Monday, May 10, 2010


Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Luke 1:1-1:4

There are many mysteries in the world today that words simply can not unlock.  The seeds of chance yield unspecified fruit.  An acorn, if sown into the earth and grown to maturity, will produce an oak tree.   It is the labor of a student that determines the course of a teachers instruction.  The more complex we see the material to learn, the more secrecy we see behind it's inner-workings, and it's message is usually the tip to another iceberg.  Most adepts are able to fully realize what their mission and their role in that mission is.  Meanwhile, we can easily lose the poor listener to the sound of wind blowing through trees in the distance.

A lazy student will someday make a lazy teacher and life's true instructions and purposes then lies dormant. However, man like every intelligent animal being, will always find a way to "pick-the-lock" and make life's noumenal inner-workings easier to understand with a picture, a diagram, or easier yet: a symbol. In a sorted and organized fashion the pupil can recall characteristics previously unseen to the developing eye based on hidden memories deep in recesses of the mind.  With time and the right amount of exposure, the student is left to study the brilliance of the work, burned onto the photographic mind, left to ponder it's true, lost significance.  The composite is the the myth.

This series of articles for NOW HAPPENED will focus on a lineage of learned adepts named John and their close relationships with various other Johns, James, Jesus and other significant and similar builders of society. Perhaps this illustration of some of our greatest minds will dove-tail into new insights and historical synchronicities between them.  With the help of some of our favorite authors, artists, Google and Wikipedia, we will let them unfold their story, reveal their true hidden customs and traditions, and most of all explain the great work they inspired and how they moved the masses with the stroke of a pen. 

The name John, meaning "Yahweh is gracious", derives via Latin Iōhannēs and Greek Ἰωάννης, from the Hebrew name יוחנן (Yôḥanan, also transliterated Yochanan).Yochanan was the name of several important rabbis in the Second Temple Period in Israel, such as Yochanan ben Zakai and Yochanan ben Nuri. The New Testament was written in Greek, and the Hebrew name was adapted in Greek as Ἰωάννης, Iōannēs. The name Ioannes became extremely popular among the early Christians, and bearers include such noted members of the early church as Ioannes Chrysostomos.

The name came into use in other parts of the Christianized Roman Empire. The Western areas of the Roman Empire did not, however, speak Greek like the areas in the East. Instead, they spoke Latin. Accordingly, in the Western part of the Roman Empire the name was Latinized as Iohannes (pronounced like the Greek).

The local populations in these areas of the Roman Empire soon changed Roman names to fit their own dialect, which included dropping the suffixes -us and -es from such names. In the Roman sphere of influence, Johannes became the Italian Giovanni, the Germanic Johann, the Hungarian János, and the Slavic languages Ivan, Jan, Ján, Honza and Jovan, and Ion in the area on the Black Sea that is now Romania. On the outskirts of the Empire in the newly converted Ireland it became the Irish Eoin. In some cases, the pronunciation of the original initial "Y"/"I" also changed to variants of "J", so that in Iberia the name eventually changed to the Spanish Juan and the medieval Portuguese Juo/Joane (now João) and Ivo. In Gaul, it became the Old French Jehan and later Jean (pronounced /ʒɑ̃/). In the Occitano-Romance area it became Joan (feminine, Joana) and Jan in Occitan and Catalan, from older Iouan and Iohan.

Jah is the shortened name for God YHWH, and Jehovah most commonly used in the Rastafari movement and the world wide preaching of Jehovah's Witnesses in upwards of 500 languages. It comes from the Hebrew יָהּ = Yah. In the original text of the Hebrew Bible, "Jah" occurs 50 times, 26 times alone and 24 times in the term "Hallelujah".  In the King James Version of the Bible it is transliterated as "JAH" or all capital letters, in only a single instance: "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him." (Psalm 68:4).

Oannes (Hovhannes [Հովհաննես] in Armenian) was the name given by the Babylonian writer Berossus in the 3rd century BC to a mythical being who taught mankind wisdom. Berossus describes Oannes as having the body of a fish but underneath the figure of a man. He is described as dwelling in the Persian Gulf, and rising out of the waters in the daytime and furnishing mankind instruction in writing, the arts and the various sciences.

The name "Oannes" was once conjectured to be derived from that of the ancient Babylonian god Ea, but it is now known that the name is the Greek form of the Babylonian Uanna (or Uan) a name used for Adapa in texts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. The Assyrian texts attempt to connect the word to the Akkadian for a craftsman ummanu but this is a merely a pun. Scholars have long speculated that the name might ultimately be derived from that of the 8th century figure of Jonah (Hebrew Yonah). Bible critics have made the reverse claim, although the Hebrew name has the known meaning of "dove". 

