Interview with Kathryn Gabriel Loving

Q. Kathryn, you’ve written a number of non-fiction books on a range of topics that include archaeology, travel, history, and mythology. What influence did these books have on your novel, The Logos of Soul?

A. I have always been interested in the profound similarities of beliefs that span temporal and geographical boundaries. For instance my book, Gambler Way, revealed parallel gambling mythologies between Navajos and Hindus that stand for spiritual renewal. With The Logos of Soul my intention was to explore and share something more deeply personal, something that has given me much peace and opportunity for inner growth. The reader will find elements of archaeology, history, theology in the novel.

Q. What type of fiction would you say influenced your writing?

A. I grew up in the era of James Michener whose epic historical novels, such as The Source, crossed generations of people. We might also include Leon Uris’ Exodus and Gore Vidal’s Creation in that category. I enjoyed Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novels, such as Time Enough for Love and Stranger in a Strange Land. As I grew older, my reading became more geared toward the mystical, although all these books have that theme in common.

Q. The contemporary heroine in your novel, Alyson Sego, asks if a person can be judged by the books on their shelves?

A. Alyson, a newspaper columnist by trade, asks that question because she is highly self-conscious of her progression from compulsive book junkie to frustrated spiritual seeker. She says her shelves are lined with the “exoskeletons of ideas she has donned and as quickly shed.” Her search begins by trying to ease the pain of losing her family, and to that end she scours the libraries and bookstores, rotating first through fiction of all genre. Once she realizes she is living vicariously through the characters, she decides she is really a seeker of spirituality and begins to read what I call pop metaphysical books. When she acknowledges she is also living a vicarious spiritual life through these books, she decides to launch a search for a spiritual path of her own. Mary Magdalene, the other heroine in the novel, essentially embarks on a similar search of scholarly works that exist during Hellenistic Greek times. She records her findings in a papyrus codex, which Alyson inherits from her aunt two thousand years later. The difference is that Mary Magdalene already has a spiritual path, and is instead discovering the universality of that path. Of course, it is Alyson’s hope that Mary Magdalene’s notebook will somehow ignite her own latent spirituality.

Q. Did the biblical figure Mary Magdalene inspire you to write The Logos of Soul?

A. I was inspired by the mystery. Jesus told his disciples that to them it would be given the Mysteries, and for two thousand years people have been trying to figure out exactly what those Mysteries were, because everything that was included in the New Testament, as well as those texts and gospels that were excluded from it, was written in code. Although Mary Magdalene’s stature as an evolved student of Master Jesus is indeed inspiring, I was even more inspired by the close correlation of Jesus’ teachings to those that are known today as the Light and Sound. Could these ancient teachings lead to the Mysteries?

Q. Are you suggesting that the Mysteries Jesus spoke of are the Light and Sound Teachings, or are they a New Age invention you superimposed on stories of the Bible?

A. Light and Sound is a modern term for what is otherwise as old as humanity and lies at the root of all religions. In India, for instance, the teachings are called Surat Shabda Yoga, which in Sanskrit means the union of the soul with the essence of the Absolute. That essence is the Sound Current or the Audible Life Stream, the creative life energy sent forth from the Absolute that moves through all inhabitants of Creation. The path in India has been ongoing since the mid-19th century, but masters of the Light and Sound teach that Jesus was also a Master of this eternal path, along with Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato, and perhaps some of the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament as well.

Q. If the New Testament was written in code, then how do you know that Jesus taught about the Light and Sound?

A. An important clue is the Greek word “logos” and its role in the Gospel of John. The various interpretations behind the logos is what intrigues Mary Magdalene in the novel. Logos, in the Christian vernacular means Word, Message, or Wisdom of God, as seen in the first verse of the Gospel of John: “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), the Word was with God, and nothing existed but the Word. This interpretation of the Word is actually a Jewish concept derived from the Aramaic word Memra, meaning the Voice or Utterance. However, the Christian religion that sprung up and evolved in Jesus’ stead was more Greek-oriented than Jewish, and “memra” was translated into the Greek word “logos,” which means reason or rationality. But from the Greek point of view, logos had a different meaning. Greek philosophers had long referred to the Logos as being the overriding rational principle that governs the universe, and not necessarily as the Word of God, for they did not yet have a concept of a single all-powerful God that the Jews had. So the Word in the New Testament is actually a blend of both the Jewish and the Greek concepts, although neither accurately describes what Jesus really meant.

