Episcopal priest and author Cynthia Bourgeault shares teachings of the Master Jesus from The Gospel of Mary Magdalene that transgress lines of traditional orthodoxy. I will excerpt several passages from the fourth chapter of her book that are pertinent to this discussion, starting with a dialogue around ‘image’ and ‘analogue.’

Within the particular metaphysical stream that Jesus seems to be working in, image corresponds to that primordial template mentioned earlier—“the origin” of each created form. Very cautiously, you might label it an archetype. At first glance you may be tempted to transpose this teaching into Platonic categories and assume that Jesus is talking about the “ideal form” of a thing. But be cautious in doing so, for there is a distinctly different dynamism at work here. For Jesus, the “image” is not merely a static blueprint, a preexistent prototype that its earthly analogue mechanically reflects. Between image and analogue there is a dynamic reciprocity as they simultaneously articulate the same reality in two different realms. Image and analogue are in continuously creative tension receiving and fulfilling each other, and it is in the energy exchange that their indivisible wholeness is made manifest.

Images do not arise in this realm, however (their origin is several cosmoses more subtle), and trouble begins when this fundamental cosmic law is forgotten. . . .

“I like her use of the word ‘analogue’ here, which means similar in function but not in origin and structure, as it represents accurately the relationship between Man and his Creator, in whose image and likeness we are made in order to function as creators ourselves. In our energy and attunement work you might say that we seek to facilitate a clarifying, balancing and intensification of this ‘energy exchange’ between image and analogue with the intention that the oneness between them may be made manifest in the person’s experience of life, as well as in our own. . . .

“In ‘Dialogue One,’ a disciple asks Jesus about matter and whether it will ‘survive.'”[This inquisitiveness on the part of the disciple, taking place as this dialogue does in the wake of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, makes perfect sense. “Are you really here in the flesh or simply in a vision?” Or, more to the point, “Did the matter of your body live on after death?” the student asks.] 

“Jesus answered: ‘All of nature with its forms and creatures exist together and are interwoven with each other. They will be resolved back, however, to their own proper origin, for the compositions of matter return to the original roots of their nature. Those who have ears, let them hear this.’

“Cynthia Bourgeault expands on this:

But by this . . . he does not mean they dissolve into their component atoms, quarks and/or humors. Instead, they return to an original template—or ‘image’— whose place of arising is in another realm.

“The dialogue suddenly turns into an inquiry about sin and its origin, into which Jesus offers a remarkably clarifying perspective.

Sin as such does not exist. You only bring it into manifestation when you act in ways that are adulterous in nature. It is for this reason that the Good has come among you pursuing its own essence within nature in order to reunite everything to its origin. This is also the reason for sickness and death, because you embrace what deceives you. Consider these matters, then, with your spiritual intellect. Attachment to matter gives birth to passion without an Image of itself because it is drawn from that which is contrary to its higher nature. The result is that confusion and disturbance resonates throughout one’s whole being. It is for this reason that I told you to find contentment at the level of the heart, and if you are discouraged, take heart in the presence of the Image of your true nature. Those with ears, let them hear this.

“A ‘Vertical Axis’

“Cynthia Bourgeault offers that ‘within his particular frame of reference, acting in ways that are ‘adulterous in nature’ will prove to have very specific meaning. It signifies a failure to stay aligned with origin; with that mysterious ‘root’ (or template) of one’s nature he has already alluded to, which, while arising beyond this realm, seeks its full expression here.” . . . [Jesus] quickly assures his students that this world is valuable and precious; indeed, this is the very reason the Good has come among them in the first place—“pursuing its own essence within nature . . . in order to reunite everything to its origin.’ There is important integrative work to be done here. But it all depends upon keeping a right alignment along what wisdom tradition typically refers to as the ‘vertical axis’: the invisible spiritual continuum that joins the realms together. Nearly sixteen centuries later, the German mystic Jacob Boehme would express this cosmological insight with poetic precision and beauty:

‘For you must realize that earth unfolds its properties and powers in union with Heaven aloft above us, and there is one Heart, one Being, one Will, one God, all in all.’

“The author then offers these words of truth and wisdom derived from Jesus’ teaching: 

When the realms are in spontaneous resonance—’One Heart, one Being, one Will, one God, all in all’—the music of the spheres bursts forth. When they are not, disease and disharmony inevitably ensue. As he quickly points out (again, with a contemporary feeling to the teaching), ‘Confusion and disturbance resonate throughout one’s whole being,’ and sickness and death are the inevitable result.

