The Book of Mary

 

The harvest

Mary cleared her mind, and Jesus was strong inside her, and Jesus merged with her. And these are the words that through Mary, Jesus did speak.

“The grain is my body. I am the bread of life and one who eats of that bread will live. I am the fruit of the harvest and the sickle is my cross. I am the king who will go into the ground and will be reborn into the resurrection. He who knows me will know the end and knowing the end they will know the beginning.”

“The grain is cut by the sickle, the grain enters back into the ground.  Into the ground it lies, in the womb of the earth, until it is ready for rebirth.  Those who are reborn must pass down to the tomb with me.  They must lie there dead and must surrender to the evil ones their garments.”

“They must surrender also hope.  They must know the coldness of death. Then when all is blackness they will see that form which they must see. And that form will fill them with horror.  For that form is their own soul. That form is the dead one within.  That form is a young girl for a man, a young man for a woman.  That form is their own little death.”

“Then will my mystery be complete. With me they will they know the resurrection, the rebirth of their spirit.  Then if they be a woman they will be reborn in my image, or if a man reborn in the image of Achamoth. Then will life be theirs, the life of white flowers in spring, the life of the new corn.”

“Then will my harvest be complete.”

Thus did Jesus speak through the mouth of Mary.

When many years later the author of The Acts of the Apostles was writing his historical fiction he reflected the tradition that the harvest brings the spirit.  For in Acts the spirit descends upon the Apostles on the feast of the Pentecost.  This feast is the feast of the harvest, known in Exodus as "the feast of harvest of the first-fruits".  At the Pentecost loaves made from the new wheat were offered to Yahweh.

The Apostle Paul compared Jesus directly to the first-fruits:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15)

The loaves of the Pentecost feast are the body of Jesus which has arisen from the dead.  The eating of those loaves symbolises the resurrection of the harvest. Paul also adds: 

You fool, that which you sows is not quickened, except it die:  And that which you sow, you sow not what that body shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain. ([1 Corinthians 15) 

The fruits of the harvest are the spirit.  The grain that is sown is mortal and of the soul. What is reborn is of the spirit:

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.   And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (1 Corinthians 15).

And the writers of the gospels too preserved some memory of these mysteries. John talks about the harvest with the fruit being the life eternal:

Do you not say ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?’  Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal: so that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.  And thus is that saying true, One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that on which you spent no labour: other men laboured, and you profit from their labours. (John 4)

And the gospel of John also talks about the corn having to die and enter the ground to bear life:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. (John 12)

The harvest involves the descent into the underworld by Jesus and the redemption of the soul into a living spirit.  There are two stories in the gospels that directly recount this redemption experience.  Both of them are presented as literal descriptions of someone being raised from the dead.

In the gospel of Mark is the story of Jairus’ daughter, the recollection of a man’s resurrection.  Jairus, who in Mark is ‘one of the rulers of the synagogue’ comes to Jesus seeking help for his little daughter:

My little daughter lies at the point of death: come and lay your hands on her, that she may be saved and she shall live. (Mark 5) .

Before Jesus can go with him a messenger comes from the house of Jairus saying “Your daughter is dead: why trouble the Master any further?”.  But Jesus said to Jairus “Be not afraid, only believe.” He then escorts Jairus back to his house where he says to the mourners “Why make you this ado, and weep? the girl is not dead, but sleeps.”. They receive this message with scorn but Jesus goes to the place where the little girl is lying:

And he took the girl by the hand, and said to her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Little girl, I say to you, arise. And straightway the girl arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment.  (Mark 5)

This story tells of the rebirth of the soul of Jairus into the spirit. Jairus and Jesus both start away from where the soul is, characterised as a little dead daughter. The house is the body, the dwelling place of the soul, spirit, angels and demons. Jesus goes to the place of the soul and raises it to life. This is the initiation of the ‘harvest’. The very words intoned for a male resurrection are persevered - ‘Talitha cumi’ or little girl arise. In the story the three are clearly present as Jairus, Jesus and the daughter of Jairus.

The phrase that Jairus uses in his request to Jesus, ‘lay your hands on her’, is the same used in the Acts for the giving of the spirit. The author of the Acts does not understand how the spirit is given to a person for it is outside his experience.  In the laying on of hands he echoes the phrase used in the accounts of the spiritual resurrection without realising that it is a spiritual Jesus who is laying his ‘hands’ on a soul.  This has given rise to the absurdity that the spirit is given by a physical transmission through someone’s hands in the same manner as giving a shampoo.

