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Behind the Da Vinci Code...

Mary Magdalene: Bearer of the Holy Grail


by Margaret Starbird

Lives there anyone who has not heard of the Holy Grail? Anyone who has not been moved to mourn its loss? The stories of the Holy Grail stir within us a poignant memory of something vastly precious, now tragically lost. The land is a wasteland now, parched and sear, the plants stunted, the streams of living water reduced to a trickle. Only the return of the Grail can heal the wounded Fisher-King and restore well being of his stricken domain. The myth of the lost vessel inspired knights of medieval Europe to set out on bold adventures described in various legends of the quest for the Holy Grail. According to some scholars, legends about the Holy Grail circulated in oral tradition long before they appeared in the written stories of medieval poets like Chrtien de Troyes, Robert de Boron and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The myths and stories surrounding the lost Grail are assuredly old--no one can say how old!--but it is alleged that the Grail was the sacred vessel that once contained the blood of Christ. One story insists that the Grail is a cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper, the Passover Meal celebrated on the night he was arrested, the very vessel in which he instituted the

Holy Eucharist as described in the Synoptic Gospels of the New Testatment. Another story says the Grail was the cup held aloft by Joseph of Arimathea at the foot of the cross to catch streams of blood flowing from the wounds of the dying Savior. Still another legend insists that it was Mary Magdalene who held the cup at the foot of the cross and caught the blood of Christ in her precious jar. One version of the story claims that Mary Magdalene, traveling under the protection of her brother Lazarus and Joseph of Arimathea, brought the Holy Grail to the coast of France. On one point, many of the legends seem to agree: the Grail was a sacred vessel, holy because it once contained the blood of Jesus. For centuries this elusive artifact has been sought relentlessly, and several antique cups have even been claimed to be the true Grail of Christ. I am particularly intrigued by the medieval legend, indigenous to the Southern coast of France, that Mary Magdalene was the bearer of the "sangraal," the Old French word translated "holy grail." Surviving versions of the legend says that this woman, the devoted follower of Jesus who was first to encounter him on Easter morning, traveled with a group of family and close friends into exile, fleeing persecutions of Christians in A.D. 42. The little group arrived on the Mediterranean Coast of Gaul in a boat with no oars after narrowly escaping death during a storm at sea. With them on the boat was a preadolescent child named Sarah, commemorated today with a statue and celebration on her feastday, 24 May, in the little French town of Les Stes-Marie-de-la-Mer. This girl child is known as "Sarah the Egyptian." The legend assumes that Sarah was maidservant to the three Maries--Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and Mary Jacobi--who are celebrated for bringing Christianity to the Roman province known as Gaul. A colorful Gipsy folk festival has grown up around this legend celebrating the arrival of these refugees from Jerusalem, including Lazarus and Martha, brother and sister of the Mary known to Christians as "the Magdalene." In 1985 I read a book that seemed to me at the time to be utterly blasphemous, a book called "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" (Michael Baigent, Henry Lincoln, Richard Leigh) that suggested that Jesus