“The heart realm is the ‘secret place’ in which we commune with God; the capacity for spiritual discernment and understanding. It is precisely this ‘vertical axis’ around which we must wrap our hearts in order to attune to the vibration of the Lord of Love, from whence all power to heal and uplift derives. I bring these excerpts into this writing for the profoundly clear light they shine on the core essence and purpose of attunement and energy work, as well as for the perspective and insight they offer into the dynamism at work between inner Reality and outer form—continually giving to and receiving from each other the spiritual energies that generate the pneumaplasmic substance that connects spirit with form and makes possible their manifest wholeness and oneness. I was deeply moved when I first read this chapter, as I was profoundly uplifted—and continue to be—reading and re-reading Cynthia’s book.”

The imaginal realm is precisely the realm that we, as healers and co-creators, must become intimate with in bringing down into the earth the true patterns of life which alone can restore order and harmony to our world. As we make visible the invisible Reality imaged for us in this heaven, our Earth is restored.  

I will leave this consideration at that and continue the discussion in my next post, in which I will open up a consideration of the masculine and feminine energies at work in our human capacities and throughout the “creating universe,” as Walter Russell describes the world in which we live and have our being. Until then, 

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

I invite you to read my Health Light Newsletter at LiftingTones.com.

 

 

 

Who and What Was Mary Magdalene?

Catholic theologian Saint Augustine called Mary Magdalene the “Apostle of apostles.” His basis for such an esteemed title was St. John’s Gospel text (19:25) in which Mary is said to be the first one to see Jesus resurrected from the tomb and the one appointed by Jesus to bring the good news of his resurrection to the other apostles. She was, in truth, the Beloved Companion of Yeshua/Jesus, whom he had named the “Migdalah”(which means tower of courage and strength).

In 591 AD, however, the Beloved Companion of Jesus was reduced in status and dignity to that of a prostitute by Pope Gregory I in Homily 33, according to Jean-Yves Leloup, author of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene.  In his homily, Gregory “declared that she and the unnamed woman in Luke 7 are, in fact, one and the same , and that the faithful should hold Mary as the penitent whore.” To the faithful of the Christian world, this is who Mary Magdalene was: the woman out of whom Jesus cast “seven demons”– and whom he rescued from being stoned to death as a “sinner,” saying to those who would stone her, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

About this word “sinner” Leloup writes:

“It is interesting to note that the Greek word interpreted as ‘sinner’ in the verse of Luke to which Pope Gregory referred was barmartolos, which can be translated several ways. From the Jewish perspective, it could mean one who has transgressed Jewish law. It might also mean someone who, perhaps, did not pay his or her taxes. [This is more likely the case in this incident with Mary Magdalene, who is often painted by artists with red or golden hair, suggesting a fiery woman with a passion for truth and a disdain for the laws of men.] The word itself does not imply a streetwalker or a prostitute. The Greek word for harlot, porin, which is used elsewhere in Luke, is not the word used for the sinful woman who weeps at Jesus’ feet. In fact, there is no direct reference to her – or to Mary – as a prostitute anywhere in the Gospels.” 

It was not until 1969 that the Catholic Church admitted its error and officially repealed Pope Gregory’s labeling of Mary as a whore. This retraction did nothing, however, to alter the public teachings of all Christian denominations that Mary Magdalene was a penitent sinner.  Jean Yves writes:

“Unfortunately, the fact that Mary Magdalene is freed from the possession of seven demons has resulted in greater focus on the perceived stigma of her past as interpreted in Homily 33 than on her cleansed state after this healing. . . . Like a small erratum buried in the back pages of a newspaper, the Church’s correction goes unnoticed while the initial and incorrect article continues to influence readers.”   

The Woman with the Alabaster Jar

Mary Magdalene, often depicted by artists holding an alabaster jar in one hand and a skull in the other, is the same as Mary of Bethany who is said to have anointed the head of Jesus with expensive oils during the Last Supper. The author of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene compares her to a priestess of Isis:

In addition, the presence of Mary at the Crucifixion and at the tomb, beyond illustrating her love for Jesus, also indicates her comfort and famil­iarity with death. The many artistic depictions of Magdalene with a skull may suggest that this has long been seen as part of her identity. In fact, Gol­gotha, the hill where Jesus was crucified, means “place of the skull.” Perhaps visionary artists of the past, in their representations, were implying that Magdalene understands the thresholds of death. Her appearances with special oils to use in anointing Jesus Christ place her in the tradition of priests and priestesses of Isis, whose unguents were used to achieve the transition over the threshold of death while retaining consciousness. 

