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Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Maternal Link

© 2005 Bettye Johnson

Books and articles that place women beneath men have subjugated women for eons and are tiresome. In writing my book. Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls about Mary Magdalene, I found it a challenge to find any credible history of that era. The information available was written by men and for the most part, men who were monks. That should tell us something. Some claim to have evidence of the genealogy of the bloodline of Mary Magdalene and Jesus and that is even more interesting. Men put the so-called reputable charts together and only once in a great while was the mother named. Thus, it became that the lineage was handed down from king to king. That in itself is suspect and I wonder if these kings and men of royalty were hatched in an incubator.

Science today is indicating that this is not so. There is scientific evidence from archaeology combined with the study of the DNA and genes that it is a possibility women and men came from one woman nicknamed Eve. The primary piece of evidence is called mitochondria

An article by Rebecca Cann of the University of Hawaii, together with her two male coworkers, stunned the scientific world when it was published in the British journal Nature on January 1, 1987. The article, Mitochondrial DNA and Human Evolution, alleges that all people living on Earth now can date their ancestry back to 200,000 years ago to a particular woman living at that time. Since that article was published, there have been other scientific studies and subsequent research alleges it could have been a group of women. What does this mean for women?

It means that the hereditary maternal DNA is carried by the mitochondria, which is passed from mother to daughter. Any mitochondria in the male sperm dies and is not passed to the daughters or the sons. Therefore, if a man and woman have only sons, the woman’s mitochondria carrying the lineage dies out. When a son with no female sibling marries a woman and they have a daughter, then that woman’s mitochondria DNA is passed down. From my perspective, it would be quite onerous to trace the lineage unless one knew who the females were.

What is the mitochondrial? From the science reports I have researched, the general consensus is that it carries the power of the energy of a cell. It could also be called the power generator of the cell. The mitochondria also have other functions, but for the purpose of this article, I want to emphasize the importance it has in tracing a lineage because the mitochondria also has its own DNA.

I find it a tragedy that down through the ages and today in some cultures, it is the male child that is desired and in a few cultures the female baby is killed. Because of the attitudes of the men of history, almost all knowledge of powerful and wonderful women has been either suppressed or eradicated. In some instances such as Mary Magdalene, Lucretia Borgia, Marie Antoinette, they have been portrayed as either sinners or in unflattering terms. I chose to portray Mary Magdalene as a powerful woman in her own right and I used my research to write this story in novel form. She was the wife of Jesus and they had two children.

I find it interesting that I have three sons and therefore my mitochondria is not passed down. It stops with me, however my sister had three girls and they will carry on the line. My granddaughters now carry the maternal lineage through their mothers’ mitochondria. I primarily raised my sons alone, as their father was a career military man and away two-thirds of our married life. This arrangement gave me the opportunity to raise my sons as I wanted to and they have all grown into splendid men. They are loving, caring men and are not prejudice against women.

We, the women must take the responsibility of teaching our sons and daughters that each is an equal. It can begin in the womb. While carrying a child in the womb, the woman can speak to it and begin the teaching along with playing classical music. A fetus is aware in the womb. Now, that is another study in itself.

For further research, I recommend reading Zechariah Sitchen’s book The Lost Book of Enki. An excellent website is from a NOVA documentary, Tracing Ancestry Through MiDNA, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/neanderthals/mtdna.html ~

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Questions and Answers

Q: I have been asked numerous times how it came about that I wrote about Mary Magdalene along with the question of ‘did you channel this?’
A: First, I will address why I chose to write this book about Mary Magdalene. Having once been a minister, I became so aware of the exclusion of beautiful, intelligent and powerful women in the Bible. Somehow, I couldn’t see Mary Magdalene being a prostitute. I had already become a champion of women and worked to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and fortunately today it is alive, only needing three states to ratify it. It is a travesty that women in the United States need an amendment for equal rights! In fact, it is a travesty the way women are treated all over the world.

In my quest for knowledge, I studied the lives and roles of many women in the world. What I noted was that most famous women were usually portrayed in an unflattering way. Now, I am not anti-male. I have three beautiful sons and I learned a great deal about males from them; and if we women had been smart enough to train them, we probably would not have the mindsets in society that we do today. Ignorant men have written history.

In 2000, while on a trip to Spain and the Languedoc area of France, I became intrigued with the Black Madonnas I came across. It seemed as though almost every church I visited had one and usually she was placed off to one side. From this trip, I began in earnest to research the Black Madonnas and the possible relationship to Mary Magdalene. My research evolved into the book, Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls.
Having traveled through the French side of the Pyrenees, it seemed logical to begin the story there. I wrote it as fiction because the story would be more acceptable and it was more fun for me.

The idea of having two women find the unknown cave with the scrolls came to me as a natural occurrence. And as I began writing, the story began flowing, and I had no outline. This is why I have said to many people that "the book almost wrote itself." No, I did not channel it. I became so caught up in the story that my mind was freed up and the story unfolded. I never knew where the next twist or turn would take the characters.

Q: I have been asked why I portrayed her as being black.
A: To me all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. If one would reason it, the people of Palestine were not white. Jesus was not white and I do not believe Mary Magdalene was white either. From all my research, I came to the conclusion that she was black and my knowingness tells me I am correct.

Q: I have also been asked if I thought I had been Mary Magdalene.
A: The answer is an emphatic "NO."

Q: Am I a descendant of the lineage of Mary Magdalene and Jesus?
A: I wouldn’t want to presume that. My deceased brother did a genealogical search and I will say I do come from a long line of interesting people with roots in Scotland and England.

Q: Do I think my portrayal of Mary Magdalene is close to the truth?
A: It depends on what one calls truth. We each have our own perspective and we each might call it our truth. To answer the question, I know I have portrayed her evenly and it is my hope that this portrayal of her will be an inspiration to all women and men.

Q: Am I writing a sequel?
A: Yes. The sequel began writing itself in my head in January of this year. There is much more research to accomplish and perhaps it will be ready in 2006. The title is something I am not sharing at this time. In addition to researching, I am preparing "Secrets" for its revised second edition to be available in June 2005. My editor, Jo Stockstill, is a gem.

Q: Have I read The DaVinci Code?
A: I had never heard of Dan Brown until Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls was two-thirds completed. By then it was already breaking all records. I purchased a copy and found it exciting and refreshing. I have also read his other books and have a great respect for him as a researcher and a writer. From my perspective, my book compliments his.

I also want to thank you for the comments about the book cover. There is a grand deeper meaning to the red rose that I will leave up to you to research. My son, Kenneth D. Brown, took my idea and created this beautiful cover. He also created this website and now two great women have taken his idea and are creating even greater aspects of the site. I thank Jan and Kathleen Hazelton for their enthusiasm and expertise.
Please continue to send me questions and your comments. ~