The Valentinian school of Gnostics remembered the true meaning as Irenaeus reports:

They maintain, further, that that girl of twelve years old, the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, to whom the Lord approached and raised her from the dead, was a type of Achamoth, to whom their Christ, by extending himself, imparted shape, and whom he led anew to the perception of that light which had forsaken her.

John too wrote into his gospel an account of a person experiencing the resurrection of the soul. In John this person is called Mary of Bethany the sister of Martha.  The soul ‘brother’ of this Mary is called Lazarus.  Like the ‘daughter’ of Jairus this brother appears to die but as Jesus says he only sleeps. As in the story of Jairus, Jesus starts apart from the person and their soul image and then goes to the place where the soul image lies.

The dead person is the soul. The raising to life is the resurrection of the soul to the spirit. In the resurrection the person comes into the light.  In the light of the spirit they can see to walk in the way of the father. They are no longer blind.  Thus in John’s story Jesus says the following words:

Jesus says “If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.”

Jesus says “Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.”

Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.  (John 11)

These are the words that are close to the original account.  But the person who wrote the final version of John presents these sentences intermingled with a story about Jesus running the risks of stoning if he returns to Judea. For he is trying to explain the words ‘Let us also go, that we must die with him’ not understanding that this is part of a ritual.  Now the real meaning is this. Thomas and Didymus both mean ‘twin’. They represent the disciples as the ‘twin’ of Jesus, with Jesus as their higher, perfect brother.  They will die symbolically with Jesus in order to experience the resurrection.

After this Jesus says:

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11)

But originally instead of ‘he that believeth in me’ it said something like ‘he that knows me’. For Jesus is telling his disciples that they will experience the resurrection in life. For if one’s soul is dead then that person is dead. But through the resurrection they will be reborn to life.  And once their soul lives it will never die.

Jesus then descends to the grave:

.. Jesus .. groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. [..] Jesus wept. […] Jesus therefore .. groaning in himself comes to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  (John 11)

Jesus suffers as he goes down unto death.  John tries to account for this by saying that Jesus’ suffering is in response to the grief of Mary even though, in John’s story, Jesus knows that Lazarus ‘sleeps’ and is not truly dead.

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. 

“Lazarus, come forth.”  And he that was dead came forth ... (John 11)

Here the three are Mary, Jesus and Lazarus (the dark third). This whole story has parallels with the resurrection account and may be an alternative recollection of the resurrection experience of Mary the Magdalene.  It takes place in Bethany which is traditionally identified with a village close to Jerusalem but which actually means “House of affliction” or “House of misery”.  This name is appropriate for the place of the dead. (There may have been a real village of Bethany but this has become confused with what originally a symbolic name.)  The same name, Bethany, is given in John as the place where Jesus was baptised with the Holy Spirit although in this account it becomes Bethany over the Jordan.  The passage over a river is a symbol of the passage to the underworld and ‘Bethany over the Jordan’ is another reference to the place of the dead.  The reason that the descent of the spirit occurs in the “House of Misery” is because it comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the Gospels of belief this has been turned into a story of the spirit descending to Jesus in the symbolic form of a dove whereas in reality Jesus was himself the spirit descending into Mary.

There is another story in the gospels of a visit to the underworld.  In the story of the Gadarene demoniac Jesus passes with his disciple in a boat across water to a place of tombs.  The boat, the crossing of the water and the tombs are symbolic of the underworld.  Before he makes the trip Jesus says:

`We may pass over to the other side'

His disciples say to him;

`Teacher, do you not care that we perish?'

Jesus replies: `Peace, be stilled.  Why are you so fearful? Have you not faith?'  (Mark 4)

But in the gospels the story is presented in literal fashion as a boat trip across the sea of Galilee. To make sense of the disciples’ lament Mark introduces the narrative device of a storm on the sea. Also the words ‘Peace, be stilled’ are expressed in the story to the sea and not to the disciples.

On the other side, in the underworld, Jesus confronts an army of demons. He is challenged as he sets foot in that land by a demon who represents the whole:

“What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the most high God? I adjure you by God, that you do not torment me.” (Mark 5)

This represents a tradition that even demonic beings must acknowledge Jesus. The same tradition is found in the account of the crucifixion when the Roman soldiers, originally demons before the story was literalised, bow down to Jesus as king before crucifying him.

Jesus responds to the demon by asking its name:

And he asked him, What is your name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. (Mark 5)

Armed with their name Jesus defeats them.  But he permits them to go into swine. In the gospels the story is ostensibly about the curing of a demoniac and the swine are a real herd of swine who then charge into the sea.  But in Gospel of the Twin swine represent those who are ‘hylic’ or of the body – that is non-spiritual persons who are only concerned with animal passions and pleasures:

Jesus said: Give not that which is holy to the dogs, lest they cast them on the dung- heap; cast not the pearls to the swine lest they grind it [to bits].