Jesus accepts and encourages this anointing, explaining to the other disciples that she “helps prepare me for my burial.” This statement implies Jesus’ knowledge that Mary is aware of what is happening at a deeper level than the other disciples. We can ask ourselves, “By what authority does she anoint him?” But we cannot ignore the fact that the very word christ means “anointed one.” How can it be that Christians have pushed into a dark corner the female minister of the rite of anointing?

After one anointing of Christ by Mary, in Mark 14: 9, Jesus remarks, “Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, what she has done here will be told in remembrance of her.” How is it, then, that all Christians do not remember and revere this memorial, so clearly marked by their teacher? Why do most people know her as the reformed prostitute, rather than as what seems more likely-a ministering priestess with a deep understanding of the thresh­olds of the spirit world?

In the legends and stories told about Mary Magdalene there can be found some hint of what she may represent to us today: As one who was cleansed from sin; who remains with Christ throughout his death on the cross; and who first witnesses, understands, and believes Christ’s resur­rection, she represents a human being who is open and available to true “inner knowing,” who can “see” in deeper, clearer ways through a unique spiritual connection to both earthly death and the Divine. 

Honored in Southern France

In Southern France Mary Magdalene is honored and celebrated as the Madonna in what historically is known as the “Magdalene tradition.” There is evidence that Mary Magdalene traveled to and settled in Southern France after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus – and after her ordeal with Peter and the apostles who rejected her as the Apostle of apostles, the one and only one, other than John the Beloved, who knew oneness with her Lord and Master and who moved closely with him into the experience of gnosis, “the priceless wisdom of ‘direct knowing.'”

This is the true and original meaning of Gnosticism before it devolved into a cultish community: the direct knowing of Spirit within and as one’s Self without the mediation of an ordained priesthood – which is why the early Christian Church founded by Constantine and a group of bishops condemned them and sought to eradicate them altogether.  Those bishops who disagreed with Constantine about what gospel texts were to be included in, and excluded from, the New Testament Bible were exiled “on the spot.” Thankfully, some of these excluded gospel texts were preserved from the book burnings, later to be found and brought to light, notably in our time.  The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the Gospel of Thomas are two of the most noted gospels that were discovered and became the sources of contemporary authors’ books, such as Jean-Yves Leloup, Jehanne De Quillan (author of The Gospel of the Beloved Companion), and several others.

I particularly like the way in which this sentence is phrased by the authors of the Preface of her book, acknowledging the vibrational significance of Mary Magdalene’s return to consciousness and awareness at this time:

We consider her reemergence and renewed awareness of her importance as an essential remembering of the Feminine.” 

As surely as Jesus’ spirit is considered to be present with us today, so is that of his Beloved Companion present and actively guiding the rise of the Feminine.  It’s what seems powerfully evident anyway.

I will conclude this consideration of Mary Magdalene in my next post – which will be an in depth look at the true meaning of Gnosis and the obscured message inherent in the companionship of Jesus and Mary Magdalene – the core mission and purpose for the incarnation of the Divine in the Son of Humanity.  Until then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

I invite you to read my HealthLight Newsletter online at LitingTones.com.

 

 

 

 

The “Jesus of Faith” Vs the “Jesus of History” Part 5:4 “Take us down to the river”

“Jars of spring water are not enough anymore. Take us down to the river.” –Rumi

I will conclude this series of considerations of the Jesus of faith versus the Jesus of history with Michael Baigent’s own words summarizing the journey we have taken through his provocative book The Jesus Papers — Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History, words and thoughts that I fully embrace as resonant with my own spirit of understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus.

Here are Baigent’s final words from his book:

DURING THE COURSE of writing this book, I have sought out knowledge of a very special context – that of Egypt and Judaea in the first century of the modern era, a period about which there are few facts that we can be certain of. We have seen how the context can be controlled and forced to support a story that simply can’t be true. The Jesus of history cannot have been as the theology of the Jesus of faith presents him.

During the course of our journey, we have discovered that Jesus rejected the political activity of his Zealot supporters. This is a crucially important piece of information that has been missed. We have seen too that there is no evidence that he died on the cross; in fact, what evidence survives suggests otherwise. And if he didn’t die on the cross, where does that leave the resurrection? His divinity? His equal­ity in the Holy Trinity? These claims all disintegrate once the spin stops.

We have discovered that all these assertions about Jesus came much later, the result of a glossy gift-wrapping of some historical events that were deliberately distorted in order to serve a strict theo­logical agenda, one that maintains to the present day a number of ex­tremely odd and eccentric notions. Foremost among these is the belief that only men were Christ’s closest disciples and so women cannot serve as priests, bishops, or popes. With this discovery, the male domination of the apostolic succession crumbles away, along with the Rome-centered concept of the succession itself.

