I have just finished reading two books from this most prolific author. I had not heard of her before, but while reading these books, carrying them around with me in public, I encountered several people who immediately recognized what i was reading. “Oh, I have read most of her books!”, was a comment I heard more than once. I felt left out!!! Where have I been?!! But I guess this is yet one more instance of things coming our way when the time is right, when we are ready to receive them. I operate on that principle, in fact, when I post on The Urban Monk. I trust that you, the reader, are receiving these offerings at the time which is right for you. Not that you will thus necessarily agree with what I say, but more along the lines that you are being thoughtfully prodded by Spirit at a time when you can receive it.
The two books I read by Sylvia Browne are, The Two Marys, and The Mystical Life of Jesus. These two books outline the lives of Jesus, his mother Mary, and his wife, Mary Magdalene. Sylvia Browne is a psychic, a gift she has had since childhood. She receives a lot of information from her spirit guide, Francine. But these two books also contain a lot of research into the lives of these pivotal people.
Sylvia calls herself a “gnostic Christian”. She founded a church called “Novus Spiritus”. She is completely and unapologetically a Christian. But her beliefs do not rely only on biblical revelation as do the beliefs of most Christians. Being “gnostic”, that is, “knowing” or knowledge based, she also takes from revelation received through other, more esoteric sources (such as her own spirit guide). This of course leads her to sound quite different from orthodox Church teaching! She says she has been severely criticized and persecuted throughout her life and ministry. But her faith in God, and relationship with him and his son, remains strong despite the opposition.
Sylvia is very critical of “Pauline Christianity”, which comes mostly from Paul’s writings in the Bible and is what primarily comprises orthodox Church theology. She draws heavily on the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings. But she also relies on other writings, many of which have come to light only in the past century or so, having been destroyed by the Church when they made decisions on what would comprise Church theology and what would not.
I myself find it very interesting that so many of these early writings have been recently re-discovered. What does that fact alone tell us? What is God saying to us in our day by allowing these earlier banned documents to be revealed?
I would not be as critical as Sylvia Browne of the early Church’s decisions about what was in and what was out as far as early writings circulating among believers. I view the Church leaders in the perspective that they were operating to the best of their ability with what they were given. I do view their decisions as human ones, made with human reasoning, but I do not necessarily, out-of-hand, consider them nefarious.
Moving to the content of Sylvia Browne’s books, they tell a much more complete story of the lives of these three characters so central to the Christian faith. We get details of what Jesus was up to before beginning his public ministry in Palestine. We get filled in on story elements missing in the biblical accounts. And it is most fascinating to consider!! Especially for someone like me who has been part of Church all my life and studied extensively the Church’s book, the Bible.
Well before encountering these books I had come to accept the fact of Jesus being a married man. And, dear reader, I find nothing in the Biblical writings which would preclude this!! It is only Church tradition which has led us to believe that Jesus was single. (And what does that tell us!!!)
These books tell us much about Jesus’ travels as a young man, going to numerous places to learn from scholars of his day, taking with him various companions. Browne also paints a picture of Jesus coming from a fairly well-to-do family, not the poor downtrodden picture we often get from Church tradition. His uncle, Joseph of Arimathaea, was a wealthy business man, with ships, tin-mines in the British Isles, etc. Jesus’ father Joseph, as a carpenter, had an extensive, successful business with numerous employees working for him. Jesus was able to use family resources to become a student and itinerant teacher.
The part of Sylvia Browne’s stories about which I have the biggest questions center around the resurrection and time following. She has received information from beyond that Jesus did not die on the cross when he was crucified. After surviving this horrific experience, he spent a short time in Palestine, appearing to his disciples, giving them final messages (all recorded in the Bible), and then travelled once again, re-visiting some of his earlier places, and eventually settling in the south of France, in the Languedoc region. I had long known that Mary Magdalene had lived out her life there, but to consider Jesus and Mary living out their lives there together, was a new one for me! I take that information with a grain of salt, putting it on the back burner, so to speak, for future consideration.
Francine has told Sylvia that a lot of this information will come to light in the coming years, probably soon! We will see, I guess, whether this pans out. Once again, I take information coming from sources like this with some hesitation. Not all mystical, psychic revelations are 100% accurate. There is variance in the information which comes out of all these stories. Taken together they present a fascinating picture. But I take no one account as truth over all others. And I encourage my friends and readers to do the same. Learn as much as you can from this, adding it to the fabric of the larger picture. New information (like Sylvia Browne’s is for me) does not need to negate what I have learned from other sources, from other peoples’ stories of truth.
Again, these books are fascinating to read. I highly encourage everyone to read them! Learn from them, take the parts which you can accept, and allow the rest to slough off like water off a duck’s back. “. . . read it (the Bible, and I would add, her books) with new eyes of love and right living and spiritual search. . . . If you stop searching for truth, then you become complacent and you really don’t realize what his life was about.” (p 121, The Mystical Life of Jesus). I hope you enjoy these writings as much as I did, and that you let me know your reactions!