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Virgin Mary- A Jewish Essene- Ascetic
Music and Writing on the Essene Culture
The Mother of God was Trained to be a Sacred Vessel
This tradition relates to the women of history that have contributed to the religious icons attaining their stature as enlightened beings. Women are an essential part of their journey to becoming religious leaders. Whether it is the mother of god or a consort under the Bodhi tree, females have been an essential part of the attainment of knowledge or experience in religious context.
The woman of focus in this article is the Virgin Mary. As a modern scientific culture the majority ignore the phenomena of the virgin birth, because it is unscientific for the present worldview of how the biological body works. Some people like to consider the virgin birth a “miracle” in the story of the savior because it adds mystical and other worldly themes to their story. For the majority of reasonable people it is a problem.
This article will outline the three historical Jewish groups during the time of Jesus. It will show that Mary and Joseph lived in a small religious community in Nazareth. This small religious community was unique and very important to the journey of Jesus. Mother Mary was a part of this religious community and was prepared for the arrival of the Messiah. She was not a random Jewish follower that received a divine seed. She was a vessel of the divine but a woman who was schooled and attained purity to channel the divine on Earth. Essentially the argument is that instead of the ignorant human receiving the divine, the ignorant human becomes knowledgeable and is able to attain a level of consciousness to receive and perform divine acts. It is a philosophical worldview between being victims here on Earth or being able to attain knowledge, experience and understanding so that our level of consciousness expands.
First one must understand that the Jewish faith in Judea during 100 BC to 70 AD. There was three major groups of Jewish believers; Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essene. The Pharisees and Sadducees are both the priestly political rulers of the Temple in Jerusalem . The political power and the religious leaders were one in the same. As a result of this dynamic, there were some Jewish people who became very upset at how the Temple was run. Many faithful Jewish people thought that the secular leaders were becoming corrupt and not living the true law of the Torah, so they left the temple. Some scholars call this the beginning of the Second Temple period. The Essene was a group that left the main temple and wanted to practice Jewish Law strictly. Over time this sect built up a significant following around Israel, mostly away from Jerusalem.
Many scholars and researchers believe that one of the main Essene establishments were near Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. It appears that this settlement were highly educated and devoted to the Messianic faith. All of the documents recently found seem to align with there belief that a messiah would be born. Another location that could be considered an Essene settlement is Nazareth which was not anything but a small agricultural spot in the region known as Galilee.
“The town is not named in the Old Testament, although the presence of a spring and the convenience of the site make it probable that the place was occupied in old times. Quaresimus learned that the ancient name was Medina Abiat, in which we may recognize the Arabic el-Medinat el-baidtah, "the white town." Built of the white stone supplied by the limestone rocks around, the description is quite accurate. There is a reference in Mishna (Menachoth viii.6) to the "white house of the hill" whence wine for the drink offering was brought. An elegy for the 9th of Abib speaks of a "course" of priests settled in Nazareth. (Neubauer, Geogr. du Talmud, 82, 85, 190)
In the Old Testament there is not one mention of the place as in a town or site of significance. It has been documented that some small community of people lived here in a “white house”. It has been stated above that a group of 9 priests lived there. This would confirm that this area was not where a temple was located, nor Pharisees attended. It is more likely that this was a group of Essene and those who lived there were dedicated to strict practice of their faith. Mary and Joseph were within this strict group. We know from the Bible that Jesus is known to be a Nazarene. Since there is no mention of this place in any Jewish documents then it would seem correct to assume that it was only a small community of people.
Here is some of the only documented ancient writings about the nature of the Essene group and how they practiced their faith.
