ENGLAND FLAG – Glastonbury, Jesus and St. George

THE RELEVANCE OF FLAGS OF NATIONS INSPIRES HEATED DEBATE. THEY ARE CONSIDERED EITHER TO UNITE OR TO DIVIDE. WE CELEBRATE OR DENIGRATE ACCORDING TO OUR PERCEPTION AND BELIEFS.

For some their flag is a symbol of national identity and pride while others believe that any flag encourages nationalism. Some see the cross as the symbol of faith for others the cross is the sign of the persecutors and not of the true church. The England flag has gained a particular notoriety due to past  association with the Crusades of the Middle Ages, it has always been manipulated for political reasons and most recently highjacked by right wing political factions.All of this is only one part of what the flag signifies.

ACCORDING TO ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS ITS TRUE ORIGIN IS BOTH PROFOUND AND UNIQUE, LOST TO THE GENERATIONS WHO WAVE IT, OBLIVIOUS OF ITS SIGNIFICANCE. TO TRACE THE HISTORY WE MUST RETURN TO PALESTINE IN THE TIME OF THE CRUCIFIXION.

Joseph of Arimathea is mentioned in all four gospels and remembered as the man who provided his tomb in which to lay the body of Jesus  following the crucification.  He was so much more. As a follower of Jesus and also a voting member of the Sanhedrin Council responsible for the spiritual governance of the Jewish people, a body which officially wanted Jesus condemned to death, the affiliation had to be kept secret.  Crucified bodies were normally thrown into lime pits by the Romans but as the uncle of Mary, the mother of Jesus and therefore great uncle of Jesus, Joseph had a right to claim the body from the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate and did so.

There was another reason why Pilate might allow this, for Joseph was  an important man in his own right, well known to the Romans who referred to him as ‘Nobilis Decurio’, a position of high rank and status as Minister for Mines.  A  metal merchant, Joseph’s fleet of ships carried tin between Britain and Palestine. It is a well documented fact that Britain led the world in tin mining at this time and the islands were for a time afforded a degree of protection due to the valued trading connections which supplied Rome with the tin from which alloys were made. Numerous legends speak of the boy Jesus accompanying his uncle  on visits to England. This is the inspiration for Blake’s poem Jerusalem … ‘and did those feet in ancient times, walk upon Englands mountains green and was the Holy Lamb of God in Englands pleasant pastures seen’…

Following the crucifixion Joseph spent time in prison as a result of his allegiance to Jesus whose followers were being mercilessly persecuted and hounded and forced to leave Palestine by the occupying Roman authorities.  In AD37 along with a small band of disciples which included Mary Magdalene and Lazarus, he  set sail to seek refuge beyond the authority of Rome,  the islands of ‘Britaine’ on the farthest outskirts of the Roman Empire where Joseph was already well regarded.  They  landed in Marseilles, France, where they were met by a delegation of Arch Druids of France. In addition to Christians, Rome persecuted the Druidic Celtic tribes of Europe. An estimated 1 million Celts were killed in the region known today as France, with a further 1 million enslaved. This forged an unbreakable alliance between the British and French Celtic Druids. While internal tribal warfare was common among the Celts, they united fiercely against any foreign invader under their elected Pendragon, King Caradoc  (known to the Romans as Caractacus).  Lazarus and Mary remained in France and their links to the foundation of the early church there are historically documented. The main group continued on through Narbonne, Figeac, Rocamadour and Limoge to Marlaix where they were met by a delegation of British Druids led by Prince Aviragus of the royal Silurian tribe, of the Dukedom of Cornwall.

An interesting heraldic footnote: Among his many hereditary titles Prince Charles is ‘Duke of Cornwall’ a title inherited from the Celtic kingdom, he bestowed the title Duchess of Cornwall on his wife Camilla following their marriage.

Joseph and his companions were accompanied to England to ensure their safety. Crossing the English Channel they landed at Marazion Cornwall and the island of Ictis known today as Saint Michael’s Mount. Ictis was used by the Phoenicians, Greeks and  Romans trading with Cornish tin miners since ancient times, well known to Joseph whose ships would have docked there to load their cargoes of tin.

