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Interview with Ki Longfellow, Author of The Secret Magdalene    
Sunday, August 21 2005 @ 01:44 PM GMT+4
Contributed by: Lise

BooksA few months ago, I was excited to receive a review copy of local author Ki Longfellow’s new book The Secret Magdalene. I’ve long been intrigued by the character of Mary Magdalene in the Bible, and had heard inklings that her story was more extensive than the few brief mentions in the New Testatment would indicate. Indeed, judging from this novel, her story is vastly more extensive and strikingly different from the Biblical portrayal.

The Mary Magdalene in the novel is very much a flesh and blood young girl for much of it, but one not so interested in things of the flesh. This Mary Magdalene is a philosopher and possesses the gift of prophecy. When she meets ‘the Nazorene,’ she knows at once that there is something special about him, and in time, becomes a member of his inner circle. It is through her eyes that we experience the events of Jesus’s life, his slow realization of his destiny, his entry into the wider world, and his torturous final days.

For anyone interested in the life of Christ, Biblical history, women’s spirituality or simply an engrossing read, I highly recommend The Secret Magdalene. And now, the star of our show, author Ki Longfellow, with this interview.

Who is Mariamne Magdal-eder and what led you to write a book about the life of Christ from her perspective?

"She's the semi-fictional character I developed in my novel, based on 7 or 8 years of scholarly and historical research. She's my Mary Magdalene and I wanted to hear her voice speaking of what I believe were Christ's true teachings."

Although many of the names in this book are familiar from The Gospels, the details of their lives seem, in some cases, radically different. Was there anything in your research that led you to interpret these historical characters the way you did?

"Oh yes. I read everything, from all traditions. And as anyone who has ever read The New Testament knows, each of the four canonical gospels differs in the telling, sometimes radically. My interpretation is no more radical. But a long long time has passed and what is needed now spiritually is not what was needed then. My myth-making is meant for those of us, now---struggling to find Christ in ourselves."

Is there a Gospel of Mary Magdalene?

"There certainly is. It was discovered in a small town in Egypt in 1945. A farmer out working his fields found it secreted away in a cave. It, and other writings like it, had been hidden there for at least sixteen hundred years. It's part of the Nag Hammadi codices and is the basis of excited debate in the world of Biblical Scholarship. It's rapidly become one of the cornerstones of the new and powerful Gnostic movement that grows in this country as well as Europe."

The only Seth I've ever heard of is the channeled entity of 'Seth Speaks.' Is the Seth in your book a historical figure?

"No. But oddly enough I too have heard of the channeled entity of Seth. Seth or Set is also the brother of Osiris, the Egyptian mangod whose myth is very very close to the "story" of Jesus Christ. On top of this, there was a whole branch of Gnosticism (and still is, I believe) taught by, or at least called, Sethian Gnosticism."

I was confused by the Salome character at first, thinking she was Salome of the Seven Veils. But she ceases to be sexy very quickly. Who is your Salome?

"My very own. Based on ancient references to a Gnostic sect begun by "certain Salome." The name Salome was as common as the name Tiffany is now."

You've said of this book that you wanted to write a novel about gnosis. What does gnosis mean to you, and do you feel you succeeded in doing what you wanted with that theme?

"Gnosis is not a teaching. Gnosticism is...based on the experience of Gnosis. Gnosis is the direct experience of Cosmic Consciousness, of the GodHead, of the Christ Within. It's a Greek word for such an experience and is fairly close in meaning to the East's "Enlightenment." But for Westerners, Enlightenment carries so much baggage, and so much misunderstanding. It does not well up from our own world and our own experience. Gnosis does. Which is why, at this moment, there is a groundswell of Gnosticism all over this country. It's rather exciting. As for the last part of your question...did I succeed? I did the best I could. My reviews tell me my good was good. I am as content as any artist about their work - which is not content at all. I always hope to do better.

Given everything you know, do you think that Jesus Christ (Yehoshua or Yesh'u in the novel) offered a better deal for women? If so, what happened?

"Oh lord, yes. What happened? Reactionary males happened. The usual. Much too complex a subject to answer here. But basically over three hundred years the Literalists, meaning those who took the gospels as literal truth, beat out those who taught the gospels were beautiful myths full of symbols meant to bring Gnosis to each and every one of us. No Church can be built on individuals having access to God. Churches are all about middlemen...with an emphasis on "men." Only through a priest, and a cardinal, and a pope, could anyone hope to reach the ear of God. It's been a disaster for women. As well as men. As well as the whole human race. "

You make it clear in the novel that the Gnostics were just another sect active in the region at the time of Christ. Did the historical Jesus cross paths with them? Do you think their teachings shaped his?

