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One of the caves at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

The Power of Spiritual Community

The ancient Essenes taught many truths that became the lineage of wisdom to a number of the major religions of the world includTeachPeace_Buttoning Christianity, Freemasons, Gnostics, and Kabalists. Roman and Jewish scholars referred to the Essenes as “a race by themselves, more remarkable than any other in the world.” They were also called “Preparers of the Way.” Portions of their traditions are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating back to 4000 BC. (See below).
Individuals and groups all over the world are resonating to newly discovered Essene teachings and incorporating them into their spiritual lives. There are more than 1500 references to the Essenes on the Internet. Although it is not possible to discuss the complete body of teaching here, some of the most relevant are:

  • Seeking peace for themselves and the world
  • A deep and enriching connection with nature and cosmic forces
  • Love and responsibility for the earth
  • Lives of simplicity and purpose
  • The masculine and the feminine nature of the Divine
  • Inner healing and a unique psychology
  • Natural healing and alternative medicine
  • Concepts of creative work and right livelihood
  • The power of our word
  • Openness to evolving consciousness
  • Living in community – sharing work and resources

The Essene Community
Descriptions of an ancient Essene community offer an exciting solution for today’s isolation, spiritual hunger and stressful times. Dr. Edmond Bordeaux Szekely, a principal translator of Essene materials before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, describes the Essene Community:

“The Essenes lived on the shores of lakes and rivers, away from cities and towns, and practiced a communal way of life, sharing equally in everything. They were mainly agriculturists and arbor culturists, having a vast knowledge of crops, soil and climatic conditions which enabled them to grow a great variety of fruits and vegetables in comparatively desert areas and with a minimum of labor.
They had no servants or slaves and were said to have been the first people to condemn slavery both in theory and practice. There were no rich and no poor amongst them. They established their own economic system, based wholly on the Law, and showed that all man’s food and material needs can be attained without struggle, through knowledge of the Law.
They spent much time in study, both of ancient writings and special branches of learning, such as education, healing and astronomy. …..In the use of plants and herbs for healing man and beast they were likewise proficient.
They lived a simple regular life, rising each day before sunrise to study and commune with the forces of nature, bathing in cold water as a ritual and donning white garments. After their daily labor in the fields and vineyards they partook of their meals in silence, preceding and ending it with prayer. They were entirely vegetarian in their eating and never touched flesh foods nor fermented liquids. Their evenings were devoted to study and communion with the heavenly forces. …
Their way of life enabled them to live to advanced ages of 120 years or more and they were said to have marvelous strength and endurance. In all their activities they expressed creative love.”

Qumran, located a few miles from Jerusalem, was once the site of a well known Essene community. It is believed to have existed from 200 BC to 67 AD. Now a dry desert, in the time of Qumran this was fertile land. It was once the home of an estimated 4,000 Essenes who left the cities and towns to create a community. One of their major accomplishments was to make the desert bloom, creating an agricultural wonder. A sacred place, it is now an archaeological site revealing information about the Essenes who lived there, its silent stones giving testimony to a community that existed for over 300 years.

How we know about the Essenes

Dr. Edmond Bordeaux Szekely
Dr. Szekely translated information on the Essenes from manuscripts in the Library of the Vatican, the Library of the Hapsburgs in Vienna and the Library of the British Museum starting in 1927. He was the author of more than 80 books published in many countries. He spoke ten modern languages and was a well-known philologist in Sanskrit, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin (the languages of the Bible and ancient writings). Over a million copies of his books on the Essenes have been sold. Dr. Szekelys’s translations and works are the source of much of the information we have on the Essenes. The Essene Healing Ministries is indebted to Dr. Szekely’s family for permission to quote his works here and especially in the Daily Communions of the Angels.

  • For a complete catalogue of Dr. Szekely’s books write to:
    I.B.S. International
    P.O. Box 849
    Nelson, B.C., Canada, V1L 6A5

Writing of the past
Ancient scholars wrote amazing things about the Essenes which included:

  • Flavius Josephus, the Roman-Jewish Historian (37-90 A.D.), wrote of the Essenes in his books Antiquities of the Jews and The Jewish War. He calls the Essenes the most honest people in the world, and always as good as their word. He describes them as “men of action who put into practice their religious, moral, social and scientific conceptions.”
  • Philo Judaeus, a Hellenistic Jewish scholar, describes a Jewish group in Egypt called the Therapeutae as healers who fostered knowledge and piety.
  • Pliny the Elder, a Roman Historian, describes the Essenes as having no money and sharing a common ownership of property.

Dead Sea Scrolls

One of the most important sources of information about the Essenes are the Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered by a group of Bedouins in 1947 at Qumran. These scrolls have helped unravel the mystery of the ancient network of spiritual communities that thrived in the desert. As the story is told, a Bedouin boy chasing his goat threw a rock into a cave, heard something smash and that was the beginning of the fantastic discovery of dozens of clay jars containing leather, papyrus, and copper scrolls. Over 900 scrolls and fragments have been discovered at Qumran and other sites in the vicinity. These include:

  • Manuscripts of every book of the Old Testament, except the Book of Esther.
  • Scrolls consisting of apocryphal manuscripts (writing not acceptable by either Judaism or parts of Christianity)
  • Pseudepigraphical works (a group of writings not included in the Biblical canon), such as Jubilees or the Book of Enoch, which were known before the discovery of the scrolls.
  • Scrolls of works unknown before the discoveries at Qumran; many of these reflect the beliefs and practices of the community based at Qumran in which they were produced. These include a number of psalms and hymns.

Of particular interest is the fact that the scrolls were laboriously written or hand copied by Essene scribes taking years of loving work. Whole libraries of scrolls were carefully sealed in clay jars and hidden in the caves at Qumran, to preserve and protect them from the destruction of the Roman invasions. Others were carried to Egypt, Tibet, and other parts of the world.
Scholars from Israel, Jordan, France, England and America have spent years translating these works.
We invite you to join us in the discovery of these teachings that are both ancient and contemporary and that enrich our lives.

Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the British Museum, London, England
A reconstructed jar from Qumran in the British Museum London, England

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