St. Apollonius Magus: The Case of Apollonius’ Identity Crisis

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Apollonius of Tyana (a city south of Turkey) was considered among the most remarkable of a slew of magician messiahs and daemonic philosophers in the area of Asia Minor. His life, unfortunately, has been written by believers in his pretensions as we have no secular record of him, much like how there is no reliable secular record of Jesus Christ existing. Outside the gospels, there are only four early historical references to Jesus. They are found in the works of the Jewish historian, Josephus, the Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, and in the letters of Pliny the Younger, a Roman governor of Bithynia. But together, they cover little more than half of a page of a modern book! And even in these records, their mentions of Jesus are questionable at best for many reasons. (We will get to this in another post).

In any case, the Apollonius of the biographer Philostratus is a heathen savior, who claimed a commission from heaven to teach a pure and reformed religion, and in attesting his authority, he went about healing the sick, raising dead men back to life, casting out devils, and prophesying future events which came afterwards to pass. Sounds familiar?

However, the accounts of Apollonius were written well after he is supposed to have lived by a man named Flavius Philostratus (170 – 245 A.D.). This is long after the first New Testament was written (being Marcion’s Apostolikon). It is said that Philostratus is the only source for the accounts of Apollonius where the Bible is multi-sourced. In other words, we have different writers writing about Jesus. The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul the Apostle, etc., are different writers who’s epistles were gathered by the Church and assembled into the Bible. One possible mention of Apollonius outside Philostratus is in Pseudo-Justin Martyr (meaning there’s no evidence that Justin wrote it and was written by someone else) specifically mentions Apollonius, when he tells us that Apollonius talismans were potent magical tools, indicating his belief in them in Answers to the Orthodox:

How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power over certain members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts. And whilst Our Lord’s miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in present facts, so as to lead astray all beholders?

Pseudo-Justin illustrates the problem in a work containing a dialogue between a theologian and a Christian: the Christian is concerned about the popularity and spread of Apollonius’s talismans. He wonders how to explain their magical powers and wonders why God allows them. The theologian dispels his doubts saying that there is nothing evil about those objects because they were produced by Apollonius who was an expert in the powers governing nature and in the cosmic sympathies and antipathies…and that is why they did not contradict God’s wisdom ruling the world. But, this is hardly a convincing evidence for Apollonius. The Epicurean philosopher, Celsus never mentions or cites anything related to Apollonius either even in his long-winded refutation of Christianity, when he mentions various miracle workers and preachers who visit cities and army camps proclaiming themselves as “sons of God”.

These are accustomed to say, each for himself, ‘I am God; I am the Son of God; or, I am the Divine Spirit; I have come because the world is perishing, and you, O men, are perishing for your iniquities. But I wish to save you, and you shall see me returning again with heavenly power. Blessed is he who now does me homage. On all the rest I will send down eternal fire, both on cities and on countries. And those who know not the punishments which await them shall repent and grieve in vain; while those who are faithful to me I will preserve eternally.’

Philostratus was commissioned by an empress to write a biography of Apollonius in order to dedicate a temple to him. It is not likely that the gospels borrowed from Apollonius. It is most probably the other way around, especially since Philostratus had a motive to satisfy the empress who had commissioned him to write a biography of the man for whom a temple had been constructed. And this is coming from a guy who thinks Paul and the Johannite Jesus are merely extensions or masks of Simon Magus!

It must be said that the Philostratus seems to have no knowledge of the Gospels, in his account of Apollonius. Philostratus recounts Apollonius’ adventures in India and Rome, and encounters with several Roman emperors. According to Eusebius in Against Hierocles. II, “Apollonius was a priest in Aegae of Cilicia of Asclepius, the lover of mankind, worked any number of miracles…” However, Philostratus himself was “a man of letters and a sophist full of passion for Greek Romance and for studies in rhetoric…hardly interested in the historical Apollonius” (Maria Dzielska, Apollonius of Tyana, 14). So we are left to distrust the historical accuracy of Philostratus’ account.

Yet still, Philostratus’ work may be reflective of the everyday culture concerning Greek and Syriac religious life. Philostratus tells us in the Life of Apollonius, that Apollonius was a pious man, vigorously devoted to God and to the spiritual life, and one who accepted all creeds as diverse expressions of one universal religion. Some pagans were compelled to respond to the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ by using Apollonius as Christianity gained power, like Hierocles. In a letter to his brother (44), Apollonius writes:

“All men, so I believe, belong to the family of God and are of one nature; everyone experiences the same emotions, regardless of the place or condition of a person’s birth, whether he is a barbarian or a Greek, so long as he is a human being.”

Apollonius also repudiated the idea of animal sacrifice and was a strict vegetarian. The only fitting sacrifice for God according to Apollonius, was “man’s best reason” (G.R.S. Mead, Apollonius of Tyana, p. 153). Unlike other magicians, Apollonius simply relied on his own innate divinity to perform miracles and not on incantations, prayers, sacrifices or spells. The interesting fact about Apollonius is the extensive recognition which he obtained, and the case with which his pretensions found acceptance in the existing condition of the popular mind. Out of the legends of him little can be gathered except for a sketch of his history. He was born four years before the Christian era in Tyana, a city of Cappadocia. His parents sent him to be educated at Tarsus in Cilicia, a place of considerable wealth and repute, and he must have been about beginning his studies there when St. Paul as a little boy was first running about the streets. The life in Tarsus was too luxurious for Apollonius’ ascetic and philosophical aspirations.

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So he became a recluse at the temple of Aesculapius at Aegae. Aesculapius, of course, was the god of healing and therefore the most practical and useful of the heathen gods. Apollonius’s devotion to Aesculapius meant that he studied medicine and even sympathetic magic. The philosophers who studied at Aegae were also said to be Neo-Pythagoreans. In the Gospel of John, chapter 5, Jesus heals a blind man, at the pools of Bethesda, which is basically like an Aesclepion, a healing center.

Raymond W. Bernard writes in Apollonius the Nazarene: Mystery Man of the Bible:

Finding the morals of Tarsus distasteful, Apollonius resolved to take up quarters at Aegae, which possessed a temple of Aesculpius, the priests of which were philosophers of the Pythagorean school. So famous were they for their power as healers that people came to their temple from all over Greece, from Syria and even from Alexandria to consult them. The priests of this healing temple of Aegae cured disease by vegetarian diet, hydrotherapy, fasting and magnetic healing (“laying on of the hands,” which art, Apollonius acquired from them). They were heirs of an ancient oral therapeutic tradition which came from the Orphic mysteries, the secret of which was jealously guarded by the disciple who received it. By these priests, Apollonius was initiated; and it was not long before he excelled his masters.

It is said on the death of his father, he divided his property among the poor, and after five years of retirement he traveled as far as India in search of knowledge. He spoke with the Brahmins there, and came home with some enlightened ideas, and with some skill in the arts of juggling. With this knowledge, he began a career as a teacher in the Roman Empire. He preached his new religion, and he worked miracles to induce people to believe in him. He was at Rome in Nero’s time, when Simon Magus and St. Peter were said to be there debating and performing magical feats of strength in their contests. Perhaps there was a confusion between Apollonius with Simon Magus, or Simon Magus with Apollonius.

Not only is there a confusion with Apollonius and Simon Magus, there is also many parallels with St. Paul as well. For starters, many consider Paul (Pol) to be an abbreviation for Apollonius. Both Paul and Apollonius were at said to be at Tarsus at the same time as boys, although Apollonius was at Ephesus and Rome at exactly the same time that Paul was (yet, strangely, Apollonius’s biographer makes no mention of him, though Paul in his epistles, speaks of Apollos having been at Ephesus [Acts 18:24] with him). Also it is significant that “Paul” is a fictitious name, or at least a title. There is more reason to identify the character of Apollonius with Paul than Saul, who led a dissipated life, while Apollonius, even in youth, lived as a pious ascetic. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, it is likely that Apollonius influenced the picture that Acts of the Apostles gives us of Paul and even Apollo, rather than his epistles and letters as they both are engaged in various miracles and magical happenings. Apollos from Paul’s epistles could also very well be an abbreviated form of Apollonius:

“…It has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,‘ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Has Christ been divided?” I Corinthians 1:11-12.

“For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” I Corinthians 3:4-6.

Some scholars like Simone Petrement theorizes that Hebrews was written by Apollos (Apollonius) and not Paul. Martin Luther was said to suggest the same thing because the author does not identify himself as Paul like Paul would do often in his epistles and it is steeped in Hellenistic thought. In Hebrews 6:1-2, the author writes:

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”

Passages like this indicates that the believer must graduate past such elementary teachings and move to the mysteries of God, only revealed to those who are mature in their faith in Christ. According to Damis of Ninevah, he claimed that to be a disciple of Apollonius and claimed he was also a neo-Pythagorean philosopher who flourished in the last half of the first century who also wrote extensively on astrology. However, it is rather odd that nothing is said on the matter of Apollonius being learned in mathematics since any good Pythagorean philosopher would be very learned on the subject. There are letters that were claimed to by Apollonius (like the one quoted above), but many of them were very likely forgeries by unknown sources. However, they paint a consistent picture that portrays him as a miracle man of magic and mystery.

Similarly, Dutch radical New Testament critics viewed Paul’s letters as reworked forgeries taken from earlier Marcionite and even Simonian variant writings. While this is likely the case, there is still some evidence that Paul himself existed, according to secular sources like Josephus who considers the magician “Atomus” (meaning small, like the Latin “parvalus”) and Simon as the same person. Josephus mentions Atomus as being involved with the procurator Felix, King Agrippa II and his sister Drusilla, where Felix has Simon convince Drusilla to marry him instead of the man she was engaged to. In other words, Paul is simply a nickname or title that Simon used or was given to him by his enemies.

The mythicist scholar, Acharya S/D.M. Murdock also notes many of these parallels between Paul and Apollonius:

…there are striking correlations between the lives of Apollonius and the apostle Paul, who, like Jesus, strangely finds no place in contemporary history, despite claims to his having made quite a ruckus in a populated and well documented part of the world. It appears that the stories of both Jesus and Paul were in part fabricated from that of Apollonius. The opposite is also possible, although, in this author’s studied opinion, unlikely. It also may be that both Apollonius and Jesus were historical figures who did and said everything they are reported to have done and said, in which case we would be dishonest in accepting one without the other, both representing “God on Earth.”

She even has a neat table graph comparing the lives of Apollonius, Paul and Jesus Christ. Philostratus in his romantic biography of Apollonius, he tells us that Apollonius visited the Indians, whom he calls Brahmans, from whom he learnt much of their divine wisdom. He also visited the wise men of Ethiopia, whom he calls Gymni, because they pass all their life naked and never wear clothes even in the most trying weather. But he thought that the wise men of India were far superior to the Ethiopians in their intelligence and practices. Indeed, Apollonius was portrayed as a maintaining a strict vegetarian and was also a pacifist. He taught harmlessness to all living beings and repudiated the idea of animal sacrifice so common in Vedic as well as Jewish and Babylonian practices, much like the Buddha and Mani as well.

This is different than the war-lord Jesus of Matthew who says, “Think not that I come to send peace on earth.” “I come not to send peace but a sword”, etc. This version of Jesus also reiterates that he came to send fire on earth, and strife, to make divided households, fathers against sons, mothers against daughters, and under the new regime of Jesus, “a man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” Desiderius Erasmus claimed that the church was born in blood, grew in blood, and succeeded in blood, and will end in blood. This was of course, the way of the militant Church, who forced its way through mass executions at the point of the sword.

This is what enabled the brutal murder of the Neoplatonist Hypatia by Christian monks soon after the Council of Nicaea, by order of Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, who was sainted after this, and the ensuing massacred of the Manichaeans, as well as the Cathars and purported witches burnt at the stake in the Inquisition. Not to mention the torture and execution of the Knights Templars by the hands of King Philip of France, while enabled by Pope Clement in 1307. One must also wipe the blood of infidels and heretics from the pages of the Quran just to find the apparently peaceful ones or ones that condone the murder of the innocent as well. I better stop now before my blood boils over…

Another author makes some very salient observations regarding the eastern influence on the lore associated with Jesus through the Acts of Thomas, when Thomas travels to India to evangelize and even in Paul’s epistles:

Apollonius is responsible for bringing the stories of Krishna to the West, he brought back to Rome the teachings of Krishna who Greeks called “Christos“. Many believe that a certain Bishop Marcion discovered the writings of Apollonius in Asia Minor (Turkey) a century later and translated them into Greek and Latin, producing  the first compiled “Christian” Bible. Sossianus Hierocles claimed, it was library of Apollonius’  that was plagiarized in producing the New Testament. Hierocles, a governor in Bithynia and later Lower-Egypt, {reign of Diocletian 245-315 AD} and an enemy of the Christians verbally attacked Christianity.

