IV a – The Lessons of Creation

“If man has God within his heart, his heart’s desire is fulfilled. Without God, man has nothing and will seek to fulfill the desires of his empty heart with the objects of this world.” – Essene sage

“The name of the first (river) is Pishon: it is the one that skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good.” – Genesis 2:11.

For the first few years, Yosef and Mariam raised Yeshu in their small home in bet lehem. Years passed until the day Yosef delivered the boy to the Natzret monastery. To Mariam thought of separation from her only son was almost unbearable. She remained behind, crying softly at the thought of what his future might bring.
Yosef walked into the dusty courtyard of the Essene monastery with the small boy in hand. Here they were met by a sage who stooped to examine the boy. Yeshu’s eyes, bright with wonder, looked straight into those of the sage. The sage took the small boy’s hand and rose to address Yosef. “We accept this boy into the Natzrene brotherhood. Your son will remain secluded here for a time, perhaps several years. After proper preparation, he will return to your home for a visit. From that point forward he will return home so you may accompany him on his social passages, like his bar Mitzvah.”
At the tender age of five, Yeshu now began his instruction in the esoteric traditions of the Essene. Like most children, the young lad was a veritable sponge, soaking up the knowledge that would later serve in countering the Mikdash sacrificial laws.
When one was accepted into the esoteric tradition, they entered a world of instruction. Essene training was an immersive experience, one where sages taught continuously, thus the life of the initiate became one with the tradition’s experience. No matter the task, whether tending sheep or the communal fire, or even washing clothes, the most mundane experience became a valued learning experience. This was possible because the initiate was continually shown the reflection of his perceptions. Raised form early youth, the initiate was free of the typical negative programming instilled by parental programming.
Daily experience was used by the sages to demonstrate how irrational emotions and intellect govern one’s actions; how, in the unenlightened state, one cannot perceive truth and therefore cannot act rationally on the truth. In his normal state, man can only react to the external demands presented by false perceptions and preconceived notions instilled by others. The sages taught that unless a higher state of awareness is achieved, this was man’s prison, one that prevented, or at least greatly hindered, the soul’s spiritual development. This unaware state of being, the inability to act consciously, is used by those controlling others. It is the emotional state, the fears and desires of the body that are manipulated by those controlling the resources of the material world.
These fears and desires, the fear of death, of hunger, the desire for safety, for sex, direct the unenlightened man’s actions. Those controlling the material resources control those seeking to assuage these fears and desires. For those holding this power, men are nothing more than a resource to be used up and discarded to further their own emotional state of perceived well being.
When man is freed from his emotional attachments, he is freed from his spiritual prison, free from the whims of his emotional state. He is free to act willfully instead of react unwillingly to the external demands of his own biology and the demands of others levied upon him. Ultimately man is freed from the fear of death that chains him to this world and the demands of those controlling him.
Thus, the initiate was introduced to those often painful lessons of how a multiplicity of personalities embodying these emotions and their accompanying desires drove actions inimical to one’s best interest. They learned how the mind’s rationale provides the illusion of a unified self, when in fact there is naught but a fractured collection of oppositional selves constantly pulling the body in different directions. Yet there is one “self” commanding the collective, driving the body in a general direction towards the biological necessities, food, shelter, sex, etc. However there is a truly unified self, one of spirit, that remains hidden. This unified, spiritual self requires careful nurturing and development if the emotions and desires of the fractured selves are to be controlled. Such was the experience in which Yeshua had become fully immersed.
As a sect of the original priesthood, the Essene had an intimate understanding of the kohanim sacrificial system. They understood the system operated on man’s darkest, basest desires. They used raw emotions like fear, lust, greed, hatred and envy to manipulate and control their followers. The fear of the Mikdash wrathful, vengeful god was omnipresent a among the culture. The stories of their Torah amply demonstrated the direct and immediate result of disobedience to YHVH.
