PART 1 – THE COMING OF JESUS
This is the book of Mary the Magdalene, the twin of Jesus.
It was through Mary that the truth first became known to the world. It was through Mary that Jesus became manifest. Mary was the gate of Jesus. Through her he talked and gave his message to the world. Jesus was himself the kingdom of heaven – the spirit dwelling in the flesh, the union of man and god.
Paul, writing to the Galatians, recorded how Jesus had come through a Jewish woman:
…when the fullness of time did come, god sent forth his son, come of a woman, come under law, that those under law he may redeem ... (Galatians 4)
Jesus was Mary’s spirit. It was Mary who first saw Jesus, Mary who was first redeemed. It was Mary who recorded the things that Jesus told her and wrote them down as his sayings and parables. She recorded them in the name of Jesus because they had come from Jesus. It was Mary, a woman in a man’s world, who appointed twelve male disciples to carry Jesus’ teachings to the people. It was Mary who adopted a male pseudonym to disguise her sex – a tactic employed by many women throughout history. It was Mary who later chose her brother to lead her church as a figurehead while she controlled the church through him.
For thousands of years the story of Jesus has been told from the four gospels of belief; Mark, Mathew, Luke and John. In these gospels Jesus is a man, walking the earth like any other man, yet doing miracles and great deeds. He dies crucified by the Jews and Romans as a sacrifice to Yahweh, his father, in order to redeem from sin a mankind who are inherently depraved. He is resurrected on the third day into a material body. According to these gospels believing in Jesus, in his crucifixion and resurrection, saves a person and gives them eternal life. And if a person is not saved they are condemned to eternal damnation.
All these things are true. But they are not true in the way the gospels of belief understand them. For Jesus did walk the earth, not as a man, but as the spiritual twin of a woman. And the crucifixion did not take place on a cross of wood. It takes place in a time that is always now and in a space that it is always here. For man when he is born is only half born. Part of him exists unborn in darkness and that part of him is eternal and will suffer eternally in the dark unless it can be born into the light. This second rebirth takes place through the crucifixion and resurrection. But belief is not enough. A man is not reborn through simply believing. A man is reborn through the experience of the mysteries, the mysteries not of man, but of god.
The requirement for a second birth is remembered even in the gospels of belief:
Jesus answered and said to him, `Truly I say to you, unless a person is born from above, they will not be able to see the Kingdom of God;'
Nicodemus said to him, `How is a man able to be born, being old? Is he able to go into the womb of his mother a second time to be born?'
Jesus answered, `Truly, I say to you, unless a person is born of water, and the Spirit, he is not able to enter into the Kingdom of God; that which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3)
The gospels of Mathew and Luke record how the Holy Spirit came down to Mary to give birth to Jesus. In the gospels this Mary is the mother of Jesus and husband of Joseph. But in reality she was Mary the Magdalene, the daughter of Joseph. For the gospel writers did not understand that Jesus was born spiritually through Mary and not physically. Thinking that Jesus was born physically they must put the moment of his birth before Mary the Magdalene’s time. So in their narratives Mary fractures into two, Mary the Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. This Mary the mother is still linked to Mary the Magdalene in John where she waits with Mary the Magdalene at the foot of the cross. But the two were originally one and it was Mary the Magdalene who was originally known as the virgin.
Little in the gospels of belief is completely true and little is completely false. The gospels of Mark, Mathew and Luke were all written by outsiders. The authors were not among the ‘perfected’ those who possessed the spirit and who had entered into the kingdom of god. They took the stories they had been taught, not understanding their true meaning, and tried to weave them into a consistent narrative. But the stories they had were only the outer mysteries of the Jesus movement. They were faithful to the truth as they knew it, but their truth was not the whole. As the author of Mark wrote:
And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but to those on the outside all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest they may turn, and their sins may be forgiven them.” (Mark 4)
The author of Mark was himself one of these outsiders, trying faithfully to record the saying that had come down to him, while mutilating it through his lack of understanding. The true reason why Jesus talks in parables is not to avoid redeeming the sins of the outsiders. It is because those outsiders are not capable of the spiritual redemption and so must tread the path of faith and works. But the author of Mark cannot even understand the concept of spiritual redemption; he thinks redemption is through forgiveness of sins. So he attributes the absurd motive to Jesus of refusing to talk except in parables so as not to have to redeem the sins of the undeserving.