As per Eusebius of Caesarea. “Hierocles tried to weaken the importance of Christ’s miracles without however denying them, and wanted to show that Apollonius had performed some of equal importance and even more important ones.” Eusebius replied with a treatise that he wrote Against The Thesis Of Hierocles on Apollonius of Tyana. Eusebius recognized that Apollonius was a very wise man worthy of admiration; admitted everything that was told about his holiness and his teachings, but rejected many of the miracles that were assigned to him, dismissing them outright or assigning them as either  magic or to the work of demons.

Hierocles also states in his writings that  “Jesus was the leader of a band of highway robbers numbering more than 900 men” 

Luke 22:36 : “But now he that hath a purse, let him take it and likewise his scrip; and he that hath no sword let him sell his garments and buy one.”

and“You proclaim Jesus a god on account of a few prodigies recorded by their evangelists, yet we have writers of more education than yours and with more care for truth, who relate solid judgment, do not make him a god on account of them, only regard him as a man found pleasing to the gods.”

I am less convinced that Marcion knowingly rewrote the account of Apollonius, since Philastrus’ account comes much later after Marcion and his writings (like the Gospel of the Lord, Antithesis, etc), and even the later Christian Gospels, which are themselves are late second century writings. Some theorize that Marcion’s gospel was actually split later into Luke and Acts of the Apostles with various Orthodox interpolations. Marcion is also said to have much earlier versions of Paul’s writings as well. It seems to me that Apollonius is actually following in the footsteps of Jesus and Simon-Paul, and not the other way around. Yet still, Apollonius himself seems to share with a long line of miracle workers and magicians. In the Myth of the Magus (page 72), E.M. Butler writes:

The temptation of Zoroaster; the contests between Moses and Pharaoh and ‘Dionysos’ and Pentheus; the splendor of Solomon, the purity of Pythagoras, the defense of Apollonius, the crucifixion and the katabasis of Christ; these outstanding features of ancient legend justify the title given to his part of the book: “The Golden Age of Magic'; and may reconcile those who feel offended at finding Christ among the magians of old. For magic in those days partook of the nature of the divine. All the great gods were magicians; and all the great magicians were believed to be divinely inspired. The Christ of the Apocrypha and of the Gospels was no exception to this rule.

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According to Philistratus, Apollonius is said by legend to be the son of Proteus, a shape shifting God found in the writings of Homer. This connection to Proteus hints him as “how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form” …or identity. This may relate to the doctrine of Docetism but that is more of speculation on my part. Philastrus tells us in the Life of Apollonius about Proteus, who is referenced as a “god of Egypt”, which is, in itself, a reference to the Egyptian King found in Helen of Euripides (another variation of the sea god):

Apollonius’ home, then, was Tyana, a Greek city amidst a population of Cappadocians. His father was of the same name [i.e. Apollonius], and the family descended from the first settlers. It excelled in wealth the surrounding families, though the district is a rich one.

To his mother, just before he was born, there came an apparition of Proteus, who changes his form so much in Homer,[4] in the guise of an Egyptian demon. She was in no way frightened, but asked him what sort of child she would bear. And he answered: “Myself.”

“And who are you?” she asked.

“Proteus,” answered he, “the god of Egypt.”

Well, I need hardly explain to readers of the poets the quality of Proteus and his reputation as regards wisdom; how versatile he was, and for ever changing his form, and defying capture, and how he had a reputation of knowing both past and future. And we must bear Proteus in mind all the more, when my advancing story shows its hero to have been more of a prophet than Proteus, and to have triumphed over many difficulties and dangers in the moment when they beset him most closely.

There much more going on with Proteus. I will allow C.G Jung to explain further who exactly this god was in The Gnostic Jung (page 87):

Hippolytus quotes Homer as follows: “This place is frequented by the Old Man of the Sea, immortal Proteus the Egyptian…who always tells the truth…” Homer then continues: “…who owes allegiance to Poseidon and knows the sea in all its depths.” Proteus is evidently a personification of the unconscious: it is difficult to “catch this mysterious old being…he might see me first, or know I am there and keep away.” One must seize him quickly and hold him fast, in order to force him to speak. Through he lives in the sea, he comes to the lonely shore at the sacred noon-tide hour, like an amphibian, and lies down to sleep among his seals. …

From Proteus the wandering hero learns how he may make his way homewards “over the fish-giving sea,” and thus the Old Man proves to be a psychopomp. “But,” the text goes on, “he spins round himself and changes his shape.” He have behaves, therefore, like a revolving image that cannot be grasped. What he says is sooth,”; he is a “soothsayer.” So it is not for nothing that the Naasenes say that “knowledge of the compete man is deep indeed and hard to comprehend.”

Another figure associated with Apollonius was Hermes. Accordingly, Proteus was also said to have been the messenger or servant of Poseidon, the patron deity of Plato’s Atlantis. Although Greek and Latin sources do not connect Apollonius with Hermes, Arabic Hermetic literature does. Apollonius is called “Balínús” in Arabic, and is depicted as the discoverer and representative of Hermes’ teachings. In the Arabic teacher Bahá’u’lláh’s Lawh-i-Hikmat (Tablet of Wisdom), he states:

“It was this man of wisdom [Balínús] who became informed of the mysteries of creation and discerned the subtleties which lie enshrined in the Hermetic writings.”

The earliest surviving translation of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes is in an Arabic book known as the Book of Balinas the Wise on Causes, written around 650 C.E. According to legend, Apollonius was also said to have found and even written the text, The Emerald Tablets of Hermes from the mummified corpse of old Hermes himself. I wrote my interpretation here on the text, as well as a more in-depth one in an upcoming paper on the divine imagination and alchemy that will be published in a journal soon, hopefully.

Anyway, these are just some of my notes and observations pertaining to the life of Apollonius, and hope to have shed some light on him and cleared up any confusion about this figure. Did Apollonius even exist? Probably, yes. Was Apollonius the chief inspiration behind Paul of the early epistles and Jesus of the Gospels? Not likely. Did Apollonius inspire the Paul of Acts of the Apostles? More than likely, yes. Is Apollos inspired by Apollonius then? Sure, why not? Apollonius conforms to a general pattern of ancient magicians and miracle workers in which writers like Morton Smith took great notice of, especially in his seminal Jesus, the Magician. In a following post, we will explore Neoplatonism, and look at the theurgy, magic and miracles attributed to Iamblichus, Proclus and Porphyry, among others. Until next time!

My Gnostic Libertine Valentine

Tracy R Twyman posted an interesting article about Valentines Day (a holiday based on the pagan festival of Lupercalia), 50 Shades of Grey, sadomasochism and their natural links with Satanism, the Witches’ Sabbath and the Black Mass. She also posted something rather interesting that I haven’t really contemplated until very recently. She writes:

Wright traces the origin of the Witch’s Sabbath and Black Mass to the ancient rites of Priapus, the Greek fertility God honored by phallic idols and rites of debauchery, whose cult appears to have been spread all over Pre-Christian Europe. Wright believed that the Christian image of “Satan” was in fact largely based on images of Priapus, and demonstrated that the traditions of underground “Satanist” and “witchcraft” cults were actually sublimated forms of Priapism.

He shows that these traditions were passed on through heretical “Christian” groups like the Gnostic Ophites, the Cathars, and numerous others, all of which practiced obscene group sex rituals and all of which came to be suppressed by the Church. Gnostics and Cathars believed that they were “pure,” and that therefore these rites did not defile them. In fact, indulging in them in the sanctified form of a ritual turned into something sacred a sin that they viewed as an otherwise unavoidable fact of carnal existence. One Gnostic group is said to have used as a motto: “Nemo potest peccare ab umbilico et inferius” (“No one can not sin, from the navel and below.”) Or, as the New Wave band Depeche Mode expressed it in their Sado-Masochistic paean “Strangelove”: “I give in to sin, because you have to make this life livable.”

If the Gnostics were listening to Depeche Mode, they would most likely get behind “Personal Jesus” as their favorite song from them. Or maybe “Black Celebration”. In any case, the most likely thing you will ever hear about the Gnostics is all the bad boy behavior they perpetrated. The Gnostics were accused of a plethora of raunchy deeds and foul words. From the acts of Simony and encouraging divorce to flagellating themselves and working toward the destruction Jesus Christ’s one true church on earth. Tales are told of ex-Gnostic’s (the Church Fathers) blowing the whistle on these demon worshiping, zombie raising, blood drinking, brainwashing charlatan’s and Don Juan’s. They did it all. They were the Sultan’s of Tantra, the Johnny Depp’s of the holy altar, the Chris Angel’s of mock crucifixion’s, the William Blake’s of poetry and pun. Theirs was a world drowning in magic, immersed in myth and mystery. Like the cliché’ goes, “now you see it, now you don’t,” in the same time it takes to say it, they vanished from history. Or did they? Lestat-the-vampire-chronicles-7846022-500-333

Gnostics As Vampires or the Other. 

“Say what??”, you might ask but it’s true. The Gnostics were known as the first Lestats, the Eric Northmans, or God-forbid, the first Twilight Edwards. I shutter the thought. There are reports from Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Celsus, Aquila, Nicetas, Origen, Justin, Tertullian, Jerome, Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Augustine–all of which have a very superstitious, paranoid view on these pesky, naughty Gnostics. In the Clementine Homilies II.7, Aquila and Nicetas claim that Simon said he would never die and in another place in the same writing, the Apostle Peter claims certain people desired to eat his flesh because Simon Magus said so! Pope Clement tells us:

“Simon was desirous of glory, and boasted above all the human race, that he wished himself to be believed to be an exalted power (Acts 8:9), which is above God the Creator, and to be thought to be the Christ, and to be called “The Standing One”. And he used this name as implying that he can never be dissolved, asserting that his flesh is so compacted by the power of his divinity, that it can endure to eternity. Hence, therefore, he is called “The Standing One”, as though he cannot fall by any corruption”.

And later, Peter claims that Simon encouraged the masses to eat his flesh and (presumably) like vampires, drink his blood:

Peter answered, “You yourself heard with your own ears how those who went before me came back from Antioch, and said that Simon had been there, and had strongly excited the multitudes against me by calling me a magician and a murderer, a deceiver and a juggler, to such an extent that all the people there were eager to taste my flesh.

This is much like the vampire known to the ancient eastern Europeans as Strigoi in Romania, or Vrykolakas of Greece which drank blood and were slain werewolves. This disease was caused by either a sacrilegious life, excommunication, eating sheep killed by a wolf, or burial in an unconsecrated ground. People with red hair and grey eyes were often thought to be vampires just as people with uni-brows were thought to be werewolves. There was a superstition about knocking much related to the Angel of Death of Exodus who kills all of the first-born of Egypt on the express command of Yahweh. It was said it was best to burn their corpses while they slept on Saturday or something to that effect. hanged4 Simon himself was something of a self-styled expert on all things occult and magical. Many believe he is the black magician prototype in which the Medieval legend of Doctor Faustus is based after, and it stands with good reasonClementine Homilies 2:26 tells us that Simon Magus produced a homunculus or an artificial human, out of air! This is likely Simon’s brazen contempt of the creator god from Genesis and his creating of Adam from mere dust of the earth since Simon manifested a boy out of thin air. However, this claim is mixed with a horrid accusation that Simon Magus sacrificed a boy in a magical ritual, much like how the infamous Thelemite-Satanist Aleister Crowley would advocate in Magick in Theory and Practice:

 [a] male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim.

It is often said that Crowley’s references to “child sacrifice” were ghastly euphemisms to masturbation in a magical ritual. In a footnote to this text, Crowley appears to confess to having murdered 2400 children: “FRATER PERDURABO…made this particular sacrifice on an average about 150 times every year between 1912 e.v. and 1928 e.v.” Now, I can see this as a reference to jerking off. However, we also find this same euphemism in the Book of the Law or Liber AL. Thelema is associated with child sacrifice in a fundamental way mainly because child sacrifice is commanded in the Thelemic holy book, Liber AL III, 12:

“Sacrifice cattle, little and big: after a child.”

As with many Liber AL verses, the language here is somewhat vague. It implies that before sacrificing cattle, both little and big (calves and full grown cows), a child should be sacrificed. Of course, in any occult literature, one could argue that none of the words should be read literally. Now Thelemites might argue that Crowley wasn’t really explicitly talking about killing children or using their blood with magick or something. Except of course, it actually does as Liber AL III, 24 tells us:

“The best blood is of the moon, monthly: then the fresh blood of a child, or dropping from the host of heaven: then of enemies; then of the priest or of the worshippers: last of some beast, no matter what.”

So the blood of children comes first and the blood of cattle should be sought only after the Thelemite magician has sought the blood of the innocent. Crowley really wasn’t all that different from a worshiper of Molech or even YHWH for that matter since they were all about burnt offerings of sacrificed animals and yes children. All of this seems to anticipate or corroborate with the ghastly Medieval legends of Satanism and the Black Mass, too. The Catholic Inquisition of witches and heretics could also be seen as a mass sacrifice for their god if you think about it. Let’s compare this to Simon’s alleged black magic and child sacrifice:

For he even began to commit murder as himself disclosed to us, as a friend to friends, that, having separated the soul of a child from its own body by horrid incantations, as his assistant for the exhibition of anything that he pleased, and having drawn the likeness of the boy, he has it set up in the inner room where he sleeps, saying that he once formed the boy of air, by divine arts, and having painted his likeness, he gave him back again to the air.