Travelling through Devon and Cornwall and the Mendip Hills, they followed what is today known as ‘The Michael and Mary Line’ a terrestrial ley line running SW across England. Boarding skiffs, (shallow hide covered rowing boats) they made their way via the River Brue and its tributary, the River Parret, through a marshy area of small islands known locally as Ynes Wyten or Avala ‘the place of apples’ a fruit sacred to the Druids. ‘Avalon’ is derived from Avala and known today as Glastonbury.

The party climbed a mound now known as Glastonbury Tor, here Prince Aviragus granted a Royal Charter of ‘a perpetual gift of 12 hides of land[‘ one hide for each apostle, representing 160 acres each, a sum total of 1,920 acres. The disciples settled and established their first church which later became an abbey. The ‘Glastonbury Charter’  was the first land ever dedicated in the name of Jesus Christ. It is the only land in the British Isles designated tax free. This charter was renewed and enlarged by successive monarchs and is recorded in the Domesday Book, the historical record of land, property and goods commissioned by William the Conquerer in 1086.  The inscription in the Domesday Book reads: ‘The Domus Dei in the great monastery of Glastonbury, called The Secret of Our Lord. This Glastonbury church possesses in its own ville X11 hides of land which have never paid tax”

This Royal Charter has long been used to prove the seniority of the British church over the church of Rome, a fact confirmed by the Vatican which recognises Joseph of Arimathea as the first apostle to Britain. Precedence dictates seating arrangements at conferences and conclaves; in settling a dispute in 1931, the Vatican Curia confirmed that Britain is the senior Christian country with the worlds first Christian church outside of Palestine, a further means by which the historical records are preserved and can be traced and authenticated.

Many  Celtic Druid chieftains were converted as Druid and Christian faiths merged with Prince Aviragus  converted by Joseph of Arimathea.  In a gesture of gratitude for the gift of land, sanctuary, respect and friendship, Joseph presented him with an insignia and Standard, customarily worn on the shield of the Chieftain. This was the ‘long cross’ a red cross on a white background which, with its unequal arms, commemorated the cross on which Jesus was crucified. In 44AD Emperor Claudius invaded Britain and the Celtic tribes fought ferociously to defend their land and culture before the country was settled by treaty. 

The ancient British Chronicles tell the story:   ‘Joseph converted this King Aviragus, by his praying to know ye laws divine. And baptized him as write hath Nennius, the Chronicler in Brytain tongue full fine and to Christian laws made him incline. And gave him then a shield of silver white, a cross and longe and overthwart full perfete. These armes were used throughout all Brytain for a common syne, each man to know his nacion. And thus his armes by Joseph Creacion, full longafore Saint George was generate, were worshipt here of mykell elder date’

The ‘long cross’ flag was adopted as the flag of the Church of England when Henry Vlll broke with the church of Rome and is still flown from churches in England today. It was later adopted by many Christian nations in the Middle Ages. The red-on-white cross used extensively across Northern Italy today is derived from the long cross of St Ambrose, bishop of Milan between 374AD and 397, adopted as the flag of Milan in1045. A text mentioned in the Genovese annals for the year 1198, refers to a red flag with a depiction of St George and the dragon. The Genoese flag with the red cross was used alongside this “George’s flag”, from at least 1218. 

The flag of England later became synonymous with the the flag of St George, the patron saint of England who was born around 280AD in Izmit, present day Turkey. He is believed to have been born of a Christian family, a high ranking aristocratic soldier of  the Roman Emperor Diocletians personal guard. He opposed the savagery of the Roman persecution and was executed on April 23rd 303AD for refusing to renounce his Christian faith. He is the patron saint of  many other countries including Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice. St George was considered to embody the values of courage and faith embraced by Christian tradition. 

For many the cross remains irrevocably associated with the ignominy of the Crusades in the Middle Ages, initiated and directed by the church of Rome. The red cross was adapted as the Cross of the Knights Templar, a military Order of the church of Rome and worn on the chest of the knights. Crusaders were drawn from Christian European nations during the religous wars against Muslims and  so called heretics i.e. those who did not adhere to Catholic dogma.  