The gospel of John is different. Perhaps the author of John had the spirit but determined to keep the secret in a gospel intended for the uninitiated. Or perhaps the final author of John was an outsider like the other gospel writers but was drawing on texts written by the initiated. For although John is a gospel of belief and works, as are the other three, there are times when the truth is very close to the surface.
In one source only is the truth preserved in a form close to its original; the Gospel of the Twin which has come down to us in the form of the Gospel of Thomas. Older than the other gospels this text preserves the secret sayings attributed to Jesus. It was available to the other gospel writers and they, although misunderstanding it, drew upon it frequently. Centuries later it was banned as heretical and was lost until dug out of the Egyptian sands at the end of the Second World War. Yet even Thomas is a corrupted version of the original for it has been translated and mistranslated and it has suffered from mangling and corruptions at the hands of those who preserved it. For although the Gospel of the Twin was originally revered, its esoteric sayings were understood by very few, and it gradually became less respected than the gospels of belief.
Another vital source are the genuine epistles of Paul. Written by a man whose time in the Jesus movement overlaps with Mary and written long before the gospels they are the only valid first hand accounts of the early church. Yet even these epistles are veiled and difficult. For Paul’s teachings are deeply blasphemous and he possess knowledge that is scandalous to his own cause. Most of his congregation do not themselves possess the spiritual resurrection and like the authors of the gospels of belief are outsiders. Their fragile belief must be protected by hiding from them the inner mysteries. And Paul is playing a deeper game yet, a game against Yahweh and his angels no less. For all these reasons he often gives his message in passages which have two meanings – one for the outsiders and one for the pneumatic elect.
The Gnostics understood that Paul was one of their number and that he often disguised Gnostic truths in passages with an apparently different meaning. Like the mainstream churches the Gnostics can trace their roots back to the start of Christianity. But unlike the churches of faith and works the Gnostics always practised the route to salvation through knowledge or Gnosis. Later they fragmented into many sects and many of these became decadent. Perhaps few of the Gnostics themselves ever truly knew the spirit. Branded heretics by the mainstream church, the churches of gnosis were prosecuted and dismembered when the Christian church became the official religion of the Roman Empire. The gospel of Thomas was rediscovered as part of a collection of Gnostic scriptures. Bound immediately after it was another fascinating text, the Gospel of Phillip, which was dated much later than the Gospel of Thomas, but which may preserve early traditions.
A major source of information about the Gnostics is the writings of their opponents. Several Church fathers wrote extensively against the Gnostics and their writings are an important source of information about Gnostic beliefs. On the subject of the birth of Jesus through Mary there were some very different traditions among the Gnostics. For example Hyppolitus records that some disciples of the great Gnostic teacher Valentinus believed that Jesus came into existence spiritually through the descent of the Holy Spirit into Mary:
The Orientals, on the other hand, of whom is Axionicus and Bardesianes, assert that the body of the Saviour was spiritual; for there came upon Mary the Holy Spirit ... (Hyppolitus Refutation of all Heresies book 6)
Tertullian also writing against the Valentinians records what seems to him an absurd idea; that the Valentinians believed that Jesus came into existence through Mary and yet had not been born of her.
He was produced by means of a virgin, rather than of a virgin! On the ground that, having descended into the virgin rather in the manner of a passage through her than of a birth by her, He came into existence through her, not of her--not experiencing a mother in her, but nothing more than a way. (Tertullian: Against Valentinians)
These accounts preserve the tradition that Jesus had come into existence as a spirit through Mary. The gospels of Mathew and Luke have many stories about the nativity. Stories about Magi following a star to the baby Jesus and presenting the carpenter and his wife with incredibly valuable presents, stories about shepherds and angels. These are stories to engage children, mythical accretions of the type that often attach to the infancy of great men. They do not exist in Mark or John and the antecedents to some of these stories have been found in Jewish literature.