“And he explains that he did the deed thus. He says that the first soul of man, being turned into the nature of heat, drew to itself, and sucked in the surrounding air, after the fashion of a gourd; and then that he changed it into water, when it was within the form of the spirit; and he said that he changed into the nature of blood the air that was in it, which could not be poured out on account of the consistency of the spirit, and that he made the blood solidified into flesh; then, the flesh being thus consolidated, that he exhibited a man not made from earth, but from air. “And thus, having persuaded himself that he was able to make a new sort of man, he said that he reversed the changes, and again restored him to the air. And when he told this to others, he was believed; but by us who were present at his ceremonies he was religiously disbelieved. Wherefore we denounced his impieties, and withdrew from him.”

Perhaps Simon drew a different conclusion from the saying, “Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” (Luke 9:48) So here, in the Homilies, Simon manifests a boy of air and claims that the boy had no immortal soul but that a demon pretends to be the soul. Irenaeus even complains that the Gnostics used exorcisms and incantations. Exorcisms were common among the Egyptians, Magi, Zoroastrians, and other shamanic groups in antiquity. Prayer itself is a form of incantation, so is the act of consecrating the Eucharist. The practice of pharmaceuticals was originally spells written on papyri and swallowed (or at least that is the story archaeologists have come up with). Really, they were likely nothing more than prescriptions followed with a dose of a drug which is why the paperwork still survives. libertine-dean-bertoncelj

“All Is Permitted”: The Gnostic Revolt.

The Apostle Paul once wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:12:

All things are lawful for me; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me; but I will not be brought under the power of any.

If they weren’t murdering a baby and eating semen and menses they were talking smack about the Pope or some other Saint. Orgies and Symposiums were the norm. I guess Gnostic nuns were whores and Bishops fucked their way to the top right? Probably not. There is a tale of a miracle contest in the sky found in the Acts of Peter in which Simon Magus attempts to fly and falls from the air to his death much as in the Medieval Toledot Yeshu when Jesus and Judas Iscariot battle in the air. Jesus here, like Simon Magus, is a magician who can raise the dead and claims to be born of a virgin, but is a bastard son and a defiant student. The great late German-born Jewish Gnostic scholar, Hans Jonas placed libertinism at the center of the Gnostic revolution in religious thought. Libertinism was, as he wrote:

…the purest and most radical expression of the metaphysical revolt against the creator god and his schemes to arrest the absolute freedom of the spirit not only though the iron laws of nature but through the moral code as well.” (Gnostic Religion, 270).

Jonas points to Simon Magus, the Gnostic forefather of Faust, as the earliest source of the teaching that evil angels who created the world established “just actions” to lead humankind into servitude. According to the hostile account of Irenaeus, Simon charged his followers to ignore the moral laws of Moses and do freely what they liked. Anticipating Martin Luther, Simon claimed that men were saved by grace, not by righteous deeds. Simon and his followers were also accused of engaging in sexual licence, occult practices, and violating other biblical norms of piety. According to the Church Father Hippolytus (Ref. VI. XIV), Simon Magus and his followers were also very libertine in their ways:

But, again, those who become followers of this impostor—I mean Simon the sorcerer—indulge in similar practices, and irrationally allege the necessity of promiscuous intercourse. They express themselves in the manner following: “All earth is earth, and there is no difference where any one sows, provided he does sow.” But even they congratulate themselves on account of this indiscriminate intercourse, asserting that this is perfect love, and employing the expressions, “holy of holies,” and “sanctify one another.”

Marcion, though no advocate of libertinism, and was a strict ascetic, still reserved scathing contempt for the compulsory righteousness of those who are enslaved by the prohibitions and punishments of the law-giving god. According to the late, great scholar Adolf von Harnack, Marcion considered righteousness itself to be far worse than any sin because it makes people self-satisfied in their worldly constraint. They become too hardened to respond to the call of the alien God, above the inferior judicial creator god of the Jews, who is love and nothing but love, and therefore the righteous are utterly beyond redemption. Like Simon in the Clementine literature, Marcion taught there were two gods as testified in his Antithesis. Marcion like Paul would probably condemn all of this behavior in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, as he tells us about those Corinthian believers who exaggerate the freedom in Christ although this passage may have been added later by an Orthodox scribe:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

For the libertines, the defying of the creator god and asserting the freedom of the divine inner spark in the world extended to violating the moral norms as a way of exhausting nature’s power by satisfying the body’s sexual desires. Basically, a unsatisfied desire keeps the soul attached to the world by longing to fulfill that desire. For the Carpocratians, they maintained that souls continued to suffer reincarnation until they have engaged in every possible deed. Only then will the evil angels or the Archons who created the world release the soul from captivity (Irenaeus Against Heresies 1.25.4). This also happens to be the same logic that Shiva devotees, the Aghori’s follow in the Left-Hand Path of Hinduism.

aghori-human-skull

Likewise, the worshipers of Cain, being the Cainites claimed that “They cannot be saved in any other way, except [if[ they pass through all things” (1.31.1). Irenaeus is pretty vague in his accusations, but Epiphanius is pretty explicit in his account. For example, he tells us that many Gnostic groups held a spermatic mass rituals where they consumed their sexual body fluids in sacred orgies (26.3.8-26.19.6). I discuss more about all this in depth here. The hostile, polemical tone of Epiphanius’s account leaves much doubt to its credibility though. Hans Jonas identifies the Gnostic libertine program of salvation through sin as a forerunner of medieval Satanism and Marque De Sade-like depravity associated with the European aristocracy that we see in movies like Salo: 120 Days of Sodom.

hieronymous-bosch-the-garden-of-earthly-delights

Another Gnostic heretic Cerinthus, according to the Church Historian, Eusebius, Church History, III, 28, claimed that after the resurrection, the kingdom of Christ will be set up on earth, and that the flesh dwelling in Jerusalem will again be subject to desires and pleasures. It would be something like was is depicted in the Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch. He taught that there is to be a period of a thousand years a for marriage festivals, delights of the belly (food) and good old fornication with a better grace. Cerinthus was an heir to the teaching of Basilides or Saturninus, both of which were students of Menander, the direct successor of Simon Magus. He also taught the creation of the cosmos by angels. The God of the Jews was also an angel while the Mosaic law given by angels. However, Cerinthus actually kept the Mosaic law. He seems to be a fake-Jew opponent of Ignatius who is taking some ideas of Basilides and merging them with a Hellenic Judaism.

Like Simon, Marcus the Magician (or Valentinian), was said to be a regular ladies man and a Gnostic pimp daddy; a regular ecclesiastical James Bond if you will. Marcus was also the first person to practice an early version of the Catholic Eucharist with a female divinity at the center of it being Sophia, much like the Virgin Mary in Catholicism.

“Pretending to consecrate cups mixed with wine, and protracting to great length the word of  invocation, he contrives to give them a purple and reddish color, so that Charis, who is one of those that are superior to all things, should be thought to drop her own blood into that cup through means of his invocation, and that thus those  who are present should be led to rejoice to taste of that cup, in order that, by so doing, the Charis, who is set forth by this magician, may also flow into them. Again, handing mixed cups to the women, he bids them consecrate these in his presence.

When this has been done, he himself produces another cup of much  larger size than that which the deluded woman has consecrated, and pouting from the smaller one consecrated by the woman into that which has been brought  forward by himself, he at the same time pronounces these words: “May that Chaffs who is before all things, and who transcends all knowledge and speech, fill thine inner man, and multiply in thee her own knowledge, by sowing the grain of mustard seed in thee as in good soil.” Repeating certain other like words, and thus goading on the wretched woman [to madness], he then appears a worker of  wonders when the large cup is seen to have been filled out of the small one, so as even to overflow by what has been obtained from it. By accomplishing several other similar things, he has completely deceived many, and drawn them away after  him.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.13.2)

“It appears probable enough that this man possesses a demon as his familiar spirit, by means of whom he seems able to prophesy, and also enables as many as he counts worthy to be partakers of his Charis  themselves to prophesy. He devotes himself especially to women, and those such  as are well-bred, and elegantly attired, and of great wealth, whom he frequently  seeks to draw after him, by addressing them in such seductive words as these: “I am eager to make thee a partaker of my Charis”. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1.13.3)

Marcus liked to share his Charisma with the ladies and get them drunk on pleasure and charm. He had a familiar spirit like Simon Magus. There is yet more dirt on Marcus:

“Marcus,  thou former of idols, inspector of portents, Skilled in consulting the stars,  and deep in the black arts of magic, Ever by tricks such as these confirming the  doctrines of error, Furnishing signs unto those involved by thee in deception, Wonders of power that is utterly severed from God and apostate, Which Satan, thy true father, enables thee still to accomplish, By means of Azazel, that fallen and yet mighty angel,-Thus making thee the precursor of his own impious actions.” Irenaeus, AH 1.15.6

Irenaeus here makes a startling accusation by saying that Marcus invokes the power of the fallen angel Azazel in his charms and black magic, who is often associated with the “scapegoat” being a Jewish sin offering for Israel. The goat is also associated with the Goat of Mendes, Pan, and the Mercurial devilish idol or a severed head of John the Baptist supposedly worshiped by the Knights Templar, Baphomet. According to Islamic legend, Azazel was also associated with goat-like demons, jinn haunting the desert, the same type of desert the Israelites sent out a goat into the wilderness as sacrifice as seen in Leviticus. scapegoatazazel The Apostle Peter in the Clementine Homilies VIII. XIIIspeaks about these fallen angels, in which Azazel belonged too, in which they all exchanged their divine fire for fleshy intercourse with women as seen in apocryphal and apocalyptic Enochian literature:

But when, having assumed these forms, they convicted as covetous those who stole them, and changed themselves into the nature of men, in order that, living holily, and showing the possibility of so living, they might subject the ungrateful to punishment, yet having become in all respects men, they also partook of human lust, and being brought under its subjection they fell into cohabitation with women; and being involved with them, and sunk in defilement and altogether emptied of their first power, were unable to turn back to the first purity of their proper nature, their members turned away from their fiery substance: for the fire itself, being  extinguished by the weight of lust, and changed into flesh, they trode the impious path downward.

Digital Capture

Dionysian Love-Feasts.

I wrote in my essay Eros, Orpheus and On the Origin of the World about how the Gnostics supposedly engaged in excess, libertine behavior:

Orthodox opponents of Simon Magus, alleged that he and his Simonian followers practiced magic and free love, a coupling of vices which would recur in attacks against similar groups such as the Valentinians, the Carpocratians, the Barbelo-Gnostics, the Borborites, the Phibionites, the Manichaeans, etc. The Bacchic cults were also accused of engaging in their orgiastic love feasts as sensual and sexual exuberance saturated the cult of Dionysus.

The god of hard-ons, Priapus was said to be the progeny of Dionysus and Aphrodite and had extremely large genitals. He was a god associated with the promotion of agriculture, fertility and all animals associated with agricultural life. There are many statues and illustrations depicting this god with a huge boner as well. Sometimes, Priapus was conflated with Dionysus as well. And so many heretics were associated with Dionysian rapture and excess, which provided sacred transports to the ecstatic divine. In Medieval witch cults, Priapus was also associated with the goat demon Baphomet who is said to give female participants in sex orgies, great delight. Dionysus was also known as a bull-horned god, much like Baphomet. Mercurius-Priapus_MAN_Napoli_SN Tracy R. Twyman writes about the connection of Priapus and the Goat God of the Witches:

Despite the pain and humiliation, the witches loved being raped by the Goat God, and he always left them wanting more.

To quote form Wright again: Some of the witches examined spoke of the delight with which they attended the Sabbath. Jeanne Dibasson, a woman twenty-nine years old, said that the Sabbath was the true Paradise, where there was far more pleasure than can be expressed; that those who went there found the time so short by reason of the pleasure and enjoyment, that they never left it without marvelous regret, so that they looked forward with infinite impatience to the next meeting.

Clement of Alexandria, who, in his Stromateis 4.25.162.3 quoted some lines from Euripides’ Bacchae, putting them into Christ’s mouth (Euripides’ text in bold):

The Saviour Himself, then, plainly initiates us into the mysteries, according to the words of the tragedy: Seeing those who see, he also gives the orgies (ὄργια) And if you ask, These orgies (ὄργια), what is their nature? You will hear again: It is forbidden to mortals uninitiated in the Bacchic rites (ἀβακχεύτοισιν) to know.

