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Welcome to my Blog!

Saturday 22 May 2010

On Writing my Interpretation of 'Fifth Gospel'

To me every book is a child. No matter how imperfect I love every one with the same deeply felt, passionate, unconditional love.

I conceive it, I take it to full term, I give birth to it, I do my best to educate it and to raise it to perfection and then I let it go into the wide world. A difficult task, and one that must be taken in small steps: first my wonderful team of readers, including my husband and my mother, then next come the publisher/Editor and the Copy Writer, after that the Editor again and the Proof Reader, the typesetter and printer and the bookseller and finally the readers who conceive my child anew into their own souls.

I don't remember exactly the day I conceived Fifth Gospel. But I do remember thinking that it was unthinkable! To bring together the Four Canonical Gospels and then to try to reconcile them with Rudolf Steiner's Fifth Gospel seemed to me to be the height of intellectual, not to mention spiritual, arrogance. Specially considering I had always been more interested in the Gospels of John and Mark and related only a little to Matthew and to Luke.

The journey over a five year period began while I was still editing The Seal. Yes, in the middle of chaos, once again. I recall that the inspiration was gradual, the words spoken by my muse, my conscience were:

'You can do it.'

I countered this with: 'But why should I do it? There are better mothers than me: better writers, better theologians etc...etc...'

And received the answer, 'Because someone should do it and until now, no one has.'

'Ok then...' I said, 'How do I do it?'

One day I walked into a bookshop and found Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I read the first three lines and I didn't realise that his prose had conceived something in me! (You see that is how I conceive, always through other writers). Something in the prose helped me see how I should approach the Matthew Jesus and the Luke Jesus. Even so, I was still in denial. I did what some women do, I told myself I was not pregnant at all. No I would not conceive this one! Let someone else have this difficult child! But then...there is a point at which one just has to accept that destiny is destiny and that like it or not, the content is already in you, and that now you have to do the hard yards!

I now knew how I should do it, and why I should do it, and so I told myself that after weighing up the consequences and my abilities - I would make a start - this was the 'when' - I would see if this child was viable.

The one question I didn't ask was 'where'!

I should have asked this question. But then again had I, I may not have started Fifth Gospel at all, because shortly after making my decision to do it, I found that our family was moving. We had made a decision to take time out and we moved everything, lock stock and barrel: children, dog, books, house, life, into a 42 foot yacht!

This was the 'where'!

With the wind whistling through the rigging and the cordage creaking, I sat in a postage stamp sized navigation station with my lap top under my chin and a blanket over my shoulders. That is how I wrote the first few lines of Fifth Gospel. Actually, everything began with Cassius Gaius Longinus. I saw him first, I saw him looking out at the rising sun and worshipping Mithras just before he took his legionaires to Bethlehem, to do the bloody work of Herod.

After four months we moved back into our house, (oh the Blessed day!) and it then took me two years of intense study, heart ache and soul searching to get the content of the book down and another two years to edit its six hundred or so pages. The editing took so much out of me because I had to find a way of reducing the weight of my newborn baby without killing it altogether! I am only now recovering from the stress of it, and from the results of sitting in the same spot for ten hours a day!

Right from the start I knew this child would be controversial, it would not be easily understood. People would find it confronting, they would want to change it: those who are fixed in their view of the Four Gospels; those who don't want anything remotely religious; and those who, (and rightly so), would be concerned about the 'integrity' of Rudolf Steiner's Fifth Gospel. It wasn't even my intention to call this child 'Fifth Gospel', but after naming it Secret Gospel and Eternal Gospel during its gestation, I could see that Fifth Gospel just kept coming up, time and again. So, the day of its Christening, I bowed down to what seemed to me to be divine intervention. A name means so much, when rightly given it reflects the inner life of the child, its karma, its destiny - so be it.

There were so many times I just fell on my knees with thankfulness, because I was learning so much from this child! It was teaching me about myself! But I worried about it, scolded it and fussed too much! I fought for its rights, defended it from bullies (there is always one or two), and finally resorted to taking its education into my own hands. Now, I have to let it go. It has taken its first steps out of the house and has made its tentative way into the world. I'll see how it goes. It can always come home again!

I'm reconciled to the fact that it will have its joys and its sufferings and I will feel every criticism and praise as my own responsibility. For I will not say that this child of mine is perfect, how could it be? This, every mother must learn to accept. But if it touches the heart of others, even if only a few, if it stimulates a desire in them to know more, if it brings comfort to those who are in need of it and discomfort to those who have been too comfortable with their own opinions...well then...what more could a mother ask for?


  1. Eastersunday morning,2012
    God bless All people.
    Thankyou for sharing your gestationtime.
    I have lived with the 5.Gospel
    now I live with Maria Magdala in myself- as a Time Phenomena !!!!!
    Maybe I´ll come across your new child by chance ! love to you .Ina

  2. Faith and courage are demanded in times like these. You have honored both, and I honor this story.

  3. Ina, I am currently selling THE FIFTH GOSPEL - a Novel on Amazon.com! Drop in there and have a look!