The Magi


According to Ancient Alien Theory, of which I am a proponent, the Magi, like Jesus, were all aliens - the Star of Bethlehem a UFO. Further, the spirit I call Z, who is mentioned throughout Crystalinks - is Zoroaster the Persian Prophet - my partner on the other side with whom I have dialogued since I was age 11 - and who guided my journey in the myth, math, metaphor, and magic of time.










The Magi



A Magus (plural Magi, from Latin, from Old Persian magu; Old English: Mage) was a Zoroastrian astrologer-priest from ancient Persia. The best known Magi are the "Wise Men from the East" in the Bible. In English, the term may refer to a shaman, sorcerer, or wizard; it is the origin of the English words magic and magician.

Greek-Persian roots - The Greek word is attested from the 5th century BC (Ancient Greek) as a direct loan from Old Persian 'magus'. The Persian word is a u-stem adjective from an Indo-Iranian root *magh "powerful, rich" also continued in Sanskrit magha "gift, wealth", magha-vant "generous" (a name of Indra). Avestan has maga, magauuan, probably with the meanings "sacrifice" and "sacrificer". The PIE root (*magh-) appears to have expressed power or ability, continued e.g. in Attic Greek mekhos (cf. mechanics) and in Germanic magan (English may), magts (English might, the expression "might and magic" thus being a figura etymologica). The original significance of the name for the Median priests thus seems to have been "the powerful". Modern Persian Mobed is derived from an Old Persian compound magu-pati "lord priest".

Greek Use of Magos

While in Herodotus, magos refers to either a member of the tribe of the Medes (1.101), or to one of the Zoroastrian Persian priests who could interpret dreams (7.37), it could also be used for any enchanter or wizard, and especially to charlatans or quacks (see also goetia), especially by philosphers such as Heraclitus who took a sceptical view of the art of an enchanter, and in comic literature (Lucian's Lucios or the Ass). In Hellenism, magos started to be used as an adjective, meaning "magical", as in magas techne "ars magica" (e.g. used by Philostratus).

English language - The plural Magi entered the English language in ca. 1200, referring to the Magi mentioned in Matthew 2:1, the singular being attested only considerably later, in the late 14th century, when it was borrowed from Old French in the meaning magician together with magic.

History in the Persian Empire

According to Herodotus, the Magi were the sacred caste of the Medes. They organized Persian society after the fall of Assyria and Babylon. Their power was curtailed by Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, and by his son Cambyses II; the Magi revolted against Cambyses and set up a rival claimant to the throne, one of their own, who took the name of Smerdis. Smerdis and his forces were defeated by the Persians under Darius I. The sect of the Magi continued in Persia, though its influence was limited after this political setback.

During the Classical era (555 BC - 300 AD), some Magi migrated westward, settling in Greece, and then Italy. For more than a century, Mithraism, a religion derived from Persia, was the largest single religion in Rome. The Magi were likely involved in its practice.

The Book of Jeremiah (39:3, 39:13) gives a title rab mag "chief magus" to the head of the Magi, Nergal Sharezar (Septuagint, Vulgate and KJV mistranslate Rabmag as a separate character). It's also believed by Christians that the Jewish prophet Daniel was "rab mag" and entrusted a Messianic vision (to be announced in due time by a "star") to a secret sect of the Magi for its eventual fulfillment (Daniel 4:9; 5: 11).

The Maga in India

The Zoroastrians form a very small ethnic group in India known as the Parsis. After invading Arabs succeeded in taking Ctesiphon in 637, Islam largely superseded Zoroastrianism, and the power of the Magi faded. Many (but not all) of the mages fled the advent of Islam in Persia, or Iran, by emigrating to India, settling in western principalities which form the modern states of Gujarat and Maharastra. As one can only be Zoroastrian by birth, the number of Parsis and Zoroastrians in the world is shrinking, and the remaining population risks passing down genetic defects as with any small community. Suffice to say Parsis are very rare, and Magi are even rarer.

In India there is a community termed Maga, Bhojaka or Shakadvipi Brahmins. Their major centers are in Rajasthan in Western India and near Gaya in Bihar. According to Bhavishya Purana and other texts, they were invited to settle in Punjab to conduct the worship of Lord Sun (Mitra or Surya in Sanskrit). Bhavishya Purana explicitly identifies them with Zoroastrianism.

The members of the community still worship in Sun temples in India. They are also heriditary priests in several Jain temples in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bhojakas are mentioned in the the copperplates of of the Kadamba dynasty (4-6th cent) as managers of Jain institutions.Images of Lord Sun in India are shown wearing a central asian dress, complete with boots. The term "Mihir" in India is regarded to represent the Maga influence.