One evening an Essene sage sat under the open sky beside a fire. Around him sat a circle of initiates and among them was nine-year-old Yeshua. The sage had sat with his legs crossed right over left and his head, his neck and spinal column formed a perfectly straight, vertical line. The palms of his hands rested upon his knees. At first Yeshua thought the wizened old man’s face appeared perfectly normal, but this was because he could only view the right side of the sage’s face.
As the sage turned to face the group, the fire fully illuminated his face. Yeshua could see the left side of the face had been horribly burned. The result was a hideous mass of disfigured flesh, melted into a grim visage from exposure to whatever flames of hell the sage had encountered during his life.
The flesh on the left side of his face drooped and sagged like a crazed piece of unfinished pottery while the socket held a dead, yellowed eye. The old man’s unseeing yellowed orb fixed a chilling, baleful stare upon the group. For some time no word was uttered among the group. The young initiates knew only attentiveness was required, nothing more. After some time the sage spoke in a soft, restful, tone antithetical to his fearsome visage.
“There is an ancient tale from the east which alludes to man’s condition. The story tells of a very rich magician who had a great many sheep, but at the same time this magician was very mean. He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a fence about the pasture where his sheep were grazing. The sheep consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines, and so on, and above all they ran away, for they knew that the magician wanted their flesh and skins and this they did not like.
“At last the magician found a remedy. He hypnotized his sheep and suggested to them first of all that they were immortal and that no harm was being done to them when they were skinned, and that on the contrary, it would be very good for them and even pleasant; secondly he suggested that the magician was a good master who loved his flock so much that he was ready to do anything in the world for them; and in the third place he suggested to them that if anything at all were going to happen to them it was not going to happen just then, at any rate not that day, and therefore they had no need to think about it.
“Further the magician suggested to his sheep that they were not sheep at all; to some of them he suggested that they were lions, to others that they were eagles, to others that they were men, and to others that they were magicians. After this all his cares and worries about the sheep came to an end. They never ran away again but quietly awaited the time when the magician would consume their flesh and skins.
“Before the magician, there was a time when men saw things differently; a time when they knew and understood their true nature. It was a very different time and men had a very different nature. But as time went on men forgot their original nature and they became prey to their lusts and desires. It was then that there arose a type of man who preyed on those self centered natures of the human condition. It was only a matter of time before some men realized that they could accumulate vast wealth from the labors of others, that they could manipulate men to do their bidding while putting forth little effort themselves.
“In time these men learned the dark secrets of manipulating the human condition. They learned the keys to mesmerizing their followers and in doing so conditioned other men to fall into a sleeping state. In this state, men could be made to do things that would in times now long past, gone against their will, but now men had no will, their will had become the will of those who knew the secret knowledge of man’s inner nature. They learned from the Egyptians the power that lay in monotheism, for controlling the many Gods of earlier times was like herding cats, far less easy than speaking for a single entity. These men, these kohanim, soon created their own God, claiming the sole right to speak for their God. In doing so, they claimed the ultimate power of their God, a god they would one day pride themselves in besting at wrestling matches and debates.
“At some indiscernible point those men possessing this key knowledge began looking down upon those whom they manipulated. They began looking at other men as chattel, as something they owned not unlike the animals owned by lesser men. It was then these self-elected began to look upon their fellow men as domestic animals and began to referring to them as cattle. These self-elect realized that a small select and highly centralized group made privy to their secrets could dominate any culture or nation they desired, so they began to tell stories about how to accomplish their wondrous ability to profit from the labors of others. In time, their stories became books. Their books were like cook books; holding the recipes of how to use the sacrifice of others for personal power and profit. Their books were about greed, envy, lust and power. These books were stories about human nature and how to use that nature to accumulate the material matters of the temporal world.
“And so these elect men told their stories only to the select few born among their ranks. They handed down these stories and each succeeding generation improved on the examples until their techniques were almost perfected. In time these men did indeed become extremely wealthy and powerful, but their wealth and power was always gained at tremendous expense to others, for the very technique these men used to gain power and wealth utilized the basest nature of man. It was in those base natures of lust and greed that resulted in the greatest suffering of others and it was in that suffering that these men realized their greatest profit.
