Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth on secrets

Know what is before your face, and what is hidden from you will be revealed to you. For nothing hidden will fail to be revealed!
Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by Didymus Jude Thomas in the fifth transcription of the “Gospel according to Thomas”. Published in the Greek; a papyrus fragment was discovered in 1903 and subsequently became known as Oxyrhynchus papyrus volume IV, number 654 (Oxyrhynchus, Egypt: ?); currently stored (London, UK: British Museum) as inventory number 1531. Published in the Coptic; the full source text was discovered by Jean Doresse in 1948. Original source text in Coptic, translated into the French by Jean Doresse, and then translated into the English by Leonard Johnston and Jean Doresse. Jean Doresse describes this manuscript as the “…most beautiful of all the manuscripts emanating from Chenoboskion, Codex X, in which this text occupies pages 32 to 51. The writing of this codex seems to date from the second half of the fourth century [350-399 AD].” Available in The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics: An Introduction to Recently Discovered Ancient Manuscripts That Rival the Dead Sea Scrolls in Importance by Jean Doresse as Appendix II, “The Gospel according to Thomas or the Secret Words of Jesus” (New York: MJF Books, 1986), p. 356. First published in the French as Les livres secrets des Gnostiques d’Egypt (Paris, France: Librairie Plon, 1958).

Konrad Ventana on the Peyote Road

“Those of your Indian brothers who were recognized as having the ability to lead others along this sacred path are known as “Road Men,” on a road where peyote is chief. It is important for you to know—and therefore for me to tell you—that you are nearing the end of your brief apprenticeship; and it is important for you to know more about those who walked this road before you. As remarkable as this may seem, and as awkward as this may appear to your logical mind, there are elements of your life that you will not be able to assimilate until you realize just who you are, and what you are meant to do.”

During breakfast, which Thunder briefly enjoyed outside on the porch, Professor Yesteryear described the life and contributions of a Road Man named Quanah Parker. He stopped eating and became very serious when he spoke of this honorable elder of the Peyote Religion. This man, he explained, was mortally wounded in battle with federal troops but was healed by peyote, which contains a number of natural antibiotics, administered to him by a Coahuiltecan Indian curandera, who further instructed Quanah in the proper manner in which to run peyote ceremonies. During his recuperation, Quanah reported seeing an influential vision of Jesus Christ, which prompted the incorporation of additional Christian practices and relics into the “Half-Moon” and “Cross-Fire” ceremonies that would follow. In a point for contemplation, Professor Yesteryear offered a personal quotation from Quanah Parker: The white man goes into his church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes into his tipi and talks with Jesus.

Professor Yesteryear paused momentarily and then continued. “Quanah taught his people that Sacred Peyote Medicine was a sacrament given to all peoples by the Creator and that it was to be used with pure water when seeking communion. The first important point is the purposeful extension of the term medicine—well beyond the pharmacological, healing arts and into the realm of spiritual healing and vitality. Secondly, the emphasis on water, not wine, in the ceremony recognizes the destructive influence of alcohol and recreational drug use on the Peyote Road. Finally, the incorporation of additional Christian traditions into the peyote ceremony served as a buffer that helped to attenuate the relentless opposition, legal persecution, and harassment of the Peyote Religion.”

“That’s very interesting, Professor Yesteryear,” said Wade, who was feeling more and more comfortable on this pharmacological common ground. “The Indian use of the term medicine for peyote and the relation of this herbal communion bread with the holy body of Christ are clearly more mystical than medicinal in intent. It’s no wonder that the ancient hunter-gatherers found spiritual comfort in Father Peyote, for even Jesus spoke of a spiritual comforter who was yet to come.”

“As a somewhat wayward but magnificent hunter-gatherer—in a beautiful, continual tradition of hunter-gatherers—you, son,” he said as he pointed his finger directly at Wade, “have inadvertently been chosen to play the part of a modern-day Road Man. But as for your personal vision quest, along with its painfully obvious and heartbreakingly romantic connotations, I can only give you the benefit of my own personal experience.

