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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ari Loves Sal; A short story based on Jesus and Mary Magdalene

Ari Loves Sal

A glimpse into the lives of Jesus and Mary Magdelene

Excerpted from The First Messiah

By Yuya Joseph

The First Part

Not long after arrival at the home and gardens of Antonia, the Agrippa family palace, Herod Joseph noticed that young Aristobulus was not to be seen among his extended kin. He enquired around the house, as there were several apartments where kids and their families were playing, in addition to the main quarters, and at first nobody knew of his son’s whereabouts, and deep concern began to show on Joe’s face. His wife Mariamne and others also noticed that their son Ari Jesh was not among the revelers, and different people had begun enquiring about his presence.

A disappointed and upset though still radiantly beautiful young Salome turned to a family member at the gathering and enquired, “I thought that cousin Aristobulus was going to be here; he is the only reason I wanted to come to this place today. Where is he?”

She was the daughter of Herodias and had just turned fourteen years of age, and cousin Ari no longer seemed like a young boy to her, he was now sophisticated and insightful. Her uncle, Herod Joseph of Chalcis, had been raising him since he was a toddler, and loving him and teaching him as if he were his very soul. He wasn’t even a teenager yet, but he was already her best friend ever, and it bothered her that he was not here where she expected him to be.

Salome was to remember this day for all of her life, and though Jesh thought of it fondly, Sal considered it the beginning of a downward trend that kept her away from Ari Jesh for long periods of time. She felt it marked the beginning of something she would have to heal from and overcome, that feeling of being so freaking alone that you imagine that everything you have ever done has been wrong. Her heart told her things would be okay, but her mind raced with despair at all the news of the troubles.

During her unhappy first marriage, she thought of this day and how she would someday marry the boy prophet, for very few had ever said Jahn Philip was the Messiah or the Anointed One, and even those were mostly unreliable, excepting the Mandeans whose devotion has in time been proven farsighted, essentially solidifying the role of Baptism in the emerging faith. James also had his followers but when people referred to Jeshua as the Messiah or the Anointed, nobody ever seemed to say a word against him, and everyone proclaimed his goodness and worthiness. Was She also not the Holy Princess of Judea, deserving of a Righteous King and all of Israel? Surely her destiny was not to be designated a half portion and an old man that only extremists still openly supported. Her mother Herodias would soon marry Herod Antipas, changing the course of history, but all this would come later.

Mariamne believed, as did many others, that her son Ari Jeshu’s purpose on earth was to be a Saviour of the Judaic People, the long-awaited Anointed One. When he grew into the premier Teacher in the country and people told her that he could even bring peace to all nations, that he was a Messiah to many Greeks, and Egyptians and Syrians also, she was not the type to limit his aspirations and range. Their reported later disputes in Galilee only reflected her concerns for his safety.

Although there was one particularly rough patch during Ari’s late teens, Mariamne IV was not the first queen (nor the last) to have major problems with the royal men in her life. The sometimes heartless, sometimes shoddy treatment of his mother, the Woman by the Well, was likely a factor in Ari Jesh’s own fervent commitment to the sanctity of marriage, and also to his overwhelming devotion to Salome and their children. He knew of the sacrifices women had to make in their lives, and his mom and his wife were each examples, for Salome had been forced to marry while still young, for the “good of the people,” and his mom had been divorced against her wishes, more than once. He believed deeply in the equality of all human beings, and the strong men and women who formed him in his childhood and adolescence became the builders of a great and growing nation.

Salome was also exceedingly popular, for everyone who knew her loved her, and when some called her Salome Mariamne, it wasn’t always just a reference to her own heritage, for the holy mantle came from her mother-in-law also. They were both ladies of the highest stature, Carriers of the Covenant, and the Virgin Mother Maryam role was later for Salome of the Tower to shoulder almost entirely on her own, and the Beloved One would prove to do a miraculous job.

These were the most difficult years in Jeshua’s life. In his early to mid-teens, the separation from his mother and younger siblings was excruciatingly painful, while in his later teens the expectations of some in Galilee and Jerusalem were hugely unreachable. People were anticipating Jesh would unite all Jews and overthrow the Romans, but he was more concerned with uniting Jews and Romans, and indeed all humanity. Purists questioned his pedigree, radicals challenged his passion, his family was concerned about some of the company he was keeping, and authorities were always quick to enquire what the large gatherings were about. Couple this social pressure with his deep disappointment in Salome’s betrothal to Philip Jahn, and you can see how the emotions would build.

One time when Sal was nineteen and Jesh was seventeen, the Roman soldiers were parading torch-lit images of the Emperor through the streets of Jerusalem, and Salome and Ari Jesh were among a group of youthful leaders who organized a non-violent sit-down in the street. Everyone proceeded to lay down, blocking the path of Procurator Pontius Pilate and other officials, who eventually agreed to have the processions stopped permanently.

