anonymous asked:

Is Mary really mentioned in the Bible?

Mary the mother of Jesus was described by God as “highly favored” (Luke 1:28). The phrase “highly favored” comes from a single Greek word, which essentially means “much grace.” Mary received God’s grace.

Grace is “unmerited favor,” meaning something we receive despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mary needed grace from God just as the rest of us do. Mary herself understood this fact, as she declared in Luke 1:47, “… and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”

Mary recognized that she needed the Savior. The Bible never says that Mary was anyone but an ordinary human whom God chose to use in an extraordinary way. Yes, Mary was a righteous woman and favored (graced) by God (Luke 1:27-28). At the same time, Mary was a sinful human being who needed Jesus Christ as her Savior, just like everyone else (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:8).

Mary did not have an “immaculate conception.” The Bible doesn’t suggest Mary’s birth was anything but a normal human birth. Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (Luke 1:34-38), but the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary is unbiblical. Matthew 1:25, speaking of Joseph, declares, “But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.”

The word “until” clearly indicates that Joseph and Mary did have sexual union after Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary had several children together after Jesus was born. Jesus had four half-brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). Jesus also had half-sisters, although they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:55-56). God blessed and graced Mary by giving her several children, which in that culture was the clearest indication of God’s blessing on a woman.

One time when Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd proclaimed, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed” (Luke 11:27). There was never a better opportunity for Jesus to declare that Mary was indeed worthy of praise and adoration. What was Jesus’ response? “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28). To Jesus, obedience to God’s Word was more important than being the woman who gave birth to the Savior.

Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus, or anyone else, direct any praise, glory, or adoration towards Mary. Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, praised Mary in Luke 1:42-44, but her praise is based on the blessing of giving birth to the Messiah. It was not based on any inherent glory in Mary.

Mary was present at the cross when Jesus died (John 19:25). Mary was also with the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14). However, Mary is never mentioned again after Acts chapter 1. The apostles did not give Mary a prominent role. Mary’s death is not recorded in the Bible. Nothing is said about Mary ascending to heaven or having an exalted role there. As the earthly mother of Jesus, Mary should be respected, but she is not worthy of our worship or adoration.

The Bible nowhere indicates that Mary can hear our prayers or that she can mediate for us with God. Jesus is our only advocate and mediator in heaven (1 Timothy 2:5). If offered worship, adoration, or prayers, Mary would say the same as the angels: “Worship God!” (see Revelation 19:10; 22:9.) Mary herself sets the example for us, directing her worship, adoration, and praise to God alone: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).

In many parts of the world, today is Mother’s Day: the day we honor our mothers for being our loving caretakers in childhood, our guidance in adulthood, our first teacher, our first Goddess. For some, this means a biological mother, for others an adoptive mother and for the rest, a mother-like figure. 

There is a saying in Hinduism: Matri Devo Bhava: mother is God.

Often we take advantage of her love for us and forget to give thanks and reverence. How many times per day or week do we praise Devi, saying ‘Jai Maa!’, ‘Jai Mata Di!’ or other variations of praise to Her? But how often do we praise our Earthly mother? Those among us that have left her house and gone off on our own no longer feel obligated to even talk to her besides on special occassions such as today. Sometimes we treat God in this way, too. We have left the mandir, no murti or sacred image is in sight, so why should we praise?
However, as many times as we forget to pray, we still know He and She is everywhere, hears us, watches over us and knows we are safe.
Our mother doesn’t.
Though as Goddess-like as she may seem, she doesn’t possess the omnipresence or immortality of Bhagvan. As much as she would like to watch over your every move and stay with you throughout your entire life, she cannot. Let’s not treat our mothers as we admittedly sometimes treat God.

There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother… There is no mode of life that is superior to serving one’s mother.” - The Mahabharata

Anxiety and the Brain

I recently attended a talk by famous neurosurgeon Dr. David Levy on anxiety and the brain. In this talk he discussed anxiety from three different levels:
The physiological, the cognitive, and the spiritual. In discussing the physiological and behavioral, he talked about the more common symptoms: including muscle tension, abdominal and shoulder pain, excoriation and nail biting, digestive problems, high heart rate, and avoidance of people and places due to anxiety related fears.

Anxiety disorders can form early on, due to biological, genetic, or environmental factors. In the womb, circulating adrenaline and cortisol can enter the blood supply of the developing fetus. During early childhood, parents that lack joyful expression may be interpreted by children as anxious.

With anxiety, he states that the body undergoes a stress response that causes a cascade of activity; The hypothalamus proceeds to stimulate the pituitary gland; this, in turn, stimulates the adrenal glands, yielding elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline. While this stress response serves a constructive function for short-term, real danger, and traumatic situations, it is very debilitating when left in a chronic state. Cortisol, in addition to it’s other functions, acts as an immunosuppressive (impairing immune system function); impairs the ability to form new memories, and negatively impacts the ability to sleep. Many of his patients coming in for memory problems they had associated with the onset of dementia in actuality had anxiety disorders.

