The Book of Mary

 

The senses

And thus spoke Mary:

“You are aware of the five senses; sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. Yet I tell you that there is a sense beyond these five senses. It is sight beyond sight.  It is hearing beyond sound. It is feeling beyond touch.  It is the gift of the spirit and it is the kingdom of heaven. It is the five trees that await you in paradise which are constant summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall.” And Mary said the words that are preserved in Thomas;  “I will give you that which eye has not seen, ear has not heard, and hand has not touched, and which has not entered into the heart of man”.

“If a man walks in the day he does not stumble because he sees the light of the world, but if a man walks in the night he stumbles because there is no light in him. There is light within a man of light and it gives light to the whole world. If it does not give light there is darkness. That light is the glory of the spirit. The spirit is the lamp and the light and the eye.  Do not hide the spirit. A man does not light a lamp and keep it under a bushel or keep it in a hidden place. But he sets it up on a lamp stand so that all who come and go may see its light.  To enter a bridal chamber one must light a lamp or one will be left waiting, a virgin, at the threshold.”

“You who have sight will see the creation as it was created. You will see the trees and the flowers, the stars and the waving grass and you will know them for the first time. You who have sight will see the things of heaven, the powers and the all, and you will know Jesus and Achamoth.  You who have sight will look upon your brothers and sisters and you will see them truly and you will love them even in their folly.  You will see the demons and the evil powers of this age yet they shall have no power over you for you are above them.”

“Such a one will see that the things that men value are foolishness. The sight of this world deludes men into seeing beauty in a whore. It causes them to treasure worldly riches that are but poverty, and to seek worldly power that is but weakness. How little is man, how quickly brushed away into death, like dead twigs or fallen leaves. How great is man, how imperishable and eternal.”

“Men study the stars, and the heavens and the face of the earth and look for signs!  Yet they cannot see what is before them, for if they could then all that is hidden would be revealed. How they turn to the prophets and the scriptures!  They consult the dead yet they ignore the living one in their presence. From Adam to John the Baptist there was none greater than John the Baptist, yet there was none who was sighted.  But you my children who are reborn shall be greater than John and shall enter the kingdom.”  

“Let he who has ears hear! For only to him with hearing will be granted perception. To one with hearing will be given the gift of speaking in the tongue that is beyond all human tongues.  Only in that tongue can the words of power be expressed. To such a one will be given the names of the powers and angels the uttering of which is the gift of summoning. Even the names of men and women and beasts will be theirs.  To one with hearing, many truths will be whispered in that one’s ear. But what is whispered in secret should be shouted from the rooftops.” 

“One who can feel without touch will know a spiritual passion beyond the sensual.  Into their heart shall be planted the ecstasy of knowledge. A spring of joy shall arise within them and shall overflow in their deeds. They shall feel the way of righteousness by the joy of the spirit and one who walks that way how blessed shall they be!”

“Without sight, sound and feeling how barren is a person!  Such a person is imprisoned in matter, in the things of this world, and knows not life. They seek after sensation but lacking sight they find only false sensual pleasures.  They seek after knowledge but lacking sight they are trapped in the labyrinth of reason, the labyrinth that knows no sun and leads only to death. They seek after riches but lacking sight they find only the poverty of the material.”

These are the words that Mary spoke. And the miracle of giving a person new sight or hearing is mentioned many times in the gospels.  But the gospel writers understood not the things of the spirit and interpreted them as being physical miracles.  In the gospel of Mark is a story of a blind man who was given sight.

And he came to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man to him, and asked him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw.  And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. (Mark 8)

To make the story realistic Mark has added names and descriptive details.  But look beyond the fictional narrative and the truth can be seen. The must curious aspect of this story is the man’s response when asked if he could see - “I see men as trees, walking”. What Jesus is really conferring is not sight in the physical sense but another way of perceiving things.  At the heart of this story is some saying such as; “Jesus gave sight to the blind so that they can see all things, whether men or trees, in truth and not in illusion.” But the author of Mark interprets it all literally.  So the ‘blind’ man is taken as being literally blind.  But if he is literally blind then how could he see things as an illusion? So the ingenious author of Mark splits the giving of sight into two stages.  First he can see, but only as an illusion.  Then after a further application of hands he can see in truth.

In truth the blind did not come to see through spitting on the eyes but through the resurrection of the spirit.  Another story about a blind man in Mark contains elements of this resurrection.

… and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, You son of David, have mercy on me.  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying to him, Be comforted, rise; he calls you. And he, casting away his garment, haven risen, came to Jesus.  And Jesus answered and said to him, What would you have me do to you? The blind man said to him, Lord, let me receive my sight. And Jesus said to him, Go your way; your faith has made you whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.  (Mark 10)

The blind man is called to ‘rise’ and then is recorded as having risen.  He casts away his garment. In the Gospel of the Twin and among the Gnostics the garment is a metaphor for the flesh. As it says in Thomas:

When you unclothe yourselves and are not ashamed, and take your garments and lay them beneath your feet like little children, and tread upon them, then you shall see the Son of the living One, and you shall not fear. 

Casting away the garment signifies assuming the spirit and rejecting the flesh.  Jesus also says the blind man ‘has been made whole’ which is another description of the person with the spirit. 