Q. What was Jesus’ interpretation of the Word?

A. Jesus likened the Word to the Living Water. To the Jewish people, the so-called “living water” that ran through the channels of the Second Temple in Jerusalem was used by priests to purify the devoted. Before Jesus became a spiritual master, John the Baptist tried to show that a devotee did not have to be dipped in the temple water to be purified; nature provided ample opportunity for such purification. But Jesus took the water metaphor to new heights. He told the Samaritan woman at the well, “Whoever drinks of this water will never thirst.” Jesus transmuted water into wine during a wedding in Cana, suggesting that this Living Water is not only transformative, it is also intoxicating. Later Christians baptized followers in the “spirit” of the resurrected Christ as best as they could understand the concept. But to Jesus, who said the Kingdom of Heaven lies within the physical being, the Living Water flowed through all beings, not just him. That Living Water is the Light and Sound, and initiates of this path indeed experience the Sound Current as a fountain or a vibration that can be felt, seen, and heard. The Sound is the channel and system by which the soul is returned to its origin.

Q. Does the story in your novel follow the passion play of the death and resurrection of Jesus and subsequent struggles by his apostles?

A. Yes and no. The New Testament was not written by disciples who lived, ate, slept, and meditated with Jesus. They were written by followers second or third hand, many of whom were Greek. Literate Greeks were accustomed to theatre, in which all the characters and plot points were metaphors for something political or religious – even their very names meant something. Outwardly, the crucifixion of the flesh is a call for eternal life after death, but esoterically the crucifixion represents the death of one’s own ego and resurrection of the soul as stages along the spiritual path. Even Mary Magdalene as a metaphor plays into the imagery of the soul subduing the unruly mind. This is not to say that the New Testament has no basis in the historical; most of the epistles of Paul are more or less authentic and part of the historical record. Yet even he distinguished between those who believed in the physicality of the crucifixion of the cross and those who believed in the symbolism, or what he called “the logos of the cross.”

Q. Since the year 2000, there have been dozens of novels and scholarly works written about Mary Magdalene. How is The Logos of Soul different from these other works?

A. This is the only novel to my knowledge that explores the Light and Sound as the root of Christianity. I began researching this novel before the advent of such books as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003), and early versions of my novel started off in the same direction where the characters find historical evidence of hidden texts of impact to Christianity as we know it today. These hidden texts included the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and other Gnostic texts from the Nag Hammadi Library, first recovered in 1945 from the desert sands of Egypt, many of which were thought to be excluded from the New Testament. The Da Vinci Code was justifiably a global phenomenon because it offered an alternative ending to the story of Jesus and his disciples, namely his relationship with Mary Magdalene. It also emoted a sense of hope that the story didn’t just end 2,000 years ago. This has since captured the imagination of countless millions of people. So by the end of the novel the reader is left with, okay, Christianity is more than what convention has taught us, but then what are we to do with that information? My intention was to not only explore the original mysticism of Jesus, which is not unlike other Eastern paths, but to also show how we can partake of the mystical teachings in the modern world. In some ways, The Logos of Soul is more like Deepak Chopra’s novel, Jesus, Story of Enlightenment, although again it focuses specifically on the Light and Sound Teachings.

Q. Is The Logos of Soul a love story between Jesus and Mary Magdalene?

A. The romantic love I leave to the reader’s imagination. That is because in both the canonized and the Gnostic gospels Mary Magdalene is a formidable spiritual being in her own rite. This was not a status that was granted her merely because of her intimate relationship to Jesus. As one of the main characters in the novel, Mary Magdalene’s story is one of deep devotion to her chosen master and her own personal inner growth. So, yes, in way this is a love story.

Q. Many stories send Mary Magdalene to Europe or back to her hometown of Magdala after the crucifixion. In your novel, Mary Magdalene and her siblings go into exile in Ephesus on the western coast of modern day Turkey. Why Ephesus?