and Mary Magdalene were married and that their bloodline survived in Western Europe.1 The word "sangraal" had, it seems, been misunderstood. When the word was broken after the "n" (san graal) it was thought to mean "Holy Grail," but if it was broken after the "g," the word rendered "sang raal," which in Old French meant "blood royal." We are now faced with a legend that says that Mary Magdalene brought the "blood royal" to the coast of France in 42 A.D. One does not carry the blood royal in an alabaster ointment jar with a lid. The blood of kings is carried in the veins of a child. In the revised interpretation of the Medieval legend, the "vessel" that once contained the "sang raal" was not an artifact, but rather, a woman-Mary Magdalene herself--mother of a royal offspring of the Davidic bloodline. Suddenly the "Grail" myth takes on an entirely different shape. No wonder the knights in armor sought in vain for the elusive artifact. The mistaken object of their search was presumed to be an artifact when it should have been the memory of a woman they sought. It is in restoring the "Bride" that the sacred King is healed of his thigh wound. The "chalice" is an ancient symbol for the sacred feminine and the ancient goddesses are often associated with the "Vesica Piscis"--the () shape identified in the Greek New Testament gematria with "h Magdalhnh," the epithet given to the Mary whom early Christians identified with "the tower/stronghold" in the prophetic book of Micah.2 A number of legends associate the Merovingian kings with the royal bloodline of Jesus and Magdalene. One of their myths apparently hints that an ancestress of the Merovingians was a mermaid, and another says that the mother of their founding leader Merovee was impregnated by a sea monster. In each of these myths, the prevailing kernel of truth seems to be that this ancestry is "part man, part fish." Since among early Christians Christ was widely identified as the "ICHTHYS" (the Fish) and Mary Magdalene was identified with the shape known as the "vessel of the fish," I believe that the ancestral mythologies of the Merovingians refer to the myth of their royal lineage. Bizarre as this conclusion may appear, it rests on the fact that myths are often vehicles for veiled truths too dangerous to be revealed. If legends of the bloodline of the "sang raal" are true, then we must ask if there is any evidence of a child. What child of the union of Mary Magdalene and Jesus might have survived in Western Europe

to be the eventual ancestress of the Frankish dynasty. Where is there a child mentioned in the legends of Mary Magdalene? This quest brings us back to Sarah, the adolescent refugee girl on the boat, whose name means "Princess" in Hebrew. Might she not have been the forgotten child of the "sang raal"--the blood royal of Israel's kings? Her age is right. She was described as "pre-adolescent"-between 9 and 12 years old--at the time of the boats arrival in A.D. 42. But her face is dark in artistic tradition. She is called "Sarah the Egyptian." Could little Sarah be the daughter of Mary Magdalene? My own view is that this child was born after the Crucifixion of Jesus, probably in Egypt where the friends of Jesus would probably have taken Mary Magdalene to ensure her safety and that of her child in the aftermath of the turmoil following the news of the resurrection of their crucified King. Possibly they returned briefly to Jerusalem in the interim years and were reunited with Lazarus and Martha, the brother and sister of Mary, and with other close family and friends.3 Then, faced with severe prosecutions, probably those of Saul/Paul, they allegedly boarded a small boat and fled across the sea to the relative safety of Gaul. So the child called Sarah might very well have been the "little lost princess" of western fairytale, who is eventually found and united with the handsome prince. In the book of Lamentations (4:8) we encounter an interesting passage that describes the plight of the royal princes of the house of Judah, the lineage of the Davidic kings: "their faces, once white as milk, are now black as soot. They are not recognized in the streets." Might this passage be reflected in the dark visage of the saint called "Sarah the Egyptian." I believe her darkness is a symbolic reference to her royal bloodline, the line of the Davidic Kings of Judah, the "sangraal." They are now in exile, deposed and hidden, not recognized in the streets. The Holy Grail is a powerful symbol on many levels. The chalice is intimately connected with the "sacred cauldron" of creativity so explicitly illustrated by the "Vesica Piscis" which is also the symbol irrevocably associated with Mary "the Magdalene" by the gematria of her epithet.4 When the Bride is restored, the wasteland is healed and the crops and herds thrive--the desert blooms. This is the ageold promise inherent in the paradigm of sacred union--the partnership of the archetypal Bride and Bridegroom. The "Grail" promises are echoes of this 'sacred reunion' so long repressed in Christian mythology. In my view, establishing the claims of an elite family or king to a modern throne by means of legitimizing the bloodline is irrelevant.

The importance of the Grail legend lies in its proclamation of the "sacred union" at the heart of the Christian mythology--that of Christ and Magdalene--which provides a paradigm of partnership for the age to come and the new millennium. This is not a new teaching, but an ancient one, supported by the New Testament Scriptures themselves.5