At eighteen Jesh still led prayer and study groups in Jerusalem, and contributed to the Temple in many ways, but was increasingly drawn to the universalist teachings of the Way, and before his twentieth birthday his thinking and philosophy were already international in scope.

Hashmonein, Levantine, Persian, Ethiopian and other strains of Judaic royalty and divinity were prevalent in the highly learned city of Alexandria along the Egyptian coast, and when it came time for more advanced schooling, Ari Jesh was able to stay with family while attending University there. Recent years had seen personal disappointments, including being separated from his mother, and then seeing her be hurt again, and also witnessing his sweetheart and future wife enduring a marriage of scriptural convenience.

One year when she was able to stay with Jesh for a longer period, Mariamne even traveled up the Nile with him, to visit and worship at the ancient temples. At Thebes they met with some of the Ethiopian royal family, including two sons of the Queen that were each on a pilgrimage to the same festival. A local scholar translated some artworks on the wall in one of the older temples, relating stories of Queens Hatshepsut and Amenirdis, and Ari Jesh found it to be a particularly illuminating moment, though in the depths of his heart, it just made him ache all the more for Salome.

The Ethiopians fascinated their hosts and the other guests with vivid recollections of Sol-Amen’s achievements and Musa’s great life, for they each had Ethiopian wives and their tremendous human legacies were known in the hills and the valleys from Napata and Meroe to Axum, as they would continue to be for centuries and unto this day in Mekele, Lalibela, and Addis Ababa.

Mariamne and Aristobulus were treated as a Queen and a Prince of God’s Own Court, and all as true cousins in Jah Light embraced them heartily. Mother Mari and Her Son were astounded at the reception they received, and at the Ethiopians profound knowledge of Jerusalem, Her wisdom and Her blessings.

It was only a brief encounter, but those hours would stay with Jesh forever. He had read much of Ethiopia and had met Ethiopians at school, and was deeply honored to have spent time with distant cousins of the Southern Temple. These Holy Brethren were also sons and daughters of Musa and Sol-Amen and David and Abraham. Ari Jesh was himself becoming the Lamb of Israel, and here he had spoken and dined with the veritable Lions of Judah by the Nile. He had a vision that the world would one day be united again, not through power or force, but rather through spirit and goodwill. He knew that He was living in the early days, but was also confident that the hour of the teachings would arrive unexpectedly.

It was a most satisfying journey, and Ari’s deep love and profound respect for all of humanity became more rooted, and for all of his life he was to treasure these inspiring moments. Floating along the big river, coming home from this trip, conversing on a smooth sailing boat during a clear star-lit night, Mariamne had some news that would liven up Jeshua’s heart. “Salome sent a message for you, and you will be happy to hear it,” smiled Mom Mariamne.

“You waited all these hours to tell me this?” asked an inquisitive looking, partly shocked Ari.

“Yes my son, I didn’t want you thinking of her all the time, though you know I love her like a daughter.” Mariamne continued with the good news. “She will be here in eleven days, and she will be able to spend some time with you. Salome said to meet her just south of Giza, where the roads intersect below the pyramids, at noon the day after Sabbath next. You can see that junction from the Strangler statue … I am telling you both to wear Egyptian clothing, and be certain you are not being followed.”

“I can’t believe what you are telling me, I have been receiving her letters but I haven’t seen Salome in over two years.” Jesh continued, “Thanks, mom, this has been the best week ever.”

« Well, don’t think I can’t see the aching hurt in your eyes and hear the longing in your voice when you speak of her, » spoke Mary softly, and at that the two of them watched the shores of Hermopolis and Akhetaten flow by.

Ari studied under and broke bread with Philo and other masters, and often conversed with the well-regarded (at the time) Tiberius Julius Alexander when he was home visiting family. It was a milieu of learning, respect and culture, and most believed that it was here that Aristobulus grew from being a sometimes-awkward adolescent into a powerful, vibrant young man. Vespasian also stayed at the country palace, and after he married Jesh’s sister Polla, the two of them would laugh over some good times they had there as young men.

On an occasion less than a year after returning from Alexandria, more than a few thousand had followed Jeshua and his disciples out into the desert, for a period of fasting and prayer. A Roman garrison had seen the men gathering on the edge of Jerusalem before their journey into the desert, and a bystander had been heard referring to them as God’s Army. The story was retold within the garrison and soon there was speculation that an attack on the Holy City, or on Roman strongholds, was being planned.

After a day, the Roman soldiers went into the desert and slew scores of followers, injuring hundreds more and scattering all to their own homes and hiding places. Jesh and his closest brethren all got away on horseback, but were devastated at the loss of precious life, and the brutal reaction of the soldiers to their gathering. When local officials got word that their military camp had attacked a prayer session led by a Herodian prince, they were fearful of Rome’s reaction and so they sent word that they had put down a revolt provoked by an Egyptian false prophet, and nothing more was heard of the matter.