A. To the early Jesus movement, Ephesus was the most important Christian city after Jerusalem and Antioch thanks to Paul of Tarsus, a self-appointed apostle of the resurrected Christ. Paul spent up to three years in Ephesus where he created quite a foothold for his mission and where he wrote several of his letters. He also burned books and instigated a riot among the silversmiths there. As a beautiful and populous Greco-Roman city, Ephesus was home to the famous temple of Artemis, which locals guarded jealously and did not take kindly to Paul’s interference. John, the beloved disciple, supposedly moved to Ephesus where he or his surrogates wrote his gospel. Ephesus was also the birthplace of the Greek concept of the Logos, first coined by the philosopher Hereclitus some five hundred years earlier. There is a legend that says Mary Magdalene lived in Ephesus, and if it is true that she, and not John, was the beloved disciple, and she may have been the one to author the Gospel of John as some modern scholars claim. This is the perfect setting for Mary Magdalene to explore the concept of the Logos and to also challenge Paul on his interpretation of Jesus’ teachings.

Q. What is the single most important point of the novel?

A. The Logos is more than the channeled word of God on paper. The Logos is both Divine Knowledge (Light) and Divine Love (Sound). The Logos is the means by which the Absolute draws the matured soul back to Itself. Furthermore, Masters of the Light and Sound say the Logos exists in every living being and is only awakened in an initiate by such a Master who is living today.

Q. What is your spiritual path?

A. I was raised a Catholic, and in my twenties I was drawn toward the so-called New Thought churches. Following a desire to deepen my search for personal enlightenment, I became an initiate in 1993 of one Light and Sound path called MasterPath, founded by Sri Gary Olsen. I have walked that Path ever since.

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife and the Light and Sound Teachings

Update: On June 20, 2016, Harvard scholar Karen King reportedly told the Boston Globe that the papyrus fragment bearing some evidence that Jesus might have been married to a woman named Mary seems to have been a fabrication. This doesn’t change the point of my post, that a woman of Mary Magdalene’s stature did not have to be married to her spiritual teacher in order to pursue consciousness.

Original Post: An ancient papyrus has recently emerged that, for the first time, literally presents Jesus as a married man. The fourth-century fragment refers to a woman named Mary in the context of Jesus’ wife. In a paper to be published in the Harvard Theological Review, Harvard scholar Karen King suggests this Mary could be Mary Magdalene.

English translation of the GosJesWife papyrus fragment put forth by Harvard scholar Karen King.

Until now all surviving texts have been either ambiguous or silent on Jesus’ marital status. The Gospel of John makes several references to an anonymous beloved disciple that some venture to believe is Mary Magdalene. In the Gospel of Mary, the disciples complain that Jesus loved Mary more than other disciples, male or female. According to the Gospel of Phillip, Mary Magdalene was the koinônos of Jesus, but that word is vague and can mean companion, spouse, lover, or partner. At last, the latest fragment spells out Jesus’ wife in no uncertain terms.

Does the newly discovered papyrus mean Jesus and Mary Magdalene were actually married to each other? Sorry, no. King, the expert in Christian history who translated the fragment’s Coptic script, believes it to be a copy of a second-century Greek gospel. Because that gospel would have been written at least a hundred years after the death of Jesus, it doesn’t prove directly that Jesus was married, but it does strongly suggest that some early Christians believed he was.

The find is not without controversy. The grammar and syntax are all wrong for the dialect and period, the penmanship crude, and the edges of the business card-size fragment too tidy, leading some to suspect forgery. Given the context, however, King believes the fragment to be authentic, errors and all.

The script, which King calls the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, is a conversation between Jesus and his disciples in which he is explaining the worthiness of discipleship. The disciples appear to be protesting Mary’s participation, as is the case in other gospels, but Jesus has found her worthy. Supposedly, the script also speaks to early Christian concerns of reconciling marriage and sexuality with spiritual devotion. King takes the translation a step further, suggesting it presents Jesus’ marital status as a metaphor for spiritual union in the vein of the gnostic Gospel of Phillip, but this can only be conjecture on her part.

Assuming that the fragment is authentic and the translation reasonably accurate, what would be the implication of such a document? Pop culture has grown used to the idea of a relationship between Jesus and Mary through novels and movies, and such a find would generate marginal interest. Fundamental Christians would hardly bat an eye, for after all they’ve rejected a pageantry of gnostic texts ever since the first century. Gnostic documents in general tend to look at the esoteric, metaphoric aspect of Jesus’ life, whereas fundamental Christians take the crucifixion literally. If Jesus were married, it would not fit the narrative of a divine being in the flesh.

