Wednesday, January 5, 2011
THE MAGI THEN AS NOW
We like to think that the Three Wise men who followed the star or comet to Bethlehem were kings. In all probability they belonged to a hereditary elitist High priesthood of Persian/Medean origin. They might even have been Sufis who clearly predated Islam by at least 850 years.
The earliest Christians, the Gentiles who converted from Paganism believed the Magi to be twelve Sages. That is a reasonable assumption since Jesus had twelve Apostles although I believe they may have been much more. Pity the painters and sculptors who had to fit 15 or 20 men around a table.
The number twelve had connotations of perfection in Assyro-Babylonian numerology. The Kabbalah, Cabbala or Qabbalah derived from the Babylonian high priests who spent a lifetime studying the stars, planets and constellations.
The word Magi is a Greek transliteration of the Persian Maghoi meaning learned in the Other ways of the Universe. Many historians today describe them as Royal Astrologers. I tend to look upon them as fundamentally scientists skilled in the arts of Oneiromancy ( the interpretation of dreams ) the Paranormal as in telepathy and prescience and in exorcisms.
How the number came to be three is also a logical progression. The Sanskrit Trimurthi and our Holy Trinity.
Bithusarea was King of Arabia, Melichior of Persia and Gatrespa King of India. They followed a star in the heavens as they rode by camels from their respective countries. Arab mathematicians calculate that it must have taken them anywhere from three to nine months to arrive at their destination. They stopped to pay their respects to King Herod who wasn't a Judean at all but never mind. We don't know from whence Moses came from either. His name is neither Judean nor is it Egyptian. It is of Sumerian origin. His wife Sephora was a black African. Solomon's mother Batshiva was probably a Hittite.
Herod was a murderous and ruthless man, perfect for our own 21st century. He killed one of his favorite wives, Maryan. Psychopaths don't need reasons to have their wives, brothers and sons done in. A bit of paranoid suspicion will do.
Saint Matthew tells us in the New Testament that Herod was very interested in this infant which the Magi wished so eagerly to visit.
They found the infant who was by that time in Nazareth, although we are led to believe that Jesus/Yeshua might have been in Bethlehem.
In keeping with ancient Maghoi tradition the Magi brought him gold, for they knew that the birth of the infant was too portentous even for them to ponder. And then there was another pressing reason - the infant came from a poor family. He would need the gold for his schooling and for his travels.
There would be 16 years of the Nazarene's life which would forever remain unaccounted for. We can only speculate. Could he have spent time with the Magi in their respective counries?
Frankincense was presented to Jesus. It was a rare spice from the sap of the knarled camphor tree. The Magi used it in their sacred and spiritual rituals. Lastly he was gifted with myrrth, which is not only a precious scent; it was vital in embalming. This clearly anticipated his death. His birth as a man destined him to Death. It was irreversible.
By the 14th century our Christian tradition had named the Magi Baltazar, Melchior and Gaspar. By the way this tradition was handed down to us by the Armenian Church.
In many parts of the world, Spain, Portugal, Armenia and Russia to name just a few, Christmas is celebrated on the feast of the Epiphany.
In our clan we celebrated the Nativity as well as the Epiphany. The gifts which we received on Christmas Day concerned those which our hearts desired and wished for. To me, the most significant gifts came on the 6th of January for they centered on Knowledge and Spirituality. We always received pieces of gold, rings and bracelets. Incense from India in circlets was a delight to see. Their scent was always jasmine and rose. We also received tiny petrified drops of myrrth to remind us always that we could be called away to another world anytime without any warning.
We had lost so many relatives, friends and acquaintances during World War ll and the War in the Pacific that we always remained familiar with the scent of incense and myrrth.
For those who believe the Magi make the journey every year for time and centuries are but seconds to them - nothing has changed. There is as much bloodshed today as there was then.
The Massacre of the Innocents is going on in Palestine as I write this and as you read this. King Herod is gone but others with more ferocious and brutal killing machines have taken his place.
An Angel appeared to the Magi in their dreams. They had no doubts because they were adepts in Oneiromancy. Unlike Freud, a Godless man who bluffed his way through dreams and did his utmost to destroy our innocence and our souls; they returned to their realms through a circuitous route and avoided Herod. The family of Jesus fled to Egypt to avoid the sword of Herod's soldiers.
The old Egyptian Reis ( Leader ) Hosni Mubarak, in these tragic times is not welcoming nor is he aiding his fellow Arabs in any way shape or form. Sounds just like ancient times.
I leave you with this thoughts.
Nothing is new under the sun. The world has seen and been in agony many times before. Jesus said the earth was a vale of tears.
Satan endeavored to tempt him. "Begone!" he ordered as he cast him away.
He promised our souls eternal life.
The Magi believed this.
So must we.
Amid tears and cries of sorrow, I wish you the same joyous spirit which the Magi carried in their hears, minds and souls.