Archive for the ‘Mary of Nazareth’ Category


1 To Theophilus.

The first book I wrote was about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up into heaven. Before this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told the apostles he had chosen what they should do. After his death, he showed himself to them and proved in many ways that he was alive. The apostles saw Jesus during the forty days after he was raised from the dead, and he spoke to them about the kingdom of God. Once when he was eating with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem. He said, “Wait here to receive the promise from the Father which I told you about. John baptized people with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

-Acts of the Apostles 1:1-5 (New Century Version, NCV)

Been a bit behind in my reflections on different scriptures. This one has been percolating since Mother’s Day (in Anglican tradition Mothering Sunday; and other traditions Christian Family Sunday). The scripture that falls on this day is traditionally stated to have been written by Luke, the Physician, the one that travelled and had a falling out with Paul. His sequel, Acts of the Apostles, to his Gospel, the second part of what speaks to a “historical account” of the early church. That is trying to show the gospel story for those who have been disenfranchised by their society, it also touches upon Trinitarian language (language of the Trinity alluded to in scripture, adopted by Constantinian Christendom), but more on that later.

When the apostles were all together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, are you now going to give the kingdom back to Israel?”

Jesus said to them, “The Father is the only One who has the authority to decide dates and times. These things are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”

After he said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 As he was going, they were looking into the sky. Suddenly, two men wearing white clothes stood beside them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? Jesus, whom you saw taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go.”

-Acts of Apostles 1:6-11 (NCV)

Many have seen Hebrew Bible story throw backs to Elijah or Enoch. Enoch of course being tied to the texts that aids in the building upon of Paleo-Seti theology (Ancient Alien Theory). It is the idea of a human ascending from this life. In this moment Luke is conveying the concept of Jesus as an ascendant master, a concept that would have been available to a group meeting within a major centre due to the Roman Roads network. It also lays a passage of how we will recognize the second coming of Jesus. But truly reflect on that passage, come back in the same way you saw him go.

Some have used this to speak to rapture/second coming end of the world language. But what if it is less violent than that? What if it is those mystery-mystical-random acts of kindness experiences that seek no recompense? What if it is what simply has been being stated in every vision of Mary of Nazareth since her son’s ascension and hers (more thoughts on Mary of Nazareth here). That is, as we have seen Jesus go through life, transfiguration, death, resurrection and transition is the journey of the soul for each of us, and through us the essence of his life and teachings will transfigure this world.

Yet in this text rooted is the choosing of the new life to replace that which succumbed to the darkness in Judas Iscariot:

12 Then they went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. (This mountain is about half a mile from Jerusalem.) 13 When they entered the city, they went to the upstairs room where they were staying. Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon (known as the Zealot), and Judas son of James were there. 14 They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers.

15 During this time there was a meeting of the believers (about one hundred twenty of them). Peter stood up and said, 16-17 “Brothers and sisters, in the Scriptures the Holy Spirit said through David something that must happen involving Judas. He was one of our own group and served together with us. He led those who arrested Jesus.” 18 (Judas bought a field with the money he got for his evil act. But he fell to his death, his body burst open, and all his intestines poured out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem learned about this so they named this place Akeldama. In their language Akeldama means “Field of Blood.”) 20 “In the Book of Psalms,” Peter said, “this is written:

‘May his place be empty;
leave no one to live in it.’  And it is also written:

‘Let another man replace him as leader.” 21-22 “So now a man must become a witness with us of Jesus’ being raised from the dead. He must be one of the men who were part of our group during all the time the Lord Jesus was among us—from the time John was baptizing people until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven.”

23 They put the names of two men before the group. One was Joseph Barsabbas, who was also called Justus. The other was Matthias. 24-25 The apostles prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to do this work. Show us who should be an apostle in place of Judas, who turned away and went where he belongs.” 26 Then they used lots to choose between them, and the lots showed that Matthias was the one. So he became an apostle with the other eleven.

-Acts of Apostles 1:12-26 (NCV)

Why would this text be important on Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day? Simple, too often our created patriarchal church structure has silenced the all to important divine feminine. Silenced the women at the tomb. The women that sacrificed and worked to support the mission of Jesus of Nazareth and his men. The woman that chose a different path that what society said was “right and just” for her non-entity status. A woman that chose to stand and watch that same society destroy her child.