The quotations in Clement’s passage come from the dialogue of Dionysus and Pentheus in the Bacchaewhere the captured god refuses to reveal the secrets of his rites. Thus, the passage invokes Dionysiac vocabulary: Bacchic ὄργια “orgies”, become an allusion to Christ’s teachings and ἀβάκχευτοι stand for those not yet acquainted with them. Clement of Alexandria, clearly has balls by using Christ to discuss Bacchic mystery rites! There is evidence that ancient Christianity itself functioned very much like a mystery school. Clement of Alexandria and his teacher, Pantaenus flourished in the second half of the second century and were quite Christocentric and affiliated with the world-wide Roman Church even though they were large reservoirs of secret pagan mystery school information and revelation (as testified above) not given out to the public but intimated in the writings of Clement.
Dionysus_Sarcophagus

In Neoplatonism, the Bacchic frenzy was a state of perfection of the human soul. A particularly good example of this can be seen in a passage from Julian the Apostate’s oration to the cynic Herakleios:

However let Dionysus himself decide about these things, though I do indeed implore him to inspire my mind and yours with his own sacred frenzy (ἐκβακχεῦσαι) for the true knowledge of the gods, so that we may not by remaining too long uninspired (ἀβάκχευ- τοι) by him have to suffer the fate of Pentheus … For he in whom the abundance of life has not been perfected by the essential nature of Dionysus … he I say who has not been perfected by means of the Bacchic and divine frenzy (βακχείας) for the god, runs the risk that his life may … come to naught. (Orations 7.222a–b).

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 2, the Marriage at Cana episode features lots of Dionysian symbolism where Jesus changes water to wine like a true Bacchic alchemist. The episode also features strong Hieros Gamos symbolism as well. The Jesus in Luke, also express similar sentiments.

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” Luke 20: 34-35.

Luke is speaking on two levels instead of just on a carnal level. Jesus in Luke is saying once you become “one” in the Kingdom you will not marry because you are already one in the “bridal chamber”. There is no need for marriage in the spiritual kingdom because the pnuematic element is married to all things God just as the knower and the known become indistinguishable, the two become one in the New Aeon. Many mistakenly often read the verse in the sense that if ones marries in this life or attain the carnal marriage, one will not become “one” in the Kingdom. Teachers like Marcion and Valentinus were distinguishing between two worlds or two Aeons. Thus, one is invisible and one visible, a cosmos and a Pleroma. It is they, the Gnostics who read the passage and the vast majority of scripture as spiritual allegory. A prominent Latin lawyer from Carthage, Tertullian in Chapter 29 of Against Marcion claimed that Marcionites forbade marriage in a carnal and physical way because of this final clause in Luke. Then he proclaims that is the work of the Anti-Christ.

…the state of matrimony does not require the hook and scythe of sanctity, as if it were evil; but as being ripe for its discharge, and in readiness for that sanctity which will in the long run bring it a plenteous crop by its reaping. For this leads me to remark of Marcion’s god, that in reproaching marriage as an evil and unchaste thing, he is really prejudicing the cause of that very sanctity which he seems to serve. For he destroys the material on which it subsists; if there is to be no marriage, there is no sanctity.

Despite all the rumors the Church Fathers were spreading, most early Christians and Gnostic (Sethian) groups actually rejected the idea of a carnal marriage and sexual intercourse, since they attributed the implantation of sexual desire to the chief ruler Yaldaboath in the Apocryphon of John.

“Now up to the present day, sexual intercourse continued due to the chief archon. And he planted sexual desire in her who belongs to Adam. And he produced through intercourse the copies of the bodies, and he inspired them with his counterfeit spirit.”

The sexual urge as such was something evil as being a sensual lust, but procreation was accounted far worse since by means of it the reassembly of the light particles was retarded. The condition of death was equated with procreation. Like I mentioned earlier, many Gnostic groups believed in metempsychosis, the Platonic form of reincarnation in which they sought to escape from and into the immortal realm. The Christians who followed Valentinus however viewed the carnal marriage for the sake of procreation as exalted and a sacred duty. One website remarks about the Valentinian view on sexuality:

On the basis of this metaphysical view, Valentinus and his followers valued both sex and marriage, at least for the pneumatics. A preserved fragment from the school of Valentinus gives the following interpretation of Jesus’ statement in the Gospel of John that the Christian’s life is in the world but is not from it (John. 17:116): “Whosoever is in the world and has not loved a woman so as to become one with her, is not out of the Truth, and will attain the Truth; but he who is from the world and unites with a woman, will not attain the Truth, because he made sex out of concupiscence alone.”

The Valentinians permitted intercourse only between men and women who were able to experience it as a mystery and a sacrament, namely, those who were pneumatics. They forbade it between those whom they called psychics (Jews and Catholics) or hylics (materialists), because these two lower classes knew nothing but libido. As the only early Christian on record who spoke lovingly about sexual intercourse and womanhood, Valentinus must have been a great lover.

The disregard for sexual impulse and libido while in support for celibacy and asceticism can be seen in the Untitled Mandaean Tractate we have a polemic against the “Pharisees”:

It is impossible to serve two masters, for the defilement of the Law is manifest, whilst purity pertains to the Light. The Law indeed commands one to take a spouse, to take a spouse, to take a wife, to increase and multiply like the waves of the sea. But passion, which is agreeable to souls, binds here below the souls of those who are begotten…For them it is impossible to pass by the Archon of Darkness until they have paid back the last farthing. The river of Jordan, this, to him, is the strength of the body—that is, the essence of pleasures; and the water of Jordan is the desire for carnal co-habitation.

This train of thought also appears even in Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata (Book 3), where he quotes Plato:

Again in the Phaedo he writes disparagingly of birth: “The secret teaching on this matter is that human beings are in a kind of prison.” And again, “Those who have a reputation for holy living that sets them apart from others are the people who are set free and liberated from these areas on earth as from a prison, and reach the pure home above.”

What does any of this have to do with Valentines you might ask? Well, all you have to do is look at the arch-heretic’s name of Valentinus and the connection there should be obvious. Valentinus’ Gospel of Truth tells us in strong romantic terms:

For this reason, God came and destroyed the division and he brought the hot Pleroma of love, so that the cold may not return, but the unity of the Perfect Thought prevail.

According to Irenaeus, the Gnostics supposedly concocted love-potions and forged charms. Love potions are also known today as Aphrodisiacs, named after Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love making. These practices were seen as survivals of Paganism. Yet, many of these practices were done by Jesus in the New Testament as well as the Jews themselves! Dionysiac terms already appear in the Greek poet, Nonnus of Panopolis’ (4th century possibly) description of the First Passover in the Paraphrase of the Gospel of St. John, which portray Judaic orgies:

Next he was near the God-built temple, and he marched through the temple precincts of Jerusalem, evoeing still more the Pasch. And the Bacchic feast solemnized the rattling secret rites of the lamb-eating priests. Many turned their faithless madness over to the tempests and had faith in the name of Christ. […] When the carousing Hours, mothers of piety, brought the revel of the holy feast.

Sex, love, orgies, asceticism, ecstatic divine knowledge, yes, the Gnostics had it all.

False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers (Part 2)

Gemini-Twins

Daimonic Doubles Revisited

The concept of the “twin” or even “divine twin” is a common one that also appears in antiquity. This is a notion that a person has within a transcendent dimension, or a “heavenly counterpart”, or what in various modern magical “secret” orders call the “Holy Guardian Angel”. This being is analogous to the “daimonic”, “Eidolon” double of Greek and Platonic literature. The twin concept can also be seen in the dichotomy between Simon Magus and Paul, Simon Magus with Peter in the Clementine literature, as well as the struggle between Paul and Peter in the epistles. Even in the Old Testament, we have Cain who slays Abel which echo the Roman-Sabine legends of Romulus and Remus and the astrological sign of Gemini, as well as the Greek Castor and Pollux.

In a way, we can see this in Paul’s letters when he speaks of “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” in Galatians 2:20. This indicates that a spirit being called “Christ” had possessed Paul, after his conversion. The old ego of Paul was removed as a new, higher ego emerged, whose vital principle is Christ Himself. In the Acts of John 55, an unnamed elder approaches John and, after a brief discussion, states,

“Now I know that God dwells in you, O blessed John! For he who tempts you tempts the one who cannot be tempted.”

This is more pronounced in the Gospel of Thomas, where the apostle Judas Thomas, is said to have been the “twin” (Didymus) of Christ. Is it to be assumed that if any of Christ’s disciples were to truly grasp his teachings, who would be a more likely candidate than his own twin? Much of the Gospel of Thomas that would have invoked great displeasure from the Church Fathers, with lines like:

“I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.”

Such statements indicate a sort of panspermatic type of panetheism, similiar to what is found in Manichaean texts of the countless, innumerable light sparks of the First Man who would battle against the primeval forces of Darkness. These light sparks were said to be interspersed throughout the wicked cosmos, much like how it is described in ancient Orphic texts with Zeus exacting revenge against the murderous Titans who tore and consumed the body and limbs of Dionysus. Both of these cosmological stories echo the ancient Egyptian myths of Osiris depicted as a divided god, murdered and torn apart by his brother Set, the god of storms and foreigners, only to be restored again by his consort Isis. In this instance, we find the primordial, violent origins of mankind and his conflicted nature: one being the divine Dionysus, and the infernal Titanic elements being his flesh.

“(The Lord), talking to me, said: I am thee, and thou art Me; wherever thou art, there I am. I am sown everywhere” (Gospel of Eve, Erbetta, p. 537 – Bibliogaphy).

The words “sown everywhere” of the latter quotation is very important, for it corresponds to a fundamental Valentinian teaching. Each soul’s substance comes from Sophia, but its living Center, the Spirit, is a fragment, as it were, of the very Life of the Son as Christ. This fragment is called either “Spark” or “Seed”.

“After the psychical body had been formed, a male Seed was placed by the Logos in the chosen sleeping soul. That Seed is an outflow of the Angelic Being, so that there would be no Lack (Hystérëma).” (ExTh 2: 1).

In any case, the rest of the Gospel of Thomas is just as enigmatic if not down right bizarre, even for Biblical standards (and there is certainly weirdness abound in the traditional canon).

Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

Clearly, Jesus is invoking alchemical and Hermetic language in the context of an initiatory process of Gnosis. We also saw this language used in the Gospel of Philip as I quoted in my previous article. This process is clearly internal, without the need or aid of outside churches, priests, or prayers for forgiveness (not that the concept of repentance is non-existent in Gnostic literature as it most certainly is). Let us cross compare with the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, as legend has it was found or even written by the great magician and healer Apollonius of Tyana (we will get to him in another post):

It is true without lie, certain and most true. What is Below is like that which is Above. And that which is Above, like that which is Below, serve to bring the wonder of the Universe into existence. And as all things originate from One thing, from the Idea of One Mind: so do all created things originate from this One thing through adaptation. Its father is the Sun, its mother the Moon.

The Wind carried it in its belly, its nurse is the Earth. It is the father of all existing things in the entire Universe. Its inherent virtue is perfected when it is changed into Earth. Separate the Earth from the Fire, the Subtle from the Gross, repeatedly with great skillfulness. It rises from Earth to Heaven, and falls back down again to Earth, thereby containing within itself the powers of both the Above and the Below. Thus will you obtain the glory of the entire Universe. Every darkness will leave you. This is the greatest strength of all, because it conquers every subtle thing and penetrates every solid thing. In this way, was the universe created. From this proceeds wonders, of which herewith is an example. Therefore, I am called the three-times glorified Hermes, because I possess all three parts of true understanding of the whole Universe. What I have had to say about the operation of the Sun is completed.

What is amusing to see is how not only does Jesus and Hermes seem to be espousing the exact same doctrine but in that Christ is being somewhat more explicit in his use of Hermetic language than even old Hermes himself, the spiritual father of the alchemical and occult arts and sciences. What is quoted above reads very similar elsewhere in Thomas, such as “Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war,” and this one, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.” All of this sounds a lot like what Hermes describes as “Separate the Earth from the Fire, the Subtle from the Gross, repeatedly with great skillfulness”. Judas Thomas even goes as far to say that, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.” Strong words! The death that is being emphasized here is spiritual death i.e. ignorance or what the Gospel of Truth calls “oblivion”.