"I hoped I made it clear that the teaching of Gnosis was in its infancy then...although known since the beginning of time by this mystic and that. And yes, it was just another teaching in the din of the times. I am convinced Jesus was a Gnostic. He began as a Jewish zealot and ended up as a devout Gnostic. But it was Paul who began the first Christian Gnostic movement."

The Secret Magdalene shares many elements with what are known as 'classic coming-of-age' stories. Do you expect and are you courting younger readers?

"I admit I hadn't thought of that. I'd love younger readers."

What else have you written? How does The Secret Magdalene fit into your oeuvre?

"I've worked with historical novels that were exercises in How To Write. I have no oeuvre. I write what comes into my head."

What's next?

"This follows along nicely with the last question. I might actually find an oeuvre if my Magdalene is as successful as she looks like becoming. Perhaps her long long life after the death of Jesus. Perhaps a book about the Cathars...Gnostics who sprang up in the South of France almost a thousand years ago and were cut down by the Catholic Pope by an army he formed just for them. He called it The Inquisition. "

Where can discerning readers obtain their own copies of The Secret Magdalene?

"Collected Works Book Store on High Street in Brattleboro have been kind enough to carry the book. There's a copy in the library but I note it's always checked out. Then there's my publisher's website www.eiobooks.com, as well as my own website www.thesecretmagdalene.com Eiobooks makes is very easy to buy the book. And of course, there's amazon.com"

Thanks for taking time with iBrattleboro!

You're very very welcome.


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  • Interview with Ki Longfellow, Author of The Secret Magdalene | 6 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    Interview with Ki Longfellow, Author of The Secret Magdalene
    Authored by: Bratt Bright on Monday, August 22 2005 @ 12:43 AM GMT+4
    As a vehicle for metaphors, and general spiritual and philisophical meditations - I can see it could be a rich and fertile ground for helping folks break out of static thought patterns.

    From a factual and historical standpoint? Any such book ultimately is likely no more reality based than the book:

    ''Santa's Secrets Revealed'' - By James Solheim and Barry Gott



    Interview with Author of The Secret Magdalene
    Authored by: Linaelin on Monday, August 22 2005 @ 12:30 PM GMT+4
    This sounds very similar to the Da Vinci Code. I haven't read the book just reviews and an interview with the author, Dan Brown (who is very secretive about the story). According to the Times, the fictional book "takes aim at central Christian dogma, claiming that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene, who was meant to be his true heir. It alleges an enormous coverup by the Roman Catholic Church, which, according to the book, usurped Mary's place in favor of a male-oriented hierarchy that has suppressed what Mr. Brown calls the 'sacred feminine.' "

    The novel's fictional characters debate 2000 years of Western history, documents, and architecture from Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings to the Gnostic Gospels, to Hieros Gamos.

    Dan Brown, a native New Englander, in an interview on his web site, says that the inspiration for the novel partially comes from his own curiosity with secret societies: "Certainly my research of organizations like NSA, the Vatican, NRO, and Opus Dei continues to fuel my intrigue. At a more fundamental level, though, my interest sparks from growing up in New England, surrounded by the clandestine clubs of Ivy League universities, the Masonic lodges of our Founding Fathers, and the hidden hallways of early government power. New England has a long tradition of elite private clubs, fraternities, and secrecy."