The heritage of a nation is conserved and displayed in Heraldry. The long cross is incorporated into the Coat of Arms of the City of London and is also the ensign of the Royal Navy, along with the Union flag of the United Kingdom.

When Joseph of Arimathea and his friends climbed Glastonbury Tor over 2,000 years ago the weary travellers planted their staffs to commemorate the journey, a path now known as  Wearyall Hill. Joseph planted his staff, made from the Levantine thorn of Palestine, it took root and became a tree over time and for centuries flowered at Christmas and Easter. It was desecrated by Oliver Cromwell’s troops during the Civil War 1642- 1651 and despite suffering repeated vandalism was replanted each time and continued to bloom. Sprigs were sent to the Queen each Christmas and today a sprig of the HolyThorn grows in the gardens of Highgrove the home of Prince Charles, a legacy of the nations Christian past and the promise of todays multi faith traditions.

 

 

STRANGERS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS

The commercialism of Christmas is highlighted in this year of the pandemic for our true priorities are revealed as we try to decide whether shared festivities, parties, shopping and presents take precedence over safeguarding the lives of those we love.

Today, only around 51% percent of people in Europe are Christian, with 65% in the US. For them and many others Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ  – Christ Mass. Those who believe that Christianity simply high jacked pagan traditions, might consider a different perspective…The melding of pagan beliefs with Christianity provided an interface, ensuring the teachings of Jesus Christ were heard, however imperfectly they were understood, interpreted and recorded. Whatever our beliefs Christmas remains the unique point on the calendar when the spirit of good will prevails. In an increasingly secular world Carol concerts and midnight mass have given way to eating, drinking, parties and shopping with little or no reference to the Nativity story as Christmas becomes Xmas. Christmas trees and lights represent a time to forget about the long dark days, an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, reminiscent of a pagan past with elements of Christian and folk traditions interwoven.

Yule tide celebrations and traditions at the winter solstice predate Christianity by thousands of years. The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning ‘wheel,’ to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again. Originally a Nordic tradition, Yule the name of the old Winter Solstice was celebrated in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe and Germany. The Yule Log, the origin of todays Christmas tree was originally an entire tree, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house to decorate. Yule marked the return of the God Baldur from the realm of Hel and the loosening of winter’s grip on the frozen Earth. Numerous references to Yule in  ancient accounts testify to how Yule was celebrated by giving gifts, feasting and dancing.

Around December 20-23 each year, the North Pole is tilted at its furthest point  from the sun, bringing the shortest day and longest night of the year in advance of Christmas. Cosmic cycles have  long been recognised and celebrated by indigenous peoples and those who honour the seasons. One of the most important and well-known features of Stonehenge is its alignment on the midwinter sunset-midsummer sunrise solstitial axis. The prehistoric Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England is the site of the most famous winter solstice celebration, led by Druids.

HOLLY,  IVY AND MISTLETOE

To the Druids, Holly was one of the symbols most associated with the Solstice festival. Oaks were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months and also of fertility (the reason we kiss under it).  Directly at the solstice sunset, Druid priests would cut and bless the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree. Later Pagan traditions spread by the Roman empire included bawdy partying, eating and drinking  in the festival of Saturnalia, the worship of Saturn the sun god. Romans covered their houses in ivy, decorating doors and windows in the belief it would ward off evil spirits.

GOATS AND REINDEER

In Sweden, people regarded the Yule goat as an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to make sure that the Yule preparations were in place. Traditionally the yule goat was supposed to deliver presents, men dressed up as the Yule goat to give gifts to their families. The origins go back to ancient Pagan festivals, some believe the celebration of the goat is connected to worship of the Norse god, Thor, who rode the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats. In time, the role of holiday gift giving was symbolised by  gnomelike, goat-riding Christmas elves who delivered gifts to sleeping children…the beginnings of the Santa story.