Another source for the divine twin is in Manichaean literature, wherein it is said that the prophet Mani was twice visited by his divine twin, heavenly companion or counterpart called Jesus the Light, echoing the divine double sentiments expressed on the Gospel of Thomas. In the Cologne Mani-Codex, Mani tells us this life-changing experience when he meets his divine double:

“…guarded by the might of the Light-angels and the exceedingly strong powers, who had a command from Jesus the Splendour for my safekeeping…They nourished me with visions and signs which they made known to me, slight and quite brief, as far as I was able. For somethings like a flash of lightening he came…”

This being who came to Mani like a “flash of lightening”, he regarded as a manifestation of his own higher identity and often referred to as his “Light-Self” and his al-Taum, “the Twin”. When Mani was 12 years old the Twin appeared to him in a vision and informed him that he was to be responsible for transmitting a great teaching to mankind. In order to do this, he would have to leave the Elchasaitans, a Jewish-Christian sect he was once a part of. All of these sources seem to carry down a tradition, or at least echo the secret doctrine of Christ taught to his inner circle of disciples. Henry Corbin, in The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, writes about the “divine twin” in the context of Manichaean, Islamic and even Medieval Cathar concepts:

“…the heavenly Partner (qarin) or Twin (taw’am) is the dominant figure in the prophetology and soteriology of Manicheism. It is the angel who appears to Mani when he is twenty-four years old and announces that it is time for him to manifest himself and bid men hear his doctrine. “Greetings to you, Mani, from myself and from the lord who sent me to you.” The last words of the dying Mani alluded to this: “I contemplated my Double with my eyes of light.” Later, in their psalms, his community sing: “We bless your partner-Companion of light, Christ, the source of our good.”

Mani, like Thomas in those same Acts which include the Song of the Pearl, has Christos Angelos as his heavenly Twin, who informs him of his vocation, just as the prophet Mohammed was to receive the revelation from the Angel Gabriel (and the identification Christos-Gabriel is by no means unknown in gnosis.) Now, Christos Angelos is the same in relation to Mani (in eastern Manicheism the Virgin of light is substituted for Christos Angelos), as is the taw’am, the “Heavenly Twin,” in relation to each of the Elect respectively and individually.

It is the Form of light which the Elect receive when they enter the Manichean community through the act of solemn renunciation of the powers of this world. At the passing away of one of the Elect, a psalm is sung in praise of “thy heavenly Partner who faileth not.” In Catharism it is he who is called the Spiritus sanctus or angelicus of the particular soul, as carefully distinguished from the Spiritus principalis, the Holy Spirit referred to in invoking the three persons named in the Trinity.”

Much like Thomas being the twin of Jesus, Hermes was the Greek personification of Djehuti or Thoth; here we see an older order of things taking on a new raiment but underneath the same old meanings. Thoth was one of the earlier Egyptian gods, thought to be scribe to the gods, who kept a great library of scrolls, over which one of his wives, Seshat (the goddess of writing) was thought to be mistress. He was associated by the Egyptians with speech, literature, arts, learning. Even the very word “thought” comes from the name Thoth. He, too, was a measurer and recorder of time, as was Seshat, the female counterpart to Thoth. thoth_hermes_mercury1 Believed to be the author of the spells in the Book of the Dead, he was a helper (and punisher) of the deceased as they try to enter the underworld. In this role, his wife was Ma’at, the personification of order, who was weighed against the heart of the dead to see if they followed Ma’at during their life. It is interesting that the word “Ma’at” is the Egyptian equivalent to wisdom or philosophy. Thus “Philo” is related to feelings of love while “Sophia” is also wisdom thus we have “Philosophy” which actually means the “Study of the love of Ma’at”. The word “matrix” comes from Ma’at (the feminine principle, synonymous with Isis, the progenitor of life) Ra (the Egyptian sun god) X (Roman numeral ten) as well as “mother” and “womb”. To see through the Matrix is to be born again (using Johannine language), to be given a rebirth from darkness to light.

Also, Ma’at derives from Mu’at, which means “to direct, to steer, to give direction; to offer, or sacrifice.” Ma’at is basically the personification of self-initiation although, she herself has little personality and is ore of an abstract ideal. Thoth was also the one who made calculations concerning the heavens, the stars and the earth; the “reckoner of times and seasons”, the one who “measured out the heavens and planned the earth.” He was also the scribe to the company of the gods and was considered the voice of Ra, much like how Enoch-Metatron was considered to be the voice of “God”, or the second or “little” YHWH in the apocryphal Enochic literature. Metatron is also called “co-occupant of the Throne” and in 2 Enoch 44:5:

I have arranged the whole year. And from the year I calculated the months, and from the months I have ticked off the days, and from the day I have ticked off the hours. I, I have measured and noted the hours. And I have distinguished every seed on the earth, and every measure and every righteous scale. I have measured and recorded them.

Thoth was not just a scribe and friend to the gods, but central to order—Ma’at—both in Egypt and in the Duat. He is described in the texts as:

“Self-created, he to whom none hath given birth; the One; he who reckons in heaven, the counter of the stars; the enumerator and measurer of the earth [cosmic space] and all that is contained therein: the heart of Ra cometh forth in the form of the god Tehuti.”

Thoth, here, represents the heart and tongue of Ra, reason and the mental powers of the god and the utterer of speech. Thoth also resembles the Gnostic Aeons like Autogenes, in how they are “thought” of as “self-generated”. This is why Paul in Acts 12:14 is called Hermes, “because he was the chief speaker.” It has been suggested that Thoth is thus the equivalent of the Platonic Logos. Many are his epithets: his best known being “thrice greatest”—in later times becoming Hermes Trismegistus as mentioned by the Emerald Tablets of Hermes. 03_11_hermes_from_thasos_web The title “thrice great” or “three times blessed” recalls the concept of the Trinity, and even the doctrine of the three natures. The three natures doctrine was regularly espoused by Jesus in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 and Paul in his epistles. Simon Magus is called the “Great Power of God” in Acts 8:9 and is said to be the author of the Great Announcement as quoted by Hippolytus in the Philosophumena or Refutation of All Heresies. Later Gnostic literature like The Three Steles of Seth and the Trimorphic Protennoia otherwise known as The Three Forms of Forethought use this title many times. Even in Hindu literature, does the three natures doctrine appears in the form of the “sattvas”, “rajas” and “tamas” as explained in the Bhagavad Gita.

Thoth is the inner spiritual recorder of the human constitution, who registers and records the karmic experiences and foretells the future destiny of the deceased, showing that each person is judged by himself– for Thoth here is the person’s own higher ego; as regards cosmic space, Thoth is not only the cosmic Logos, but its aspect as the intelligent creative urge inherent in that Intelligence. Since Thoth was the god of wisdom, and espoused knowledge along with wisdom, this moon deity was balanced. When one dispenses knowledge without the wisdom of speaking at appropriate times, they are considered a blabber mouth. Patience is born out from wisdom. With the application of wisdom and self control, we learn to not to be bedazzled or blinded by this new found light of knowledge and learn to discern what his helpful to our growth and what is merely entertaining. This is when consciousness begins to expand. With wisdom, one can seek to counsel with both the ignorant and the learned just as Jesus did with those considered as the “dregs” of society, such as prostitutes, the blind, the lame and even lepers in the Gospels.

Sitting at the base of the spine is the reptilian brain or what scientists today identify as the R-Complex. It is the part of us that deals fight or flight, fear, aggression and survival of the fittest. Thoth was associated with the bird Ibis; thus the wisdom of the Ibis swallows up the reptile and wisdom over powers aggression and knows when to strike. Thoth is considered the hand and voice of “God” and a counselor of the divinities. The word “Yod” from the Kabbalah (which means to receive) is the Hebrew word for “hand”. The Yod is also the letter for the number ten associated with the Jewish deity Yahweh or in the Chaldean and Gnostic variant IAO.

IAO, accordingly, is not prayed to as a personal god, but more often wielded as a quasi-supernatural force—through the pronunciation of the name itself in magical operations. These operations are described in great detail by the PGM or the Greek Magical Papyri. Hermetic magicians invoked IAO simply because he was supposed to be “god of this world”—the creative Demiurge (also according to the Gnostics!)—who was therefore highly potent in workings designed to cause changes in material  reality, in this world—the Kingdom of Matter. The meaning of IAO is incompatible, however, with the orthodox understanding of Yahweh, who were more interested in appeasing this god’s demands than becoming one. By invoking IAO, one could help ensure that things being willed become manifest in the objective universe as a matter of “natural course”because it is being channeled through the universal creative framework presented as IAO. IAO was also used as sort of a “password” to ascend through the planetary spheres of the cosmic rulers. IAO was also associated with benevolent Archons like Abraxas and Sabaoth. On example can be see in the PGM III. 75-80, where it states:

“I conjure you, the powerful and mighty angel of this animal in this place; rouse yourself for me, and perform the NN [deed] both on this very day and in every hour and day; rouse yourself I for me against my enemies, NN, and perform deed” (add the usual), “for I conjure you S~TH by IAO SABAOTH, and by the great god, IAEO” (formula), “AEBIOY~ ~YOIEEA CHABRAX PHNESKER PHIKO PHNYRO PHCHO BbCH / ABLANATHANALBA

The ancient Phoenicians depicted the number ten as the head of the Ibis. This is where we get the “Ten Commandments”, the laws of the Torah, supposedly written by Moses. The Law of Moses also has many strong parallels to that of Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, where it states the dead must face 42 judges and must answer 42 questions:

Hail to thee, great God, Lord of the Two Truths. I have come unto thee, my Lord, that thou mayest bring me to see thy beauty. I know thee, I know thy name, I know the names of the 42 Gods who are with thee in this broad hall of the Two Truths . . . Behold, I am come unto thee. I have brought thee truth; I have done away with sin for thee. I have not sinned against anyone. I have not mistreated people. I have not done evil instead of righteousness . . . I have not reviled the God. I have not laid violent hands on an orphan. I have not done what the God abominates . . . I have not killed; I have not turned anyone over to a killer. I have not caused anyone’s suffering . . . I have not copulated (illicitly); I have not been unchaste. I have not increased nor diminished the measure, I have not diminished the palm; I have not encroached upon the fields. I have not added to the balance weights; I have not tempered with the plumb bob of the balance. I have not taken milk from a child’s mouth; I have not driven small cattle from their herbage… I have not stopped (the flow of) water in its seasons; I have not built a dam against flowing water. I have not quenched a fire in its time . . . I have not kept cattle away from the God’s property. I have not blocked the God at his processions.

The voice of God as we found out earlier is known as Metatron in the 1 Enoch and Kabbalistic sources. Enoch-Metatron also have strong parallels with Hermes-Thoth as well. Most importantly, Thoth was a clerk of the Halls of Judgment and named a means for it called the Scales of Thoth, where the heart of the initiate is weighed against a feather “of Truth” to find how truly “heavy or light” it is. 10430375_658262840950256_3245340359425927887_n It is Thoth who equips the dead with efficacious means of protection against the dangers of the Beyond. When the dead has to enter into the presence of the Great Tribunal of the gods, Thoth leads him in, makes pleading for him with the Judges, weighs his heart in the scales against the feather of Ma’at, and, in the end, records the verdict. The details of all this ritual and ceremonial are familiar in the literature of the Book of the Dead: What Thoth once did for Osiris, the same must he do for every dead Egyptian since the Osirian ritual was the standard and guide for all funerary ritual in Egypt. The priests who took part in funerary celebrations regarded themselves as incorporation’s of the Osirian gods. The Book of the Dead make several allusions to mortals achieving immortality or divinity through theurgy and funerary magical ritual. Osiris, the divided and resurrected god of the underworld is also portrayed as one of these judges of the afterlife. esculap2

Asclepius Absconded

As we’ve seen in Part 1, Hermes was just as legendary as the Simon Magus of the Clementine writings and the apocryphal Acts. One very Hermetic text, Asclepius seems to anticipate this comparison:

And so, Asclepius, what a great miracle is man, a being worthy of reverence and honor. For he passes into the nature of a god as though he were himself divine; he is intimate with the order of daemons, knowing that he is sprung from the same origin; he despises that part of his nature which is human, for his hope is in the divinity of the other part.

Asclepius, as we know from previous articles was also often considered synonymous with Jesus in the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Nicodemus. Like Asclepius, Christ was the Son of God and of a mortal woman. The details surrounding Christ’s birth also resemble the birth saga of the divine Asclepius. Both figures walked the earth as mortals. And both gained a reputation of being healers. Furthermore, both healers were killed and resurrected to divine status. In the case of Asclepius, he was so successful in his healings and resurrections on people like Hippolytus that this caught the attention of gods like Zeus, who expressly forbidden the act of healing. Zeus struck Asclepius with a thunderbolt, killing him instantly. The Latin Church Father Tertulllian cites the lyric poet Pindar in Apology, Chapter 14, and comments that Asclepius,

“deservedly stricken with lightning for his greed in practicing wrongfully his art. A wicked deed it was of Jupiter–if he hurled the bolt–unnatural to his grandson, and exhibiting envious feeling to the Physician.”