Early Christian Art and the Number of Magi

A painting in the cemetery of Saint Peter and Saint Marcellinus shows two;

A painting in the Lateran Museum, shows three;

A painting in the cemetery of Domitilla, shows four;

A vase in the Kircher Museum, shows eight (Paris, 1899).


Painting by Rembrandt




Star of Bethlehem



The Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star, is a star in Christian tradition that revealed the birth of Jesus to the magi, or "wise men", and later led them to Bethlehem. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the magi were men "from the east" who were inspired by the appearance of the star to travel to Jerusalem.

There they met King Herod of Judea, and asked where the king of the Jews had been born. Herod then asked his advisers where a messiah could be born. They replied Bethlehem, a nearby village, and quoted a prophecy by Micah. While the magi were on their way to Bethlehem, the star appeared again. Following the star, which stopped above the place where Jesus was born, the magi found Jesus with his mother, paid him homage, worshipped him and gave gifts. They then returned to their "own country".

Many Christians see the star as a miraculous sign to mark the birth of the christ (or messiah). Some theologians claimed that the star fulfilled a prophecy, known as the Star Prophecy. In modern times, astronomers have proposed various explanations for the star. A nova, a planet, a comet, an occultation, and a conjunction (gathering of planets) have all been suggested.

Many scholars question the historical accuracy of the story and argue that the star was a fiction created by the author of the Gospel of Matthew.

The subject is a favorite at planetarium shows during the Christmas season, although the Biblical account suggests that the visit of the magi took place at least several months after Jesus was born. The visit is traditionally celebrated on Epiphany (January 6) in Western Christianity and on Christmas (December 25) in Eastern Christianity.

Astronomy and Astrology

Some people feel the Star of Bethlehem was a comet, shooting star, or perhaps a UFO.

The Magi linked the appearance of a star to the birth of a "King of the Jews."

In Hellenistic astrology, Jupiter was the king planet and Regulus (in the constellation Leo) was the king star. As they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, the star "went before" the magi and then "stood over" the place where Jesus was. In astrological interpretations, these phrases are said to refer to retrograde motion and to stationing, i.e., Jupiter appeared to reverse course for a time, then stopped, and finally resumed its normal progression.

In 3-2 BC, there was a series of seven conjunctions, including three between Jupiter and Regulus and a strikingly close conjunction between Jupiter and Venus near Regulus on June 17, 2 BC. "The fusion of two planets would have been a rare and awe-inspiring event", according to a paper by Roger Sinnott. This event however occurred after the generally accepted date of 4 BC for the death of Herod. Since the conjunction would have been seen in the west at sunset it could not have led the magi south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

Astronomer Michael Molnar has proposed a link between a double occultation of Jupiter by the moon in 6 BC in Aries and the Star of Bethlehem, particularly the second occultation on April 17. This event was quite close to the sun and would have been difficult to observe, even with a small telescope, which had not yet been invented.

Occultations of planets by the moon are quite common, but Firmicus Maternus, an astrologer to Roman Emperor Constantine, wrote that an occultation of Jupiter in Aries was a sign of the birth of a divine king. "When the royal star of Zeus, the planet Jupiter, was in the east this was the most powerful time to confer kingships. Furthermore, the Sun was in Aries where it is exalted. And the Moon was in very close conjunction with Jupiter in Aries", Molnar wrote.

A celestial event is oftentimes the precursor to the fulfillment of a prophecy from god about great change on the planet and for humanity in general. This celestial sighting would have been part of a prophecy about the birth of a great prophet/king who would change the thinking of the world forever.

Jesus and UFO'S in Religious Art


"The Baptism of Christ"

A disk shaped object is shining beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus - Fitzwilliam Musuem, Cambridge, England - Painted in 1710 by Flemish artist Aert De Gelder. It depicts a classic, hovering, silvery, saucer shaped UFO shining beams of light down on John the Baptist and Jesus. What could have inspired the artist to combine these two subjects?

17th century fresco of the crucifiction - Svetishoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, Georgia.
Note the two saucer shaped craft on either side of Christ.

"La Tebaide"

Painted by Paolo Uccello - circa 1460-1465.

The picture on the right shows a red saucer shaped UFO seen near Jesus.
The painting hangs in the Academy of Florence.

Frescos throughout Europe which reveal the appearance of space ships in the skies including this painting of 'The Crucifixion' - painted in 1350. It seems to depict a small human looking man looking over his shoulder - at another UFO as if in pursuit - as he flies across the sky in what is clearly a space ship. The leading craft is decorated with two twinkling stars, one reminiscent of national insignia on modern aircraft. This painting hangs above the altar at the Visoki Decani Monestary in Kosovo, Yugoslavia.