Yet that same woman, was the mother of a movement. Mary of Nazareth held authority in the early community because of the balance of divine feminine and masculine that Jesus taught. The different way, the getting right with creation where God/YHWH/Holy Mystery created humanity in their image- Male and Female. Both. Together. The replacement was divined through many ways of understanding, but in the midst of the story, is that Mary is the one that called for it, and ascended to it. Without her and the other matriarchs would the movement have survived the crucifixion?

Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday holds truer to the roots of the scripture of a Matriarch. Or perhaps it is because I have seen how many traditions have misused the concept of “Christian Family Sunday.” Thought to embrace the diversity that is the Christian world, instead another way to sideline the marginalized voice, the matriarch, the divine feminine and assert the religious right idea of patriarchy. While Mother’s Day/Mothering Sunday still allows for the deviance that was the original movement, for it speaks to the women (however they identify) that allowed us to become who we were truly meant to be.

For that is the story of Mary, and the strength she had in mentoring, letting, releasing, and loving her son to speak love into the world…and all that came from those four letters upon their family.

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This is the first of a series of reflections coming from a book study that we are involved in with the Universal Church of the Master Alberta. It is an exploration of the 1908 metaphysical text The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ

 

  1. That naught can make them one but Love; that God so loved the world that he has clothed his son in flesh that man may comprehend.
    21.The only Saviour of the world is love, and Jesus, son of Mary, comes to manifest that love to men.

                                                -Aquarian Gospel 7:20-21

There is a golden cord that resonates throughout this Gospel, that ties through the sacred texts of eternity, and for long time readers of this site will recognize the word as a basis for my faith: L-O-V-E.

Please ignore the term “men” or “man” it is not about only one gender being saved or mattering, it is the terminology of 1908, and we cannot let that hold us up for these terms were used universally for all humanity (and this is a universal teaching).

It is true in each cycle of life on this planet there is a prophet/apostle/teacher that emerges to lead the way back to the one true source of life, that being love. Think of the ancient mystics, the shamans, the medicine people, clerics, heroes of lore, and current spiritual masters… which ones can you name and why?

Mother Teresa. Clare & Francis of Assisi. Dalai Lama. Martin Luther King Jr. Louis Riel. Desmond Tutu. To name but a few.

This was laying out that within this cycle of teachers came Jesus and his Mum. I say Mary, as mentioned in earlier e-books and talks, Mary since her ascension, has had many appearances that shatter ideological and divisive ways of the name Jesus, to point people back to the true source of Love. This cumulative work that shows a take on the life of Jesus—a story, allegory, metaphor, that ties everything together in love points us to what the Gospels were saying in the New Testament and Gnostics, not to mention other texts. Strip away the cultural laws, to the core message and that is the core message that works, not necessarily the literal black and white words on the page.

So with this golden cord, what are you choosing today?

What is love lived in you going to look like?


Thanks to the bookstore at the Centre, and a wonderful wifey, I have come into possession of a new collection of writings of Joseph Campbell on Bliss. It is a good and deep read, as he moves through mythologies exploring deeper meaning, religious meanings, psychological. It is interesting as he speaks of the Hindu culture moving from literalism to symbolism, but what struck most is his reflections on Christendom.

Specifically there is the usual historics of how many of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) stories reflect oral traditions from the Goddess tradition that showed a twinning of Male-Female, yet these tales brought forward a strong singular Patriarchy that silenced the Mother Wisdom.

But I digress, the intriguing theory that stuck in my mind was in regards to Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth, that Christendom would later term the Christ. It was two simple words: Virgin Soul. Not Virgin Girl. Not young woman. Not Virgin Mother. But Virgin Soul.  This term struck me as profound in my morning meditation, as it creates this space within the Mary story for others who want to explore the feminine and the spiritual without surrendering to dogmatics around immaculate conception or Ascension. One doesn’t even have to enter into the debate on how Jesus was conceived whether via Angel, Holy Spirit, Roman Centurion or Joseph…

For Virgin Soul speaks to who Mary was at her core. This non-entity in her world, but a holy person. One untouched by cynicism, corruption, abuse of the holy, in fact I would say it speaks to a soul that resonates with unity with the Spirit within, without having lost that connection through trauma.

Reflect on it, Mary’s Virgin Soul opened her up to the wonderful blessing that  a child raised to see what is just, compassionate and loving could do in this world. A path was laid out by a woman for her illegitimate son that transformed the world. The heart of this life for the young Jesus bar Mary was simply:

What Would Love Do?