Notes: 1 Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. "Holy Blood, Holy Grail." (New York: Dell Publishing Co. 1983). First published as "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" (London: Jonathan Cape, Ltd., 1982). 2 For a more complete explanation of the gematria of Mary Magdalene's epithet and its connection with the "Vesica Piscis" symbol associated with the Goddess of the ancient world, please see Margaret Starbird, "The Goddess in the Gospels" (Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1998). 3 For the evidence linking Mary Magdalene with Lazarus and Martha of Bethany, please see Margaret Starbird, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1993) pp. 39-47. 4 See Margaret Starbird, Magdalenes Lost Legacy (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, Bear and Company, 2003) for thorough discussion of New Testament gematria and symbolic numbers that reflect the sacred geometry and cosmology of the ancient world. 5 Starbirds books (op. cit.), provide strong evidence for the Sacred Union at the heart of the Christian mythology. Copyright Margaret Starbird, 2005. All rights reserved. Margaret Starbird is the author of The Woman With The Alabaster Jar and The Goddess in the Gospels, (both published by Inner Traditions, Bear & Company), cited as sources for Dan Browns best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code. Two further titles were published in 2003, Magdalenes Lost Legacy (ITI, Bear and Company) and The Feminine Face of Christianity (Quest Books). Please visit Starbirds web page for more information about her work.
Copyright 2004 - 2006 by Cedar Cottage Media Inc. All rights reserved

Bloodline of the Holy Grail The Hidden Lineage of Jesus Revealed by Laurence Gardner The time-honoured quest for the Holy Grail has been referred to by some as the 'ultimate quest', but in 1547 the Church condemned Grail lore as a heresy even though tradition perceives the Grail as a thoroughly Christian relic. A heresy is described as 'an opinion which is contrary to the orthodox dogma of the Christian bishops'. The word 'heresy' is nothing more than a derogatory label - a tag used by a fearful establishment that has long sought to maintain control of society through fear of the unknown. It can therefore define those aspects of philosophy and research which quest into the realms of the unknown and which, from time to time, provide answers and solutions that are quite contrary to authorized doctrine. As the years progress, however, it is evident that scientific and medical discovery must overturn much of the medieval religious dogma that has persisted to modern times. And, in this regard, some previously cited heresies are already being taken on board by a Church that has little option to do otherwise. So, let us begin with the most obvious of all questions: What is the Holy Grail? The word 'Gra-al' originates from ancient Mesopotamia, where it was recorded as being the 'nectar of supreme excellence'. It was directly related to the bloodline of kings who descended from the gods - those monarchs who were anointed with the fat of the sacred Ms-hs: a type of monitor-crocodile in the Euphrates Valley. By virtue of this anointing, the kings were also called Ms-hs (or, in Egypt, Messeh) - a term which in the later Hebrew tongue became Messiah, meaning Anointed One. By medieval times in Europe, this line of kingly descent was defined by the French word Sangral, meaning Blood Royal. This was the Blood Royal of Judah - the line of King David which progressed to the family of Jesus. By the Middle Ages, the definition Sangral became San Graal. When written more fully it was Saint Graal - the word 'saint', of course, relating to 'holy'. Then, by a natural linguistic process, came the more romantically familiar English term, Holy Grail. In symbolic terms the Grail is often portrayed as a chalice that contains the blood of Jesus. Alternatively it is portrayed as a vine of grapes. The product of grapes is wine, and it is the chalice and the wine of Grail tradition that sit at the very heart of the Eucharist (the Holy Communion). In this sacrament, the sacred chalice contains the wine that represents the perpetual blood of Jesus. It is quite apparent that, although maintaining the ancient Communion custom, the Christian Church has conveniently ignored and elected not to teach the true meaning and origin of the custom. Few people even think to enquire about the ultimate symbolism of the chalice and wine sacrament, believing that it comes simply from some Gospel entries relating to the Last Supper. But what is the significance of the perpetual blood of Jesus? How is the blood of Jesus (or of anyone else for that matter) perpetuated? It is perpetuated through family and lineage. So why was it that the Church authorities elected to ignore the bloodline significance of the Grail sacrament? The fact is that every Government and every Church teaches the form of history or dogma most conducive to its own vested interest. In this regard we are all conditioned to receiving