At the Mount Gerizim festival in Samaria, everything had gone more smoothly for Ari and the core followers of the Way. The final third of the teachings were being relayed, one line at a time, from the front to the back of the crowd by a chorus of seven, which would repeat each line of Ari Jesh’s in unison. They were standing about thirty meters deep into the natural amphitheatre, which elevated slightly after an initial drop-off.

Blessed are those who come in peace

Blessed are those who believe in the great knower of unseen things

Blessed are those who do unto others as they wish upon themselves

Blessed are they that mourn this troubled world, for they shall be comforted

Blessed are the Children, for they speak the truth before God and before man

Blessed are the meek and the humble, for they shall inherit the earth

Blessed are the Women, for they give life and nurture souls

Blessed are the Chosen, for they stay close to the Way

The Sermon finished with a chorus of Hallelujah’s and the crowd began slowly and peacefully disbursing, though many stayed behind for healing and counsel. Ari Jeshua was serene, content, and finally feeling that there were many who were taking his message to heart. Seven double lines formed, and the fourteen leaders and elders of the Way were asked for healing and forgiveness and guidance and Light, in fourteen orderly streams.

Jesh had taught his close followers a range of healing techniques, such as relieving depression with vigorous massage beneath and around the shoulder blades, or gentle relaxing of the sinus and temple regions to alleviate forehead pain, or the neck and upper shoulders for general pain relief and release of Chi, plus many other restorative methods, and families far and wide were able to benefit from the brothers and sisters of the Way. When a caregiver was present with the sick or injured, the healing and guidance was provided for both, so spirit and methodology carried on and spread out. A lot can be accomplished with human touch, pure water and sunlight. Throw in a few berries and some pomegranate kernels and it’s a magic moment.

Prince Ari was busy with teaching and healing, and Princess Sal was beginning to attend Way meetings in Jerusalem, so messages were passed through friends and relatives. Salome’s husband was quite busy with business and royal matters, and her mind was often on the wider community she was symbolic of. Salome’s mother Herodias and Ari’s mom Mariamne could both see the advantages of their children uniting, fully believing the entire nation would benefit from such a pairing. Though Salome was still married to Philip Jahn the Baptist, their wishes would require mere months to reach fulfillment.

Princess Salome remained in her marriage to the wild yet holy man Jahn Philip, but corresponded with Jesh while he was in Egypt. Her letters were by far his favorites, for she wrote deeply layered missives, and positioned herself firmly as his eternal, equal partner. It was like Ethiopian qene poetry, just peel through some layers of wax and there shone gold and pearls of wisdom. At first it seemed like they would never be together, whereas now it appeared that it may be only three or five or seven years at the most, maybe sooner by her calculations, yet nobody could really be sure. She had contemplated divorce, but it could only work if it didn’t result in embarrassment for herself and Jeshua, yet finally patience would work in her favour. At a point of desperation in his own quest for kingship, hubby Jahn Philip reached for power that he thought was there but it disappeared before his eyes and he was called off to Rome and dethroned. The unexpected early death of Herod Jahn Philip meant that in less time than expected, Ari and Sal would indeed be united.

When first told of Herod Philip’s request to marry Salome, Herodias was said to have commented that she would “rather have his head on a platter than let him marry her” daughter. Whether or not she actually said the words, the supposed remark would live on to haunt her in life and in memory.

As per prophecy, Aristobulus was the new Joshua, with a minor of Elisha, and his life was to be patterned primarily after the main two previous Holy Joshua’s, or Saviours The trail was blazed as early as the twelfth and eighteenth dynasties, and the legend of the mesach had a new urgency and an incredibly worldly resonance. In time He would grow comfortably into the role, and became the Crown Prince of Israel, then the King of the Jews, even taking on the role of Joseph as dad to Jeshua Justus Aristobulus and the other youth, and finally leaving His mark as the Messiah of the new Way, a true prophet of peace and equality.

Our royal daughter, Princess Salome, herself of the highest Maccabeean and Herodian strains, was two years older than Ari, and was raised primarily in Jerusalem. Her regal heritage was unassailable, with her father being Herod Philip the Tetrarch, and her mother the internationally known Herodias, daughter of Aristobulus IV and matriarch Berenice. She was destined to be married two times; first to Prince Jahn Herod, Philip II, whom history and scripture remember as the Baptist, an arranged marriage designed as fulfillment of prophecy, then later unifying all of Israel by marrying Jesus Aristobulus and bringing forth sons to carry on the Covenant.

Full story continues at: Historical Jesus and Mary Magdelene

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