“It was greed that caused envy and envy that caused hatred and hatred that caused wars. It was war and pestilence that these men profited from. Happy, stable, societies and cultures meant little gain for these men; it was only during times of the greatest upheaval that these men made real gains.”
“The people of cultures and nations cultivated by these men suffered greatly, but they cared nothing for the suffering they caused others, they cared only for their own selfish desires. Through the centuries the suffering these men caused increased greatly, yet they grew wealthier and more powerful with nary thought for the misery fort hey were empty of compassion and empathy. It was their stories that held the key, for it was the stories that passed on their dark knowledge.”
The sage fell silent for a time, allowing the initiates to digest his lesson. For their part, the boys sat in silence, looking into the fire, contemplating the knowledge that had been imparted. After a time he spoke again.
“In days past, man’s desire was for gold, but then it has always been about gold. There are two types of gold, the first is the external, the material gold yielded up by the earth. The second is the internal, spiritual gold yielded by the Eloheim. This story concerns the first type of gold, the external, material gold of the world.
“No one really knows why gold holds such intense fascination for men. Perhaps it’s the way it glistens or maybe it’s the way it never tarnishes or corrodes, but whatever its physical properties, gold has always held the attention of men. This is a story of gold that was discovered in a valley and the effect it had on a people.
“The valley I speak of was a pristine place situated in a unique area, for it was actually an oasis in the center of a desert. Being a valley it was of course surrounded by mountains, but the mountains surrounded the valley only on three sides leaving the western edge of the valley open to the vast, unforgiving desert. There were four rivers that came together to the feed this rich and fertile valley. These rivers provided lush vegetation for the life that sprang up there. It was this life that gave the valley the necessary attributes to support mining colonies in the surrounding region.
“Although the water provided the means to grow crops, the naturally lush vegetation provided an ample supply of food for the miners who would dig for gold of that region. There were other natural resources in the valley. Among these were various minerals, precious and semiprecious stones, but was the discovery of the gold source in this valley that led a rich and powerful king to locate his mining colony there in the valley.
“This king was a divine king, a living God. It was said he brought forth fertility and life to the people he ruled. Under the king’s authority the land prospered and grew beyond everyone’s wildest dreams. Agricultural production had been revolutionized by the building of irrigation projects; trade swelled to super-human proportions; the population had swelled exponentially along with the land. For generations, the king’s country exploded with both productivity and creativity.
“His real name has now been forgotten, but the name he is remembered by today is “Aten”, pronounced “eaten”. He was a towering figure with a long, flowing, mane of cloud-white hair capping his head. Beneath his white hair were craggy features in which were set piercing blue eyes, eyes as clear and blue as the summer sky one sees before a roiling Thunderhead.
When Aten was angered, people said his features grew dark like a storm cloud. Some said he was actually not one person, but several; a group of men who put forth the image of being one. But most believed Aten was a single individual, for in those days power was invariably wielded by the individual who proved to be of the strongest hand and the greatest guile.
“Aten was very powerful, so powerful that men dared not question his authority for to do so was considered blasphemy and that meant death. Early on Aten used his power and influences to establish numerous towns throughout his empire and it was these towns that had given many people their purpose in life. In return what Aten demanded from the people of his empire was recognition and praise for his efforts along with ten percent of their productivity.
“The people throughout Aten’s empire gladly bowed in fealty to his demands and worshipping him as their God. As time passed, Aten gathered more followers. He began to arm groups of men to protect the holdings of his empire. As his influence grew, so to grew Aten’s empire. He soon began sending out scouting parties to expand the boundaries of his empire. Some of those parties however went in search of what Aten coveted most – gold, for it was the lust for the yellow metal that ultimately gave him power over other men.
“Gold was so important that Aten had men trained in those specialties required to locate and assess gold. One day a scouting party of these specialists returned with news of a lush valley that held such gold. The scouting party’s leader reported that the gold in the valley was as fine and good as he had ever seen. Aten immediately ordered an advanced party to travel to the valley where the gold had been found; the advanced party was dispatched along with arms and supplies that would enable a mining community to be established in the valley.