a very selective form of teaching. We are taught what we are supposed to know, and we are told what we're supposed to believe. But, for the most part, we learn both political and religious history by way of national or clerical propaganda. This often becomes absolute dogma - teachings which may not be challenged for fear of reprisals. With regard to the Church's attitude towards the chalice and the wine, it is apparent that the original symbolism had to be reinterpreted by the bishops because it denoted that Jesus had offspring. The 2nd-century chronicler Julius Africanus of Edessa recorded that, during the Jewish Revolt from AD 66, the Roman governor of Jerusalem instructed the troops that all Messianic records should be burned so as to prevent future access to the details of Jesus' family genealogy. He added, however, that "A few careful people had private records ... and took pride in preserving the memory of their aristocratic origin". Africanus described these royal inheritors as the Desposyni - a hallowed style meaning Heirs of the Lord. Subsequently, the Palestinian historian, Hegesippus, reported that in AD 81 (during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian) the execution of these family inheritors was ordered by Imperial decree. It was then later confirmed by Eusebius, the 4th-century Bishop of Caesarea, that they were hunted down and put to the sword - first by command of the Empire and then by the newly introduced Roman Church. The writers were unanimous, however, in stating that although many of the Desposyni were seized, others became leaders of a Nazarene church movement that opposed the Church of Rome, with leaders who became the heads of their sects by way of a "strict dynastic progression". Hence, the required destruction of records was far from complete, and relevant documents were retained by Jesus' heirs, who brought the Messianic heritage from the Holy Land to the West. Not only were sacraments and customary ritual reinterpreted, but the Gospels themselves were corrupted to comply with the newly designated 'male-only' establishment of the emergent hybrid Church. We are all familiar with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - but what about the other Gospels: those of Philip, of Thomas, of Mary and of Mary Magdalene? What of all the numerous Gospels, Acts and Epistles that were not approved by the Church councils when the New Testament was compiled? Why were they excluded when the choices were made? There were actually two main criteria for selection, and these (from an earlier short-list prepared by Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria) were determined at the Council of Carthage in the year AD 397. The first criterion was that the New Testament Gospels must be written in the names of Jesus' own apostles. Matthew was, of course, an apostle, as was John - but Mark was not an apostle of Jesus as far as we know, neither was Luke; they were both colleagues of the later St. Paul. Thomas and Philip, on the other hand, were among the original twelve, and yet the Gospels in their names were excluded. Not only that but, along with various other texts, they was sentenced to be destroyed. And so, throughout the Mediterranean world, numerous unapproved books were buried and hidden in the 5th century. Although many of these books were not rediscovered until the 20th century, they were used openly by the early Christians. Certain of them, including the Gospels mentioned, along with the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of the Egyptians and others, were actually mentioned in the

2nd-century writings of early churchmen such as Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyon and Origen of Alexandria. So, why were these and other apostolic Gospels not selected? Because there was a second, far more important criterion to consider - the criterion by which, in truth, the Gospel selection was really made. It was, in fact, a wholly sexist regulation which precluded anything that upheld the status of women in Church or community society. Indeed, the Church's own Apostolic Constitutions were formulated on this basis. They state: "We do not permit our women to teach in the Church, only to pray and to hear those who teach. Our master, when he sent us the twelve, did nowhere send out a woman - for the head of the woman is the man, and it is not reasonable that the body should govern the head". This was an outrageous statement with no apparent foundation, but it was for this very reason that dozens of Gospels were not selected, because they made it quite clear that there were many active women in the ministry of Jesus - women such as Mary Magdalene, Martha, Helena-Salome, Mary-Jacob Cleopas and Joanna. These were not only ministering disciples, but priestesses in their own right, running exemplary schools of worship in the Nazarene tradition. The Church was so frightened of women that it implemented a rule of celibacy for its priests - a rule that became a law in 1138; a rule that persists today. But this rule has never been quite what it appears on the surface, for it was never sexual activity as such that bothered the Church. The more specific problem was priestly intimacy with women. Why? Because women become mothers, and the very nature of motherhood is a perpetuation of bloodlines. It was this that caused such concern - a taboo subject which, at all costs, had to be separated from the necessary image of Jesus. We have all learned to go along with what we are taught about the Gospels in schoolrooms and churches. But is the teaching correctly related? Does it always conform with the written scriptures? It is actually quite surprising how much we learn from pulpits or picture-books without checking the biblical text. The Nativity story itself provides a good example. It is widely accepted that Jesus was born in a stable - but the Gospels do not say that. In fact, there is no 'stable' mentioned in any authorised Gospel. The Nativity is not mentioned at all in Mark or John, and Matthew makes it quite plain that Jesus was born in a house. So where did the 'stable' idea come from? It came from a misinterpretation of the Gospel of Luke, which relates that Jesus was 'laid in a manger' - and a manger was nothing more than an animal feeding-box. In practice, it was perfectly common for mangers to be used as emergency cradles and they were often brought indoors for that very purpose. Why, then, has it been presumed that this particular manger was in a stable? Because the English translations of Luke tell us that there was 'no room in the inn'. But the old manuscript of Luke did not say that. In fact, there were no inns in the region. The original Greek text of Luke does not relate that there was 'no room in the inn'. By the best translation it actually states that there was 'no place in the room' (that is: 'no topos in the kataluma'). As previously mentioned, Matthew states that Jesus was born in a house and, when correctly translated, Luke reveals that Jesus was laid in a manger (a feedingbox) because there was no cradle provided in the room. To facilitate the best possible trust in the Gospels, we must go back to the original Greek manuscripts with their often used Hebrew and Aramaic words and phrases. In this respect,