Another version of his death holds that Hades became angry at Asclepius because he kept bringing back people from the dead. The lord of the Underworld believed that no more dead spirits would venture to his realm, and thus asked his brother Zeus to dispose of him. Because of this Apollo became so furious at Zeus’ actions that he killed Cyclops, the one eyed monster who made lightening for Zeus. Because of this Zeus banished Apollo out from Mount Olympus but later allowed Asclepius to enter back into the divine realm. And Asclepius was also resurrected and allowed back into the realm of the gods and all was well on Mount Olympus. In another variation of the story, Zeus was also alleged to have placed the body of Asclepius among the stars following his death, as the constellation called Ophiuchus, which translates to “The Serpent Holder.” Engraving by Sir James Thornhill This “Serpent Holder” sounds very close to what John 3:14 says about the “Son of Man”:

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

The speculations concerning the Christian Trinity were dangerously close to the speculations about Asclepius, who was third from Zeus, the second being Apollo. The syncretic god Serapis was also considered synonymous with Asclepius and was even depicted as a snake, with the head recognizable as Serapis. Serapis was also associated with Osiris, Isis and Harpocrates. Could these references of Jesus and Moses being connected to serpents also reflect that they may also be associated with the Serpent in Genesis and the Garden of Eden? Furthermore, could the Gnostic-Ophite and Manichaean speculations of the Serpent being sent by Sophia or even Jesus “the Splendor” be based in scripture and not just in speculative inverted fancy? There are paintings, sculptures and vase etchings that depict the eleventh labor penance for the demigod Hercules, who stands next to a tree with a serpent named Ladon, guarding the golden apples of immortality, in the Garden of Hesperidies, tended by maidens and nymphs. This recalls the stories of Genesis 3 and even Gilgamesh, both of which include the legendary search for immortality associated with a serpent. IMG_1546 This also has strong applications to the Caduceus, the twin snake staff of Hermes. This also relates to Agathosdaimon, the “good spirit of abundance” and Tyche Agathe, the first of which was associated with the Orphic Deity Phanes Protogenos. Agathosdaimon was also portrayed as a serpent in coins, monuments, figurines, reliefs, lamps, etc. hesperides-golden-apple-tree-of-life-greek Glykon was also depicted as a serpent with a human-like face. In the writings of the satirist Lucian (Alexander the False Prophet 24), we see the con-man Pseudo-Alexander, who claimed that the made up serpent god, Glykon was a reincarnation of Asclepius! This, of course, was a parody of Agathosdaimon, Asclepius as well as Serapis. Glykon could may also be a parody of the lion-headed serpent, Ialdabaoth.

By now he was even sending men abroad to create rumours in the different nations in regard to the oracle and to say that he made predictions, discovered fugitive slaves, detected thieves and robbers, caused treasures to be dug up, healed the sick, and in some cases had actually raised the dead.

glycon The emperor Julian the “Apostate” or Philosopher (Roman Emperor 361-363 and half-brother of Emperor Constantine the Great!), although raised a Christian, eventually saw Christianity as a betrayal of the Greco-Roman tradition and desired a return to traditional forms of worship, upon his ascent to power. Moreover, his attempts to compete with Jesus Christ, was somewhat frustrated. Julian attempted to use Helios, or Sol Invictus against Jesus of the Christians but it didn’t really pan out. Julian in the Heroic Deeds of Constantius, 59B, writes about the role of the Emperor:

For law is the child of justice, the sacred and truly divine adjunct of the most might god, and never will the man who is wise make light of it or set it at naught. But since all that he does will have justice in view, he will be eager to honor the good, and the vicious he will, like a good physician, make every effort to cure.

In this likening himself to a physician, he may not have intentionally recalled Asclepius, Julian was relatively unpopular, especially with the Christians. By employing a figure like Asclepius, a benevolent and universally loved healing figure of the pagans, Julian found a suitable rival to that of Jesus Christ. Celsus in Contra Celsus by Origen, provided a similar polemic against the Christians, like Julian, who believed the Christian religion destroyed the foundation of Greco-Roman tradition and culture. Julian like Celsus argued against the Christians and that of Christ’s miracles in which he regarded as inferior and the work of a low-class magician, no better than the phony charlatan religion ascribed to Glykon and his prophet, Alexander.

So Julian mocked the Christians for being duped into a false faith by a charlatan healer. His criticisms against the Christians are, interestingly enough, very similiar how the Church Fathers campaigned against the heretics being the Gnostics and other groups. And yet, Julian also had some very “Gnostic” views himself in his criticisms of Biblical theology. By calling Christians “Galileans”, he refused to acknowledge their name, and belittled Christianity as a mere localized, regional cult as stated in Against the Galileans, eventually recovered by the Christian Bishop, Cyril of Alexandria in the fifth-century in his refutation, Against Julian. Even after hundreds of years had passed from the time of Julian’s death, Cyril felt that it was necessary to refute the claims of Julian. In Against the Galileans, 375, 61, Julian writes about Asclepius as being superior over Christ and the doctrines of the Christians:

Asclepius, having made his visitation to earth from the sky, appeared at Epidaurus singly, in the shape of a man; but afterwards he multiplied himself, and by his visitations stretched out over the whole earth his saving right hand. He came to Pergamon, to Ionia, to Tarentum afterwards; and later he came to Rome. And he travelled to Cos and thence to Aegae. Next he is present everywhere on land and sea. He visits no one of us separately, and yet he raises up souls that are sinful and bodies that are sick.

Celsus makes a biting critique of the Christian doctrine of Jesus or the “Word being made flesh” and also strangely mirrors of Julian’s remarks of Asclepius “multiplying himself” to “raise up souls that are sinful and bodies that are sick”.

Again, if God, like Jupiter in the comedy, should, on awaking from a lengthened slumber, desire to rescue the human race from evil, why did he send this Spirit of which you speak into one corner of the earth? He ought to have breathed it alike into many bodies, and have sent them out into all the world. Now the comic poet, to cause laughter in the theatre, wrote that Jupiter, after awakening, despatched Mercury to the Athenians and Lacedaemonians; but do not you think that you have made the son of God more ridiculous in sending him to the Jews?

Celsus also describes the ancient Christian cult as a diabolic secret society made up of sorcerers!

It is by the names of certain demons, and by the use of incantations, that the Christians appear to be possessed of miraculous power. And it was by means of sorcery that Jesus was able to accomplish the wonders which he performed; and foreseeing that others would attain the same knowledge, and do the same things, making a boast of doing them by help of the power of God, he excludes such from his kingdom.

This is, of course, very similiar in how the Church Fathers like Ireneaus in Against Heresies, describe Gnostic heretics like Simon Magus, Marcus the Magician, and Carpocrates, who were all said to use love charms, familiar spirits, demons, and dream-senders. All were different classes of daemon. Hippolytus repeats the claims about Simon Magus in his 6th book in Refutation of All Heresies. Origen even accused the Persian Magi of using familiars as well. By the Middle Ages, witches were accused of summoning demons to aid them in their practice of and skillful progression in magic ritual. Cunning folk were said to summon fairies to work for them. Some witches’ familiar spirits were animals as in ancient Greek tales. For the most part, the magicians would try to convince the power of a god to work for them, while the daimon would be something the magician would absorb and own at will. A daemon was seen as a demigod–an independent and immortal being, but not as powerful as the great gods of the official national cults. In Roman terminology an entity similar to the daimon was the genius–a familiar spirit inherited along genetic lines in the family or gens.

The genius in Roman culture was the soul of a person that guided their actions and dictated what they were good at or destined to do. There were good demons and bad demons. The good was the “noble spirit” or agathosdaimon as mentioned earlier, and the bad was a “malevolent spirit’”or kakodaimon. As far back as we can trace in Greek mythology, the daimon was a good force while the keres is the early form of the kakodaimon, which flew out of Pandora’s box. For Plato and Socrates, the daemons were the spirits of Atlantis.

In Hesiod’s Five Ages as found in Works and Days, he lists the ages of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Hero and Iron (our present age). In the Golden Age ruled over by Cronos or Saturn, good and beautiful humans and gods mingled together freely without a care in the world. When men died (although they did not age and maintained youthful appearances), their spirits became “guardians”. Plato in Cratylus 398a, says that these wise daimons are:

“…called holy spirits under the earth, noble, averters of evil, guardians of mortal men.”

In the Symposium, the wise priestess, Diotima tells Socrates that the daemon acts as an intermediary between gods and men, existing in an intermediate state or nature. This is like Hermes, the messenger of the gods, or Thoth. In Dionysian rituals, wine was drunk in propitiation ceremonies much like the Eucharist, to the genius of the dead. In the fictional best selling trilogy His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman, daemons are undoubtedly an element which make his story leap off the page and stick with its readers. In the story, everyone has a daemon. They are the person’s soul in animal form, a shape-shifting companion who eventually settles into one form to symbolically represent their personality.

In Germany, the doppelganger was said to be the harbinger of death and the double of a person. In ancient Egypt, the Ka or “Twin Soul” was much like the genius or double. The Jews saw this as idol worship and when the LXX was translated from Hebrew in to Greek, the word for idol was changed to demon. The Jews thought that men were being worshiped when in fact, men were revering the inner divinity that was in them but outside and separate from them. This same concept appears in the Gospels of Luke and Thomas when Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God being inside of us and in the Gospel of John and the Psalms of David when it says, “ye are gods”.

The Gospel stories and the accusations against Simon Magus bear many of the stamps of the Apology of Socrates in which Socrates is accused by Meletus of being a corrupter of the youth and teaching men to follow spirits and demigods rather than the Olympians. Jesus is made into a bastard son of God and Simon a corrupter of Justa’s adopted sons Aquila and Nicetas in the Clementine Homilies. Jesus like Simon is accused of being a Samaritan possessed by a daemon! Socrates tells Cratylus:

“And I say too, that every wise man who happens to be a good man is more than human (daimonion) both in life and death, and is rightly called a demon.” (Plato, Cratylus)

As time wore on, the demon took on negative connotations in 4th century Christianity as well as early Islam. The Satan or Jinn figure was a fiery demon that one made a bargain with in order to receive a certain desire or wish and gave up their soul (genius?) in the process. Plato speaks of the daemon of Socrates in the Symposium, Phaedrus, Cratylus, and the Apology of Socrates as a mostly positive figure that helped Socrates with mundane things. Hesiod and Homer spoke of the daimon as well. Even the books of Judges and Kings in the Bible have a familiar spirit of Samuel which is not a ghost either.

The agathosdaimon by the mid third century in the time of Origen and Tertullian, was now seen as the guardian angel and Simonians were accused of worshiping angels, which is the very thing they were actually against! These angels were associated with the stoicheia, or the elemental powers i.e. “four elements” that Paul warns against worshiping in Galations 4:3,9 and Colossians 2:8,20. In fact, Paul equated the Greek and Roman gods with these daimons, which he considered to be lesser and potentially malevolent beings of the lower realms of the cosmos (1 Corinthians 10:20). The first thing the converted Gentiles needed to do, according to Paul, was to stop worshiping these beings and stop participating in Greco-Roman sacrifice, which in itself was a hugely radical statement since sacrifice to the gods was such so intimately connected with everyday life!

Irenaeus associates these practices such as raising familiars with the art of exorcism, something Jesus is known to have done a lot of. The most famous of which was the raising of Lazarus of Bethany in the Gospel of John. In the Gospels there are about nine major exorcism incidents involving Jesus, and his disciples go on to perform the same miracles in Acts and in the Apocryphal Acts. The very act of exorcism was against Jewish custom and law. It was a Canaanite practice of the witch of Endor which Saul and the Israelites of the North also practiced.

Six of the nine exorcisms occur in both Mark and Luke, one only occurs in Matthew, one only in Luke, and one exclusively in Matthew and Mark. There are three resurrection events. One is found in the synoptics (Jairus’ daughter), one in Luke (man of Nain), and one in John 11:1-4 (Lazarus). Note that there are no exorcisms in John’s gospel oddly enough. The Jesus of the synoptics is much more of a miracle working magician as noted many times by the enemies of the Christians in Celsus and Julian. It seems to me that as time wore on magic (both theurgy and goetia) became more hated as women became more looked down upon in the church as testified by Tertullian’s views on women being the “gateway of the Devil”. After all, the greatest magic back then was that of child birth not that of walking on hot coals!

In any case, Asclepius’ life very much mirrors the story of Jesus. Asclepius was originally seen as a mortal. According to Homer, Asclepius was a man as well as a great physician. He dies, and appears again in dreams, and, according to some of his devotees, he is alive again! This is very similar in how the use of a “dream sender” working magic is in the Acts of the Apostles 18:9-11, when Jesus (“the Lord”) appears to Paul in his dream to instruct him. The same thing happens in the Gospel of Nicodemus when Jesus sends a dream to Pilate’s wife. And of course, Simon Magus and his followers were skilled in sending dreams to “whomever they wished”, as well. Asclepius becomes a god equal to Zeus, much like how Jesus ascends to heaven to be a god equal to that of his Heavenly Father. Justin Martyr takes notes of these parallels in 1 Apology 22:

“And in that we say that He made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Æsculapius.”

The similarities between the story of Ascelpius and the gospel about Jesus are thus undeniable. The promises of health and everlasting life to the Asclepian devotee is similar to the promise made by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John. This rivalry between the Church Fathers like Justin Martyr and Origen and the pagan philosophers like Julian, Celsus and even Philostratus who wrote about the adventures of Apollonius, explains this tense relationship between the two sides, being Christianity and the ever fading paganism of Greco-Roman civilization.