In Mathew and Luke the Mary who gives birth to Jesus is a virgin. Whether or not Mary Magdalene was a virgin (and she may well have been), it is easy to see where this came from. Jesus was born by the holy spirit descending into Mary and not through conception by a man. This is the point the gospel writers are trying to make. Believing that the birth of Jesus was physical they do so through the absurd idea of a virgin giving physical birth. In the Gospel of the Twin there was a saying that also refers to the non-physical birth of Jesus:
A woman […] said to him: Blessed is the womb which bore thee, and the breasts which nourished thee. He said to her: Blessed is that womb which has not conceived, and those breasts which have not given suck.
This saying rejects the idea that Jesus was born physically and gives a cryptic clue that he came into existence non-physically through a woman.
The saying is not in its original form in the Gospel of Thomas. It has suffered additions that have certainly been taken from Luke. The author of Luke did not understand the meaning of the original saying and split it into two to bring out his own interpretation. The second part Luke interpreted as being a prophecy of the times that will come before the second coming. This is a theme that is alien to the Gospel of Thomas but dear to the writers of the gospels of belief. He took this second part of the saying, the part that was spoken by Jesus, and put it into Jesus’ mouth as he was being led to crucifixion -
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts which never gave suck. (Luke 23)
He was left with the first part. To this he attaches an ending almost identical to one that he had already used as part of another saying from the Gospel of Thomas about Jesus’ brothers and mother waiting for him (in reality the brothers and mother of Mary). This gives the saying in Luke spoken by a woman in the crowd -
And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said to him, Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which you have sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11)
Hundreds of years later the meaning of the original saying had been lost and a scribe wrote in the margin of a copy of the Gospel of Thomas the meaning of the two parts of the saying as given in the popular Gospel of Luke. A later copyist then incorporated these marginal comments into the saying, a common occurrence in the days when manuscripts had to be copied by hand. This gave the Gospel of Thomas saying in the form that has come down to us:
A woman in the crowd said to him: Blessed is the womb which bore thee, and the breasts which nourished thee. He said to her: Blessed are they who have heard the word of the Father and have kept it in truth. For there shall be days when you will say: Blessed is that womb which has not conceived, and those breasts which have not given suck.
How exactly was Jesus born through Mary? In the same way that any person is reborn in the spirit – through the crucifixion and the resurrection. In the Gospel of John, on the eve of his crucifixion Jesus makes the equivalence between the passion and birth explicit:
“The woman, when she gives birth, has sorrow, because her hour did come, but when she has given birth no more does she remember the anguish, because of the joy that a person was born to the world.” (John 16)
The moment when Jesus first came to Mary the Magdalene is the most sacred moment in all Christianity. The story was preserved and told from person to person. Around it was written the passion narrative of the gospels of belief.
It occurred under the rule of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate (AD 26-36). Later the tellers of the stories that were to merge into the passion narrative misunderstood this. They thought that because it occurred under his rule it must have been ordered by Pontius Pilate, the brutal Roman governor of Judea. But this is one crime of which Pontius Pilate was innocent. There was no physical crucifixion. The crucifixion existed in the mind of Mary the Magdalene and in the spiritual reality her mind was accessing.
In the gospels the resurrection is at the end but in truth it was the beginning. The resurrection stories in the gospels record the moment Jesus first appeared to Mary. The resurrection took place before the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus was the god-man nailed to an upright post (the Greek word is Stauros) by demonic beings. Mary stood at the foot of the stake, as all women must, and witnessed the suffering of her Christ. She went down to the tomb with him, as all women must, to anoint her lord even in death.
And then she became the first witness to the resurrection. She saw her spirit. She saw him as a young man dressed as a bridegroom in white. She saw him shining in beauty, strength and power.