And crucially, we have also discovered that there is no evidence to suggest that Jesus intended to be worshiped as a god. On the con­trary, his teachings indicate that he wanted each person to have the opportunity to travel to the Far-World to find the Divine for himself or herself — or as he put it, to travel to the kingdom of heaven and be filled with the “Spirit of God.”

Where did Jesus learn all this? Not in Galilee, we have concluded, but much more likely in Egypt, where the Jewish community appears to have been more diverse than the Jewish community in Palestine and to have nurtured a more mystical approach to religion.

Furthermore, nothing in our findings suggests that Jesus ever planned to start a religion, let alone encourage others to write down his words and organize them into an official collection of sayings. In fact, quite the reverse is more likely I suspect that he wouldn’t have minded at all if people forgot him; what was more important to him was that people should not forget the way to the kingdom of heaven, a notion not restricted to Christianity and Judaism: “To be ignorant of the divine is the ultimate vice,” proclaim the texts attributed to the Egyptian sage Hermes Trismegistus.

It should be clear now that history is malleable: we have our facts, but we never have enough of them to be able to put our hands on our hearts and say, in all honesty, that we know for certain what hap­pened. All history is a myth, a story created to make some sense out of the few events we can know. The past is a hypothesis erected to ex­plain and justify the present.

In some ways this does not matter, for myths exist to communicate meaning, not history. But in this scientific age we want to know that the myths we live by are, if not true, at least based upon some approximation of the truth. We want to know that Jesus was really crucified, that Caesar was truly murdered by Brutus, that Paul did have a mystical experience on his way to Damascus. All these events are plausible, and there is no intrinsic reason why they might not be true.

But what do we do with beliefs such as Jesus walking on water?  Jesus having been raised from the dead? Peter founding the Roman Church with infallible popes? None of these beliefs is plausible, and there is no intrinsic reason why any of them should be true. Yet there are many who equally believe both sets of assertions.

Our modern world is dominated by the “religions of the book”­ Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. We can see that to base truth upon a written word makes it vulnerable to all the problems of interpreta­tion and translation, to say nothing of religious distortion. The danger is that books foster a dependence upon belief rather than knowledge; if there has been one underlying theme of our journey, it has been that we need to travel the road for ourselves and experience its hardships, pleasures, and insights directly rather than secondhand or vicariously. (Bold emphasis mine)

And with that plea I must bring our journey to an end, not be­cause there is no further to travel, for of course there is, but because we have traveled much already and it is now time to pause and reflect on just how far we have come.

As we halt, it only remains to quote the great Persian Sufi Jelalud­din Rumi, who, cutting straight to the heart of the matter, as was al­ways his way, cried out to all who would listen: “Jars of spring water are not enough anymore. Take us down to the river!'”

To drink from the river is our birthright. Let no one deny us that freedom!

There is no argument that the impact upon the entire world of humankind that the presence and ministry of this one man made is nothing short of a profound transformation and elevation of the human spirit and of human consciousness. I know this is true for me personally. Just to think of him and to read his words in my red-letter Bible stirs my soul and quickens my spirit. Jesus is alive today in the heart of humanity as truly as he was alive and physically present on earth two-thousand years ago.

I’ll leave you with this five-minute video clip by Dr. Bruce Lipton on how our beliefs direct our lives 95% of the time and how religious beliefs are programs and not reality. Believing in God is not the same as knowing God. To know God is to go beyond belief and to know your Self. That is the only reality we can know for certain: that I AM.

In my next post I will consider the Aramaic Prayer of Jesus and the direct access to Father and Mother God available to all human beings on Earth. Until then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

Read my HealthLight Newsletter online at LiftingTones.com.  Current post: Humble Honey Kills Bacteria.

The “Jesus of Faith” Vs the “Jesus of History” part 5:3 – Resurrection

 

Good morning and Happy Easter!

I feel the burgeoning wave of joy and happiness that is resurrected from the womb of human hearts every year at Easter in the wake of the fasting season of Lent and just on the heels of passion Holy Week and sorrowful Good Friday — at least in the Christian sector of the world’s seven-plus billion population. With spring bursting out all over, this is a most appropriate time of the year to celebrate Easter.