The name had gained popularity among Jews in Judea and Galilee by the time the area became a province of the Roman Empire in 6 A.D. and before. John Hyrcanus (יהוחנן), was the first king of the Hasmonean Dynasty, and was the nephew of Judas Maccabeus. It was the given name of Yochanan ben Zechariah, a Jewish prophet known in English as John the Baptist.

The Qumran site near the Dead Sea has always been identified with the Essenes, a Jewish sect descended from an ancient line of high priests.  The word Essenes is mostly translated as "pious ones" or "healers".  In 152 B.C.E., after leading the Jews into a war of independence, Jonathan, brother of Judas Maccabeus assumed the position of high priest in Jerusalem.  This usurpation by a pretender prompted the Essenes to declare the priesthood illegitimate.  They broke away from the temple and all ties with their fellow Jews.  They even rejected the Jewish calendar and marked the Holy days by their own recordings.

Calling themselves the righteous remnants of Israel, the sect withdrew from society and established monastic-like-brotherhoods, the first in Judaic history.  This sect spread in towns through out the country but concentrated on a region between Jericho and the Dead Sea.  There separated by the corrupt society of the time, and no longer under authority of the temple, the brothers answered instead to the priesthood who keep the covenant.

One of the Dead Sea Scrolls records that the settles of Qumran lived there for 20 years "like blind men groping their way at noon", until a priestly leader, the teacher of righteousness, rose among them.  He was a "man to whom God made known all the mysteries of the words of his servants the prophets". Scholars have failed to identify the teacher; but whoever he was, his followers pined their hopes for salvation on his visionary words.

He instructed the people to interpret the lessons in the Bible, for encoded within scripture were prophesies that might shed some light on current events and end times, concepts that members of the sect viewed as one and the same.  The Bible said the teacher, revealed that the wicked would soon be destroyed.  In the aftermath, three figures would emerge to restore that Essenes to their rightful place in Jerusalem: A great prophet, a Messiah descended from King David, and a second priestly Messiah, the "Anointed of Aaron".  Until that day, the Essenes must dedicate their lives to worship, study, and spiritual purification.

Aside from the scrolls, the most complete account of Essene organization, initiation, and beliefs comes from the first century Jewish historian Philo Judeaus of Alexandria. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder, also first century, gave additional early descriptions of the sect.  All the sources depicted a life defined by hardship, self deprivation, and military style discipline.  A complex of hierarchy officials, by a council made up of three priests and 12 layman, governed the community according to strict application of Biblical law.

Members shunned wealth, dressed modestly, took a vow of celibacy, and differed to their superiors.  Like fellow Jews, they ceased all activity on the Sabbath.  But the Essenes took the practice to greater extremes, and restricted even natural body functions on the Holy days.  The initiation practice and process lasted at least three years.

The candidate for membership spent one year living apart from the settlement.  Next, he faced an examination, first by the leader then by full assembly.  If accepted, he became the apprentice of the sect and then worked his way up to full membership.  Josephus reports that the oath of admission included the inductee's solemn promise "forever [to] hate the unjust and fight the battle of just."  each new apprentice was issued a linen robe, a loin cloth, and an ax, the last primarily to survive in the wilderness but also to dispose of human waste in accordance with the rules of purity.

After living for a year within the community, the apprentice relinquishes his valuables and assumed some of the responsibilities of the sect.  After the second year, he achieved full membership privileges and was permitted to join the communities table.  The highly regimented daily routine began after a short nights sleep.  The Essene arose in silence before sunrise and donned their robes.  The first words they uttered were prayers offered in the direction of the rising sun "as though, entreating him to rise", wrote Josephus.

From the sunrise prayer service they went to their chores, laboring until the mid-day in the fields, flour mill, kitchen, stable, smelting furnaces, and pottery kiln.  Some became experts on the healing powers of herbs and gemstones.  Others, the community scribes, sat bent over unfurled scrolls meticulously copying scripture.  In the late morning they immersed themselves in cold water, disdaining the oil generally used for cleansing, which they thought impure.  Then they filed into the refectory to eat the first meal of the day.  Afterward, they resumed work until time for a second meal.  Evenings were devoted for prayer, worship and the study of scripture.

Punishment for breaking the rules was severe.  Transgressors were sometimes deprived of food, a precious commodity in the wilderness.  The rations of any member who failed to give his belongings to the community could be reduced to 1/4th, with the offender cut-off from participation in the group for a year.  Anyone who fell asleep during a meeting served one months penance; if a man was caught laughing in a boisterous manner, a portion of his food was denied for 30 days.  The punishment for indecent dress was meted out over six months.  Those who spoke God's name aloud risked expulsion

On the occasion of the Annunciation to Mary, the archangel Gabriel also told her that her cousin Elizabeth who was also "well stricken with years"  and also had been barren, had also conceived a child.  These almost exactly recurring forms of miraculous birth were not spiritual cribbings but, rather as examples of the marvelous ways in which sacred events foretold the future and resonated with the past.  This particular miraculous birth, that of John the baptist to Elizabeth appears in the Gospel of Luke and predates the apocryphal account of the birth of the Virgin.