The Writings of Philo
"In 20 A.D., Philo, the Jewish philosopher wrote of a Jewish sect numbering about 4,000 whom he called Essaie because of their saintliness. He wrote that they were worshippers of god who did not practice animalistic sacrifices. They had no slaves, as all humans were equal. Moral philosophy and ethics were their chief preoccupations. The seventh day was their Sabbath. They taught piety, holiness, justice, and the art of regulating home and city, but the essence of their teachings was love of God, virtue, and love of humankind. They were indifferent to money, worldly possessions and pleasure. "
The Words of Josephus
"Josephus writing around 80 A.D. said that the Essenes were Jews by birth but seemed to have a greater affection for one another than they did for the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their piety toward God was extraordinary. They wore chitw garments. They used no profanity. They were ministers of peace. They spend a great deal of time studying the writings of the ancients." http://www.newsfinder.org/site/more/the_essenes/
The first fact is that Mary the mother of Jesus was not a simple young girl who randomly had a dream of an angel and became pregnant. Mary was a member of the Jewish Essene sect. The Christian attitude toward Jewish religion is that they were tribal sort of people worshipping a god. I would propose that just as the faith in India was very complex with a sacred text, the Vedas, that later rendered the Buddha, this is also the case for the Jewish faith. The Jewish Rabbi were well studied in all forms of thought, philosophy, astronomy, astrology, secret mystic teachings and well influenced by other ancient texts.
Some Jewish Rabbis' created societies of strict initiatory faith. In the Essene Sect it took three years to be initiated into their group. This is not some weird rituals, but a serious religion who wanted to stay pure with their practice of faith. The first year you were on probation and had to study and learn all the texts, both men and women. The second year you had to show his character and self –control. If he was able to do this the third year he would be allowed to have a common meal, and participate as a full member of the group. He must take vows before he was completely accepted. These are just some of the oaths he would have to say.
But before he touches the common meal, he professes awesome vows:
--First (1) he is to be pious towards God.
--Next (2) he is to keep justice towards men;
--(3) he is to wrong no one either deliberately or on being forced;
Josephus, Jewish War2.137-142
Now all this background knowledge leads to the reasonable conclusion that Mary was taught by the Essenes a very strict ascetic life. Without defiling the image of the Virgin Mother, what if Mary fasted, prayed and kept secluded to practice for her role as the Mother of a Master. I believe that what we now refer to as “Mother Mary”, the saint, is perfectly true. The only difference is that she was not a scientific virgin. It is a metaphor the virgin birth- but more than that because she did not conceive straight from god does not lessen her position or influence as a religious icon.
The shift in the world view must be this- that a human could be so pure and devoted to their faith and god that they could perform miracles and or heal the sick with their hands. They do this not be the god choosing them and giving them power, but they attain it here on Earth with practice. There is a certain amount of giftedness in these souls, as they have had countless lives to learn what it is to be flesh on Earth. This point of view empowers humans a lot more, so does it require a lot more responsibility for their lifestyle and spiritual life.
Many people believe that if the body is completely pure and aligned with God then the seed will be delivered directly from the divine. The Jewish Essenes believed that the body was a temple for the soul. So if Mary upheld her purity and this is not just her Virginity, but practiced ascetic life and waited for that sacred moment where she did have a spiritual moment of pure love with her husband and god then she would conceive the Son of Man. I would prefer to have a Woman who was a devoted disciple of a strict religious group rather than a peasant who was a virgin and had no knowledge of herself as a sacred vessel. A sacred vessel is possible here on Earth.
Our ignorance of the secret mysteries, the initiation rites of many religions has hindered our individual paths. If we let all the scriptures tell us that the son of God was birthed by a Virgin and was sacrificed for the masses, what is our role in life- meaningless victims without any pathway toward the divine other than attending a church on Sunday and reading a book? It is not enough anymore.
There have been countless paths taken by spiritual women and men; obviously the Master was Jesus Christ. The misunderstanding is that because he was man who went on a path makes him less, it does not. Just like the reincarnated Dali Lama, remains a true dedicated Master on Earth. I still think Jesus was far beyond the Dali Lama, mostly because he included women in his circle of apostles, but that is another article.
The main point is that the Orthodox Church was not interested in feminine influence and or giving any credit to any female apostles during the time of Jesus. They were there and we must seek out their journeys to complete our spiritual path.