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

A study in 2012 estimated Christianity was the largest faith at 2.2 billion adherents or 31.5 percent of the world’s population. The Roman Catholic Church makes up 50 percent of that total, with Protestants — including Anglicans and non-denominational churches — at 37 percent and Orthodox at 12 percent.”  So, nearly a third of the people on earth celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. Little wonder the day is so bright, even as bright as the Sun rising in the East. 

Hmm. I must look up the origin of the word “Easter.” And I did. Here is one item that stands out among all of the hoopla over the pagan roots of this annual Christian celebration:

Because the English Anglo/Saxon language originally derived from the Germanic, there are many similarities between German and English. Many English writers have referred to the German language as the “Mother Tongue!” The English word Easter is of German/Saxon origin and not Babylonian as Alexander Hislop falsely claimed. The German equivalent is OsterOster (Ostern being the modern day equivalent) is related to Ostwhich means the rising of the sun, or simply in English, eastOster comes from the old Teutonic form of auferstehen / auferstehung, which means resurrection, which in the older Teutonic form comes from two words, Ester meaning first, and stehen meaning to stand. These two words combine to form erstehen which is an old German form of auferstehen, the modern day German word for resurrection.

It was the Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 who “ordained that Easter shouldn’t be connected with the festival of another faith. It should stand on its own in connection with the natural world. Hence he ordained that Easter should be celebrated on the Sunday after the first  new moon of Spring.” (David Potter of Oxford University Press.)  So, Easter Sunday’s final resting place is somewhere between March 21 and April 25. The date of Easter Day is usually the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the March equinox.

An issue was also settled at this council concerning the celebration of the Passover by the Jewish Christians, as Jesus’ crucifixion was said to be associated with the Passover. Obviously, Christianity emerged out of Judaism. Thus the consolidation of the two celebrations by Constantine.

Now the Easter egg can be traced back to practices in pre-dynastic Egypt as well as amid the early Christians of Mesopotamia.  From there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches. In Christianity, for the celebration of Easter, the Easter egg symbolizes the empty tomb of Jesus. An ancient tradition was the staining of the Easter egg with the color red in memory of the blood of Christ shed during his crucifixion. The egg is also a symbol of fertility.

Significance of the Resurrection

I will now return to my consideration of the Foreword of Stevan Davies’ book The Gospel of Thomas – Annotated & Explained, written by the his Series Editor Andrew Harvey. I will continue from where I left off in my post of April 7th on the theme of “Kingdom-consciousness.”

If all the Gospel of Thomas did was relentlessly and sublimely cham­pion the path to our transfiguration and point out its necessity, it would be one of the most important of all religious writings — but it does even more. In saying 22, the Gospel of Thomas gives us a brilliantly concise and pre­cise “map” of the various stages of transformation that have to be unfolded in the seeker for the “secret” to be real in her being and active though all her powers. Like saying 13, saying 22 has no precedent in the synoptic gospels and is, I believe, the single most important document of the spiritual life that Jesus has left us.

Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples: These infants taking milk are like those who enter the Kingdom. His disciples asked him: If we are infants will we enter the Kingdom? Jesus responded: When you make the two into one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the upper like the lower and the lower like the upper, and thus make the male and the female the same, so that the male isn’t male and the female isn’t female. When you make an eye to replace an eye, and a hand to replace a hand, and a foot to replace a foot, and an image to replace an image, then you will enter the Kingdom.

When Jesus says in saying 19 “If you become my disciples and listen to me, these stones will serve you,” in saying 24 “There is light within a man of light, and he lights up all of the world,” and in saying 106 “When you make the two into one, you will be called sons of men. When you say ‘Move, mountain!’ it will move,” he was not speaking in incandescent poetry; he was describing the actual powers that God gives those who risk becoming divinized, powers that can alter natural law and “burn down the house” of the oppressive power structures of the world.

Fourth and finally, we see in saying 22 the final cryptic sentences of the saying: “When you make an eye to replace an eye, and a hand to replace a hand, and a foot to replace a foot, and an image to replace an image, then you will enter the Kingdom.” What these lines describe is nothing less than the physical transformation that mystical union makes possible, the bringing up of ordinary matter into the living truth of the Light.

The ultimate sign of the Christ is the victory of the Resurrection, which is the marriage of matter and spirit to create a wholly new and eternal substance. Those mystics who follow Christ into union come to know and taste the glory of the Resurrected Body in their own bodies. The pow­ers available to the human being willing to undertake the full rigor of the Jesus-transformation are limitless. What could not be done to trans­form this world by a group of seekers who allowed their whole beings­–psychological, spiritual, and physical–to become increasingly transfigured by the living light?