we discover that a good deal of relevant content has been misrepresented, misunderstood, mistranslated, or simply just lost in the telling. Sometimes this has happened because original words have no direct counterpart in other languages. Christians are taught that Jesus' father Joseph was a carpenter, as explained in the Englishlanguage Gospels. But it did not say that in the original Gospels. By the best translation, it actually said that Joseph was a "master craftsman" (rendered in Greek as 'ho tekton' from the Semitic term 'naggar'). The word 'carpenter' was simply a translator's concept of a craftsman - but the text actually denoted that Joseph was a masterly, learned and scholarly man. Another example is the concept of the Virgin Birth. English-language Gospels tell us that Jesus' mother Mary was a 'virgin'. It was the same in an early Latin text which referred to her as being a 'virgo', meaning nothing more than a young woman. To have meant the same thing as virgin does today, the Latin would have been 'virgo intacta' - that is to say, a young woman intact. Looking back beyond the Latin to the older documents, we discover that the word translated to 'virgo' (a young woman) was the Semitic word 'almah' which meant the very same - a young woman. It had no sexual connotation whatever. Had Mary actually been physically virgo intacta, the Semitic word used would have been 'bethulah', not 'almah'. Apart from such anomalies, the canonical Gospels suffer from numerous purposeful amendments. In about AD 195, Bishop Clement of Alexandria made the first known amendment to the Gospel texts. He deleted a substantial section from the Gospel of Mark and justified his action in a letter, stating: "For even if they should say something true, one who loves the truth should not agree with them - for not all true things are to be said to all men". Even at that stage, there was already a discrepancy between what the Gospel writers had written and what the early bishops wanted to teach! But what exactly was in this removed section of Mark? It was the item which dealt with the raising of Lazarus - in the course of which the account made it perfectly clear that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were man and wife. Many scholars have suggested that the wedding at Cana was the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene - but this was not the wedding ceremony as such, being simply the premarital betrothal feast. The marriage is defined by the quite separate anointings of Jesus by Mary at Bethany. Chronologically, these anointings (as given in the Gospels) were two-anda-half years apart. Readers of the 1st century would have been fully conversant with the two-part ritual of the sacred marriage of a dynastic heir. Jesus, as we know, was a Messiah, which means quite simply an Anointed One. In fact, all anointed senior priests and Davidic kings were Messiahs; Jesus was not unique in this regard. Although not an ordained priest, he gained his right to Messiah status by way of descent from King David and the kingly line, but he did not achieve that status until he was ritually anointed by Mary Magdalene in her capacity as a bridal high priestess. In the Old Testament's Song of Solomon we learn of the bridal anointing of the king. It is detailed that the oil used in Judah was the fragrant ointment of spikenard (an expensive root oil from the Himalayas), and it is explained that this ritual was performed while the kingly husband sat at the table. In the New Testament, the anointing of Jesus by Mary

