Jesus Christ Superstar, Female Apostles and the 1%

 

Jesus Netherlands

In honor of Good Friday, I am paying tribute to my favorite rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar!  Fresh out of The Netherlands comes this timely and creative interpretation, featuring female Disciples, a very young Jesus and a Roman government which is akin to Wall Street elites.  A lot of effort went into it — careful casting and two years rehearsal.  The play was first performed in 2016 at Candea College in Duiven.  The cast includes Tijmen Steg as Jesus, Don Voogt as Judas and Anne Baars as Mary Magdalene.

In the house of Lazarus, Mary  tries to anoint Jesus with precious oil, only to be reprimanded by Judas Iscariot.  “Woman, your fine ointment, brand new and expensive, could have been saved for the poor. Why has it been wasted? We could have raised maybe, three hundred silver pieces or more.”

Jesus, looking at the big picture and knowing he is not long for this world, answers: “Surely you’re not saying we have the resources to save the poor from their lot? There will be poor always, pathetically struggling; look at the good things you’ve got.”

(For more on Jesus’ anointing see my previous post Lazarus and the Pink Moon)

These very talented performers may come as a bit of a juxtapose and surprise.  I think they are fantastic!  Hope you enjoy it and have a happy Good Friday 🙂

Here, Anne Baars as Magdalene performs the ballad “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”.

Intrigued? Watch the whole opera here: (Running time about 1 hour 30 minutes.)

 

 

Lazarus and the Pink Moon

 

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My body was rife with boils and scabs, the pain constant, like blue fire to an open wound. My own hands were clamshells, too stiff and weak to aid myself.  My sisters, Martha and Mary, dressed my inflamed skin in cool gauze and oils, yet it did no good. I wished only for death.

“He, Yeshua, the healer,” Martha told me, her young face riddled with lines of worry. “He shall be back. It was his promise to us.”

“You speak of the Rabboni?” I could barely gasp the words. My breath was fast vanishing.

“The Rabboni, Emmanuel, Hosanna,” Mary answered. “Know you, Lazarus, that he has healed many, causing the lame to walk and the blind to see. He will come back to Bethany and heal you as well.”

I moved my stiff body, a near corpse, against the straw mattress. It cut like a blade. No miracle worker could help me, that I knew.  The pox gripped and I was well beyond healing. Yet I had not the heart nor the strength to say this aloud, knowing it would crush my sisters’ hopes.

“It is told the Rabboni has walked on waves in the sea of Galilee,” Mary continued. “He calms the ocean’s storms. In Canaan they talk of the man who has changed water into wine. In Tiberias they talk of the man who fed a multitude with only seven loaves and two fishes.  Such are the miracles of Yeshua bin Joseph, and he has stated his undying love for us.”

Drivel and nonsense! My mind screamed but my voice could not utter it. I was thirsty, very thirsty and my head burned with fever. Martha pressed a wineskin to my lips but its taste was bitter as gall. The liquid burned in my swollen throat. “You must drink brother,” Martha said. “So as to stay quick till the Rabboni arrives. It is then he will cure you and you shall be whole once more.”

I let out a sigh in as much as my breath would permit it.  Whole. Did I want to be whole ever again?

Illness is a mad thing. It steals one’s will. I was a young man, younger than the Rabboni, who was three and thirty years. These miracles my sisters spoke of meant little to me. I followed no god, paid Caesar no tithes, was beholden to no man. Death was inevitable. When my time came I had always known I’d accept it.

Not so with my sisters. Their faith was constant as rise of the sun. They’d not give up hope. Mary sat at the edge of my mat, her hands folded in prayer. “When I am gone,” I began, but could not continue as I saw the tears trickle like silent rain from the corners of her eyes.

“You will not be gone brother,” Martha called. She brought bread from the village and begged me to eat but its taste was dust, my ulcered mouth too weak to chew.

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Night fell. Finally my sisters ceased their fussing and took to bed. I was relieved.

Through the bare windows of our hut I saw the moon rise. The first full moon since change of the season. Desert winds were now calmer and pink phlox grew like spun silk across the land. The heat of summer would not be far behind, yet I knew I’d not live to see it.

I closed my eyes. Sleep enveloped me like a womb.

When I awoke it was yet night, the moon outside the window full and pink as the phlox that grew beneath it.

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Stars twinkled all around. I could feel the breeze, balmy against my bandages. Oh, to breathe that air once again! To stand beneath that full moon. If I had but one last request, that would be it. Yet I had such little strength.

Rising on my blistered feet, I grabbed the wineskin, tried to drink but still the taste was bitter. Martha’s loaf of bread sat upon the table, now covered with locusts. The sight of it turned my stomach.

My breath was heavy.  I longed for the night air. I stood on shaky legs. Although I had been bedridden for weeks I now walked outside, compelled by some force, a force as powerful as the moon’s diamond tides.