Origen, in his very long winded criticism of Celsus’ refutation of Judaism and Christianity writes about all of these multiple, competing messiahs and saviors, in which Lucian was mocking in his own satirical writings with the figure of Alexander, the false prophet. Take your energy pills and vitamins because this is a dozy of a quote:

But, according to the Jew of Celsus, countless individuals will convict Jesus of falsehoods, alleging that those predictions which were spoken of him were intended of them. We are not aware, indeed, whether Celsus knew of any who, after coming into this world, and having desired to act as Jesus did, declared themselves to be also the sons of God, or the power of God. But since it is in the spirit of truth that we examine each passage, we shall mention that there was a certain Theudas among the Jews before the birth of Christ, who gave himself out as some great one, after whose death his deluded followers were completely dispersed. And after him, in the days of the census, when Jesus appears to have been born, one Judas, a Galilean, gathered around him many of the Jewish people, saying he was a wise man, and a teacher of certain new doctrines.

And when he also had paid the penalty of his rebellion, his doctrine was overturned, having taken hold of very few persons indeed, and these of the very humblest condition. And after the times of Jesus, Dositheus the Samaritan also wished to persuade the Samaritans that he was the Christ predicted by Moses; and he appears to have gained over some to his views. But it is not absurd, in quoting the extremely wise observation of that Gamaliel named in the book of Acts, to show how those persons above mentioned were strangers to the promise, being neither sons of God nor powers of God, whereas Christ Jesus was truly the Son of God. Now Gamaliel, in the passage referred to, said: If this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought (as also did the designs of those men already mentioned after their death); but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow this doctrine, lest haply you be found even to fight against God. There was also Simon the Samaritan magician, who wished to draw away certain by his magical arts. And on that occasion he was successful…

In the next post, we will explore some interesting parallels between the life of Apollonius and that of Paul and Simon Magus. Stay tuned!

False Gods, Divine Charlatans and Hermetic Hustlers (Part 1)

Hermetism and Gnosis have always been kissing cousins throughout the centuries. The same can be said with Hermetism’s parallels with the Christian Gospels, particularly the Fourth Gospel, which has many Gnostic themes running throughout. Furthermore, a cursory reading of patristic literature shows that the doctrine of rebirth expounded by Hermes is very similar to the teachings ascribed to Simon Magus, the first-century Gnostic heresiarch, magician, and antichrist-from whose legend, one must add, the later sixteenth century legend of Faustus borrowed some of its distinctive features, as well. Those teachings also neatly add up with Jesus’ sayings from the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Thomas.

Peter also seems to teach a very similiar doctrine as described by 1 Peter 1:23, which leads “You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” If St. Peter and Simon Magus believed in the same things, is it not curious that they found so much to argue about in the apocryphal Acts of the apostles and in the Clementine writings, where they are represented as antagonists in a series of theological debates and magical contests? Paul in his epistles also taught a doctrine of rebirth as well and also mirrors greatly the life and acts of Apollonius, the great miracle worker and philosopher of the 1st century C.E. We will explore Paul’s relationship (as well as Jesus’s) with Apollonius at another time.

Simon, who was worshiped as a god, has many parallels with other figures like his supposed enemies Peter and Paul in patristic and Catholic writings. This greatly mirrors how other Gods, Messiahs and magicians were said to have one or even multiple alter-egos, like Enoch-Metatron with Hermes-Thoth, Jesus with Didymus Thomas and Asclepius, Mani and the Paraclete, as well as the Platonic philosophers and their ever-present, guiding Daimons. These are all references to the fact that in each person, accordingly, has a higher, divine self, corresponding to the famous axiom: “that which is Above, like that which is Below.”

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Hermetic Hocus Pocus

There seems to be many similarities between the Fourth Gospel (The Gospel of John), Hermes, Simon Magus, Paul and Peter as their doctrines on rebirth all seem to compliment each other, in one way or another. The Hermetic doctrine of rebirth is also evident in texts in the Corpus Hermeticum, as translated by Marsilio Ficino from Greek to Latin, which would eventually in many ways give birth the Renaissance. Hermetic texts synthesized ancient Egyptian wisdom along with esoteric Platonic concepts and melded them into one. The great German alchemist and occult thinker Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa tells us in De occulta philosophia III.iii in Opera 1:314, that rebirth is the, “the principle and complement and key of all magical operations.”

As it turns out, Agrippa was torn on how the doctrines of rebirth expounded by Hermes was very similiar to how Simon Magus explained his teaching of rebirth, which we will see later on. Agrippa writes in a letter, Oratio in praelectione Hermetis Trismegisti (I515):

“[Hermes] instructs us moreover in the knowledge of oneself, the ascent of the intellect … the divine union [connubium]and sacrament of regeneration. The Pimander of Mercurius teaches us how we can obtain a firm and steady mind, through which, without deceit, we can both know and work marvels.”

Thus it was almost impossible for Agrippa to reject Simon’s demonic doctrines since they sound very close to that of his own Christian-Hermetic faith. Indeed, Agrippa was interested in the initiation rebirth or regeneration mysticism featured in the Corpus Hermeticum and Asclepius. A lot has been said on the subject of Agrippa’s intense interest in Hermetic philosophy in his works.

A cursory glance at the text Asclepius 21-29, found with the Nag Hammadi gives us some interesting insights into this doctrine of rebirth as a dialogue between Asclepius and Hermes:

“The restoration of the nature of the pious ones who are good will take place in a period of time that never had a beginning. For the will of God has no beginning, even as his nature, which is his will (has no beginning). For the nature of God is will. And his will is the good.”

“Trismegistus, is purpose, then, (the same as) will?”

“Yes, Asclepius, since will is (included) in counsel. For <he> (God) does not will what he has from deficiency. Since he is complete in every part, he wills what he (already) fully has. And he has every good. And what he wills, he wills. And he has the good that he wills. Therefore, he has everything. And God wills what he wills. And the good world is an image of the Good One.

In the Gospel of John 7:17, it says:

“If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself.”

A more obvious parallel can be seen in the Corpus Hermeticum, Tractate XIII, which speaks of a mystical experience dependent on a new birth, of a new creature when Tat says to Hermes:

“I know not, Thrice-greatest one, from what womb a man can be born again.”

This is strikingly similiar to how Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews says to Jesus in John 3:4:

“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

And as the question is similar, so is the answer. Jesus replies that one must be born of water and the spirit, and Hermes replies to Tat in XIII.2:

“My son, the womb is spiritual wisdom, conceiving in silence,” and “The Will of God is the begetter.”

Both the CH and John utilizes a strong dualistic philosophy, characteristic of the ancient Hellenistic philosophical world. The Fourth Gospel speaks of two worlds, one being light and the other darkness–although much more ethical than it is ontological, like in the case of the Manichaeans.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:4-5). 

In the Hermetic writings, it speaks of the fullness or “pleroma” of good and the “pleroma” of evil in XI. 4.

“And I, for my part, give thanks to God, that He hath cast it in my mind about the Gnosis of the Good, that it can never be It should be in the world. For that the world is “fullness” of the bad, but God of Good, and Good of God. … There is no Good that can be got from objects in the world. For all the things that fall beneath the eye are image-things and pictures as it were; while those that do not meet [the eye are the realities], especially the [essence] of the Beautiful and Good.”

The common philosophical background indicates that these two texts were dependent on each other, as well as inheriting their ideas from the popular ancient mystery schools of the Hellenistic era. Even the Logos doctrine is shared between the two writings, where Poimandres is called the “Man-Shepard” while Jesus in John 10:1-5, speaks of the “Shepard of the sheep”. Jesus’ last prayer is not for the world but for his own who are not of the world (John 17 9). In the same fashion the Hermetic writers believed that the hard path of true religion was for the few. In the Asclepius III. 22a, we read:

“There are not many religious men in the world, so few that they could be counted.”

These are just some of the few examples of their multiple similarities. The rebirth doctrine can also been, interestingly enough in Simon Magus, one of the great villains of history and legends of the early church. Simon was a contemporary of Jesus, who also claimed to be divine and also had magical powers and worked miracles- even regarded in Samaria as a messianic savior, being the “Taheb”. In the Clementine Recognitions II.7we are told of Simon that:

“By nation he is a Samaritan . . ; by profession a magician, yet exceedingly well trained in the Greek literature; desirous of glory, and boasting above all the human race, so that he wishes himself to be believed to be an exalted power, which is above God the Creator, and to be thought to be the Christ, and to be called the Standing One. And he uses this name as implying that he can never be dissolved, asserting that his flesh is so compacted by the power of his divinity, that it can endure to eternity.”

In Agrippa’s De occulta philosophica 44, he writes in an ambivalent yet repentant way about embracing Hermes’ magic and connects it with Simon’s!

“There is no work in the whole succession of the world so admirable, so excellent, so marvellous, that the human soul, embracing its image of divinity (which the magicians call the soul standing and not falling) cannot accomplish by its own virtue without any external assistance. The form, therefore, of all magical virtue is from man’s soul standing, and not falling.

Clearly, Agrippa is employing Simonian or Samaritan language here when he says that the soul is “standing, not falling”. The references of the “the magicians” are allusions to Hermes and Simon Magus. The Corpus Hermeticum insists on separating the essential self from the fleshy body as this is the precondition of illumination and the gaining and possession of the divine mind and the powers of God that induces the rebirth into the knowledge of God. Similarly, in the Recognitions II:58, Simon is made to say:

“It is truly very difficult for man to know [the supreme God], as long as he is in the flesh; for blacker than all darkness, and heavier than all clay, is this body with which the soul is surrounded.”

However, it is nonetheless possible for the mind to receive the knowledge and revelation. Simon also happens to deny bodily resurrection of the flesh (as posited by Daniel and Isaiah), in the Clementine Homilies (2:XXII) along with some other heretical ideas, which seem to be representative of most Gnostic beliefs.

And he neither says that the God who created the world is the Supreme, nor does he believe that the dead will be raised. He rejects Jerusalem, and substitutes Mount Gerizzim for it. Instead of our Christ, he proclaims himself.

Instead, only the pneumatic self will rise free from the earthly bonds of the flesh. Hermes, the reborn one, also has an incorruptible body and his disciple, Tat is called “steadfast” in the CH. Simon is called the “Standing One” and is even said to have both an adamantine and smoke bodies in the Clementine literature, strangely enough. Could these be simply code words for Simon having a docetic body?

In Matthew 16:17-18 tells us that Jesus renamed Simon Barjona to Peter, “and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” “Barjona” is actually Aramaic for “Son of John” with bar meaning “son of” and jona being another variation of John. In the Clementine literature, it is well known that Simon Magus was an ardent disciple of John the Baptist as was Jesus in Matthew. In ancient times, “son” often carried the same meaning of the term “disciple” of a religious cult! Could the fact that the Church that Simon Barjona was given to establish on a “Cephas” or “rock” by Jesus be a strangely veiled allusion to that Simon Magus was the actual persona that was renamed Peter? The title “Cephas” or Peter relates to the sturdy, steadfast state of grace of that being the Standing One of Eternity. Could this Simon be the one who was given the “keys of the kingdom of Heaven”? It could also account for the similarity in Peter’s doctrine, when he says:

“You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”

Paul in Romans 12:2, Galatians 4:19,29 and Ephesians 22-24, Colossians 3:9-10, all lend themselves as being construed as speaking of spiritual rebirth:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…”

“But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”

“22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

9 “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

Agrippa does not make these connections at all in his writings but one can easily see Peter’s connection with Simon as indicated by Matthew. While this is admittedly speculative, it goes without saying that the Clementine literature makes such great lengths to separate the two figures by putting Simon Magus against Peter in a three day marathon of debate on scripture and religious doctrine representing the Hellenistic Christology of Paul and Marcion versus the Jewish Christianity of the early Apostolic Church. Interesting dilemma indeed!

Peter doesn’t just mean “rock”. “Peter” can effectively be seen as a borrowing of the title “Pater” from the Mithraic mysteries as a “chief” or “father” from all seven degrees of initiation as described by St. Jerome from Letters 107 ch. 2, (To Laeta):

“… did not your own kinsman Gracchus whose name betokens his patrician origin, when a few years back he held the prefecture of the City, overthrow, break in pieces, and shake to pieces the grotto of Mithras and all the dreadful images therein? Those I mean by which the worshippers were initiated as Raven, Bridegroom, Soldier, Lion, Perseus, Sun, Crab, and Father?”

In essence, Peter may have been confused as a “father god” of Mithras much like how Simon Magus was confused with the Roman-Sabine deity Semo Sancus by Justin Martyr, which has intimate connections with Mithras as well.