From a cognitive perspective, we see specific behavioral changes and distortions in perspective in states of anxiety. There is a high focus on the future, and many studies show that 92% of the things we worry about never happen (source needed). In this anxious state of “predicting the future” we attempt to self-soothe by trying to tackle the problem from a new angle, but, in reality, are reinforcing the feelings of anxiety.

Spiritually, Dr. Levy discussed anxiety as being synonymous with fear. In the bible, he discussed how “Fear” is mentioned 300 times and “Fear Not” is mentioned 142 times. He states that as such, it is clear that anxiety is a historically recognized human condition in holy text. Spiritually, he stated that anxiety is a disbelief that God will take care of you; a pressing need to do everything independently. He discussed that we all go through anxious times and that these moments offer us the opportunity to call for help; whether that be from an earthly or heavenly figure. He expounded on the fact that our template of our earthly father (or mother) directly applies to that we perceive of a heavenly father (or mother). If we cannot rely on one for support, help, or love, he stated that it is easy to imagine the same for a heavenly father (or mother).

Anatomically, we see a diversion of blood flow from the frontal cortex (where executive decision making and planning occur) towards anxiety centers. In this
heightened state, we become less relational with others (earthly or otherwise). To negate these anxious feelings that impair happiness and the creativity necessary to problem solve effectively, he recommended several things:

First, to focus on breathing (with an extended period for exhaling relative to inhaling, so as to flatten the diaphragm and promote belly breathing, thus activating the parasympathetic or “pause and plan” portion of the nervous system); and secondly to focus on gratitude (starting simply such as your ability to see, the fact that you are alive, the fact that you have a car if you are stuck in traffic, etc.). While inherently difficult, training can facilitate the process and for many it comes best by prayer.

By training this way, you change the way your brain thinks about the stressful situations and orients your neurochemistry away from fear and towards connection.

V. The Hierophant Tarot Card Illustration

By Eric Tecce ( via )

Prints & more now available @


The Hierophant is the masculine counterpart to the High Priestess. He is at times known also as the High Priest, Chiron, the Pope and the Shaman. As the High Priestess deals with the feminine connection of spirituality through intuition within, the High Priest serves as the external masculine manifestation in the form of a religious leader. He becomes the very embodiment of political and spiritual power that can only be found in groups. This brings the card to deal with the idea of conformity and following which such group dynamics create. As with The Pope, he is a mere man who stands in for the position he represents - for when he crosses over, another will take his place to serve the higher forces of above. This preserves the power he holds and can last as long as the institution holds up.

The Hierophant tarot card depicts a man at center standing at his throne. He offers a sign of benediction in the raised right hand, the same hand the Magician has raised. Unlike the Magician’s drawing of power from the universe, the Hierophant’s energy is drawn from society through his position. The benediction also serves as a blessing for the ritual at present as well as a symbol Roman society used to represent that his voice has the floor. Hanging from this hand are two crossed keys, representing a balance between the conscious and subconscious minds and it’s potential to unlock the mysteries behind them.

The left hand holds a sacred staff made of the wood of the earthly land. It’s trinity top symbolizes the three worlds which the Hierophant has dominion in. This symbolism is also present in the three eyes of the headdress, the three layers of clothing, the three visible figures, as well as minor elements embedded throughout the card’s illustration.

As with the headdress depicted as a bull, his throne also features a bull of stone, Both symbolizing the card’s connection to it’s ruling Taurus energies. As Taurus rules over the five senses and the physical realm of experiences, it’s earthly connection is woven into this card’s very nature. The Taurian energy is even more present when you relate the Hierophant’s purpose to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Striving to create harmony and peace in the midst of crisis, his message is to remind the masses of their values & structure which brings meaning and order to their journey through the sometimes chaotic path of life.

Behind the throne stand the remains of two pillars. As with the High Priestess, the pillars represent a gateway into the unknown. For the Hierophant stands and faces the known, behind him lays the infinite possibilities of all which is left to be known. This allows for him to make order and harmony of what is in front of him. The left column is carved with the symbol of Chiron, relative to the card’s connection to Chiron, king of the Centaurs, healer, priest and wise teacher. The right pillar hold the symbol for Jupiter’s and is connected to the it’s religious nature & the source of guidance towards the masses.

The two followers are kneeling in the front ready to be initiated to receive their duties under the institution the Hierophant represents. Robed in polar opposite garments. each monk is a representation of the spectrum of which the message reaches and are symbolic of both religion and mysticism. Their initiation acts as the entry into all types of institutions where there is a common group identity. These range from schools, clubs, teams, to companies, societies, and of course religion. With both in front and the Hierophant standing high in the center, a triangle is formed subconsciously to further support the idea of a trinity the card’s connection holds.

Before them is a ritual taking place in honor of the Earthly Mother. Unlike other Hierophant cards, this depiction takes place in a world where the religious dogmas present, have crumbled back to which all things arise from. In place, the idea that we are care takers of the Earth and share a connection to the spiritual world takes form. On the ground is a stone pentagram, representing the five (5) senses, elements, and numerology the Taurian Hierophant carries. In the center is a large quartz crystal, who’s creation from the earth can connect and hold aetheric intentions & knowledge. It then resonates this message back into the world around, allowing for an amplification to occur.