The following is a speculative narrative based on ancient sources and traditions which have hung for centuries over Christian history like the heavy moor fog.
Over two thousand years ago a young woman in her early teens was betrothed to an upstanding member of the community. He was older and a widower.
However, there was something different about this young woman. She was descended from an ancient king who was promised that one day one of his descendants would be king not only of this small kingdom but of the world.
She treasured these promises and hopes that one day in her lifetime she would see her people delivered from the cruel oppression of those who had enslaved her land. The Roman yoke was truly one of iron.
Not too far away was another young woman who was fancied by her uncle, a member of the ruling council. As she lay in her cradle and gazed up at him, he thought about her future and the part that he would play in her development. Being a member of the ruling council he would provide the best for her since he had the means as well as the power to do so.
On a hillside town of Bethany overlooking an ancient city of Jerusalem Encharia gave birth to a daughter, her first child Martha (Aramaic for Lady). However, it is not this daughter that is the integral part of our story. It would be the second child, another daughter, born several years later that would be the focus of our story, as was her brother, the third child, a male-child with all the promises of the ancients—Lazarus (Elohim has helped).
By coincidence or providence all three of these women were named Maryām or Mary (Beautiful). Each would play a vital role in the formation of a new religion in the 1st Century.
The first Maryām was visited by Gabriel, one of the seven Archangels of her religious tradition, who gave her a special message. She would bear a son of David, the future ruler of the world. A year later her first-born son came into the world amidst a series of strange events. He was born in a cave surrounded by animals and a number of shepherds who were still recovering from being serenaded by a host of angelic cantors.
Eight days later when Maryām and Joseph (Elohim will increase) took the boy to the temple for the rite of circumcision, they were met by Simeon (Obedient One) and a prophetess named Anna (Full of Grace), who told them a prophecy about the child.
Joseph decided to remain in his ancestral town to ply his trade since he was also a descendant of David. He found a suitable dwelling where the young mother and child could grow.
About two years later men from the Far East arrived and presented gifts to the child. They told of a mysterious star in the East which had guided them on their two-year journey to find the promised king.
Unfortunately, they had made a mistake in going to Jerusalem to consult with King Herod the Great who, through sophistry, asked the Eastern travellers to report back to him when they found this child. His intention was clear—he wanted no rivals to his dynasty.
Both the travellers and Joseph were warned in dreams to flee. The travellers returned to their homeland by a northern route while Joseph, the mother and child went South to Egypt where they would remain for a few years as Joseph took on the profession of stone mason for the Egyptians and Romans.
The child was surrounded by the culture and wisdom of Egypt. Joseph’s renown as a stone mason brought him and the growing boy to the heart of the world—Rome.
Meanwhile back in Israel the second Maryām was developing as well. She was her uncle’s favorite, and he lavished on her the riches of his class.
The third Maryām was born and her older sister took her under her young wing. Martha, even though young, demonstrated her domestic inclinations and she wanted her newborn sister to follow in her footsteps.
As time passed, the second Maryām became a beautiful young woman. Her Uncle Joseph of Arimathea wanted the best for his niece, but dark forces were at work to disturb her destiny as well as the stratification of culture which placed women, especially beautiful women, under severe restraints.
In the wilderness on the Jordan River a young prophet was causing quite a stir with his audacious preaching, directed especially at the royal court. His condemnation of the king and the wife of the King’s brother for their adultery would not proceed without his ultimate death.
However, this young preacher had another message about the coming of One who would free Israel from bondage—not physical bondage from Rome, but from spiritual bondage and onerous religious traditions. Few understood that he was referring to his cousin, the son of the first Mary—the Nazarene Teacher.
The Nazarene Teacher, through family connections, found the home of the third Mary to be a place of peace and comfort for him and His followers. This Mary of Bethany sought to listen to every word, which annoyed her sister Martha who oversaw the household of her younger brother Lazarus, who had assumed the head of the household after their father Syro died—so was the custom of the day.
Martha had assumed the role of matriarch after her mother’s untimely death many years ago. She viewed herself as a mother to her younger sister Mary, who was only a child when their mother passed the confines of this earth, and to her brother Lazarus.
However, it would be the second Mary that the Nazarene Teacher would encounter and bring full circle to the woman she was destined to be, especially in the years to come when she made her way from Jerusalem to that far shore of the Roman Empire—Britannia.
She became one of the Nazarene Teacher’s devoted followers after he freed her of the dark forces which plagued her young life. She little realized what lay in store for her—Mary the Magdalene, the future mother of a dynasty.
On that darkest of Fridays Mary the Magdalene felt her very soul ripped to shreds as her Master died. His mother Mary’s grief only added to her own as the Roman Centurion Longinus was overwhelmed by the women and the man suspended between heaven and earth.
For a man of war Longinus had seen it all in bloody campaigns. For him this was something very different because he had accompanied Claudia Procula, Pilate’s wife, on her many visits to hear the Nazarene Teacher.
His message of peace and universal brotherhood found a note of agreement in the Centurion. It was a good feeling, and in their visits they had met the Magdalene, and he felt a parental regard toward the young woman.
When it was revealed to Mary and Martha that the Nazarene Teacher had died that dark Friday afternoon, they summoned the other women who had accompanied the Nazarene Teacher to prepare his body for burial before the Sabbath began at sunset.
These women were become known as the Myrrhbearers. They had followed and supported the ministry of their teacher.
Now they would perform the last rituals for their beloved. Unfortunately, because the Sabbath was so close, they could not finish their appointed task and would have to come back after the Sabbath to finish the burial rites.
Early on Sunday, the first day of the week, the women returned to the tomb and found it opened and emptied. Two strange messengers in brilliant white told them that their beloved was not here.
All of the women went back to the disciples to tell them the news. The disciples did not believe them.
Later Mary the Magdalene returned to the tomb by herself. She wanted to believe, but she had witnessed her beloved’s death on that Friday, and belief could not overcome the brutal reality of what she saw and felt.
She encountered someone with whom she pleaded to show her the body of her beloved. According to the story, it was her beloved who told her to go tell the others of what she had seen.
She became the first evangelist to share the good news that death would have no meaning now for those who would embrace the truth. Truth always sets one free from the bondage of ignorance and mortal death.
As I have stated before, these people, especially the women, surrounding the Nazarene Teacher disappear from future mention in the letters comprising the New Testament. What happened to them?
Mary the mother of the Nazarene Teacher died a few years after the events of Easter weekend. It is assumed that she is buried in a sacred place or that she was buried and raised from the dead based on the Apostle Thomas’ account of her empty tomb.
Based on tradition and legend, with many believers Martha, Mary and Lazarus left Jerusalem when Saul began his bloody campaign against The Way after the murder of Deacon Stephen. They journeyed to Gaul where they preached and taught the ways of their beloved.
Mary the Magdalene journeyed to Britannia where she was joined by many others. Her children were the progenitors of the Arthurian Legends.
Three women and their destinies are part of the esoteric mysteries, myths and legends of the first century. Somewhere on this planet traversing the cosmos, the truth is based on what one believes or speculates with reverence or iconoclastic disregard.
G. D. Williams © 2019
The Voyage From Jerusalem To Glastonbury
A Search For Easter
Of Esoteric Mysteries, Myths and Legends: The Dogwood Tree
Easter A Religious Reflection
A Roman Prefect’s Question-What Is Truth?
Maryām’s Week of Triumph and Sorrow
Of Esoteric Mysteries, Myths and Legends: Spear of Destiny