Sunday, January 6, 2013


Calmly they approached, with the self-awareness that comes with the knowledge of their own vested power and sense of mission. Their apparel was opulent and exotic: the deep azure of far oceans wandered together with the ochres of the earth and the pure white of distant stars. There was a scarlet turban, and a headscarf of modest grey. One of the three wore a robe in which red fires seemed to burn. They came to a halt.

They bowed, and I returned their bows. "May peace be with you."
"And with you.” I replied. “You three are welcome in the fields of Efrath."
They asked for water, and I gave them my water pouch. One of them hung a chain of ivory-smooth shells around my neck. Then we settled ourselves down in the cool dusk of the approaching desert night, and they told me their story.

"We have come from the far east, where the sun does not hesitate in her rising. Each one of us is from a different region, but we are befriended as readers in the language of the stars. Our names will remain secret until the kingly child is born on the crossings of all roads. The western road will be darker and carry thousands of years of fear and decline. It is along the eastern road that we will travel back with new light in our eyes. The north road is melting ice on which no-one can tread. The south road is a basket of fruit that still must yield its bounty. We knew that in our lifetime the great star would appear. We began our journey as soon as we saw her rising, and now wait for her to be tethered in the heavens. We know that beneath her is the place where we are to bring our gifts. Even should we be forced to relinquish our authority, we choose to honour him. It is for him that we descry the stars." It was the one with the grey headscarf who had spoken. His mantle shimmered with ochre and white in the light of the rising moon.

“All of destiny resides in the star, and so our own as well.” said the woman robed in red fire, “But we also journey to the City of David. In our baggage we carry sweet herbs and soothing unguents, for in the Holy City we will dress wounds. Of the precious flowing  myrrh which I have brought with me, I will give half to the kingly child. The remainder is for those in Jerusalem. They shall know the scent and the salve of peace.”

“You underestimate the danger,” I said. “Jerusalem is a town full of spies. Whoever defies the will of the great Herod is made a ghost.”

"My power resides in the mountains of Ethiopia," said the woman. "To earthly kings I am untouchable."

“We have descried the coming of the kingly child in the stars,” said her blue-robed companion, “And we have seen that our journey is under the mantle of divine protection. Therefore we fear nothing and no-one. I have the purest gold of alchemy for the child. It shall be wrought into a crown when the time is right.”

“In earthly value our gifts are great,” said the sage in ochre and white, “but for the child such gifts will be humble. For this child will be spoken of in the ages yet to come, and by those yet to be born. Our names will only be mentioned in his presence, for to him they are already known, as all is known in each breath which he breathes. Our own words and deeds are no more then the scent which I bring to him: it burns and fills the air with sweet perfume, and then it evaporates. May the scent of the sweet divine have mercy on him."

“Do not go!” I said. “Do not go to the palace of great Herod. Choose instead your way straight through the fields of Efrath. Far from the worldly powers of the palace you will find the child. That is where you also will find those who are most in need of your healing and consoling gifts. That is where the story of your coming will be told in scents and rich colours.”

But they shook their heads. Either they could not or would not listen. Instead, they gathered themselves up in their finery, the array of their apparel shaming the white face of the moon. The three travellers gestured a farewell with the finality of destiny. “May peace be with you,” I heard the woman say, “for we anticipate a time of peace to come!”

Image adapted by David Bergen from a painting by Jean-Leon Gerome


  1. It is wonderful story of the wise men and a wise woman following the star that led them to Jesus. One wonders who these wise and noble people were. They were certainly versed in astronomy and prophecy.

    The title of this blog is "Destiny" and the idea of certain events being meant to unfold is one that many find challenging. Some embrace it and some abhor it. I personally feel events can be changed but some events are manifested by an overwhelming critical mass in our state of consciousness with either negative or positive results. In the end, however, even the negative outcomes will result in learning, so in the final end all events contribute to the totality. In this story the warning given to the 3 wise Magi were ignored which resulted in the event called the "Murder of the Innocents." This fulfilled a prophecy by Jeremiah:
    "A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
    Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."
    Because it was foretold was this destiny?
    And what type of peace I wonder was anticipated when the Magi said:
    "... we anticipate a time of peace to come!”
    Was it a worldly peace or the inner peace that "passeth all understanding" that was anticipated?

    There will be no outer peace if we do not cultivate inner peace for the inner is what will be outwardly manifested. And inner peace cannot be happen by will alone, but by gentleness, gratitude and love. Peace cannot happen by force or by law - it can only be realized as one's true nature.