    Hm. Is there a secret society in Brattleboro? And if so, why are New Englanders so secretive and clammy? Sorry, I've strayed off the topic. To be blunt, women have been spiritually robbed by christianity. And a spriritual debate, a religious debate is healthy. I can't stand this politically correct, NPR-style of cool debate and consensus. If you don't feel passionate about what you believe in and talk about, then you might as well just go tend your garden.
    Secret Magdalene/secret societies
    Authored by: Scott on Monday, August 22 2005 @ 03:24 PM GMT+4
    The book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" is the one that actually really got the ball rolling on the Mary/Jesus bloodline theory, and it is just that- a blasphemous STORY. One of the amazing things pointed out in Holy Blood.. , and shown better on the video the same authors did for A&E years ago was how the Knights Templar built their own 'churches' in France, which if you connect the dots between them you get a giant pentagram and a giant hexagram, both covering much of southern France. They Templars also noticed that Venus is the only thing in the night sky that forms a perfect pentagram with its yearly cycle. 'Venus' is another name for Magdalene as well as Lucifer. To the Templars (early Masons) the same symbol of the pentacle formed by Venus and the 5 hills spaced out in pentagon shape there in S france meant that god did it as an occult important symbolism for them to understand. The Great Pyramid was designed by God and Enoch was the conduit of the plans by which man was able to build it, something which man cannot do today. A Japanese firm spent millions to try to duplicate the Great Pyramid in small scale form but could not do it to the perfection of the original. As for secret societies like the modern Masons and Skull & Bones, we had a political party, the first '3rd party' in America, which was called the Anti-Masons. Their righteous goal was to rid politics & public offices of secret society collaborating conspirators. Vermont had two Governors who ran and won on the Anti_Mason ticket and Penn. had one too. We need to bring back that party now more than ever since the sheeple actually think they have a choice with top candidates like between Bush and Kerry (both Skull & Bones, both pro-war etc.) The bloodlines were important to those who believed they decsended from a supposed lineage created by Jesus & Mary Magdalene. Bush & Kerry are distant cousins to each other and to the Queen of England. Bush Sr. was knighted by the Queen, who is of course above almost all others on the hierarchial pyramid of the Illuminati.

    IMAGINE all the sheeple,
    finally waking up
    Fight the New World Order (Dominant Paradigm)www.911wasaninsidejob.com
    Secret Magdalene/secret societies
    Authored by: Lise on Monday, August 22 2005 @ 08:10 PM GMT+4
    thank you, this was very illuminating...

    So do you think that the symbolism (or rather power) of 5 could have
    been co-opted by the Templars? I'm very murky on that period in
    religious history but I know that interesting things went on in France
    sometime in the early middle ages. Another group that comes to mind
    are the Cathars who were apparently persecuted by the Inquisition for

    Secret Magdalene/secret societies
    Authored by: Scott on Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 06:53 PM GMT+4
    'Illuminating', heh heh. Illuminism is the most evil religion on the planet, with the top Illuminati even actually in top positions as religious leaders, like Freemason Pat Robertson and yes, Billy Graham, and a bunch of southern baptists who are just hellbound Masons. At the end of the Indiana Jones series, (the end of the third film), Sean Connery is asked what he found. "Illumination" he responded. He was knighted by the Queen you know.
    There are similarities between the Templars and Cathars with their persecution sure, but I believe the Templars really were extremely heretical as some of them were forced to admit to. Their demon Baphomet that they worshipped is on the back of the one dolar bill 8 times. The KT's were the forefathers of modern Masons. The Masons refer to their order as "The Craft" So do witches. Witches and Masons both revere the same pentagram and hexagram symbols, but Masons don't care to talk about it. One branch of Freemasonry is called the Knights Templar Order, and boy Masons are the DeMolay society. Bill Clinton was a DeMolay boy Mason. DeMolay was the KT's leader back in the 1200's. JFK was ritually killed in an outdoor Masonic temple called Dealey Plaza, shaped like the pyramid on back of the dollar/Great Seal- which was an Illuminati symbol BEFORE it became the back of the U.S. Seal. If you draw a hexagram over that demonic symbol it spells out M-A-S-O-N. And under the pyramid in latin is their end goal- a New World Order, which is why they make sure key positions of power are staffed with Illuminists/Masons/Skull & Bones members.

    IMAGINE all the sheeple,
    finally waking up
    Fight the New World Order (Dominant Paradigm)www.911wasaninsidejob.com
    Interview with Ki Longfellow, Author of The Secret Magdalene
    Authored by: Ki on Tuesday, August 23 2005 @ 07:55 PM GMT+4
    As a vehicle for gnosis, it was more than fertile. History is another matter. Biblical scholars have been fighting over this ground for years and years...and will continure to do so for no doubt many more years to come. As far as proving the historicity of Jesus, or for that matter, of Mary Magdalene, they've come up empty. Of course, this doesn't stop a true believer.

    The Secret Magdalene is a novel. It is set in as historical a background as seven years of intense research could create...those seven years beginning way before Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code--which, by the by, has nothing to do with my book. Dan's book is about what might have happened long after the death of Jesus. The Secret Magdalene is about his life as told from the point of view of his Beloved Disciple, the Magdalene. But it does not purport to be "historical truth." And it does not assume the characters of the Magdalene and Jesus are drawn from life. (Neither do the gospels, either canonical or Gnostic.) What it does assume is what was taught so long ago. And what it hopes to present are those spiritual teachings as well as describing the experience of gnosis through story.