“As the mining concern grew so too the stories of the lush, verdant valley in which it was located. Although quite distant from his palace, Aten soon decided he would visit the valley to survey it for himself and confirm the wondrous stories his messengers conferred upon him. When he first saw the valley, Aten realized that it was a very special place; he realized that the seclusion and self sustaining environment of the valley offered a wonderfully safe and secure refuge from the world and so in time Aten became enamored with his valley, which by then had come to be known as “The Valley of Aten.”
“One day, Aten set out with a caravan to make the long and arduous journey to the valley where his most productive mine was located. As was his habit, he would often pick up wanders and nomads along the way and offer them employment within his empire. For most of these wanderers and nomads, there was little dispute that Aten offered them a life of comfort and luxury over a hardscrabble, nomadic life. Among these nomadic elements employed under Aten’s command, it was said he had “made” them, that he had created them, for in fact they had been little more than roaming animals until Aten’s wealth and influence made them men able to raise their head above those of lesser means.
“It so happened on this particular journey to his valley, Aten’s men discovered two nomads from a distant, uncivilized, tribe. The two nomads, a man and a woman, were found wandering in the dust of the desert. When Aten’s men asked the two their names and destination, the two replied that, as wanderers, they had no particular destination and had never been called by any particular name. So Aten decided to name the two wanderers “Akhnaten” which meant devoted to Aten and “Ife” which meant Love.
“The two wanderers were awestruck by the magnificence of Aten’s entourage, for never had the seen such wealth and opulence. As was his fashion, Aten offered the two nomads positions among the members of his community. The nomads accepted the offer without hesitation, for as remote as they were from others, these nomads had heard the wondrous stories of Aten’s empire and his valley. And so the caravan journeyed on. By the time they arrived in his valley, Aten had discovered that the two wanderers, while not of particularly hardy constitution, nonetheless had certain mental qualities that might be usefully applied to his mining operation.
“After seven years of labor, Aten had developed a thriving community in the valley complete with agricultural products and animals to sustain his miners. He built various structures that contained libraries, medical facilities and accounting houses. But among the most wondrous sights of the oasis were the beautiful gardens. Aten had diverted the waters of the rivers into the oasis and the ample water flow provided waterfalls for lush gardens. These gardens housed all manner of animals and plant life and were said to be among the most spectacular in the world. But due to the remote location of the oasis, few eyes ever beheld the wondrous gardens of Aten.
“Thinking the two nomads might provide useful functions, Aten had taken a special interest in the two wanderers. Obviously both were too weak to serve in the mines, but Aten saw to it that Akhnaten was educated in the writing and mathematics necessary for accounting. In time it became apparent that Akhnaten in particular had a special gift for numbers, so Aten put him in charge of the accounting of produce and animals in the valley.
“Among these animals were the cattle used to feed the miners for meat was required to fuel their labors. In fact so important was the production of meat that it was second only to gold in export value. Aten had understood a basic principal of nutrition, meat gave men strength and endurance, but it also made them quick to temper and more difficult to control. Long ago he had learned that a meatless diet meant a corresponding decrease in the production of gold.
“Aten also understood meat was considerably more expensive to produce as it consumed a much larger percentage of the grain and vegetable crops used to feed those who performed lighter labor. Aten had calculated it took about three measures of grain to produce a mina of meat. It was for these reasons the workers in the valley were given a diet that corresponded directly to their labor; thus those subjects not given to hard labor were allotted only a vegetarian diet. Akhnaten and Ife were instructed to eat whatever they wanted from the gardens and fields as these fruits and vegetables were specifically allotted for their sustenance. However, the two nomads were forbidden to partake of any meat; especially that which was fed to Aten’s miners. Even so, the former nomads often wondered how this domestic meat might taste.