The greatest of all modern philosophers–Sri Aurobindo — saw that only an “integral” transformation could provide the force and inspiration to change that must occur if humanity is to survive and evolve. Jesus in saying 22 has anticipated Sri Aurobindo’s vision and provided the map to its realization.

There may be very little time left to take the adventure into total being that the Gospel of Thomas advocates with such astringent brilliance and pre­cision. In such a terrible age as ours, it is easy to believe that the dark powers, the powers of that corpse of the world that the Jesus of Thomas so fiercely denounces, have won already, and there is nothing even the most passionate of us can do to turn around a humanity addicted to violence and destruction.

Despair, however, is the last illusion. The Gospel of Thomas and the Jesus who gave it to us continue to challenge us to dare to become one with the Divine and start living the revolutionary life that streams from union and that can transform all things. This worst of times needs the clearest and most unflinchingly exigent of visions to counteract and trans­form it; in Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Thomas and in his living out of their reality through and beyond death itself into the eternal empowering glory of the Resurrection, we have the permanent sign of the Way, the Truth, and the all-transforming Life that, even now, can build here on earth the reality of God’s Kingdom.

As this series  The “Jesus of Faith” Vs the “Jesus of History” winds down, I will return to my desk to write, edit and publish my final post of the series. Until then, I wish you each one a Happy Easter and offer my thanks to you for sharing these considerations with me over the past several weeks.  Until my next post, then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

Photo credit: Craig Burrows “The Invisible Light that Flowers Emit”   Click on the link to see more of Craig’s flowers.

The “Jesus of Faith” Vs the “Jesus of History” – part 5:2 The Crucifixion Plot

I remember when I was fourteen and studying for the Catholic priesthood kneeling in front of a large carved image of Jesus hanging on a cross above the altar in the chapel and struggling to get in touch with feelings of guilt and sorrow for my sins, sins for which this man is said to have died an ignominious death. I was actually able to bring myself to sorrowful tears of repentance. Such memories serve me today as motivation to write about the deception that has been created and maintained for two-thousand years by the Catholic Church and by Christianity in general.  I truly believe that, if Jesus were to come back today, he would have all the crucifixes taken down and destroyed. It is his life of love and compassion, his “good news” about the Kingdom of Heaven being right at hand, that I believe he wished to be remembered by and not his crucifixion.

That said, I would like to share religious historian Michael Baigent’s perspectives on the crucifixion of Jesus from his controversial book The Jesus Papers – Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History. The chapter heading from which the excerpts are taken, “SURVIVING THE CRUCIFIXION,” speaks for itself.

Jesus’ crucifixion was politically motivated, and Jesus was well aware of the political reality of the time. The main contention between the Jews and the Romans was their refusal to pay taxes. This played a pivotal role in both Jesus’ betrayal by the Zealots, as well as in a survival plot orchestrated by Pontius Pilate himself. I’ll let Michael Baigent detail his scenario.

If the Sadducee priesthood wanted to be rid of Jesus because they saw him as a messiah and a threat to their power, and if the Zealots too, for different reasons, wanted to be rid of Jesus, then word of this would have reached Pilate. And this intelligence would have put him in a very difficult position. Pilate was Rome’s official representative in Judaea, and Rome’s main argument with the Jews was that they declined to pay their tax to Caesar. Yet here was a leading Jew — the legitimate king no less — telling his people to pay the tax. How could Pilate try, let alone condemn, such a man who, on the face of it, was supporting Roman policy? Pilate would himself be charged with dereliction of duty should he proceed with the condemnation of such a supporter.

The New Testament represents “the Jews” as baying for Jesus’s blood. And this apparent guilt of the Jews stuck for millennia — it was only acknowledged as fraudulent by the Vatican and excised from the teachings as late as 1960. But as should now be clear, it was not “the Jews” in general who were calling for Jesus’s arrest and execution, but the militant Zealots, those who hated the Romans and would sacri­fice even one of their own for their political aims. In the scenario presented here, Pilate would have found himself in a serious dilemma: to keep the peace he had to try, condemn, and execute a Jew who was supporting Rome but whose existence was causing public disorder, the flames of which were being fanned by the disgruntled Zealots. Pilate needed to try to square the circle on this; he desperately needed a deal.

And the deal, I suggest, was this: that he try Jesus and condemn him as a political agitator, thus appeasing the Zealots, who threatened widespread disorder. This was the last thing Pilate needed on his watch, especially since he was aware that he was falling out of favor with the Roman authorities. But while he condemned Jesus and had to go through with the required sentence of crucifixion, he could not dare have it reported to Rome that Jesus had actually died. So Pilate took steps to ensure that Jesus would survive. He spoke with a member of the Sanhedrin and friend of Jesus, the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.