An example of the gift of hearing and speech is also given in Mark:

.. and they bring to him a deaf, stuttering man, and they call on him that he may put his hand on him. And having taken him away from the multitude by himself, he put his fingers to his ears, and having spit, he touched his tongue, and having looked to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, `Ephphatha,' that is, `Be you opened;' and immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he was speaking plain. And he charged them that they may tell no one, but the more he charged them, the more abundantly they proclaimed it, and they were being beyond measure astonished, saying, `Well has he done all things; both the deaf he makes to hear, and the dumb to speak.'  (Mark 7)

Once again Mark adds in his novelistic details such as the multitude, the touching of ears and so on.  This saying records the close relationship between speech and hearing.  By being able to hear the man’s tongue is loosened and he can speak.  As they say of Jesus ‘both the deaf he makes to hear, and the dumb to speak.’ But the deaf and dumb are not those who are deaf and dumb literally.  What is really happening, and what the author of Mark does not understand, is that the man is being given the gift of tongues.

The descent of the spirit into the apostles giving the gift of tongues is described by the inventive writer of the Acts -

And in the day of the Pentecost being fulfilled, they were all with one accord at the same place, and there came suddenly out of the heaven a sound as of a bearing violent breath, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire; it sat also upon each one of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, according as the Spirit was giving them to declare. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation of those under the heaven, and the rumour of this having come, the multitude came together, and was confounded, because they were each one hearing them speaking in his proper dialect, and they were all amazed, and did wonder, saying one unto another, `Lo, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? and how do we hear, each in our proper dialect, in which we were born?  (Acts 2)

But some cynics are not convinced saying - “They are full of sweet wine” - to which Peter replies “these are not drunken, as you take it, for it is the third hour of the day”.

 This story is fiction written by someone who has no experience of that of which they are writing.  The sound out of heaven of ‘violent breath’ is a nice poetic image of the Holy Spirit descending to earth but has no relation to the spirit in reality. As for the tongues of fire descending these derive ultimately from the Gospel of the Twin:

Jesus said: I have cast fire upon the world, and behold I guard it until it is ablaze.

In Acts the gift of tongues is the gift of speaking different languages. This is completely wrong as is shown by Paul’s much earlier description in 1 Corinthians:

for he who is speaking in a tongue, to men he does not speak, but to God, for no one hears, and in spirit he does speak secrets;  (1 Corinthians 14)

Paul is advising his congregation to prophesise rather than to speak in tongues so that they may be intelligible.

wherefore he who is speaking in a tongue -- let him pray that he may interpret;  for if I pray in a tongue, my spirit does pray, and my understanding is unfruitful (1 Corinthians 14)

The gift of interpreting tongues is not the same as the gift of speaking them. Paul proposes that in meetings only two or three should speak in tongues and then only if one given the gift of interpreting is present:

if a tongue any one do speak, by two, or at the most, by three, and in turn, and let one interpret; (1 Corinthians 14)

Paul appears to be anti-tongues partly because of the bad impression that everyone speaking unintelligible gibberish has on potential converts.  Yet Paul himself says how he uses tongues more than anyone but only in private:

I thank God that I speak in tongues more than any of you.  But in an assembly I would rather speak five words through my understanding, so that I might also instruct others, than a myriad of words in a tongue.  (1 Corinthians 14)

Paul’s description explains that tongues are really the language of the spirit.  They are not a means of communication between men nor are they intelligible to the understanding, not even to the person who utters them.  They are a means of speaking the things of the spirit and of uttering the names of the powers. The gift of tongues opens up a universe beyond the spirit. For nothing can be known and nothing can be called unless one has the name of that thing.  Unlike a language of man where all who speak that language speak the same words, in the language of tongues words may differ from person to person.  This does not matter for the name of a thing in that language is not something that is shared with men but which is whispered in secret. It is not learnt from men, but given by the spirit.

Yet there are also names that are held in common and which are in the tongue.  Thus the name Achamoth is in the tongue whereas Sophia or Wisdom is not.

Paul calls tongues the least of the spiritual gifts; yet that it is not. Paul is externally focused and in the external world tongues is a lower gift because it is so easily faked without even the person himself understanding he is faking it. Anyone can make noise on a piano yet to play music is difficult. So can anyone speak gibberish and say, even to themselves, I am speaking in tongues. And in a world where all but a very few are deaf who can tell the difference between one who is striking the keys at random and one who is playing exquisite music?  Yet those who can hear, they will hear.

So the gospels gave stories of those who are given sight and hearing.  In two of the stories above Jesus uses his spittle to effect the miracle.  Is this a realistic detail the author of Mark has made up?  No, this too has come from the gospel of the Twin called Thomas as the following saying shows:

Jesus said: He who shall drink from my mouth shall become like me; I myself will become he, and the hidden thing shall be revealed to him.

In this saying ‘drink from my mouth’ means drink his words.  Yet the authors of the gospels have misunderstood it to mean that the spittle of Jesus has magical properties to reveal what is hidden, to give sight and hearing. Thus, in Mark, the senses are given by spit rather than spirit.

 

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