Esotericists, particularly those following Light and Sound paths, view the ideal of the Son of Man/God differently. All beings are divine, but God realization isn’t bestowed automatically – it’s attained through a living master such as Jesus. Being married is inconsequential for either master or student; it’s all a matter of cultural and personal circumstances and the lessons to be learned from either abstinence or union.

What is consequential, according to the fragment, is that Jesus vetted all of his students, male and female. Despite thousands of centuries of inequality for women, Jesus welcomed them the same as any man. But apparently acceptance into discipleship was strict, and not all who were called were chosen. King says that the context of “worthiness” in the script reminded her of Luke 14:26-27 or Thomas 55: “Whoever does not hate father and mother cannot be my disciple, and whoever does not hate brothers and sisters and carry the cross as I do, will not be worthy of me.” In other words, to be accepted into discipleship, a person has to be in the throes of an existential crisis, no longer drawing identity and support from family and conventional religion. Moreover, a worthy disciple must be willing to take responsibility for one’s own karmic actions, while also being able to accept instruction from the Divine made flesh. These criteria are true of the ultimate spiritual path to God realization.

For the final two sentences of the fragment, King takes a leap in her translation from the mundane to the esoteric. Line 7 states: “As for me, I dwell with her in order to …,” and Line 8 says: “… an image ….” Although essential words are missing from these two lines, King makes some inferences based on the Gospel of Phillip. The word “image” often points to a symbolic paradigm, and therefore this single word signals that a symbolic translation can be given to the word “dwell” in the previous sentence. According to King, “dwell” not only implies that Jesus lived with his wife, but also that his marriage represents an archetypal union. Phillip comments extensively on marriage and sexuality in the context of the proverbial bridal chamber, which symbolizes the masculine/feminine duality of the cosmos as two halves of a continuum. Scholars have taken the sexual symbolism literally as descriptive of a ritual that might have existed when Gnostic Christianity was active. King opts for the metaphor rather than the literal. And so do I.

In the Light and Sound Teachings, the soul is considered to be feminine energy, while one’s master is masculine energy. A true, living master, or Sat Guru in Sanskrit, represents the Sound Current, the Logos, or the Word, the vibratory power that cascades from the Godhead through all inhabitants of Its creation and returns the soul back to It. Since the soul exists within the upper, inward echelons of one’s hierarchical being, so too does the magnetic essence of the Sound Current. God realization is a progression of the soul merging with the Sound Current in ever more refined stages, beginning in the bridal chamber at the third eye. A significant analogy to this process in the mundane, physical world is the union between the male and female forces.

Light and Sound is a modern term for the path of the Sound Current, which is otherwise as old as humanity and lies at the root of all religions. In India, for instance, the teachings are called Surat Shabda Yoga, which in Sanskrit means the union of the soul with the essence of the Absolute. Masters of the Light and Sound teach that Jesus was also a master of this eternal path, along with Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Rumi, among many others. The path has also been called Sant Mat, or Path of the Masters, a loosely associated group of teachers that became prominent in the northern part of India from about the 13th century. A more contemporary path, called MasterPath, exists in America.

My book, The Logos of Soul, A Novel on the Light and Sound, is in part about Mary Magdalene’s standing among the disciples of Jesus. In the novel, Jesus leaves his ministry to Mary Magdalene. Masters typically pass the mantle on to male successors, but the Gnostic texts suggest that Jesus passed the mantle on to Mary. Though it is highly likely that Jesus and Mary were married, I didn’t make it so in the novel. That is because in both the canonized and the Gnostic gospels, Mary Magdalene is a formidable spiritual being in her own rite. As the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife demonstrates, her worthiness for discipleship was not a status that was granted her merely because of her intimate relationship with Jesus. As one of the main characters in the novel, Mary Magdalene’s story is one of deep devotion to her chosen master and her own personal inner growth. The romantic love I leave to the reader’s imagination.

Further Reading:
The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife Updates by the Harvard School of Divinity