Technically, how could a crucifixion have been faked? Just how could Jesus have survived? Was it possible at all to survive a crucifix­ion of any length of time?

Crucifixion was not so much an execution as a torturing to death. The procedure was very simple: the victim was tied, hanging to the crossbar, while his feet were supported on a block at the base of the cross. His feet were also usually tied at the block, although at least one example recovered by archaeologists reveals that a nail might be driven through each ankle. The weight of the hanging body made breathing very difficult and could be managed only by constantly pushing upwards with the legs and feet to relieve the tension in the chest. Eventually, of course, weariness and weakness overcame the ability to keep pushing. When this happened, the body slumped, breathing became impossible, and the crucified person died — by as­phyxiation. This was reckoned to take about three days.

As an act of mercy — only the brutal Romans could come up with such a definition — the legs of the victim were often broken and so deprived of any strength whatsoever to maintain the weight of the body.  The body would drop, and death by asphyxiation rapidly followed. We can see this in the New Testament. John reports that the legs of the two Zealots crucified beside Jesus were broken, but when they came to break Jesus’s legs, “he was dead already” (John 19:31-33).

On a side note, a statement in the Koran, “They did not crucify him,” could be translated as “They did not cause his death on the cross.” More relevant is the teachings of a heretical Egyptian Gnostic that Jesus had been substituted by Simon of Cyrene on his way to Golgatha and died in Jesus’ stead.

But if Jesus survived without being substituted, how could it have happened? Hugh Schonfield, in his The Passover Plot, suggests that Jesus was drugged — sedated on the cross such that he appeared dead but could be revived later, after he had been taken down. This is by no means such a wild idea, and it has received a sympathetic hearing. For example, in a television program on the crucifixion broadcast by the BBC in 2004 called Did Jesus Die? Elaine Pagels referred to Schonfield’s book, which, she noted, suggested that Jesus “had been sedated on the cross; that he was removed quite early and therefore could well have survived.” And, she concluded, “that’s certainly a possibility?”

The hypothesis forwarded was that Jesus was drugged with a sponge soaked in a sedative mixture of opium and other compounds such as belladonna and hashish when he cried out “I thirst.” Vinegar would have revived him whereas the drink from the sponge apparently caused him to die. Such a drug concoction, which was available and used in the Middle East for medical procedures, would have rendered Jesus unconscious and therefore spared much of the trauma and mental anguish crucifixion surely inflicted upon him. Then there was the incident of the spear thrust into Jesus’ side, not his heart or vital organ, where it is reported that blood and water poured out, indicating that Jesus was still alive.

All that remained then was for Jesus to be taken down from the cross, apparently lifeless but in reality unconscious, and taken to a private tomb where medicines could be used to revive him. He would then be whisked away from the scene. And this is precisely what is described in the Gospels: Luke (23:53) and Mark (15:46) report that Jesus was placed in a new tomb nearby. Matthew (27:6) adds that the tomb was owned by the wealthy and influential Joseph of Arimathea. John (19:41-42), who generally gives us so many extra details, adds that there was a garden around this tomb, implying that the grounds were privately owned, perhaps also by Joseph of Arimathea.

John also stresses that Jesus was taken down quickly and put into this new tomb. Then, in a very curious addition, he reports that Joseph of Arimathea and a colleague, Nicodemus, visited the tomb during the night and brought with them a very large amount of spices: myrrh and aloes (John 19:39). These, it is true, could be used simply as a perfume, but there could be another equally plausible explana­tion. Both substances have a medicinal use – most notably, myrrh has been used as an aid to stop bleeding. Neither drug is known to have a role in embalming dead bodies. Mark (16:1) and Luke (23:56) touch obliquely on this theme as well, adding to their story of the tomb that the women — Mary Magdalene and Mary, the “mother of James,”­ brought spices and ointments with them when they came to the tomb after the Sabbath had ended.

. . . . But there is yet another oddity that we need to note: in the Gospel of Mark, Joseph of Arimathea is described as visiting Pilate and requesting the body of Jesus. Pilate asks if Jesus is dead and is surprised when told that he is indeed, for his demise seems very rapid to Pilate. But since Jesus is dead, Pilate allows Joseph to take the body down. If we look at the original Greek text, we see an im­portant point being made: when Joseph asks Pilate for Jesus’s body, the word used for “body” is soma. In Greek this denotes a living body.  When Pilate agrees that Joseph can take the body down from the cross, the word he uses for “body” is ptoma (Mark 15:43-45). This means a fallen body, a corpse or carcass. In other words, the Greek text of Mark’s Gospel is making it clear that while Joseph is asking for the living body of Jesus, Pilate grants him what he believes to be the corpse. Jesus’s survival is revealed right there in the actual Gospel account.