“Aten knew that once men developed a taste for meat it was hard to keep them from it, so to dissuade those who performed light labor from desiring meat, he had his learned priests provide evidence that meat was actually dangerous to one’s health. Meat was given as a principal reason for the short life of the miners and furthermore it was unclean and undesirable, suitable only for the lesser men who performed hard, dirty, labor. As meat was unclean, so too was the laborer consuming it. While Aten instructed Akhnaten to take stock of the various animals and goods produced and utilized by the mining community, he assigned Ife to housekeeping and gardening duties. By day she was tasked with the cooking and cleaning for the mining staff and tending the gardens when time permitted, but in the quiet of the night, Akhnaten secretly taught Ife to read and write.
“Aten’s mines were located at the foot of the mountains in the desert region surrounding his valley. The mining staff was considered to be of a higher class than the miners themselves. Therefore miners considered it among the greatest honor to be chosen to serve on Aten’s personal staff. It was known that Aten would often walk among the gardens of his oasis in deep contemplation of the creations of his empire. His power was undisputed and men feared his wrath greatly; none dared stand in defiance of Aten and his decrees. Aten realized that his greatest strength lay in his knowledge and so the place of knowledge he created was a privileged place where none but those personally chosen by Aten were allowed to visit. So the place of knowledge Aten created was protected by his law. These places were thus considered sacred and all those who dared trespass the halls of these institutions without express permission faced a penalty of death.
“Knowledge was so important to Aten that he had built two of his greatest libraries in the center of the valley’s garden. These were the library of the knowledge of wealth and power and the library of life, which held the secrets of medicine. Aten had his libraries designed around a central hub with specific subjects located in “spokes” radiating from the hub.
“The design of Aten’s libraries was analogous to a tree. The branches of the tree held the fruit of his knowledge and from that came Aten’s power. It was rumored his library held the secrets of the world and the library of life held the secret to immortality. But no one knew for certain because Aten forbid access to his libraries excepting those privileged few serving as his highest staff. Aten gave Akhnaten and Ife free run of the garden with the exceptions of his garden libraries. He gave stern warning to the two not to enter into these libraries or access the knowledge thereof. It was an idyllic life and for a time Akhnaten and Ife were happy, for true to Aten’s reputation they were well fed and all their basic needs were met.
“Because of its remoteness, women were quite scarce in the valley. Ife was a rather plain woman who might have gone unnoticed in other places, but because of the scarcity of women in Aten’s garden, there were many men that cast a covetous eye towards Ife. Among Aten’s top advisers was a man called Apep. Held above Aten’s other advisers, Apep was the smartest and most capable. He wore the gold uraeus crown, the symbol of a mystery school initiate. The band of gold he wore featured a cobra rearing up from the forehead. This snake was the symbol of procreative energy of life, which had been transformed and spiritualized. It was also the insignia of the majestic position of we call a kohein gadol. Apep oversaw the empire’s major operations and was held personally responsible for overseeing the mining operations surrounding Aten’s garden. He supervised everything from the production of food, to the shipping of gold. Aten implicitly trusted Apep and in return Apep never allowed his loyalty to his lord to waiver.
“Days passed and Akhnaten and Ife became adjusted to their assigned roles with Akhnaten accounting for the agricultural production day by day while Ife saw to his needs along with the housekeeping chores of the staff members. One day, much like any other, Apep went to Akhnaten to discuss certain accounting numbers. As they spoke Ife came into the accounting room to serve refreshments. As Apep had only recently arrived in the valley he had never seen Ife. It had been many days since Apep had been in any of the empire’s towns or villages and he thought Ife to be the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Immediately Apep made plans to find an audience alone with Ife.
“In the following days Apep watched Ife and as he watched, lust filled his heart. The thought of Ife’s body filled Apep’s vision; his groin ached with passion for this woman. He began to make plans that he would have Ife no matter the consequences. Apep made it a point to be near the various locations where she passed by. One day, as Ife was passing by, Apep stopped her, making pretense to ask how she was doing in her service, but Ife barely acknowledged his presence. Now Apep grew bolder in his advances, but Ife rebuked him repeatedly.