     


"Glorification of the Eucharist" was painted by Bonaventura Salimbeni in 1600.

Today it hangs in the church of San Lorenzo in San Pietro, Montalcino, Italy.
What does the 'Sputnik satellite-like device' represent?


A fourteenth century fresco of the Madonna and Child depict on the top right side the image of a UFO hovering in the distance. A blow up of this fresco reveals tremendous details about this UFO including port holes. It seems to indicate a religious involvement between UFO's and the appearance of the Christ Child.

This painting is called "The Madonna with Saint Giovannino". It was painted in the 15th century by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494) and hangs as part of the Loeser collection in the Palazzo Vecchio. Above Mary's right shoulder is a disk shaped object. Below is a blow up of this section and a man and his dog can clearly be seen looking up at the object.


UFO's in Earth's History




Myrrh

Myrrh is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of a number of trees, but primarily from Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, the eastern parts of Ethiopia, and Commiphora gileadensis, which is native to Jordan. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species is also known as myrrh, including that from Commiphora erythraea (sometimes called East Indian myrrh), Commiphora opobalsamum and Balsamodendron kua. Its name entered English via the Ancient Greek, which is probably of Somali or Arabic origin, where it is known as Murr.

The name "myrrh" is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata otherwise known as "Cicely" or "Sweet Cicely". High quality myrrh can be identified through the darkness and clarity of the resin. However, the best method of judging the resin's quality is by feeling the stickiness of freshly broken fragments directly to determine the fragrant-oil content of the myrrh resin. The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter and can be roughly described as being "stereotypically resinous". When burned, it produces a smoke that is heavy, bitter and somewhat phenolic in scent, which may be tinged with a slight vanilla sweetness. Unlike most other resins, myrrh expands and "blooms" when burned instead of melting or liquefying.

The scent can also be used in mixtures of incense, to provide an earthy element to the overall smell, and as an additive to wine, a practice alluded to by ancient authorities such as Fabius Dorsennus. It is also used in various perfumes, toothpastes, lotions, and other modern toiletries.

Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and was used, up until about the 15th century, as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations. The "holy oil" traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as "receiving the Myrrh".

History

The Ancient Egyptians imported large amounts of myrrh as far back as 3000 B.C. They used it to embalm the dead, as an antiseptic, and burned it for religious sacrifice.

In ancient history myrrh was used as a constituent of perfumes and incense, was highly valued in ancient times, and was often worth more than its weight in gold. The Greek word for myrrh, came to be synonymous with the word for "perfume". Today Myrrh is used for its antimicrobial properties.

In Ancient Rome myrrh was priced at five times as much as frankincense, though the latter was far more popular. Myrrh was burned in ancient Roman funerals to mask the smell emanating from charring corpses. It was said that the Roman Emperor Nero burned a year's worth of myrrh at the funeral of his wife, Poppaea. Pliny the Elder refers to myrrh as being one of the ingredients of perfumes, and specifically the "Royal Perfume" of the Parthians. He also says myrrh was used to fumigate wine jars before bottling.

Archeologists have found at least two ostraca from Malkata (from New Kingdom Egypt, ca. 1390 to 1350 B.C.) that were lined with a shiny black or dark brown deposit that analysis showed to be chemically closest to myrrh. The Romans were known to use myrrh as a premier additive to wine.

Mythology

In Ancient Greece and Rome, a popular myth told the story of Myrrha, a young woman who was afflicted by the gods with an incestuous love of her father. Her old nurse helped her seduce him in darkness, and she fell pregnant. However, when her father learnt of her deception he was appalled and banished her. Taking pity on her, a god transformed her into a tree; hearing a child cry within the tree, some passersby delivered her baby Adonis, who was later the consort of Venus. The sap from which myrrh is derived is said to be the tears of the transformed Myrrha. This story of myrrh's origin is preserved in Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Traditional Medicine

In Chinese medicine, myrrh is classified as bitter, spicy, neutral in temperature and affecting the heart, liver, and spleen meridians. Its uses are similar to those of frankincense, with which it is often combined in decoctions, liniments, and incense. When used in concert, myrrh is "blood-moving" while frankincense moves the Qi, making it more useful for arthritic conditions. Myrrh also has been used in the treatment of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause, and uterine tumors, as its "blood-moving" properties can purge stagnant blood out of the uterus. Myrrh has also been recommended to help toothache pain, and can be used in liniment for bruises, aches and sprains.

Myrrh is most commonly used in Chinese medicine for rheumatic, arthritic, and circulatory problems. It is combined with such herbs as notoginseng, safflower stamens, Angelica sinensis, cinnamon, and Salvia miltiorrhiza, usually in alcohol, and used both internally and externally.