Iconogrial

Iconogrial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March 3, 2013 @ Unity of Calgary (10 a.m.)

            In the Christianities of the world, the most venerated person, after Jesus of Nazareth, is his mum, Mary. It is amazing when you think about her, why would so many turn to her? Why as recently as 50 years ago would the largest group of Christians debate whether or not to make her a co-redeemer with Christ?  Is this peasant girl turned Mother of God so important?

Simple, in the patriarchal and misogynistic cover up that began in the 300’s with first Constantine, and then followed by others as the message of peace, love, hope, faith, and joy was co-opted for political gains…the mystical, the grandmother tradition was ripped out of it. Even it seems in more progressive thought that has emerged within spiritualities in the late nineteenth to early 21st centuries we still tend to focus overtly on the masculine when it comes to naming something, or if we work with the feminine we leave it very mystical and out there.

This morning we are going to get down and dirty with what has become the archetype for the Goddess, the feminine side of God, once in Hebrew yore known simply as Wisdom, or has a name now, a name that we can claim and should claim as part of our story. That name is Mary.

Who is she now? She is an apparition that has been appearing to individuals and communities since twenty years before her death. The first recorded sighting of her is in 40 CE to James, a follower of the Way, and she has continued since then. She has appeared most famously in Lourdes and Guatemala, but do you know she started appearing 10 years before hostilities broke out in the former Yugoslavia and all the way throughout the brutality of war, genocide, and rape there attempting to get anyone from any side to listen to the message of the creator for the children. The message? Well it was the same one she brought to Rwanda as well.

That we as a people need to journey deep into the heart of the Holy Mystery to drink deeply of the divine love, and then live this love, all inclusive, all welcoming, rending of labels love out into our world as the antidote for the spiritual illness of hatred that has manifested itself and is destroying us.

A message that she has been resonating with since the First Century CE, a message she spreads in her appearing by taking on the form of whatever is familiar to those in the area whether it be a hag, witch, fairy queen, a divine light, a young woman, a crone, whatever form you can imagine a woman being in to be heard in whichever community comes to mind is how the Holy Mystery sends Mary to bring the message, the same message her son brings when we enter into the Cosmic Christ and it enters into us, unfortunately the political whims of the world have co-opted, abused, and destroyed the name of the simple labourer’s son from Nazareth, so that it is the in the peasant woman who found her voice we hear the clarion call for Love and peace.

So obviously this woman must have a powerful story.  There is much out there about Mary one can Google, or look up, read, even meditations, prayers and services. But it is within the ancient stories we discover who this person is when set in the proper context.

For those of us in New Thought, the Fillmore’s were a product of their generation, and as such the archetypes are tied to the 12 males that walked with Jesus, who was the Cosmic Consciousness the archetypes fed into, these are:  Faith, Love, Strength, Wisdom, Power, Imagination, Purity, Understanding, Will, Order, Enthusiasm, and Life. Those are the twelve powers tied exclusively to the male disciples, yet as you hear about the life of Mary, and then experience Mary’s yes for yourself, the question I pose is simply, is she only one power or is she like her son, the culmination of all? The true twinning of Male/Female…the Holy Grail for some.

She lived in a small town, in a nation that was under occupation by an Empire. Where the people were seen as nothing more than livestock, as a girl, until she could bear children she was seen as a burden on her family, for occupiers she was seen as nothing more than a sex toy if they chose. Once of child bearing age or even before her father would enter a business relationship with another man who wished to purchase the daughter on the hope that a) she could bear children, b) that child be a son. Other than that her role was to take care of the home, even when widowed and the elder son cared for her, it was still up to her to keep the home.

This was an agreement by and for men, that the child was expected to abide by. Once signed she was betrothed to this man, and any visitations or signs of impropriety with a male would end in her either a) being cast out of the city walls, or b) taken before the patriarchal religious authorities and stoned to death.

A world where the faith was passed down though at the apron hem of the mothers, aunts and grandmothers to all genders, until the boys became men at age 12, and at age 30 were expected to wed, move into the main house, and build on attachments to care for their parents and if need be, wives parents. Yet the germination of faith started from the women.

This is a child who never was asked what she thought, was only told what to do. We shall in a moment experience the time she found her voice.

