by Mary Alice Bennett
Imagine the sweeping vistas of Israel before modern civilization, back in ancient times when Christ walked the land as a man. He and the twelve apostles did not travel alone, there were holy women who accompanied them.
These generous women provided for the early church from their own resources. Since Jesus was called "Rabbi" by His followers, that meant that He was married. A man had to be married to be referred to as a Rabbi. Mary Magdalene was with Jesus as He traversed the country of Israel proclaiming the coming Day of the Lord.
Later in the time of Paul the church continued to be supported by women (widows) who opened their homes to the believers, their residences became the early churches. These women were often officers in the church as well. When Paul wrote his letters concerning marriage, he would have mentioned Jesus as an example of celibacy if he were celibate, but he was not, he was married to Mary Magdalene.
The current situation in the Middle East has everything to do with their attitude towards their women. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began with the attack on American soil by a splinter group of Islam known for their abuse of females young and old. This ill treatment was of great concern before 9/11 and has improved since that time thanks to intervention by America and its allies. The pre-Islamic religion of Afghanistan still affects their mind-set. It was a view based upon a dualistic system: the spirit world was good and the material world was evil. Since they classified women as being representative of the material world, they were seen as the supposed enemies of the "spiritual" man. This attitude came out of Iran as well, home of ancient dualistic Zoroastrianism.
In the Book of Daniel, Chapter 10, Daniel has been fasting for three weeks in order to receive another vision from God. The angel finally arrives and tells Daniel that he was prevented from coming to him by a spirit called "The Prince of Persia". The angel was aided by Archangel Michael who watches over Israel. "The Prince of Persia" spirit has always been trouble for Israel down through the ages. Their dualistic attitude could have something to do with the drug crops that are grown in that part of the world, their opium fields.
The Persians have had a presence near Israel for many centuries. They were there during the Crusades and continue on as Hezbollah in Lebanon. They warred with Greece in the early centuries of Greek civilization. The Persian king objected to the very existence of the Democratic Greek system. The Persians demanded worship and the Greeks did not oblige. They still object to ideas that differ from their own.
After the return of captive Israel from Babylon, after Babylon was defeated by the Medes (Persia), there were still Jewish people living in that area (Iraq and Iran). Their mystics kept alive the idea of the Divine Feminine in the Kabbalah. The Jewish Kabbalists preserved the ancient concept of "Matronit", the Divine Mother in their teachings.
Indeed, the 10th Sephira represents Shekinah, Bride and Mother, and Kingdom. The entire left side of the Tree of the Sephiroth is devoted to the Feminine, keeping balance in heaven and on Earth. This concept was later reflected in the Tarot where the feminine trumps complete and balance the male personas. This is the great mystery, that the Divine Feminine exists. That Christ should have a wife demonstrates this fact. The males alone do not constitute a civilization, although in Islam, they believe it does and they suppress the feminine.
During the Crusades, two such world views collided. There were the Catholics who had rid their religion of any female input by means of the Inquisition, and the Moslems who were all about male supremacy and conversion to Islam by the sword.
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