From My Tuscan Window

Chapter 49
Séance with Mary Magdalene’s Skull—Jesus in Gioviano
Tonight, home in Texas (Christmas Eve 2006) I went to the Chapel of the Nativity to wish Baby Jesus a Happy Birthday and also to ask him if he felt it appropriate to relate the dream that I had a couple of months ago. In the dream, Mary Magdalene’s skull visited me and related to me the true story of her own flight from Jerusalem to the mountain fastness of the Sainte-Baume in Provence. She also gave me an insight into the greatest mystery of all – the travels and death of Jesus in Kashmir. I was given the okay, so here goes the most bizarre story yet to be told.

If you recall from having read the previous chapter, I had wondered if Mary Magdalene could ever have passed beneath my Tuscan Window. My séance with Mary Magdalene’s skull gave me the answer -- “No!” Instead, it was Jesus himself who had passed beneath it!

I will attempt to paraphrase the events leading to the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and other details virtually lost in the mists of time and the mythology concocted by the early Church long after Jesus was gone from this earth.

Peter was jealous of Mary Magdalene to the point of hatred. He despised her power as Jesus’ wife and chief Disciple, “the one Jesus loved.” Peter conspired with the chief Priests who also despised and feared Jesus’ power and influence to put pressure on Pontius Pilate to crucify Jesus.

Pilate was caught between a rock and a hard place in that he was responsible for keeping the peace and keeping Romans in power in a very volatile political situation. He respected Jesus, and so he called a secret meeting with Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Judas, and Joseph of Arithmea. He told them that he had no choice but to “crucify” Jesus, but that Pilate would make sure that Jesus would only be drugged to slow his respiration and heart rate, that he would not have his bones broken, and that he would be taken down from the Cross after a very short time and placed in Joseph’s tomb where he would soon recover.

After the Crucifixion, Pilate secreted Mary Magdalene and her entourage aboard a Roman galley headed toward Marseilles and sent along orders for Mary to be led to a cave in the Sainte-Baume where she and the others would be safe from harm.

Within a few months, Jesus had found his way to the Sainte-Baume where he joined his family. Jesus was very familiar with the geography of the ancient world. He had traveled extensively with his wealthy uncle who had made his fortune along the trade routes ranging from England to India. At Glastonbury in Cornwall, Jesus was influenced in his youth by Druid priests. In India, he was impressed by Buddhism and

Zoroastrianism. Jesus could travel overland using the system of Roman roads because Pilate gave him documents allowing safe passage as a Roman citizen Knowing that his life would certainly be in danger once again should Peter find that he was still alive, he changed his identity and served as the gardener and caretaker at the grotto.

After Mary Magdalene died, Jesus decided to return to the mountain fastness of Kashmir in northern India, and so he began the long trek that brought him down the Roman road that passes below Gioviano. Perhaps, he was offered lodging in the Roman villa that perched on the hill -- a site that eventually became the village of Gioviano.

Word from Gioviano is that the Presepe Vivente (living nativity scene) is especially beautiful and moving this Christmas. Several of the more ancient portions of our various houses in town are used to host aspects of this recreation of Bethlehem. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the manger scene is located at the very spot where Jesus may have actually spent a night on his way to Kashmir? If his stay in the area was more significant, perhaps it was Jesus who built the small shrine located beneath Gioviano in memory of his wife at the base of what may have a Roman bridge across the Serchio River.

Upon his return to Kashmir, Jesus continued to spread his message of love, peace, joy, kindness and forgiveness, and he became highly respected by both Buddhists and Zoroastrians as a Holy Man. He, like his later day follower, St. Francis of Assisi, was especially moved by the beauties of Creation, and thus he spent much of his remaining years in prayer and meditation in that very beautiful part of the world.

When he knew that his death was imminent, Jesus consumed the seeds of dozens of species of wildflowers, he made his way to his favorite mountain top and he lay down facing toward the heavens. When his soul had passed from his body, his friends, the vultures, consumed his mortal remains as was the tradition of the Zoroastrians. As the soft body parts are consumed first, the contents of Jesus’ stomach, the wildflower seeds, were spread far and wide across the hills and mountains of Kashmir. His bones were gathered up by his followers and were placed in a tomb where they remain to this day.

Revised March 3, 2008
Copyright 2005-2006 George H. Russell
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