But if you ever enter into the gospel stories of Mary, watch her, she is an amazing woman. Struggling with her own challenges and fears, she goes and helps her aged and pregnant cousin to deliver a prophet into the world even while her betrothed contemplates having her stoned to death or simply cast out to the sex trade workers outside the city walls for the transgression of carrying a child not his; she pushes her son to act out of love and hospitality at a wedding feast; she follows him as a world executes her child, not a prophet or a messiah to her, but her child…as they beat him, and lynch him. She watches it all, and she buries him. She holds his movement together by finding the right people to become leaders. This peasant girl from a town probably no bigger than Bassano, Alberta from a family lower than labour class as it is a labourer that purchases her to be a child bride. Yet it is the simplicity of her strength that shakes the world from its oppression, and that she continues to shine her light into the darkness of destruction, death, feminine, plague, hatred and war and shines brighter still to watch those answer the call of love into the Holy Mystery, and living that love out to transform their world.

We are going to take a moment to enter into that love ourselves this morning. It is a spiritual exercise from Ignatius of Loyola for studying sacred texts, whatever you find sacred texts or music to be.  You hear or read it three times. Each time we rest with a question and seek an answer.  This story is called “The Annunciation” it is the story of the Holy asking Mary to bear a child. My family always ponders how many girls said no because they knew the outcast they would become? But that is a question to ponder another day.

Get comfortable in your seat. Close your eyes. Slow your breath, discovering your rhythm and becoming one with the environment around you. Let your mind cleanse itself, do not worry if a thought pops up, acknowledged it, and then place it aside until after. Feel the pew and this building melt away, feel the dust of the old world, the bustle of livestock, chattering of children working and playing, women talking, perhaps the clang of soldiers moving throughout the village. You are entering into the announcement, you are a thirteen year old peasant girl, who has just been bought by a 50ish year old man to bear his child.

As you prepare to hear the story for the first time, sit and listen, which of the 12 powers are you seeing in action? And let that shape your contemplation of the story.

Read Luke 1:26-39

As you prepare to hear the story a second time, what images are formed or memories surface in your mind as you hear these words? Let you sit with these images/memories and see how the Holy uses them.

For the third and final hearing, can you feel Mary’s anxiety or trepidation to say yes, when was there a time in your life that seizing your yes in love meant a harder road? Sit with that memory and know that, like Mary, you are transforming this world.

Slowly bring your breath back to normal, feel the pew beneath you, the dust melt off you, the sounds of the village vanish, the sounds of the city and this room greet you. Bring your breathing rhythmically up to its normal pace, open your eyes.

Welcome back Mary, how shall we let love Reign in this world?

 


Русский: Феодоровская икона со сказанием Кострома

Русский: Феодоровская икона со сказанием Кострома (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a journey that began as an academic thesis and became a restoration of my soul. My third book was titled, Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred, and the rediscovery of Mary of Nazareth‘s life lived and contemporary apparitions renewed this pilgrimage bringing me back into a healthy relationship within the Holy Mystery. The journey did not end as expected, but the ending was the beginning my soul needed.

I hope these words bless you in reading and soul work as much as they blessed my journey in bringing them together:

Free E-Book here.


Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration

Mary Mother Of Jesus Vector Illustration (Photo credit: Vectorportal)

Dear Friend,

It seems within the church there are two schools on Mary of Nazareth, either over veneration or total ignoring. This is not the case for this beautiful young woman of God. Her story is one of liberation, freedom, and living in such a counter cultural way that her world changed as she bore the Christ-Child.

My retreat offering is simply: She Said Yes: Mary for the 21st Century

It is best in the format of a Friday Evening, Saturday morning/afternoon; but can be adapted to several evenings, or Sunday afternoons as the church needs.

The Sessions which are also interspersed with spiritual practices to aid in the formation and growth of participants:

1) The History of Mary of Nazareth

2) The multiple church doctrines of Mary

3) Extra-biblical legacy of Mary

4) Biblical story of Mary

5) Our Yes: Who is Mary for us today?

What’s the cost?

Coming alongside your congregation for the time. A space where tables can be set up for participants to speak in a round. The church making available tea, coffee, juices & water throughout as well as healthy snacks and lunch on the Saturday. As well as an honorarium for myself (I am setting aside my normal $1-1500 retreat leader fee so any church can have this experience for whatever they can afford).

My last two urban retreats book quickly, but the books are still available (Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Sacred, The Bard’s Spirit: Shakespeare‘s Social Gospel).

I look forward to hearing from your church, and coming alongside for a weekend of discovery.

For booking contact: tyragan@ymail.com