    The story of Jesus including most religious stories have been told for followers to revere and believe in. In the end whether they are true or not does not really matter. What matters is you and your state of consciousness. If the stories draw out of you an awareness of the living divine presence that is within you then it has done its job. The life and teachings of Jesus in the gospels all come down to realizing and living from one's true divine nature. When Jesus was asked if he was the Son of God he replied that we are all sons and daughters of God. And what he has done we shall do even greater. How much more plain and direct can he be in stating this? Christianity missed this point and drove a wedge between God and man figuratively speaking. No one and nothing can truly place any separation between God and man, but as a teaching to the masses this separateness was institutionalized. In order to enter the KIngdom of God we had to do many things to be considered worthy - not realizing that this Kingdom was already our "birthright" and existed within us.

    Returning to the idea of destiny there is a destiny that all beings are part of and this destiny is a movement within nature. We are all destined to realize who we are. We are destined to awaken. Put another way, the God dreams to become the creation and then awakens. This awakening is eternally available to us - enter your heart through the passageway called here and now.

  2. Your comments on my story struck so many chords in me. One was this one: "In order to enter the Kingdom of God we had to do many things to be considered worthy - not realizing that this Kingdom was already our "birthright" and existed within us. "
    These are thoughts similar to those voiced by Meister Eckehart in a parabel about a scholar and a poor man. No surprise that the latter owns true knowledge, according to the conversation between the two of them. Halfway this conversation the scholar asked: "Where do you come from?"
    "From God."
    "And where did you find God?"
    "There, where I left all living souls."
    Excited, because he began to realise the truth, the scholar shouted out: "What kind of man are you?"
    "I am a king."
    "And where is your kingdom?"
    "In my soul; for I can manage my inner and my outer senses in such a way, that all my desires and powers are merely submissive to the soul. And this domain is larger than any kingdom on earth."

    You also refer to the "Murder of the Innocents" and the lament of Rachel. Etty Hillesum did exactly the same when she helped the mothers preparing their babies who had to make the journey from Westerbork to their unknown fate. Etty writes: "The cries of the infants swell, filling all the dark corners and cracks of the eerily-lit blockhouse. It is hardly endurable. And a name wells up in me: Herod."
    These heartbreaking and dramatic moments reminded her of the infanticide in Bethlehem, and of the words of Jeremiah: "In Rama a voice was heard, a loud wailing and lamentation. Rachel cried for her children and did not wish to be consoled."

    Joseph, you ponder on the last word of the female traveller: "... we anticipate a time of peace to come!”, by asking yourself and so all of us: "Was it a worldly peace or the inner peace that "passeth all understanding" that was anticipated?

    Maybe she was expressing the idea that the more people awaken to their own inner peace, the more peace will manifest in the world.

  3. Such a vivid version of this encounter! It makes one feel like a witness to these events in a very immediate and compelling way. As the massacre of the innocents is mentioned both in Emma's and Joseph's comments and in the following post, I thought it worthwhile to add what is known about this event. What is surely good news is that it probably never happened!

    Remarkably, Matthew is the only gospel which mentions it, which is notable for what would have been a traumatic tragedy of the time, and an episode too shocking simply to be ignored by the other gospel texts. The Jewish chronicler Josephus, who switched his allegiance to the occupying Roman authorities, and who otherwise has much to say about Herod and his dark deeds, never mentions it. And the Romans, scrupulous bureaucratic record keepers (as were the Nazis in occupied Europe) of all local events, also are silent about the episode. So it seems that the unknown writer(s) of Matthew, who placed an emphasis on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies, deliberately wrote in the episode to make it appear that the prophesy of Rachel in Jeremiah was being fulfilled.

    Knowing this does not of course necessarily make Matthew's gospel 'wrong', because deeper truths are revealed in the force of the narrative. As Joseph comments: they help to reveal one's own state of consciousness, and serve to draw one towards a greater awareness of what lies within us.

  4. Hawkwood, my comment here is rather belated, but your investigation into historical records are very much appreciated. Some people have a tendency to alter facts so that they better fit their beliefs! This is also true in our modern era. However, regardless of the validity of actual events "greater truths are revealed."

  5. Which is more important, the teacher, or the teachings? Historical facts not withstanding, the parables and allegories are meant to heighten awareness so that we wish to delve deeper into the Great Mystery. The literalist, fundamentalists kidnapped the words, and crafted them to suit their own ends. What they did, either out of ignorance, or with deliberate intent, was to get caught up in the Outer Mysteries, which were meant to serve merely as a gateway to the Inner Mysteries. The Kingdom of Heaven is indeed within each of us. The so called second coming of Christ is not about the physical return of any man, but rather about each of us remembering and Awakening to the Christ Consciousness within. The Divine spark of Source that lives within our Hearts.

    1. I believe it is true, Bonni, that such stories were intended to be read on different levels, and contained different levels of 'truth' depending upon who the reader was and is. The insistence of literalism that everything is 'on the surface' is a denial of this, and leaves such deeper meanings untouched. But this multi-layering is the very power of such stories! Some stories have survived for thousands of years (I think of Gilgamesh, or The Odyssey) exactly because they are so much more than the events which they describe!