SAINT NICHOLAS TO SANTA CLAUSE

Christian concerns that the Christmas festivities reflected pagan traditions led to the transition from the yule goat to the reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh. ‘Reindeer’ is an ancient Norse word believed to mean ‘horned animal.’ For centuries reindeer have been associated with Christmas and winter festivities, particularly in Scandinavia and across Eastern Europe, a more acceptable image to Christians than the goat with its demonic Christian interpretation.

Poets and writers of the 19th century  revived  the legend of St Nicholas in an effort to  create a family focussed festival. Saint Nicholas of Myra was an early Christian bishop of Greek descent born  in 270AD, the time of the Roman Empire in what is now modern day Turkey, . After his parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor, his lifelong habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the ‘Santa Claus’ we know today.  St Nicholas was later cast into prison during the Christian persecution by the emperor Diocletian but was released after the emperor Constantine  declared Christianity the State religion. An early list makes him an attendee at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and one of the bishops who signed the Nicene Creed, recited daily today in every Christian church in the world. Nicholas is reputed to have had a long white beard and wore red robes, he is the patron saint of children and of those suffering economic struggles, particularly relevant today.

In 1821 an anonymous illustrated poem entitled “The Children’s Friend” melded the generosity of the Christian saint Nicholas, stripping him of any religious characteristics and  dressing him in red suit with a grandfatherly beard.  In 1823 Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas,” for his six children. It described  a plump jolly grandfather figure and referred to a “miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.”  In 1939 ‘Rudolph’ became the ninth reindeer, first introduced in  a children’s book by Robert L. May.  Presents became a major focus, adding to the commercialisation of Christmas.

We do not need to accept the orthodox view of the life  of Jesus in order to believe in his words which are never more profoundly needed as we celebrate this Christmas.                

                         “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

They will assist us in deciding whether to place ourselves and others at risk for the brief, questionable pleasure of shared company with family and friends. Perhaps it will only be when we can consider the welfare of strangers as importantly as our friends that the pandemic will be over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARCHEOLOGY AND ANGELS

IS THIS THE NAZARETH HOME OF JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH ?

Historically churches have always been built on sacred sites to commemorate oral traditions, enabling archeologists to tie buildings to the events which shape history. A 14 year archaeological investigation, the largest ever carried out into Roman period Nazareth – has unearthed a house, complete with pottery fragments commonly used by Jewish families of the era, dating to the time in which Jesus lived. The house is located beneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent where nuns lived from the 1st century AD.  Ken Dark, professor of archaeology and history at Reading University said Fieldwork has suggested that a cave church built directly adjacent to the house in the 4th century, corresponds to the time Christianity was adopted as the state religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine.

Further excavation unearthed a 5th century church built over both the house and the cave church. This would have been the largest church in Nazareth, an elaborately decorated cathedral with marble and mosaics matching a 7th century description of the large Byzantine church that was said to have stood on the site of Jesus’ home. Nazareth was previously believed to have been a small hamlet but is now considered to have had a population of around a thousand.

In the time of Jesus, Nazareth was religiously very conservative and politically anti-Roman.  Religious values and practice differed greatly from the neighbouring town of Sepphoris. Jesus has long been identified with the Essene spiritual community of Nazareth who rejected the Jewish priesthood of the day as hypocrites.

This is the second time archeologists have announced significant findings prior to Christmas.  On December 22nd 2009, Israeli archeologists announced that they had unearthed for the first time, the remains of a 1st century dwelling from the Jewish village of Nazareth, officially confirming the previously disputed existence of the hamlet of Nazareth to the era in which Jesus lived. This excavation site is adjacent to the Church of the Annunciation seen in the background, built to commemorate the place where, according to tradition, the Archangel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would conceive a son by divine intervention. Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary when she was going to collect water from the well.  The site has uncovered a two roomed house with a courtyard in which there is ‘a rock hewn cistern into which rainwater was conveyed’ providing support for the historical account.

Each Christmas the words are read throughout the world: “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary…..”

 “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you” (The words of the angel were later translated in the opening words of the Rosary prayer:  “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” in Latin: Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum) “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”  Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I know not a man?”  The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore  the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

A BELIEF IN ANGELS REQUIRES A LEAP OF FAITH AND A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TIME IN QUESTION  WHEN DIVINE INTERCESSION WAS NOT CONSIDERED UNCOMMON.