Magdalene was indeed performed while he sat at the table, and specifically with the bridal ointment of spikenard. Afterwards, Mary wiped Jesus' feet with her hair and, on the first occasion of the two-part ceremony, she wept. All of these things signify the marital anointing of a dynastic heir. Messianic marriages were always conducted in two stages. The first (the anointing in Luke) was the legal commitment to wedlock, while the second (the later anointing in Matthew, Mark and John) was the cementing of the contract. In Jesus and Mary's case the second anointing was of particular significance for, as explained by Flavius Josephus in the 1stcentury Antiquities of the Jews, the second part of the marriage ceremony was never conducted until the wife was three months pregnant. Dynastic heirs such as Jesus were expressly required to perpetuate their lines. Marriage was essential, but community law protected the dynasts against marriage to women who proved barren or kept miscarrying. This protection was provided by the three-month pregnancy rule. Miscarriages would not often happen after that term, subsequent to which it was considered safe enough to complete the marriage contract. After the second Bethany anointing, the Gospels relate that Jesus said: "Wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her". But did the Church authorities honour Mary Magdalene and speak of this act as a memorial? No they did not; they completely ignored Jesus' own directive and denounced Mary as a whore. To the Nazarenes, however, Mary Magdalene was always regarded as a saint. She is still revered as such by many today, with numerous churches dedicated to her in the Renaissance era. But the interesting fact of this sainthood is that Mary is the recognized patron saint of wine-growers - the ultimate Grail guardian of the Vine. Aspects of the Gospels can actually be followed outside the Bible. Even the crucifixion sentence of Jesus is mentioned in the Annals of Imperial Rome. We can now determine from chronological survey that the Crucifixion took place at the March Passover of AD 33, while the Bethany second marriage anointing was in the week prior to that. We also know that, at that stage, Mary Magdalene was three months pregnant - which means she should have given birth in September of AD 33. As for Jesus' death on the cross, it is perfectly clear this was spiritual death, not physical death, as determined by a three-day excommunication rule that everybody in the 1st century would have understood. In civil and legal terms, Jesus was denounced, scourged and prepared for death by decree. For three days Jesus would have been nominally 'sick', with absolute 'death' coming on the fourth day. Prior to this he would be entombed (buried alive) in accordance with Jewish Council law - but during the first three days he could be raised or resurrected, as he had predicted would be the case. Raisings and resurrections could only be performed by the High Priest or by the Father of the Community. The High Priest at that time was Joseph Caiaphas (the very man who condemned Jesus), therefore the raising had to be performed by the patriarchal Father. There are Gospel accounts of Jesus talking to the Father from the cross, culminating in "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" - and the appointed Father of the day was the Magian apostle Simon Zelotes.