“You see, I was young once, and strong of heart, just like you, and I saw the plight of the Native American Indians as an undeniable injustice insinuating itself upon a people who were virtually helpless to resist the cultural extermination that loomed upon them. Like you, I could not in good conscience turn away from their plight, but took it upon myself to participate in some meaningful way … to document their history, to expound upon the sociological and anthropological principles—and indeed the basic American rights and freedoms—conferred by our Constitution to resist this cultural extermination and to attempt to preserve a precarious religious freedom that is of inestimable value to humanity. From the biblical burning bush, to the steps of Jacob’s Ladder, to the angels of Abraham, Jacob, and even Hiawatha, the potential value of the mystical state is inestimable—in a sacred and religious and historical and an intensely philosophical sense. I knew then, like you know now, that I simply had to help.”
Konrad Ventana in A Desperado’s Daily Bread: A Novella, (Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse, 2009), p. 92. Quanah Parker quotation cited by Hills Snyder in his review of the exhibition Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s entitled “Is he dead? Sit you down, father. Rest you.” (San Antonio, Texas: San Antonio Museum of Art, March 13 – August 1, 2010).

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"Those of your Indian brothers who were recognized as having the ability to lead others"

Joan Halifax on solitude

If immaculate silence is a placenta that nourishes us, then solitude is a secret womb that wraps around us and holds us in our place. A psychic landscape of emptiness, it is a place where we are gestated, and from which we are born into the greater womb of creation. Alone in the wilderness, the fire of the sun can burn us; the rains can freeze us; the winds can blow our sense away; Earth can fill us with fear. We are initiated and purified by the elements, empty-handed and undefended. Fasting, our bellies hungry, we feel closer to the bone of life and under the skin of death. The poisons of our body and mind rise up from the depths. They are the stale bitter taste on the root of our tongue. This stuff of the past not worthily lived is also medicine.

Without food, we seek nourishment in the present and in silence; the sandy wash, the varnished stone, the dark hard lava, the small gray cloud, all are food for us. We also begin to derive nourishment from our ancestral past. In a Ute song, it is said, “In our bones is the rock itself; in our blood is the river; our skin contains the shadow of every living thing we ever came across. This is what we brought with us long ago.” We are the sum of our ancestors. Our roots stretch back to blue-green algae; they stretch to the stars. They ultimately reach the void. Between the great original emptiness, the ancestral void, and the body that reads these words, there stand numberless generations of inorganic and organic forms. As geological history is written on a canyon wall, this history is inscribed in our psyches. Silence and solitude enjoin us to remember our whole and great body.

To know this, the mountain and desert, forest and frozen lands are where shamans have sought vision and meditators and monks have sought to realize their genuine mind ground. The Eskimo shaman Igjugarjuk said, “When I was to be an anatkoq, I chose suffering through the two things that are most dangerous to us humans, suffering through hunger and suffering through cold. … True wisdom is only to be found far away from people, out in the great solitude, and it is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and therefore a shaman seeks his wisdom there.”

Don José [Ríos (Matsuwa)] told me years ago, “I have pursued my apprenticeship for sixty-four years. During these years, many, many times have I gone to the mountains alone. Yes, I have endured great suffering during my life. Yet to learn to see, to learn to hear, you must do this—go into the wilderness alone. For it is not I who can teach the ways of the gods. Such things are learned only in solitude.”

In the Essene Gospel of John, Jesus said:

Fast and pray fervently, seeking the power of the living God for your healing. While you fast, eschew the Sons of Men and seek our Earthly Mother’s angels, for he that seeks shall find. Seek the fresh air of the forest and of the fields, and there in the midst of them shall you find the angels of the air. Put off your shoes and your clothing and suffer the angel of air to embrace all your body. Then breathe long and deeply, that the angel of air…shall cast out of your body all uncleanesses which defiled it without and within.

Joan Halifax in The Fruitful Darkness: A Journey Through Buddhist Practice and Tribal Wisdom, (New York: Grove Press, 2004), p. 27. First published as The Fruitful Darkness: Reconnecting with the body of the earth, (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993).

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"If immaculate silence is a placenta"