“Apep knew there was one thing that Ife did desire and that was wealth indicated by various jewels and golden baubles. But Ife did not desire simple baubles and trinkets of gold, instead she longed for the secrets of wealth creation and Apep knew those secrets; he realized that he could entice Ife’s passions with Aten’s knowledge of wealth. Finally Apep’s passion for Ife overwhelmed him and although he knew he might risk death, he decided to offer Ife Aten’s knowledge in return for her favors.
“Apep waited until the day when Akhnaten was out in the fields taking stock with counting Aten’s herds. On that day he stole into the garden where Ife waited for him. After a brief kiss he led Ife into the library of knowledge and there offered her a scroll. This was the first glimpse of Aten’s secrets and soon afterward the two made passionate love in the garden. Their tryst continued for months and every day Akhnaten would go to the fields for his accounting chores and Apep would steal away with Ife to the library and then to the garden for their lovemaking. Later Ife would make notes of the things she had been shown in the library. This continued for months until finally Ife realized she knew many of the secrets of Aten’s wealth and power.
“Apep had promised that in time he would show Ife the library of life where she would learn the knowledge of health and longevity. Apep hinted she might even learn the secret of immortality. But Ife was impatient and one day as Akhnaten came in from the fields, she took out her notes and showed him Aten’s secrets of wealth and power. Realizing the penalty of possessing such knowledge and perhaps the loss of more than their positions on Aten’s mining staff, Akhnaten initially rejected Ife’s admonishment to look at the notes she had made. But Ife persisted until she finally convinced Akhnaten to take just one brief look at the knowledge Apep had shown her.
“One furtive glance at the information and Akhnaten understood why Aten kept such knowledge secret, for if others understood these secrets, then men like Aten would no longer have any power over them. After studying Ife’s notes for days, Akhnaten came to realize just how poor and destitute they actually were; in fact they were little better than slaves who worked for their keep while Aten used their labor to vastly increase his own wealth and power. As their knowledge grew, so to their dissatisfaction grew at their assigned roles in the mining community. One of the most irritating points of their knowledge was that they were quite destitute of any real wealth, which meant they would never progress beyond their present impoverishment.
“This new knowledge grated on both Akhnaten and Ife. As it happened, a page in one of the books stated that special clothing was worn by those of wealth and power and such clothing was recognized by others of a similar status. The key to this secret was in a particular type of vest or girdle that was worn, for it was in that article of clothing rich men kept a portion of their wealth. Absent such garments, men were said to be “naked.” Akhnaten and Ife had been so grateful for Aten’s beneficence that they had taken little notice of the clothing they wore, but they now realized that they wore rough garments made of coarse cloth. Akhnaten and Ife now knew they were naked in the eyes of those who possessed the gold that came from the mines.
“They now realized Aten’s garments were of the finest cloth, but most of all they now noticed the girdle or vest that Aten always wore. So great became Akhnaten’s desire for wealth that he fashioned a rude form of this vest and secretly wore it when he was alone or with Ife. It was his hope that he would be able to steal enough gold and precious gems to fill his vest and then he and Ife would be able to leave the valley and start a life of their own using their stolen wealth to further enrich themselves, Perhaps one day they might even become as rich and powerful as Aten.
“One day Akhnaten and Ife were in the garden talking about what their future might hold when they finally attained wealth. Akhnaten was wearing his rude vest to demonstrate where he would put their stolen gold. As it happened, Aten was also in the garden walking in the garden with Apep, discussing plans for the expansion of Aten’s vast empire with the new wealth from the valley’s mining operations. So intent were Akhnaten and Ife with their plans, they failed to notice Aten and his advisor. Suddenly Aten put his hand out in a manner indicating immediate silence. Aten and Apep stopped and listened, clearly hearing Akhnaten talking excitedly to Ife about their plans to steal gold and leave the valley with the knowledge of the library of wealth and power.
“Aten called out. ‘Akhnaten, Ife come out from there; face me now!’ Upon hearing their names, Akhnaten and Ife stopped talking and waited.