During that Friday afternoon when Jesus was on the Cross, there was a forward time change, and the Gospels explain that the land fell into darkness for three hours. The Hebrew lunarists made their change during the daytime, but the Nazarene solarists did not make their change until midnight. This explains why, according to the Gospel of Mark (which relates to lunar time), Jesus was crucified at the third hour, but in John (which uses solar time) he was crucified at the sixth hour. On that evening the Hebrews began their Sabbath at the old nine o'clock, but the Essenes and Magians still had three hours to go before their Sabbath. During those extra three hours they were able to work with Jesus while others were not allowed to undertake any physical activity. It was for this reason that the women were so astonished when they found the tomb-stone moved at daybreak on the Sunday - not because it was moved, but because it had been moved on the Sabbath. And so we come to one of the most misunderstood events in the Bible - the Ascension. And in consideration of this, the births of Jesus and Mary Magdalene's children become apparent. We know from Gospel chronology that the Bethany second-marriage anointing of Jesus by Mary Magdalene was in the week before the Crucifixion (at the time of the March Passover). Also that, at that stage, Mary was three-months pregnant and should, therefore, have given birth six months later in the notional month of September AD 33. The story is taken up in the Acts of the Apostles, which detail for that month the event which we have come to know as the Ascension. One thing which the Acts do not do, however, is to call the event the Ascension. This was a tag established by way of a Church doctrine more than three centuries later. What the Bible text actually says is: "And when he had spoken these things ... he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight". It then continues, relating that a man in white said to the disciples: "Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus ... shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go". Then, a little later in the Acts, it says that heaven must receive Jesus until 'the times of restitution'. Given that this was the very month in which Mary Magdalene's child was due, is there perhaps some connection between Mary's confinement and the so-called Ascension? There certainly is, and the connection is made by virtue of the said 'times of restitution'. Not only were there rules to govern the marriage ceremony of a Messianic heir, but so too were there rules to govern the marriage itself. The rules of dynastic wedlock were quite unlike the Jewish family norm, and Messianic parents were formally separated at the birth of a child. Even prior to this, intimacy between a dynastic husband and wife was only allowed in December, so that births of heirs would always fall in the month equivalent to September - the month of Atonement, the holiest month of the calendar. From the moment of a dynastic birth, the parents were physically separated - for six years if the child was a boy and for three years if the child was a girl. Their marriage would only be recommenced at designated 'times of restitution'. Meanwhile, the mother and child would enter the equivalent of a convent and the father would enter the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom was the Essene high monastery at Mird, by the Dead Sea, and the ceremony of entry was conducted by the angelic priests under the supervision of the appointed leader of the pilgrims. In the Old Testament book of Exodus, the Israelite pilgrims were led into the

Holy Land by a cloud and, in accordance with this continued Exodus imagery, the priestly leader of the pilgrims was designated with the title Cloud. So, if we read the Acts verses as they were intended to be understood, we see that Jesus was taken up by the Cloud (the leader of the pilgrims) to the kingdom of heaven (the high monastery), whereupon the man in white (an angelic priest) said that Jesus would return at the times of restitution (when his earthly marriage was restored). If we now look at St Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews we discover that he explains the said Ascension event in some greater detail. Paul tells of how Jesus was admitted to the priesthood of heaven when he actually had no entitlement to that sacred office. He explains that Jesus was born (through his father Joseph) into the Davidic line of Judah - a line which held the right of kingship but had no right to priesthood, for this was the sole prerogative of the family of Levi. However, says Paul, a special dispensation was granted, and that "for the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law". In September AD 33, therefore, the first child of Jesus and Mary Magdalene was born, and Jesus duly entered the kingdom of heaven. By following the chronology of the Acts, we see that in September AD 37 a second child was born, followed by another in AD 44. With the period between the first and second births being just four years, we know that the first child was a daughter. The period from the second birth to the next time of restitution in AD 43 was six years, which denotes that the AD 37 child was a son. Subsequent information reveals that the third child was also a son. Prior to the birth of her second son in AD 44, Mary Magdalene was exiled from Judaea following a political uprising in which she was implicated. Along with Philip, Lazarus and a few retainers, she travelled to live at the Herodian estate near Lyon, in Gaul (which later became France). From the earliest times, through the medieval era, to the great Renaissance, Mary's flight was portrayed in illuminated manuscripts and great artworks alike. Her life and work in Provence, especially in the Languedoc region, appeared not only in works of European history but also in the Roman Church liturgy - until her story was suppressed by the Vatican in the 16th century. We can now return to the Grail's traditional symbolism as a chalice containing the blood of Jesus. We can also consider graphic designs dating back well beyond the Dark Ages to about 3500 BC and, in doing this, we discover that a chalice or a cup was the longeststanding symbol of the female. Its representation was that of the sacred vessel of the 'vas uterus'. And so, when fleeing into Gaul, Mary Magdalene carried the Sangral (the nectar of supreme excellence) in the sacred chalice of her womb. From this point in the 1st century, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, takes up the individual stories of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their offspring, following their descendants through the course of their turbulent history, which led to the great Inquisition and beyond. It is an account of Messianic descent against which the bishops' only recourse was to denigrate the position of women in its ecclesiastical structure. Throughout this history, however, Grail lore has always been consistent in its social prediction that only when the Messianic wound has been healed, will the wasteland return to fertility.

