In issue 51 of the Newsletter, dated June 2000, Ian Wilson reviewed my New and Undisclosed Secrets of the Turin Shroud, which was, in truth, a very much abbreviated text of material I have gathered since 1992. This was the outcome of two previous books on the Mandean-Nazarene connections translated into French by Cahier d'Etudes Cathares and latterly into Italian by Cognoscenza, a review published in Florence.
Clues and confirmations towards
the authentication of the Turin Shroud
by Norma C.Weller
It may well form the basis for a much more comprehensive study, but in 1997 I felt impelled by the hazardous fire in Turin, to publish this modest document, lest the information I had discovered should vanish along with the disappearance from public view of the Shroud itself.
I am convinced that unless we are prepared to consider the profound importance of the Nazarene connection, we will never precisely identify the man of the Shroud as Jesus himself rather than a man crucified during that era, who nonetheless bore all the biblical marks of crucifixion. It is totally unlikely, bearing in mind the now quite exceptional material encapsulated in Wilson and Schwartz's outstanding and informative book The Illustrated Evidence, that he could be anyone other than Jesus.
However we cannot be 100% certain unless:
On this matter, I was in fact assured by the Director of the Aqaba Museum in Jordan last summer, that the caves of the Nazarenes (Moghur Nazara) were the dwellings of the Christians in that area - the word Christian was not in use at that time as it was of Greek origin and deriving from the word Kristos meaning the "anointed one".
Moving on to Rome, the French archaeologist Jerōme Carcopino, when researching the site of St.Peter and St. Paul's tombs between the two World Wars, suspected that the remains of these saints had been given to the Nazarenes during the early part of the 2nd. Century AD to hide them from the Roman authorities.
Ian Wilson himself gives a highly resonant account in his 1978 Turin Shroud book of the presence of the Sudarium, as described by St Anthony the Martyr in AD570 at a cave convent on the banks of the Jordan, that river which is sacred to the Mandeans, i.e. the Nazarene community, symbolizing those limpid light worlds to which all souls must return after their death.
Jordan was the original site from which the Semitic Mandean-Nazarenes came from. Their migration from the Jordan valley in Palestine into the Eastern Territories of Iraq and Iran, brought about by their persecutions by the Orthodox Jews, probably took place during the 1st. and 2nd. Century AD.
It is quite vital that we look at the burial customs of this sect to which Jesus and John belonged, since all the recent conclusions regarding the death and burial of Jesus point to these rites, as scholarship has hugely moved on regarding our knowledge of this sect.
Secondly, let us look at the facts:
This is evidenced by the position of the Gundelia Tournefortii (Crown of Thorn) pollens that Avinoam Danim so significantly identified, and which can be found rather on the periphery of the Shroud, whereas if it had remained on the head, would most certainly not have been the case. The myrtle, on the other hand, would account for the particular protrusion of foliage beyond the brow in the Secondo Pia photographs, as the Nazarenes plucked the lower leaves from the twigs so that they could be placed on a head filet surrounding the head.
Myrtle was used in all ceremonies of birth, marriage and death, and to quote Helen Frenkley, Director of Neot Kedumin, the Biblical Landscape reserve in Israel, "In Jewish tradition dating back at least to the Mishnaic period the myrtle symbolises immortality and success, because of its ability to withstand extended periods of drought and to remain green and fragrant throughout the year. Sprigs of myrtle were held by brides under the wedding canopy and conversely placed on the Shroud of the deceased before burial."
Unfortunately Max Frei was not allowed to take pollen samples from the precious brow and back of the head areas I have described, but since the myrtle is indigenous to the Holy Land, it would be highly improbable, given the location of the Shroud, that such pollens would not be found and if they were not, one cannot but wonder why.
Now, as to the other plant pollens that also exist on the Shroud, a really remarkable further link exists with Mandean-Nazarene burial customs.
I was therefore deeply struck by the prominence of one other very important plant pollen that next to the Gundelia Tournefortii appeared to be most profuse.
It was the presence of Cistaceae or rock rose. In Nazarene terms, this is particularly telling as I am reminded of their custom of covering the nose and mouth at funerals with a face scarf known as the Pandama and filling it with roses that they, rather unusually, released over the dead person.
Only this particular sect conducted their funeral rites in this manner, which supports with a certain measure of conviction the discovery of Cistaceae pollens, providing a meaning and purpose for their existence on the Turin Shroud.
The next overwhelmingly significant feature of these burial rites was the placing of a face cloth, rather like a handkerchief over the face of the deceased before wrapping the body in a shroud. This was to prevent pollution for those handling the body and was known as the Pādan, the second of the two grave cloths set aside in the tomb, as written in the John Gospel. This cloth has become renowned as the Mandylion and if found, should bear the same identical imprint, perhaps even more so, as it would have been in direct contact with the features and perhaps show more photographic details. On the Shroud image, it can be identified as the dark rectangle around the face.
Lastly, something as yet unmentioned reveals the last key as to the very precise identity of the Image on the Shroud, and this is the suspension on a cord of an iron ring attached to the myrtle wreath and hanging down the side of the head (left on the positive Secondo Pia photograph and right on the Shroud). This ring was often attached to the bodies of the deceased as an emblem of the sect and as protection for the soul on its journey into the beyond. It bore the symbol of Lion, Bee, Scorpion and the Serpent of Eternity consuming its own tail and was known as the Skandola.
Once again, I will refer to certain unexplained findings of a metallic nature of particles of Iron on the Shroud described as "exceptionally pure" in a former book by Ian Wilson.
Could it be that these same particles defined in X-ray analyses by Adler and Heller originated from the presence of the Skandola, that iron ring most likely to have existed in Jordan during the 1st. Century AD.
I have not yet seen such a ring, but a Mr Haroun Khatib, owner of a small jewellery museum in Aqaba, knew of similar seal rings found in Petra and the Jordanian environs dating back to the 1st. Century, and I did in fact see for myself a seal ring of a similar type, though not the Skandola, in Aqaba's Archaeological museum.
So where there's smoke there's fire, and I feel certain that these hints and influences may one day amount to something really substantial, which hopefully Digital Imaging spectroscopy may help to clarify.
For the third and by far the most incomprehensible aspect of the Shroud's authentication elements, I must refer to Radionics, as once only in the history of medical innovation were anatomical details and structural images of internal tissues actually derived from blood samples, photographed and registered on slides by a specially designed Radionic camera.
These samples were sent by post to a Radionic specialist, Miss Lavender Dower, who later lent me these slides, which I regard as unique and representative of a new process as yet unknown to science.
It does not therefore, as I have seen similar images with my own eyes, surprise me that from blood serum on the Turin Shroud, such extraordinary anatomical details should emerge and be defined. These are not to identified with X-ray processes but arise from unknown properties of the living blood. It also prove that a living being emerged from the Shroud able to replicate in toto one of the still unsolved mysteries of human consciousness.
For further information and details of these discoveries, the booklet
"New and Undisclosed Secrets of the Turin Shroud" (price £8.00 incl. of postage)
is available directly from
Norma Weller at her own
Hove Ikon Gallery,
3 Albany Mews,
Telephone (01273) 775630
The Gallery houses a permanent exhibition on the Turin Shroud and also
paintings by Norma Weller.
It can be visited throughout the year by appointment and is also open from April to September inclusive on Sundays from 2 to 5pm.
Prismatics in Art
The Artist: Norma Weller
The Ikon Gallery
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