“Akhnaten whispered excitedly to Ife, ‘What should we do? Perhaps we should run.’
“But Ife hissed, ‘It’s no use Akhnaten, Aten has heard your voice, but may not have heard our conversation.’
“Again Aten called out, ‘Akhnaten! Ife! Come out now, I know you are there!’
“Ife said, “We better go and face his wrath if we must. Perhaps it is simply a matter of information concerning your last count of the animals.’
“With that Akhnaten and Ife timidly ducked under the dense foliage to arrive in the open where Aten waited with Apep.
“Akhnaten and Ife came out and fell down before Aten. Akhnaten asked, ‘What is it you wish my lord?’
“Greatly angered, Aten demanded, ‘Why did you not come out instantly at my command?’
“Flustered, Akhnaten blurted out his answer, ‘My lord, god of this garden paradise, I was in afraid to expose my nakedness in your presence.’
“Aten roared, ‘Naked!? Who told you of nakedness!? Tell me this instant why you fear this nakedness! Akhnaten how is that you know of the vestments of wealth? Have you been inside my library of knowledge, have you read those books relating such matters?
“Akhnaten’s head hung with shame and fear. Realizing the slip of his tongue had revealed the truth, Akhnaten replied, “O’ Master I am innocent, it was Ife who brought me notes from the Library.’
“By now Apep was becoming quite uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation. He interjected, “O masterful Aten, divine ruler of this magnificent valley and the land as far as one can see, there are more pressing matters at hand; there are the gold shipments I spoke of requiring your immediate attention. This is but a minor matter that can be attended to at a later time. Let us see to these more important matters and attend to the gold for it is far more important then the insignificant actions of these minor miscreants.’
“But Aten would not be diverted from his pursuit for the truth. His features darkened like an approaching storm in the summer sky. He spoke sharply, ‘Quiet! There is no more pressing matter then the theft of knowledge from my sacred garden libraries!’
“Turning to Akhnaten and Ife, he thundered, ‘Where have you come by this knowledge, tell me now or I will have your heads!’
“At last Ife broke down and cried, ‘O’ great Aten, although I may be guilty of this disobedience, it was Apep’s lust that made him promise to give me the knowledge of your libraries. It was lust that allowed me to hold him to the promise of that knowledge. Spare me; spare me I beg you, for had Apep not enticed me, I would never have designed to learn the knowledge of your libraries.’
“Aten turned to Apep, now trembling with fear. With the fury of a violent storm unleashed, Aten roared. ‘Traitor! You have betrayed me by given these miscreants my most closely guarded secrets and for nothing more than a moment of pleasure from a woman! Your actions are the vilest form of sedition! For this transgression, you will suffer greatly. I hereby sentence you to the mines. Never again will you see the light of day. From this day forward you will follow the other miners in their quest for my gold; you will creep down every passage. For the rest of your days you will crawl on your belly in the dust of a mine!’
“With that Aten called out in a voice that bespoke his name, “Guards! Come – NOW! Take this traitor to the mines; give him over to my chief miner with the instructions that he never leaves the mines again!” As the guards led Apep away, Aten now turned his wrath upon Akhnaten and Ife. Yet Aten had found a certain soft spot in his heart for these two wanderers he had taken in, for until this point they had shown loyalty and had served him well. For this reason Aten decided not to sentence them to immediate death. Instead he decided that they would be returned to the wilderness from whence he had found them.
“Aten looked down upon Akhnaten and Ife prostrated in the dirt before him, ‘You are ungrateful wretches, lower than the beasts of my herds! I took you from the dust of the desert and gave you life, I created you from nothing and this is how your repay my benevolence!? For your transgressions I banish you from my empire, you will return to the dust of the desert where I found you! From this day forward you will wander the desert, deprived of all the benefits of my power. Your lives will be short and hard for you will never again avail yourselves of my grace. You shall not benefit from my wealth, nor from my healthcare. You will once again live lives of hardscrabble nomads; you will be farmers who will dig in the dirt for rude sustenance. Should you live long enough to have children, they will be delivered without the aid of a midwife and they too shall be forever banished from my empire.’