The historical Herod was a ruthless man who married many times and was responsible for the death of three of his sons.  Late in life, he seemed to have bouts with insanity.  Perhaps because of these facts, he became the raging arch-villain, especially in medieval mystery dramas where his role was played to a hilt, with hysterical outbursts and blood-thirsty ravings, to the great delight of audiences.

When Herod realized that the three kings would not help him find the future "King of the Jews" (which was supposed to be Herod's title), He ordered the death of all children under the age of two.  Soldiers snatched infants from the arms of their mothers, small bodies were everywhere.  It was quickly decided that these children, the first martyrs, went straight to heaven.  They became known as the Holy Innocents.  Later, artist's tried to work this happy ending into the scene thus, mollify it's horror.  The little ones flying straight up into the sky and into the arms of waiting angles. Why wasn't John the Baptist killed in this butchering? Elizabeth hid him under her cloak and fled to the hills.  Perhaps the soldiers thought Elizabeth as to old to have such a young child.

As the families grew, so did the family name and tradition.  There is also the question of the many Mary's.  The plethora of Marys in the Old Testament can be accounted for partly by the fact that Miriam is a common Jewish name.  Anna, Mary's mother, had been widowed three times, and each time had a daughter, each who she named Mary.  Sons of these Mary's were the "brethren" of Jesus.  If we add to this extended family Marys cousin Elizabeth and her child John the baptist, we can imagine Jesus growing up in a noisy of cousins.

In some legends of the flight into Egypt, the Holy family meets up with the young John and his parents on their return.  At the Annunciation, we also hear of John kicking Elizabeth's pregnant stomach, indicating his sensitivity to a very close brush with Mary, also pregnant with Jesus.  As a grown man John will carry a reed stick with a cross bar lashed to it near the top and occasionally hold a lamb, marking his prophesy of the master to come.  When John the Baptist was born he could walk.  His old father Zechariah (struck dumb and mute by God after asking for proof of  God's divinity), was healed after he reassured Elizabeth of his name to be John, in writing after he was born. The prophesies continue, and the Great Plan begins to unfold.

Scholars have drawn striking parallels between the Essenes and early Christianity.  Some have even gone so far to suggest that Jesus may have belonged to sect and was secretly initiated at Qumran.  Though this assertion is highly controversial, a better argument can be made that John the Baptist was an raised by Essenes.  The Gospel of Luke suggests that even as a child, John lived in Judean wilderness, site of the Qumran settlement.  Like the Essenes, he forsook civilization for an ascetic life.  Where Essene initiates administered ritual cleansing similar to Baptism, John baptized sinners in the nearby Jordan River. Yet John's name is absent from the scrolls, and nowhere in the Bible is he actually called an "Essene".

It has often appeared strange to Christians that Jesus should have anything to do with baptism, which was explicitly said to be for forgiveness of sins.  Surely, He had none?  The rugged adept, John The Baptist hesitated to carry out the rite.  But Jesus answered him, "Let it be now: it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness."

There are two unique features associated with Jesus baptism - a vision, and a voice.  This double testimony was not public, the purpose, mainly for Jesus himself. It marked God's seal on his special mission. The true story of Jesus has never been unfolded to the world, although a few hints may be offered in some commentaries written by the ante-Nicene fathers.  The facts concerning his life and mission are among the priceless mysteries present to this day, in the secret vaults beneath the "Houses of the Brethren". To a few of the Knights Templar, who were initiated into the arcana of the Druses, Nazarene, Essene, Johannites and other sects still inhabiting the remote and inaccessible fastnesses of the Holy Land, part of the strange story was told.  The knowledge of the Templars concerning the early history in Christianity was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for their persecution and final annihilation.

John the Baptist and Jesus were almost exact contemporaries, John being six months older.  Both were to become preachers with different ministries, but both immensely significant.  John lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.  This public appearance came only as a result of a specific call from God to preach repentance and to baptize. It is closely connected with Gods saving grace in Jewish history.  John is likened to the prophet Issiah's prediction; "The voice of one crying in the desert".  By coming from the desert like Elijah (ELI-JOHN), John could be seen as a second Elijah who was to come.  John underlined his prophetic link by wearing the simple clothes, made of camels hair with a  leather belt, also worn by Elijah.

His mass appeal was unprecedented: he did not have to come to the people, they came to him.  Three places are mentioned as the place he preformed his baptism for those who responded to his preaching by repenting.  The three locations are mentioned in Johns Gospel; Bethany on the other side of Jordan, at the level of Jericho, further east at Aenon near Salim, and Batanaia (Bashan in the old testament).

