Not often am I scribbling so frequently in books as I have done in this extraordinary novel. Once again I’ve read a pure five-star-book! What makes this story so special, apart from the beautiful
language, the realistic imagination of the society as it may have been around the beginning of our era and the deeply philosophical allure, is the interpretation Ki Longfellow gives of the
events. Yeshu is a human being: “nothing so whimsical and so impractical as a god, and nothing so arbitrary and so transitory as a king, but a great heart standing on the edge of the world
teaching us all to soar by teaching himself (p.1).”
He has an overwhelming need to share his Gnostic insight with all men and women: “He is suffused with the need to show others what he has seen, to have others know what it is he knows. By this he believes their suffering will end; for by this, they will see themselves free. And not merely from the yoke of the Romans, or the despair of their secret hearts, but from Yahweh and his Laws.” (p.193)
This insight is worded like this (p. 352): “God is not a being outside the Self, nor has it gender, nor is it burdened with a desire to find fault, or to test, or a need to command obedience. God is Consciousness – which is All There Is.”
This telling by Ki Longfellow is chock-full with ‘explanations’ of what writers throughout history have been saying about the Bible. For instance: John the Less – one of the disciples – and Mariamne Magdal-Eder are one and the same. This is made absolutely plausible in the novel. One explanation is even more ingenious than the other, like the origin of many of Jezus’ famous words. The same thing goes for the many ‘wonders’ he is said to have performed. Like the crippled blind man. Jezus gave him back sight, but not the actual sight of his blind eyes, but something else: “There are some things that cannot be undone (…) but there is this thing that can be done, and it is greater than eyes that see. I can give him the sight that is within him.” (p.241) Very Gnostic and very clear. Find the God within yourselve.
I underlined too much to mention here. Just a few that are gnosis-related.
“He who presumes to know aught for certain knows nothing. And he who presumes to know nothing, stands at the brink of gnosis.’ (p.29)
From the words of one of the wisest characters of the book, Seth (of Damascus), Mariamne gains insight:
“I understand this. God is not a seperate being called Yahweh or even a godman called Osiris, or Dionysus, or Mithras, or Buddha. God is One, meaning God is All. Therefore, All is God. We are all in and of the Mind of God. We are the Mind of God.” (p.105)
There is so much truth and understanding in many of the words Longfellows puts in Yeshu’s mouth. The whole concept of the ‘Father’ for instance is filled to the brim with knowing:
“He showed me that I am this as much as he is this. That I am God as he is God. He showed me that I AM. He told me my name and my name is Man and my name is Woman and I am All That Is.” (p. 180/181)
In the end a very sad fact: “Men and women will forever make gods of others rather than see the god in themselves.” (426)
Where ‘The God Delusion’ of Richard Dawkins is a raw and rather single-minded way of attacking monotheism, ‘The Secret Magdalene’ is a multi-layered, poetic and wise way to create understanding about the same matter.
Hail to this novel and hail to its creator!