“Turning to Akhnaten he said, ‘Remember the transgressions of your wife. Remember her faithlessness, her lack of virtue. Every day you look at her, remember what she has done, remember the favors she traded for the knowledge you have learned and know that you will never be able to use that knowledge. Once again Aten ordered called to his guards and gave them these instructions: “Take these two and strip them of all their possessions, be sure to take all their vestments and wealth; destroy everything. When you have finished take them to the East gate of the valley and banish them forever from my empire. Post a guard at the entrance to my libraries with the order to kill anyone who attempts trespass into my sacred libraries without my permission.”
“And so Akhnaten and Ife were banished from the garden of Aten, but with them they took Aten’s innermost knowledge of wealth and power. It was from that knowledge Akhnaten and Ife’s children would eventually create their own minor empires and rule over others even as Aten had ruled over them. But unknown to these two, were the small group of administrator priests who were Apep’s direct subordinates. These priests immediately fled the valley upon hearing of Apep’s arrest and confinement to the mines for they knew their close association would implicate them in his crimes. They fled to the mountains where they built a stronghold. These priests formed the core group that would in time create the concept of YHVH and claim the representation of his authority. These were the priests who would begin breeding their people of the blood.”
Again the sage went silent for a time before continuing. “This is the foundation of the sacrificial system. All other laws of the kohanim are built on this tale. The story of creation is critical in three respects, first it refers to a forbidden knowledge, second it separates man from God and third it sets the precedence of sin that can never be absolved. These three concepts are the critical aspects of the Torah, for the successes of the rest of the stories are predicated on these fundamental aspects of sacrifice. If man is united with God, then he has no need, no desire, for anything else in this world. But if man is separate from God, then he has nothing and will desire everything. The forbidden knowledge from the garden is in fact the knowledge that has allowed the kohanim to claim intercession for man. From this comes the promise that God will fulfill man’s most hidden desire at very specific prices. Of course the one prize that is never sold is the secret of man’s potential to return to God.
“Since that story was first told, men have wondered what marvelous knowledge was imparted to Akhnaten and Ife when they partook of the tree’s forbidden fruit. But it is no secret for their knowledge is explained in careful detail in the remaining stories of the Torah. This is the knowledge of how to enthrall men with the desires of this world and profit from their slavery. It is the knowledge of wealth and power and how terror is used to advance one’s material state in this world far beyond those lacking such knowledge. It is the darkest and most destructive of all knowledge and it can be seen acting on mankind from the moment Ife ate that forbidden fruit to the very moment you heard this story. That will be all for this evening.”
Yeshu and the others rose to go to their small cells, but before leaving, he tuned one last time to see the sage staring into the fire. The flickering flames cast a strange light that made the sage look as though he was half demon, half angel.
The daily chores, milking goats, baking bread and tending the herds interspersed with classes on math, construction, law and language, along with continual supplications to Eloheim, seemed tedious to the initiates. But this was not the kohanim, wrathful, punishing, destructive YHVH demanding continual sacrifice. This force was a force of love, a creator, sages referred to as “the Beloved,” “the One,” “the principal of the entirety.” This was a force of the purest of love most divine, a love that made the greatest physical and emotional love of man a weak, pale substitute by comparison. This force lay far beyond man’s limited imagination and even further beyond his feeble attempts to describe that which encompassed everything in the universe and all that lay beyond.
Unlike YHVH, this force was not an anthropomorphized character looking down from his mountain lair to judge and punish his fawning subjects; this was a force that brought sublime, enigmatic, smiles to the lips of the sages; a force that made others ask in whispers what secret might lay behind such bliss. This was the Beloved, the oneness, to which all men desire a return whether or not they are aware of their desire. This was the oneness the sages sought to be consumed by until nothing remained but the reflection of a love most pure. A sages would teach the initiates, “One has but two choices of free will in this world, one can either serve their own base desires or one can serve the Beloved through service to the creation, but one cannot not do both for no man can serve two masters – Choose!”

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