Jesus after his own baptism by John, takes up the same proclamation; Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.  Pharisees and Sadducee, heavily attacked by John, came to repent and be baptized, telling them they will have to "produce fruit in keeping with repentance." The Essene are not mentioned, as their view of baptism was different.  They performed regular, ritual self-baptisms, after careful initiation, in their own closed community.

John knew that his method of baptism by water was only preparing the way for someone he said would baptize "with the Holy Spirit and with fire."  When this man came to him, he recognized Him, proclaiming Jesus, "the Lamb of God".  After a brief conversation, in which John protested that it was he who should be baptized, not Jesus, John finally baptizes Jesus and this action marked the official public beginning of Jesus ministry.  The next day Jesus would meet his first disciples in Galilee; Andrew, Peter and Philip.  John continued his ministry as he moved to Aenon near Salim and later back to the territory of Herod Antipas, who had him arrested.

Herod feared a kind of sedition from Johns mass following.  Not to mention that John had dared to publicly denounce the adultery Herod had committed with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.  John was then taken to the Fortress of Machaerus, east of the Dead Sea.  Herod's own attitude toward John, was a mixture of fear and admiration.  From prison, John sent disciples to Jesus to find out if He really was the Messiah.  Jesus evident preparation for suffering rather than triumph, for martyrdom rather than judgment, was so unexpected that confirmation seemed necessary.  Jesus provided this in a characteristic way, by pointing at all of those aspects of his ministry which the prophets had predicted as the Messiah.

The famous story of Salome, (Herodias daughter) and her dance ends with Johns beheading at the request of Salome perhaps influenced by Herodias after John's denouncement of their affair.  Jesus went on to praise John publicly by insisting that "there had never been anyone greater than John the Baptist."  Thus John is greater than Elijah, greater even than Moses.  he was the last of the prophets truly linking the old covenant with the new.  Some John followers are later discovered in the New testament at Ephesus.  Later his teachings influenced the baptismal sect of Mandeans.

In the Middle ages, Christians in a world of strife and violence, rediscovered john's unique role as a preacher of repentance.  in 1099, crusader knights founded an order in Jerusalem, dedicated to care for the weak, the sick, the poor and to the defense of faith.  They called it The Knightly Order of the hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Saint John the Baptist is one of the patron saints of Freemasonry and at one time, indeed, the only one.  The Name of John the Evangelist having been introduced subsequently in the sixth century.  His festival is celebrated on June 24th by the Masonic fraternity.

We will next focus on the Dark to Middle Ages and the consciousness explosion in the Renaissance. What is the outcome when a secret fraternities apply a mystical approach to higher earthly values in art, sacred geometry, and the natural sciences.  We will focus on the likes of three important  of the time:  JOHN DEE, JOHANNES BAYER, AND JOHANNES KEPLER.  How did these men affect not only the way we our esoteric and exoteric worlds but, our views of space and the cosmos all together.  Stay tuned...

UPDATED 06/16/2012 --

After reading the following observations by TBR News we wanted to add them to this particular blog entry:

Washington, D.C. May 8, 2012: “There is fact and then there is fiction. ‘Fact’ is that the sun rises in the east or that water is wet. ‘Fiction’ is that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny exist. One of the things that has always struck me as entertaining is the rage and detestation with which the Evangelical Christians view the gay community. Even more amusing is their view on evolution but I will save that for another time.

Considering the total lack of period reference to their Jesus, coupled with the indisputable fact that the New Testament gospels were written over a hundred years after the fact and subject to constant revision over the centuries, an historian realizes that the New Testament is nothing but propaganda. But to get back to the anti-gay attitudes of the Evangelicals, if they were to actually read the immense body of serious history of the beginning of the Christian era, they would realize that the basic dogmas of the early Christian church were lifted, in toto in most cases, from the doctrines of the Essenes, a period Jewish cult.

If Jesus existed, he must certainly have been an Essene. The problem with this concept is that the Essenes were an all-male communistic community of farmers, despised women and only used them to breed sons. Eventually, the Essenes joined the revolt against Rome and were virtually obliterated by the Romans, and most crucified for rebellion against Rome. A small handful of cult members fled to the hills and were the ones who wrote what are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

There are written in an easily-translated script and have been in the hands of Jewish scholars for almost fifty years. It is rather odd that very little has been published of these period scrolls and it is rather commonly known in the historical community that these scrolls will never be published because they connect Jesus to the Essense and openly espouse a homosexual lifestyle. If this is the case, it is rather ironic that the Evangelical cultists are so anti-homosexual when their founder and leading member was quite evidently a practicing member of a homosexual community. This strikes many historians, and lay people, as rather hypocritical but fanatic cultists are often guilty of hypocrisy.”