It was there in the rich darkness that the woman met me.

She was naked, illuminated in the moon’s glow, her skin and lips pink, with streams of red hair hair that fell to her hips.

lillith

“Lazarus,” she said. “Your time is not yet come. Though your body is diseased and imperfect, you are still a young man. The years ahead are many. Your sisters need you. If you will show but a tiny seedling of faith you shall be healed.”

Such perfection I had never seen in a woman before. “Who are you?” I asked.

“Come nearer,” she answered.

I approached her and when I was cheek press close she whispered in my ear, “Lillith.”

I backed away.  Lillith!  It was she who had cursed the earth, she who had left her husband Adam, she who brought death to one hundred babies each day.  This Lillith, a demon! A vixen!  So said all the holy books. My instincts were to flee. Yet when she spoke again, her voice like rich bells beckoning me, I could not refuse.

She placed her hand upon my forehead. Her touch was cool and soft, like moonbeams themselves. “You’d do well not to believe the legends of men!” she quipped.

She then took me into her bosom, placed her teat to my mouth. “Drink, Lazarus,” she commanded. “This is the milk of life, stronger than any wine.”

Her taste was sweet and as I drank I felt my strength restored.  The boils healed on my skin, the ulcers vanished from my mouth. My fever broke and my head cooled.  My muscles, which had begun to atrophy, now took on a new suppleness and flexibility. I stood to my full height. My vision was sharp and clear.

I looked around me. All the ground seemed brighter, the plants green as pine, the flowers grown to the size of wheat fields.  The colors were dazzling. Silver rivers flowed, sheep grazed, trees were ripe with apples. Far in the distance the landscape sprung with all manner of vegetation, the lavender fields a sea of purple before us.  We were no longer in Bethany.

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“What is the place, my lady?” I asked. My voice was now deep, restored of its full volume and masculinity.

“This is but a fragment of Eden,” she answered. “And you are here for but a fragment of time. Answer when Yeshua calls. He weeps for you. There is so much more of your life to live.”

The next I knew I was in a tomb, rock walls encompassing like a prison around me.  I was clothed in linen, my head wrapped and eyes covered.  This seemed quite absurd as I had never felt fitter in my life.  They had buried me? Buried me alive, no less!  I unraveled the gauze from my eyes.

Just then the tomb’s boulder was moved. A path opened and yellow sunlight poured in.  I heard his voice, sturdy and pleading. “Lazarus, come out.”

lazarus

Slowly I stepped from the tomb, earth warm on my bare feet. Mary and Martha ran to my side and embraced me. “Brother,” Mary said. “Never did we lose our faith. Though we buried you four days ago, it is as he promised. You live!” Her face was wet with tears of joy.

Four days? Surely she was wrong, for I had been with Lillith but a moment!  Only long enough to drink the milk from her breasts and glimpse paradise.

“Remove those burial linens and let him go,” Yeshua instructed.

Later, as we dined together at our table he leaned in to me and whispered in my ear, “Tell no one of Lillith.”

“But why, Rabboni?” I asked. The woman Lillith had been a vision, a hope and a miracle. I longed to share my story.

“They will crucify me for this,” Yeshua answered. “If they learn the source from which my power comes it will be even worse. You’ll endanger your sisters. You’ll endanger all of womankind. This world is not yet prepared for the Truth.”

I heeded his words and told none of my visit with Lillith.

My sister Mary then took an alabaster jar filled with our finest perfumed oil. She anointed Yeshua’s feet and dried them with her own hair.

annointing feet

The men criticized her. The one called Judas Iscariot rose and gestured wildly.  “This fine perfume could have been sold and its money given to the poor!” he bellowed. “Yet Mary has wasted it on the Rabboni’s feet! She is sinful.”

My sister, unperturbed, continued her anointing.

“Leave the woman alone,” Yeshua commanded. “She is preparing me for my burial. The poor will be with you always, but I am destined to leave you soon.”

All were silent at this. He was correct. When the Sanhedrin heard of my resurrection, they became even more suspicious of him. A bounty was put on his head and the one called Iscariot betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. He was arrested the following Thursday  at the garden of Gethsemane.

The very next day Yeshua bin Joseph was crucified, nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns on his head.  He died at Golgatha and was buried in a nearby tomb.

Like me, he arose from that tomb. Like me, he never told anyone of his encounter with Lillith.

As time went on many were persecuted. Women were burned at the stake, hung and murdered for their gifts of healing , elemental powers and necromancy.  It was not until millennia had passed that the Enlightenment came.

The world was then ready for the Truth.

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Gift of the Magi

 

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Three wise magicians, who resided in ancient Persia, were so adept at astrological charts that they determined the presence of a brilliant constellation, linked to the birth of baby who would become the most radical and controversial figure to ever hit planet earth.