This moment is recalled in the gospels. All the accounts agree that it was not Jesus that Mary saw first, but an angelic like being. This is the remembrance of her spirit. In most of the gospels other women accompany her but these are mostly other identities of ‘Mary’ such as Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary was alone and saw her spirit not in a real tomb but in a deep meditative trance.
The simplest and oldest account is in the Gospel of Mark:
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid. And he said to them, “Be not afraid. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said to you.” And they went out quickly, and fled from the tomb; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. (Mark 16)
This passage was originally the end of Mark. The truth must be seen by looking through the novelistic distortions the author has introduced to make the story fit his narrative. The young man dressed in white is the spirit of Mary.
The spirit grew within Mary and became strong. She sought solitude so that in meditation she could experience his reality more completely. He worked through her, and she walked with him. The world became almost unbearable beautiful and luminous. Then came the dawning realisation that he, her spirit, was also Jesus.
Why did she not recognise him from the start? For Jesus as the god-man redeemer had to exist for Mary before she saw him. But this existence was in her imagination. It was in her imagination that Jesus was hung on the stake. It was in her imagination that he had died. But when she saw her spirit this was not imagination but her new found faculty of inner sight. The spirit did not correspond to her imagined Jesus and it took her time to recognise that they were the same. An account of this process is found in John:
At this, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek? She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said to her, Mary. She turned herself, and said to him, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher. Jesus said to her, Do not touch me; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20)
The essential elements are that Jesus originally appeared in a form that Mary did not recognise. Later she understands that this is Jesus. In this account Jesus is clearly spiritual – ‘do not touch me’ he says. The spirit ascends to the Father on death. In the gospels the period in which Jesus was among the disciples before his ascension was forty days. In reality it was many years.
A woman’s spirit appears to her as a bridegroom, her brother and her husband. A woman’s spirit leads her to life. Mary told a story about this in the Gospel of the Twin:
Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go out from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Look, I will lead her that I may make her male, in order that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The spirit is the living god inside. The spirit shines with the light of the father. The spirit is the ultimate value and contains all other values. The spirit is both us and god.
An example of a woman’s spirit appearing in male form is recounted in Irenaeus’ ‘Against Heresies’. He is writing against the Gnostic teacher Marcus and in his condemnation of Marcus records some of his practises. Marcus would offer a cup of wine to a female disciple and say these words:
"May that Chaffs who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill thine inner man, and multiply in thee her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in thee as in good soil."
The inner man is the woman’s spirit. Marcus talks also about the receipt of the spirit thus:
"I am eager to make thee a partaker of my Charis, since the Father of all doth continually behold thy angel before His face. Now the place of thy angel is among us: it behoves us to become one. Receive first from me and by me the gift of Chaffs. Adorn thyself as a bride who is expecting her bridegroom, that thou mayest be what I am, and I what thou art. Establish the germ of light in thy nuptial chamber. Receive from me a spouse, and become receptive of him, while thou art received by him. Behold Charis has descended upon thee; open thy mouth and prophesy."
The spirit has often been perceived as an angel. But as Marcus says “Now the place of the angel is among us: it behoves us to become one”. The woman adorns herself as a bride to receive her bridegroom. The bridegroom, her spouse is her angel spirit.
Mary’s bridegroom was Jesus himself. The following words are from the Gospel of the Twin:
They said [to him]: Come, let us pray today and fast. Jesus said: What then is the sin that I have done, or in what have I been overcome? But when the bridegroom comes out from the bridal chamber, then let them fast and pray.
If the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber then the spirit has been lost. Then is the time for fasting, prayer and lamentations!
Mary, as the Bride of Christ, was remembered in myth form in the Gospel Of Phillip.
There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
The three were really one and the same woman. The Gospel of Phillip also says:
And the companion of the [...] Mary Magdalene. [...] loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples [...]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness."
This tells us why Mary the Magdalene was special. She was the one who was able to see.