by Laurence Gardner http://graal.co.uk/bloodlinelecture.html

OFFICAL ANNOUNCEMENT

It is with great sadness we announce that Laurence Gardner passed away on the 12 August 2010, after a prolonged illness. We will be adding a condolences page so if you wish to leave your comments and respects for his family, please email me on zblue@ihug.co.nz and I will post your messages on this site. Laurence Gardner is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. Distinguished as the Chevalier de St. Germain, he is a constitutional historian, a Knight Templar of St Anthony, and is Presidential Attach to the European Council of Princes. Based in England, he is author of The Times and Sunday Times bestseller, Bloodline of the Holy Grail. This was serialized nationally in the Daily Mail and gained Laurence a UK Author of the Year award in 1997. In the artistic domain, Laurence has been Conservation Consultant to Britain's Fine Art Trade Guild and in the world of music and performing arts, his libretto compositions have been performed at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His writing career has included collaborative projects with national institutions such as the British Tourist Association, the National Parks Authority, The Queen's Bays Regimental Museum, the Government of Ontario and the Russian Ministry of Culture. Moving into the world of screen entertainment, Laurence is now executive producer for a London and Hollywood based movie production company. With Top-10 chart listings, translations into many languages, and publishers such as HarperCollins, Transworld, Barnes & Noble and Penguin, Laurence Gardner's books (along with Bloodline of the Holy Grail) include Realm of the Ring Lords, Genesis of the Grail Kings, Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, The Magdalene Legacy, and The Shadow of Solomon.

THE GRAIL ENIGMA The Complete Story of the Hidden Descent from Jesus
Laurence Gardner's investigation into the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene broke new ground in his bestselling Bloodline of the Holy Grail. Now he brings his search to its fascinating conclusion.

Manuscripts from the early centuries of the Christian era give details of numerous characters and events that were strategically suppressed in ecclesiastical doctrine. Within these documents are records concerning the descendent family of Jesus, a dynastic bloodline identified in the Vatican Archive as the 'Heirs of the Lord'. Much has been discussed in recent times about the possibility of such a lineage, but first-hand historical evidence of the family has never yet been fully presented. Through a process of documentary analysis, The Grail Enigma now reveals the facts of this sacred genealogical descent. Continuing the trail of detection begun in 1996 with his Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Laurence Gardner now adds a good deal more information in this regard, including

texts dating onwards from the 2nd century that document Mary Magdalene as the 'Bride of Christ'. Even back in the 1st-century Gospel era, the marriage of Jesus and Mary was chronicled in detail. Unique to any book on the subject, The Grail Enigma contains previously unpublished genealogical charts that trace the messianic offspring, Tamar, Joshua and Joseph, detailing each generation of their lineage through 600 years through to Arthurian times.

Concerning such matters as Church evolution and New Testament gospel selection, there is now a widespread awareness that so many early Christian texts were tactically sidelined because they contained information that was contrary to ecclesiastical requirement. Since the process of compiling and producing the canon was so closely connected to the Church's vindictive strategy against the messianic bloodline, The Grail Enigma explores the selection process in depth as it was detailed in Vatican record. In this context it becomes wholly evident that even the New Testament books which are now so familiar were doctored and edited so as to comply with the desired objective. Packed with intrigue, the chronicles of messianic heritage cast fascinating new light on the reality of the persecuted inheritors. Individually produced manuscripts from Judaea, Greece, Turkey, France, Alexandria, Britain and Rome are consistent in their revelatory portrayals. Ecumenical, monastic and secular annals are mutually supportive in their ongoing accounts of the victimized heirs. The Grail Enigma follows the course of a desperate family that was hounded by the Church for centuries.

Complete with all original source references, this fiercely guarded information, held secret for so long, is now disclosed in a fully defined generational progression. Publication date: March 2005 by HarperCollins (Element imprint), ISBN: 9780007266944 The UK hardback edition is available for advance ordering at:
Amazon.co.uk