Myrrh is used more frequently in Ayurveda, Unani medicine, and Western herbalism, which ascribe to it tonic and rejuvenative properties. A related species, known as guggul in Ayurvedic medicine is considered one of the best substances for the treatment of circulatory problems, nervous system disorders and rheumatic complaints. Myrrh (Daindhava) is used in many rasayana formulas in Ayurveda.

However rasayana herbs have special processing. Outside of this form myrrh is said to be contraindicated for pregnant women or women with excessive uterine bleeding, and not be used with evidence of kidney dysfunction or stomach pain.

As of 2008, 35% of Saudi Arabians use myrrh as medicine.

Modern usage

In pharmacy, myrrh is used as an antiseptic and is most often used in mouthwashes, gargles, and toothpastes for prevention and treatment of gum disease. Myrrh is currently used in some liniments and healing salves that may be applied to abrasions and other minor skin ailments. It is also used in the production of Fernet.

In an attempt to determine the cause of its effectiveness, researchers examined the individual ingredients of an herbal formula used traditionally by Kuwaiti diabetics to lower blood glucose. Myrrh and aloe gums effectively improved glucose tolerance in both normal and diabetic rats.

Myrrh was shown to produce analgesic effects on mice which were subjected to pain. Researchers at the University of Florence (Italy) showed that furanoeudesma-1,3-diene and another terpene in the myrrh affect opioid receptors in the mouse's brain which influence pain perception.




Frankincense






History

Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa for more than 5000 years.

Frankincense was found in the tomb of the ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamen, who died in 1323 BC.

Frankincense was reintroduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders. Although it is better known as "frankincense" to westerners, the resin is also known as olibanum, which is derived from the Arabic al-luban (roughly translated: "that which results from milking"), a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree. Some have also postulated that the name comes from the Arabic term for "Oil of Lebanon" since Lebanon was the place where the resin was sold and traded with Europeans. Compare with Exodus 30:34, where it is named levonah, meaning either "white" or "Lebanese" in Hebrew.

The lost city of Ubar, sometimes identified with Irem in what is now the town of Shisr in Oman, is believed to have been a centre of the frankincense trade along the recently rediscovered "Incense Road". Ubar was rediscovered in the early 1990s and is now under archaeological excavation.

The Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with Frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reports, however, that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of venomous snakes that lived in the trees. He goes on to describe the method used by the Arabians to get around this problem, that being the burning of the gum of the styrax tree whose smoke would drive the snakes away. The resin is also mentioned by Theophrastus and by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.

Uses

Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. Olibanum essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. Some of the smell of the olibanum smoke is due to the products of pyrolysis.

Frankincense was lavishly used in religious rites. In the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament, it was an ingredient for incense (Ex 30:34); according to the Gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the Biblical Magi "from out of the East." In this case, Frankincense was one of the gifts of the Magi. Tradition says that it was presented to the Christ Child by Balthasar, the black king from Ethiopia or Saba, thus fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy that gold and frankincense would be brought from the Gentiles to honor the heavenly king. Frankincense was the purest incense.

The Egyptians ground the charred resin into a powder called kohl. Kohl was used to make the distinctive black eyeliner seen on so many figures in Egyptian art. The aroma of frankincense is said to represent life and the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic faiths have often used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants and individuals considered to be moving into a new phase in their spiritual lives.

The growth of Christianity depressed the market for frankincense during the 4th century AD. Desertification made the caravan routes across the Rub al Khali or "Empty Quarter" of Arabia more difficult. Additionally, increased raiding by the nomadic Parthians in the Near East caused the frankincense trade to dry up after about 300 AD.

Frankincense is edible and often used in various traditional medicines in Asia for digestion and healthy skin. Edible frankincense must be pure for internal consumption, meaning it should be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. It is often chewed like gum, but it is stickier because it is a resin.

In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata) has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis.

Burning frankincense repels mosquitos and thus helps protect people and animals from mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Fever.

The essential oil of frankincense is produced by steam distillation of the tree resin. The oil's chemical components are 75% monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, monoterpenoles, sesquiterpenols, and ketones. It has a good balsamic and sweet fragrance, while the Indian frankincense oil has a very fresh smell.

Olibanum is characterized by a balsamic-spicy, slightly lemon, and typical fragrance of incense, with a slightly conifer-like undertone. It is used in the perfume as well as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries.



CHRISTMAS





ALPHABETICAL INDEX


CRYSTALINKS HOME PAGE


PSYCHIC READING WITH ELLIE


2012 THE ALCHEMY OF TIME