That baby, a male child called Yeshua bin Joseph, was born in Bethlehem to a Hebrew teenager named Mary and  her betrothed, Joseph of the House of David.

The three magicians rode on caravan across the desert to discover the child for themselves, and determine what may be his effects on humankind.  They stopped for a brief stint with the (very nosy) King Herod.

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They then went on to Bethlehem where they greeted the baby with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Although they had promised Herod they would return with a full report, they bypassed the palace and returned to Persia, wisely keeping knowledge of the baby to themselves.

The Gift of the Magi is one of my favorite biblical stories. Today, in honor of Christmas Eve, I give you ‘We Three Kings’ by the (fabulous!) Mediaeval Baebes.

Make a wish, count your lucky stars and have a magical Christmas!

 

 

 

 

Accused of…

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He taught the self actualization of Asking, Seeking and Knocking. He encouraged people to open their own doors of opportunity.  Even at age twelve he was too smart for his own good, possessing psychic abilities and esoteric knowledge that reportedly  astounded the High Priests of the temple.

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His immense popularity led to accusations of sedition, rabble rousing and blasphemy. He was charged with the art of necromancy, Lazarus the dead man being his most famous case. He was also accused of healing — cripples, lepers, the psychologically troubled, the depressed, the insane, the diseased.

 

He manipulated the elements, created and calmed storms, changed water into wine and according to Scripture, fed thousands of people with only a few loaves of bread and two tiny fishes.

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He was arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin where he was accused of sorcery and witchcraft.  These were very  serious charges. The Book of Leviticus  clearly states, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”  (Ironically, those that claimed to be his ‘followers’ would, in centuries to come, use those very same words as an excuse to put thousands of women to death.)

He was a clever chameleon, wisely admitting to nothing.  He made the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod stumble over their own words as he famously asked: “Who do YOU say I am?”

Magician

Who indeed?  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Magdalene

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She was the thirteenth disciple.  A devotee of Yeshua who followed him along the shores of Galilee, had heated debates with Peter, did a lot of anointing and brought a unique feminine energy to his ministry.  She even wrote her own gospel, which can be found in the Nag Hammadi Gnostic texts.  Mary of Magdalene was with Jesus till the bitter end, witnessing the beatings, the nails, the crown of thorns and all the atrocities mankind had laid upon him.  Reportedly she remained even when some of the men had fled in horror.  She wept at the foot of his cross.  According to scripture, it was Magdalene who went first to Jesus’ grave, found the open tomb and witnessed the risen Christ.

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Some say she was actually the wife of Yeshua. This is a perfectly plausible theory. Long before The Da Vinci Code was flying off bookshelves, many historians had already proposed this premise.

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France was ahead of the game, having devoted many shrines and chapels to Magdalene centuries before anyone thought to delve into the secret/ not so secret societies of Knights Templar et al.  Some people claim that Magdalene and Yeshua had five children together.  And yes, you and I could potentially be descendants   🙂

During the Middle Ages, in a decision made by Pope Gregory the Great, the Catholic Church condemned Magdalene as a prostitute. This was supposedly due to some flimsy biblical evidence about loose women, but mostly it was due to fear – fear of having to acknowledge Magdalene as a powerful woman who was fully capable of conducting a ministry

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Ever since the repression of the ancient mother goddess, organized religions have had difficulty in recognizing the divine feminine.  Apparently the church felt the need to create a dichotomy, reducing women to a role of either Madonna or whore.   Mary of Nazareth, Yeshua’s mother, was clearly filling the Madonna role, so Mary of Magdalene had to become the slut.  Logical.

Pope Gregory’s decision, made in the year 591, stuck for a long time.  In fact, it stuck all the way up until 1969 when Magdalene was officially welcomed into the realm of Saints. (Yes, 1969!)  The freeing of Magdalene was possibly influenced by  civil rights movements and the 20th century version of women’s liberation.   However, the stigma remains till this day. Magdalene is often still portrayed as a temptress, seductress and femme fatale.

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By shutting off and reducing feminine power, the church has put itself in jeopardy. By not recognizing the sacred embrace of Magdalene and Yeshua, the church has cut itself off from sexual expression.  This has often resulted in perversity and darkness, not to mention child abuse, scandal and several legal battles.  (See  academy award winning movie Spotlight.)

This Sunday, Christians all over the world will be commemorating the risen Christ.  We can also  recognize and celebrate the divine feminine of Magdalene and principles of life everlasting.

We are all one, as infinite as the stars. There is no death, only a transference of molecules into another dimension.  Have a Blessed Easter.

Watch Magdalene’s song from Jesus Christ Superstar here:

 

 

 

“Bringing the world closer through peace, harmony and understanding of the wise-craft.”

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