Jesus permits the demons to settle in such persons.  Once there the demons drive them to their destruction. Passing under the sea is symbolic of passing into Hades and those in whom the demons rule are driven to dwell in Hades.  In the gospel’s literal interpretation this is represented by the swine running over a cliff. Why does Jesus not destroy demons? Because he realises that they are all part of God’s plan, that they are ‘the rulers of this age’.

This story records Jesus’ descent to the underworld where he defeats the demons in possession. But the story is incomplete because it does not show the resurrection of the soul into the spirit.

This is not the only time Jesus travels to the underworld by crossing water. Another occasion is the well-known story of Jesus walking on water.  This is a reference to Jesus’ ability to travel to the underworld, to cross the waters, which has been confused in transmission into the story of a literal miracle.

In Mark there is another oblique reference to the resurrection –

And having taken a child, he set him in the midst of them, and having taken him in his arms, said to them,  ‘Whoever may receive such a child in my name, does receive me, and whoever may receive me, doth not receive me, but Him who sent me.' (Mark 9)

The child is the soul image, the dark third, that is ‘received’ though the resurrection when it becomes the spirit.

It is possible that the dead or sleeping child as the image of the soul is also behind the strange story of the massacre of the innocents.  Possibly this is based upon a story that Jesus was the only soul ‘child’ to have been saved from death.

In the Acts there is a garbled account of a resurrection story attributed to Paul:

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.  There were many lamps in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.  And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third floor, and was taken up dead. Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.  Then he went up again, and broke bread, and ate, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. Then they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.  (Acts 20)

In this strange story Paul, after announcing that the young man is still alive, then leaves him apparently dead to continue the meeting. Only after Paul has left do the others apparently bother to see if the young man is alive!  In fact the story has to be interpreted as the resurrection of a soul, represented by the young man Eutychus who falls to earth from heaven (represented by the high window).  The soul is apparently dead but Paul knows he is alive and by the end of the session the resurrection is complete.  The ‘many lamps’ are a reference to the spirit. It means there were many pneumatics possessed by the spirit at the meeting. The breaking of bread represents the death of Jesus. What is happening is that a female disciple is being initiated into the resurrection by Paul and her spirit Eutychus, has been redeemed from its fallen dead state.  The resurrection is itself the dawn and at this time there is much rejoicing that the pneumatics have gained a new initiate.

The Gnostic gospel of Phillip is explicit about the rebirth of the soul. A passage describes how Adam was reborn in the spirit:

The soul of Adam came into being by means of a breath. The partner of his soul is the spirit. His mother is the thing that was given to him. His soul was taken from him and replaced by a spirit. When he was united (to the spirit), he spoke words incomprehensible to the powers.

This talks about Adam who represents man and tells of how his soul is replaced by its spiritual counterpart. The mother refers to Achamoth who is in the image of the spirit which replaces his soul.  Once he possess his spirit he can overcome the powers of darkness by speaking words which are incomprehensible to them.

Another section of the Gospel of Phillip explains how people can only perceive the truth through types and images: 

Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary to be born again through the image. Which one? Resurrection.

The resurrection here is described as the ‘image of rebirth’.  That is it stands for the rebirth but is not in truth the rebirth itself. A person must be reborn through the image, which means they must experience the resurrection themselves although the resurrection, being only an image, is not in a literal sense true.  The passage continues:

The image must rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and the image must enter through the image into the truth: this is the restoration.

The image that is rising is the soul/spirit and it rises through the image of the resurrection.  The second sentence is confused, possibly in transmission. But we can make out its meaning by inserting ‘spirit’ and ‘resurrection’ as the two images - “The bridal chamber and the [spirit] image must enter though the [resurrection] image into the truth: this is the restoration.”  The restoration is when the person is complete – their soul, resurrected as spirit, is restored to the fullness.  It is the bridal chamber where this takes place.     

Another passage talks about the redemption and the bridal chamber as being mysteries:

The Lord did everything in a mystery, a baptism and a chrism and a eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber. [...] he said, "I came to make the things below like the things above, and the things outside like those inside. I came to unite them in the place."

The quotation is loosely from the Gospel of the Twin.  It records that the accepted rituals of the church, the baptism and the Eucharist, are only two of a series of ‘mysteries’ that culminate in the redemption and the bridal chamber.

 

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