If the writer of this Gospel had wished to hide that fact, it would have been very easy for him simply to use one word for both state­ments — to have both Joseph and Pilate speaking of the ptoma, the corpse. But the writer chose not to be consistent. Could this be be­cause it was too well known a fact for him to get away with any manipulation of it? This had to wait for the translation of the New Testament from Greek into Latin: in the Latin Bible – the Vulgate – the word corpus is used by both Pilate and Joseph of Arimathea, and this simply means “body” as well as “corpse.” The hiding of the secret of the crucifixion was completed.

Again, it takes only a slight shift of perspective, a standing aside from the theological dogma, to see the crucifixion in a new way. That is, to see how Jesus could very well have survived.

Jesus alive in A.D. 45?

Then there’s this: Jesus is reported to have been alive in A.D. 45, twelve years after his crucifixion. When this tidbit of historical information came into Michael Baigent’s hands in the form of a letter from an undivulged source, he immediately set out to find “incontrovertible evidence that Jesus survived and was living long afterwards.” But his efforts were to no avail.

Then there’s the Stations of the Cross plaque still on the wall of the church at Rennes le Chateau.

“. . . an image that reveals something very heretical indeed. . . .  One image, for example, shows a woman with a child standing beside Jesus; the child is wearing a Scottish tartan robe. . . . But the most curious of all is Station 14. This is traditionally the last of the series illustrating Jesus being placed in the tomb prior to the resurrection. At Rennes le Chateau the image shows the tomb and, immediately in front of it, three figures carrying the body of Christ. But the painted background reveals the time as night. In the sky beyond the figures, the full moon has risen.”

This indicates that the Passover had begun — and no Jew would have handled a dead body after the Passover had begun as it would make him ritually unclean. The scene also suggests that the body of Jesus was not being placed in a tomb but was being carried out secretly under the cover of night.

The significance of this story lies in the fact that the priest of Rennes le Chateau, Abbe Sauniere, discovered the story of Jesus’ survival in documents he found while renovating the church in the early 1890’s. His bishop, upon seeing the documents, sent him to Paris to meet with experts at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, where he spent three weeks. He returned with access to considerable wealth, sufficient to completely renovate the church and build a road to the village up the hill. The implication is that his silence was bought.

It is important to note that the Stations of The Cross at Rennes le Chateau were painted under the direct supervision of Abbe Sauniere. He appears to be telling us that he knows — or a least believes — that Jesus survived the crucifixion.

As a final note to close this post, I will tell you about a most interesting event Michael Baigent discloses in this chapter. In researching the origin of the letter he had received mentioned above, he came upon Canon Alfred Lilley (1860–1948) who was Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral in Oxford, England. He was an expert in medieval French and was often consulted on difficult translation work.  He was invited to Paris to the Seminary of Saint Sulpice to assist in the translation of a “strange document (or documents).” The scholars working on the translation asked for help because of the outrageous nature of the text which they thought that perhaps they were misunderstanding. His friend, a Rev. Bartlett, who had invited him to go to Paris, reports on the outcome:

“They didn’t know that it was close to the bone . . . . Lilley said that they wouldn’t have a long and happy life if certain people knew about it. It was a very delicate matter. Lilley laughed over what was going to happen when the French priest told anyone about it. He didn’t know what happened to them [the documents], but he thought that they had changed hands for a large sum of money and had ended up in Rome.” In fact, Lilley thought that the Church would ultimately destroy these documents.

Lilley was quite certain that these documents were authentic. They were extraordinary and upset many of our ideas about the Church. Contact with the material, he said, led to an unorthodoxy. . . .  “By the end of his life,” Bartlett explained, ” Lilley had come to the conclusion that there was nothing in the Gospels that one could be certain about. He had lost all conviction of truth.”

A group of “Modernists” that included Lilley wanted to “revise the dogmatic assertions of the church teachings in the light of the discoveries made by science, archaeology, and critical scholarship.” Baigent concludes with this observation.

Many theologians were realizing that their confidence in the historical validity of New Testament stories was misplaced. For example, William Inge, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, was once asked to write on the life of Jesus. He declined, saying that there was not nearly enough solid evidence to write anything at all about him.”

I will leave it there for now. Until my next post Easter Sunday morning, then,

Be love. Be loved.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

 

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