The biblical gospels are those approved by mainstream Christianity throughout the centuries, they represent a  remnant of numerous earlier accounts which were ruled unacceptable to the church hierarchy. The Protevangelium of James, believed to be written by James, a brother of Jesus, was disputed but describes the lineage of Mary as the daughter of Ann and Joachim, a wealthy man. The couple who were childless lived in Nazareth and Sepphoris, the capital of Galilee some 6 kilometres away. They went to the Temple of Jerusalem on a Feast Day to give offerings but were publicly humiliated by the priest for their infertility which was considered a reproach from God.  Bereft, they prayed and promised that any child born to them would be dedicated to God. An angel appeared to each of them separately, announcing the birth of a child “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.” 

A daughter, Mary, was born to them in Sepphoris and at the age of three they gave her into the keeping of the women of the Temple of Jerusalem who raised the daughters of those assigned as Temple Virgins. Eight years later, Joachim died, Ann died one year later, both are buried in The Valley of Josaphat not far from the Garden of Gethsemane.

At the age of puberty, Temple virgins were returned to their homes as cultural laws prohibited menstruating women from entering the temple complex. They remained in service to the Temple however and the text describes how, as part of her temple duties, Mary was called upon to help weave the curtain for the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem.  Mary, one of seven virgins from the line of David, was working on this task in her Nazareth home when she went out to fetch some water from a well positioned over an underground spring. It was then, according to legend, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared with the message:

Following her return to Nazareth as a young girl of marriageable age, Mary was betrothed (promised in marriage).  In ancient Israel ‘betrothal’ was considered a sacred institution, young girls could be betrothed from the age of 12 but couples continued to live with their parents until the marriage took place two or three years later, at which time the young woman went to live with her husband and the marriage was consummated. Betrothal was more important than the marriage itself, the couple having agreed to the marriage contract which defined and protected tribal marriage rights and the rights of future children. During the period of betrothal, couples remained separated, forbidden from seeing one another, the punishment for adultery was therefore severe and included banishment or stoning.

The elders selected Joseph, an ageing widower with grown up sons, to be Mary’s betrothed. He initially objected saying  “I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl”  but accepted their ruling when a sign was received. When, following the visitation of the angel, Mary became pregnant and hid herself away and visited her cousin Elizabeth’s home in Aim Keram, south west of Jerusalem. Elizabeth confirmed that she too was pregnant, her son would become John the Baptist.  Mary returned to Nazareth but Joseph finding her now heavily pregnant believed she had been unfaithful and decided to divorce her privately to break the betrothal contract. This only required two witnesses and no grounds were needed to be given, rather than publicly going through the Jewish courts. An angel then appeared to Joseph in a dream saying:  “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Joseph accepted the message but their marriage was delayed by the need to travel to Bethlehem to register for the Roman Census.

The belief in the birth of Jesus by divine intercession has provoked heated debate for centuries. Historians and linguists have argued whether the Hebrew term ‘almah’ was interpreted accurately as ‘virgin’, many stating that ‘almah’ could  mean ‘a maiden’ or ‘a young unmarried woman’. Biblical texts were repeatedly mistranslated over centuries and a Hebrew to Greek translation by Jewish scholars translated ‘almah’ as ‘pathenos’ meaning ‘a young woman’, this began the centuries old argument suggesting that ‘virgin’ was a mistranslation. Today there is academic agreement that the word ‘almah’ means virgin in the true sense. Almah’ the term for virgin means “the concealed one” or “the veiled one.” referring to the custom of betrothed girls wearing veils over their faces as a sign of seclusion, or concealment, during the time of betrothal.

