1. WHO IS POPE ANNALISA?
Annalisa Basanjo is an African nun who rises from obscurity to become the most influential figure in modern times as the first female pope of the Catholic Church. Annalisa appears to be attuned to a higher force some think as good, some think otherwise.
2. IS SHE A BENEFACTOR FOR OR ADVERSARY OF HUMANITY?
That must be determined by those of you who read about her. Part of her story deals with the nature of good and evil and the relationship of these forces to each other.
3. DOES POPE ANNALISA HAVE HISTORICAL ROOTS?
She does. The story of Annalisa is part of a cycle called The First Souls. It spans the near future and the historical past as well as other dimensions of existence, but the essence of the story is rooted in historical facts and events. It is based on known history and once-lost documents unearthed in modern times. The astounding aspect of these ancient spiritual texts is that they mirror advanced theories of modern quantum physics in describing the creation of the universe, the relation of energy to matter, and the origins of human life.
4. WHO ARE THE FIRST SOULS?
The First Souls are primal beings or archetypical spiritual forces. Their actions led to the first merging of spirit with materiality resulting in the creation of human beings. In their earthly lives, the First Souls are not usually noticeable apart from other people, but they do encompass a special destiny and capacity for growth beyond the average person.
5. HOW DOES THE FIRST SOULS DEAL WITH THE QUESTION OF WHOLENESS IN A UNIVERSE OF APPARENT DUALITY?
The key word here is apparent. See these passages from the great Indian spiritual work, the Bhagavad Gita:
“Although the Supersoul [i.e. God within], appears to be divided, He is never divided. He is situated as one.”
“Arjuna, I am the Universal Self seated in the heart of all beings; so I alone am the beginning and middle and also the end of all beings.” (Bhagavad Gita, chapter 10, verse 20)
The universe is actually one force or substance projected in multiple manifestations, but the interplay of these manifestations has much to do with our perception of reality and our spiritual awareness. In the First Souls cycle, opposing forces do clash and these actions shape much of our existence. But ultimately, the story is about transcending the interplay of these apparent dualities (called maya or illusion in some traditions) and realizing the true oneness behind all.
6. WHEN DID THE FIRST SOULS APPEAR?
The first souls have been present since the beginning of space/time and the material creation.
7. DO THE FIRST SOULS HAVE ANY CONNECTION TO THE BIBLE?
Yes. Part of their story is intertwined with biblical events and figures such as Jesus of Nazareth, the twelve disciples, and Mary Magdalene. In fact, much of the book deals with a lost spiritual tradition that dominated much of early Christianity, Judaism, and Islam as well as the so-called pagan mystery schools. This is the historical aspect of the saga mentioned under question three.
8. IS THIS STORY ANOTHER BLOODLINE SPECULATION ABOUT THE MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN OF JESUS AND MARY MAGDALENE?
No. Jesus and Magdalene may or may not have had children but in the First Souls cycle, that question has no significance and the answer to it has no importance. The First Souls deals with the spiritual forces behind these personages. It examines the spiritual significance of their relationship and what it represents for humanity. The Da Vinci code portrayed Magdalene as the Holy Grail, the receptacle of Jesus’ children. The Thirteenth Disciple and the First Souls trilogy also shows Magdalene as the Holy Grail, but as the receptacle of something far more precious–Jesus’ lost sacred teachings (gnosis), teachings capable of transforming human life.
9. IS THIS STORY CONNECTED TO ALL THE WORKS COMING OUT ON THE DIVINE FEMININE AND THE LOST GODDESS?
Yes, but it comes from an entirely different perspective than any other work of which we are aware. Again, the First Souls’ roots are in our spiritual origins so the feminine aspect of God is traced from its source in the spiritual realms to its manifestations on earth. Furthermore, the story does not idealize the feminine as do so many current works, but rather it portrays the feminine spiritual force in all its bittersweet paradoxes. The First Souls is ultimately about the fragmentation and reunion of the male and female forces to create a new human consciousness.
10. IS POPE ANNALISA A CHRISTIAN BOOK?
The story of Pope Annalisa and the First Souls is rooted in Judeo-Christian history, and the beliefs of these religions form the backdrop of the story, but it is more accurate to say that the First Souls trilogy is focused on the universal underpinnings of human spirituality. The story deals with forces that can be identified in the mystical core of the world’s major religions and philosophical systems. It also overlaps with speculative sciences such as theoretical physics and depth psychology.
11. IS POPE ANNALISA AND THE FIRST SOULS AN ATTACK ON OR CONDEMNATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OR FUNDAMENTAL CHRISTIANITY?
No, it is not. We see the First Souls increasing people’s faith by encouraging them to view his or her religious beliefs from a broader perspective. The Church has an intellectual and theological history that is both vast and valuable. It has also done much good. Fundamentalist Christians are trying to find an avenue to express their desire for God in an increasingly secularized world and should be commended for their focus on spiritual issues. Many books on the market that explore alternative religious viewpoints tend to fall into Church bashing or expressions of bitterness for misdeeds of the Church. They also express resentment toward the perceived intolerance of evangelical Christianity. Though these negative elements are present in forms of Christian practice and play a role in the story cycle, we see the divine spark within each human evolving,and ultimately prevailing, regardless of the apparent shortcomings of certain professions of the faith.
Having said this, we expect that the Church and the evangelical community will probably condemn this book. One gains membership to an established faith by agreeing to adopt their concepts, their language, and their sacraments. But here’s the problem: people fail to recognize that there are many paths to achieving awareness of the divine. If someone doesn’t follow the ABC’s of a particular faith or they don’t use the same religious terminologies, they are held to be in error and criticized. Yet one person’s angels are another person’s spirit guides just as the deity is called Allah by some, God and Brahma by others. People often don’t recognize the common expressions of God as interpreted through other cultures, faiths, and historical eras. This is because organized religions tend to follow mass mind thought and concentrate on the external aspects of spirituality—the doctrines, the practices, the terminologies—which are actually superficial and unimportant in the larger scheme of things.
Pope Annalisa and the cycle of the First Souls focuses on the personal, internal, or subjective experience of the divine. Because of this it sees connections in the core mystical traditions of the major religions as opposed to seeing the apparent differences in their external practices. So, Judaic Kabbalism, Christian Gnosticism, and Islamic Sufism are closely related variants of a mystical tradition that, in turn, connects them to Buddhism, Hinduism, and the “pagan” mystery schools of Zoroaster, Mani, Pythagoras, and Plato to name a few. This connection is the universal thread that binds spiritual beliefs, and it was all but severed in the West by orthodox religions. In the First Souls cycle, orthodox religions are seen as a primer or stepping stone to more insightful spirituality, albeit that orthodoxy was used by many misguided souls to suppress and exterminate alternate beliefs.
12. SO, WHAT IS THE REAL STORY BEHIND POPE ANNALISA AND THE FIRST SOULS?
First, it is about people caught up in dramatic and life-changing events where many lives and the course of human history is at stake. It is about a woman who is attempting to alter our very perception of existence. It is about us as human beings trying to determine if her course of action will lead to our renewal or destruction. Ultimately, the story is a speculation on the origin and destiny of the human soul and our capacity to touch the divine and evolve into a new state of consciousness.