  •  Robert Dick Wilson a celebrated Hebrew scholar, proficient in 45 biblically related languages declared that ‘almah” never meant ‘young married woman’ and that the presumption of common law is that every ‘almah’ is virtuous unless she can be proved not to be.
  • Professor William Beck a theologian who translated the Old Testament stated: ‘I have searched exhaustively for instances where ‘almah’ might mean a non virgin or a married woman. There is no passage  where ‘almah” is not a virgin, nowhere in the bible or elsewhere does ‘almah” mean anything but a virgin.’
  •  Cyrus Gordon a scholar of enormous range in linguistics and social history including Aramaic-Syriac-Mandaic and art and archeology of the near East, Assyriology, Egypto-Semitic studies and Hebrew inscriptions stated that ‘recent archeological evidence confirms that ‘almah’ means virgin.’

The Church of St. Gabriel built over “Mary’s Spring” has been rebuilt many times over the centuries. The spring feeds the well where villagers once congregated to share news and  fill their pitchers (pictured 1891).  William Rae Wilson describes “a well of the Virgin, which supplied the inhabitants of Nazareth with water” in his book, Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land.

The historical record details the life and times of the family into which Jesus was born. If untrue this is a compendium of lies and to what purpose? While divine intervention remains an impossible explanation for many, we cannot dismiss the fact that the  birth of Jesus Christ resulted in a global network of faithful followers to the present time. In addition to Christians millions more, including Buddhists, Muslims, agnostics and New Age followers see his life as an exemplary pattern for their own. Jesus Christ is persistently ranked as the most influential person who ever lived.

See:

Metaphysics of the Christmas Story

Star of Bethlehem -An Astrological Configuration

Metaphysics of the Christmas Story

HOW REAL IS THE CHRISTMAS STORY?

For some Christmas means the tinsel and the tree, the shopping and the presents, the turkey and the treats; in short an opportunity for self indulgence and partying while others honour the sacred cycles. For millions it is  a time of deep significance, of reflection and spiritual renewal; the remembrance of a promise, angelic visitation and guidance, a merging of the celestial and the terrestrial. The rational mind rushes to dismiss what in the 21st century seems fanciful and deluded. The story however does not rest on superstitious belief but on the science of metaphysics and is worthy of investigation from that position.  If we take a few brief moments to consider the event we are commemorating, the birth of Jesus Christ, we are faced at once with the challenge of faith, for who now believes in miracles, angelic intercession, prophetic guidance or a pre-ordained, divinely inspired Incarnation? The answer of course is that the vast majority of the human race holds to these beliefs in one form or another. Figures for 2017 show Christianity has 2.1 billion followers while Islam (which shares a belief in Jesus and his divinely inspired origins) has 1.5 billion. These two groups alone represent  half of the 7 billion people alive today.  In addition there are 900 million Hindu’s and 394 million Chinese who practice their respective  religious traditions.  Buddhism has 376 million adherents while Sikhism and Judaism each have  23 million. These represent only the major world religions, there are numerous others with a further 376 million practising indigenous primal faiths. Only 16%  state no religious affiliation.

From this perspective we might conclude that most of us have a belief in something beyond the physical realm, suggesting that conscious communication exists between the physical and the non physical worlds. Religions simply regulate a specific belief system into an ordered pattern which we can choose to follow for as long as they serve our spiritual growth. All religions are born out of an awareness of divinely inspired events whether personal or impersonal. Initially these are recorded and crystallised as revealed wisdom, eventually to become fossilised as dogma at which point followers begin to seek elsewhere.

WHO WAS JESUS?

The question has been posed for 2,000 years, it is for each of us to find our own answer, for those who accept the life and teaching of Jesus he is the supreme pattern of spirituality. Spiritual teachers magnetise followers through the positive vibration of the electromagnetic field or aura, creating a resonance which is felt as a magnetic attraction. The greater the attainment the greater the acceleration of that field and the greater the momentum. An Avatar or world teacher carries a momentum of light within the auric field which has been accumulated through countless lives of service. The consciousness radiates light which is not only felt but seen, this is the origin of halo’s depicted by artists around the head of saints and mystics. .

THE BIRTH OF AN AVATAR IS PREDESTINED AND ALWAYS A HERALDED EVENT, PRECEDED BY PROPHECY, ACKNOWLEDGED BY ASTROLOGICAL CONFIGURATION AND CONFIRMED THROUGH CELESTIAL INTERCESSION.

According to ancient wisdom cosmic time is measured in Cycles or Ages. Avatars incarnate in every Age at significant points on the cosmic calendar, referred to as  ‘Transition Cusps’ their sole purpose is the advancement of humanity by reminding of our spiritual origins. At the culmination of a Cycle of Ages (known as The Grand Cycle)  we approach the threshold of a New Age and the supreme guide appears, to shepherd us through the doorway. The penultimate Cusp of the Piscean Age heralded the birth of Jesus Christ. (Christ meaning ‘anointed of God’).

The wheel symbol,  carved into marble  in the early Christian community of Ephesus,  this represents the Cycles and Ages, the foundation of the teaching given by Jesus and subsequently lost.

The word “ixoye” is an acronym comprised of the first letter of five Greek words: Iesous Xristos Theou Yios Sotare which means Jesus, Christ, Son of, God, Savior.The word is also the Greek word for “fish,” icthus, ἰχθύς which when spelled in capital letters in Greek is ΙΧΘΥΣ. The first followers of Jesus were persecuted and used the sign of the fish as a secret symbol to recognise each other. It is no coincidence that  the astrological symbol of Pisces the fish was the sign of  the early Christians and later of Christianity. Today we stand at the threshold of the Aquarian Age, unready to birth the new, the reason for the global chaos and upheaval.

Each of us is free to view Jesus in accordance with our own beliefs or prejudices. For some he is simply a great spiritual teacher, for others he is the pre-ordained Avatar guiding humanity through the closing of an Age. Christianity accords him the unique role of Saviour and Son of God. Whatever our belief his spiritual attainment is acknowledged and it is his message which is important.

As we celebrate his birth at Christmas it is an opportune moment for reflection and to question. Is the story true? Did the Angel Gabriel announce his birth to Mary?  Was Jesus born in Bethlehem and if so why? What of the star and the three kings who are said to have brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

  • Church of The Nativity

Excerpt from: Jesus Chronicles Author: Carol Lamb

The name Jesus is the English translation from the Greek Yesous translated from the Hebrew Aramaic the native tongue of Joseph and Mary. Yeshua is the abbreviated version of Joshua a name which predates the Christian era by several centuries and means deliverer or saviour. Among the many titles accorded to Jesus is ‘Emman-u-el’. The Jewish scripture foretold of a conception through divine agency. ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called  Emman-u-el’ which means ‘God is with us’.

Prophecies of past centuries had stated that the Messiah or Saviour was to be born in Bethlehem, a small town in Judaea. Since Mary lived in Nazareth some miles away her child could have been expected to have been born there. However, in the time preceding the birth, the emperor decreed a census in order to register those eligible for taxation: ‘In the days of Caesar Augustus a decree went out that all the world should be taxed’. In a very real sense all the world was Roman and despite Mary’s advanced state of pregnancy there was no choice but to obey the decree that the head of each household was to report to his home town to be registered.

Today if we require a copy of a birth or marriage certificate we are still required to apply to the Registrar in the town of our birth. Of course we have the luxury of filling in a form and applying by post. We can only sympathise with the plight of Mary on such a journey as she travelled by donkey to reach Joseph’s home town of Bethlehem. Once more the prophecy was fulfilled and the birth occurs where scripture had stated that it would. ‘And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judaea art not least among the princes of Judah, out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel.’ The name Bethlehem means ‘place of bread’.

The story of the nativity is known to us all, Mary and Joseph are forced to rest in a place described as a stable, the only place available because the town is teeming with visitors. The birth is marked by an angel who appears before shepherds in the fields to proclaim: ‘Be not afraid, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy which will come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the city of David a saviour who is Christ the Lord, and this will be a sign for you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’, and the angel was joined by a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men, with whom he is pleased.’

At Christmas we sing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the words of the carol ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ a reminder that Bethlehem was also known as ‘the city of David’ a reference to the birth of another king in another time. King David born in the little town of Bethlehem a thousand years before Jesus, united the Jewish tribal peoples to become the nation of Israel and laid the foundations for the temple in Jerusalem in which Jesus himself would one day teach.