Agrippa’s conflation with the pious Hermes, the holy Scriptures, and that mighty heretic Simon Magus all pointed him in the same direction. How then could he tell whether he was moving towards transfiguration and a godlike knowledge and power, or whether he was destined, with Iannes and Mambres (Egyptian magicians, like Hermes), and with Simon Magus, to the torments of eternal fire? He indicates these doubts in the very last paragraph of the very last book in De occulta philosophia (Book III, Part 5) and quite naturally condemns other heretical magicians like the Gnostics, Valentinians and Ophites as facing the same fate of damnation as Simon Magus. However, if Agrippa had read Acts of the Apostles, he would see that Hermes was very much a part of the Apostles’ lore, as is the case with none other than Paul.

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Paul, Thrice Great

According to the Church Fathers like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Hippolytus, Simon was worshiped, associated in the image of both Zeus and Semo Sancus, who were both gods of contracts and legalities. Paul was also “worshiped” or confused as a god and a Greek one at that. In Acts 14:8-10, Paul heals a man who was crippled in the feet. When he heals the man he creates a sensation, and a crowd forms claiming that the gods have come in human form. Paul is called Hermes (or Mercurias in the Latin).

At Lystra there was a crippled man, lame from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking, who looked intently at him, saw that he had the faith to be healed, 10 and called out in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet.” He jumped up and began to walk about. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in human form.”12 They called Barnabas “Zeus”and Paul “Hermes,” because he was the chief speaker.13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, for he together with the people intended to offer sacrifice.

The healing of the crippled man’s feet, indicates a connection with the Greek Hermes’ winged feet. Hermes was the messenger of the Olympian gods, Paul is given this name because he was the chief spokesperson. Barnabas is called Zeus (or Jupiter), Zeus was the “father” of the gods. Why does the crowd make the connection between Paul and Hermes? There is a legend which may shed some light on this incident.

In Ovid’s Metamorphoses 8.626ff, there is a legend that Zeus and Hermes had visited the towns and villages of the region in human form, but did not receive any hospitality. When they came to the home of the poor and elderly Baucis and Philemon they were invited in, the couple gave them the last of their food and the best comfort they could. As Baucis prepared the meal, there was plenty of food and the wine kept “welling up of itself.”

The couple became greatly afraid because of the miracle, so the gods revealed themselves and told them that they were the only people to welcome them; they would be blessed while the whole region was destroyed. The couple asked only to be priests in the temple of Zeus and that they die at the same time, so that neither had to see the tomb of the other. This story also seems to foreshadow the Sodom and Gomorrah tale in Genesis 19 as well.

So what is the point of this story? According to Acts, this was the first time Paul has preached the gospel to an entirely pagan audience. The miracle generates a crowd which thinks Paul is Hermes. There are priests there as well as people about to honor Paul and Barnabas as pagan gods and must contextualize the gospel for a pagan world. But, those pagans weren’t going to let go of Paul and Barnabas without a proper sacrifice in their names!

Paul’s confusion with Hermes also mirrors later when Acts 18:24-25 mentions a Jew named Apollos, which is an obvious reference to Apollo, the sun god and son of Zeus!

[24] And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. [25] This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

So, here we have Paul being mistaken for a god, Simon mistaken for Semo Sancus, while the docetic Jesus of Paul is mistaken for a flesh and blood man. This is merely proof they are all the same individual. In Greek myth, mortals are mistaken for Gods because of their beautiful appearances. The Jesus of apocalyptic lore and messianic expectations can hardly be a man mistaken to be a God. As found in the Acts of John 228, John says to draw a likeness of what is dead is childish and imperfect. The Orthodox and Simon agreed that worshiping images was ignorant but yet the Orthodox allowed it to occur whereas Simon excommunicated followers for the offense of worshiping his consort Helena and himself as Minerva and Jupiter. John is more Arian than Gnostic or Orthodox as he is an iconoclast foreshadow those who denies the use of images altogether as entirely foolish.

Maybe Jesus’s warning in Matthew 6:17 of putting oil on your head and washing your face when fasting was not just to avoid being a hypocrite like the Pharisees but in actuality, to appear to be illumined as John in the Acts of John, so the commoners of Rome would see you as a God!

Stay tuned for Part 2, where things get really heavy, as the concept of the “divine twin” alive and well in ancient apocryphal and esoteric literature as well as the New Testament!

The Marriage At Cana

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In the Marriage at Cana episode in the Gospel of John, Jesus and his disciples attend a wedding feast:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them,“Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Canna in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

This entire episode is about the Hieròs Gàmos. In other words, it is the “Sacred Wedding” that is being discussed. “Marriage” is gàmos in the Greek original of John 2:1. It actually means literally “drinking party”, “feast”, or “banquet”, but it is the Bible word normally translated gàmos by the LXX (Abbott-Smith’s Lexicon, Bibliography).

The keys of knowledge here means for that final re-union is the Sacred Wedding (Hieròs Gàmos), whereby the syzygy Christòs-Sophia is established:

“Then the Pneumatic beings, having taken their psyches off, while the Mother (Sophia) unites to the Bridegroom (the Christ), take likewise the Angels as their husbands: they enter the Bridal Chamber within the Limit where, being now Aeons of the same nature as the Noûs, proceed towards the Vision of the Father, towards the eternal (aiônios), spiritual union of the Syzygy” (Excerpta ex Theodoto 64).

The above quote indicates that the soul for the Valentinian Christian was considered feminine. Entering the Bridal Chamber within the Limit implied that the soul had to take their Cross upon themselves. This is where the soul or spiritual heart itself is crucified. The Hieròs Gàmos is thus a purely spiritual event. This has to be contrasted with what one has to read in recently published indecent “best sellers”.

This is man’s final redemption, the liberation from this world of suffering and death, the “death” into which the Mother (Sophia) had plunged us and from which the Christ delivers us (ExTh 80:1). Liberation from death means the liberation from the cycle of repeated births and deaths (ensömatôseis – plural – ExTh 28).

In the quotation above it is said that the liberated souls “enter the Bridal Chamber within the Limit”; in other words, they have to cross the Limit, to pass through the Cross, in order to“proceed towards the Vision of the Father”. This has a profound significance: salvation is inseparable from taking upon oneself the Cross of the Savior. The “rest” (anàpausis – ExTh 63) promised to the saved ones is rest from the aimlessly toiling along the deadly path traced by self-centered interests in this world of darkness and suffering. But the reached Communion with the Lord implies the becoming compassionate and self-sacrificing as He is.

All that is narrated in the second chapter of John’s Gospel.

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.” (2:1).

“And the mother of Jesus was there”. It is obvious that she was there, for soon she will tell Jesus “They have no wine”.  So why mention her presence, even before that of the main character, Jesus? And please notice that she does not say: “They have no wine any more”; she says: “They have no wine”. Wine is absolutely lacking.

That is also obvious from the standpoint of the teaching, for Sophia, having generated the two lower Seeds and clothed the three of them with her substance, is the Mother of the Nazarene. The diòrthösis of the Seed, the communion established of the “male” Seed with the “female” Soul, is the obvious prelude to the Sacred Marriage, which will be consummated within the Pleroma.

“They have no wine”. The human soul realizes her “Lack” and addresses the Savior for help.“Woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour is not yet come” (2:4) — the Savior wants to know in which way the soul feels to be related to Him.

“My hour is not yet come”. “Not yet come”: the soul is not ready yet. “His mother said to the servants: Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it”. The soul’s trust in the Savior and in whatever He may want is absolute. Now the soul is ready and the miracle can take place.

But who are the “servants”?  “Servant” is the “messenger” or the “angel” or Logos. which is what Theodotos says: “The followers of Valentinus define the Angel: a Logos who has received a mission (apangelìa) from Him Who Is” (ExTh 25:1).

The servants take “six stone jars (lìthinai hydrìai hex)” each capable of containing  anà metrëtàs dyo ê treîs  — reads the original Greek, that is “two or three measures” (2:6). John is always precise with numbers (think of the 153 fishes of Chapter 21). Therefore the Revised Version’s “twenty or thirty gallons” is just misleading, much like the rest of the RV as well as the NIV for many reasons. The jars have may also represent Achamoth, the corrupted or fallen form of Sophia, the plural meaning of Her fragmentation into individual souls like the Orphic myth of Dionysus and the death of Osiris. The first and the third are the most likely, since the jars were used “for the purification of the Jews”, and the “Jews”, in John’s Gospel, mean the Psychic nature. Which Psychic nature (water), now added to the Hylic one (stone jars), is ready to be transferred to the highest, the Pneumatic, class.

By Jesus’ order, the jars are brought to the architrìklinos, to the “steward of the feast” (RV). Apparently architrìklinos does not appear in the LXX, which forces us to look ourselves for a Hebrew translation. The obvious one is “the head of the banquet”, since moreover, according to the Abbott-Smith’s Lexicon, archi- translates “head”, as for instance archierèus for “the chief priest”, or archisynàgögos for “the head of the assembly or synagogue”. The chief characters of the whole episode include, Christ, the Son of Man, and Sophia. The wine is symbolic of Jesus disseminating the Wisdom seed or the “Seed of the Logos” into the soul of man, which is symbolized as water. The soul becomes the seat for the living presence of the Pneumatic Seed.

Unless that Seed is active no diòrthösis (restoration) is in fact possible. Thus, the water is transmuted into wine, much like how course metals like lead or copper is transformed into gold by the old alchemists to create the Philosopher’s Stone. The wine also has connections with the “blood” of Jesus as being connected with the Eucharist. In Dionysian rites, wine was used for libations dedicated to the gods and a union with Dionysus. Wine is strongly associated with the Mysteries of Dionysus.

Also, Jesus, ready for the miracle, cannot say any more: “My hour is not yet come”. Aside from the soul being not ready, this enigmatic phrase is, however, answered later when about three days before he was crucified, Jesus was in the temple and some Greeks sought him out. Jesus said to them,

“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal…Now my soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:23-27)

Gnostically viewed, the spiritualization of man is the transformation of the Psychic nature into the Pneumatic one. Its natural symbol is the transformation of water (the symbol of the Psyche) into Wine (Spirit!). That must take place in the sphere of the “fallen” Sophia, the one to be redeemed, and must be the natural consequence of the Baptism, that is the descent of the Pneumatic Seed in the Waters of the Soul. This is also called the “Baptism of Wisdom” which has strong alchemical meanings attached. The Rosicrucian Chymical Wedding by Christian Rosenkreutz might also have some interesting correlations as well but I will save that exegesis for another time!

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The Tower Archetype

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According to one explanation of the Tower Tarot card (the Crowley Thoth deck) by Gerd Ziegler, it is a supreme archetype for the death of the ego or false identity and the rebirth of the Spirit, hidden in man:

The power of the consuming, purifying fire destroys the old and sweeps it away. Nothing is spared; the tower of the ego will be shaken to its very foundations. Anything you attempt to cling to will be destroyed by this transforming power. The apparent securities of the past have begun to waver and topple. All that remains is trust; the knowledge that all events in life arise from the endless love of the universe and bring us the possibility for learning and recognition. This understanding of the true nature of events transforms even apparent losses or painful disappointments into the valuable gifts they really are. Times of desperation and inner tension, when recognized, can become the most fruitful growing phases of our lives.

The Tower is also one of the highest cards for healing. Just as the extraction of a rotten tooth provides relief for the entire body, the destruction of stagnant situations and relations which hinder growth begins a healing process for your entire organism. Having a tooth extracted can be painful, but when the tooth is poisoning your system, there is no other choice. The strokes of fate may seem equally tragic and unfathomable, but they come to us only because we need them and have created them for ourselves either consciously or unconsciously. If you can recognize and accept these laws of the universe, you possess all you need for true liberation and total transformation to occur.

The eye of Horus illustrates awakened consciousness, which sees reality as it truly is. The dove with the olive branch symbolizes the compassion toward oneself and others which arises out of self-knowledge. It also symbolizes that which remains pure and whole throughout; the essence of being, from which all is created anew (the snake).

Lately, I’ve noticed this archetype come up quite a bit in my research for an entirely unrelated project, saving it for a later time to discuss and I think now is the time. The Tower is an object that appears many times throughout the Bible, as well as in the western occult tradition. An obvious expression of this archetype can be seen in Genesis 11, when the citadel-like Tower of Babel is built by the “children of men”, in which the “LORD” (an intentional mistranslation because the translators did not want the Bible to show the difference between the Lord of the Old Testament (Jehovah) and the Lord of the New Testament, being the Lord Jesus Christ) or Yahweh/Jehovah and his minions checks out and decides to confuse them.

Yahweh said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So Yahweh scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel –because there Yahweh confused the language of the whole world. From there Yahweh scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

In Genesis 10:8-10, it tells us that the founder and builder of this Tower was Nimrod, who was the son of “Cush” and would eventually grow up to be a “mighty one on earth” and a “mighty hunter before Jehovah”. He also built the kingdoms of “Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar.” In many ways, this effort to build this gigantic Tower mirrors Cain’s efforts to build a city named after his son, Enoch. Yes, that Enoch – the one the Book of Enoch is named after.

Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son. (Genesis 4:17)

Nimrod himself can be seen as an incarnation of Cain, or a “torch-bearer” of Cain’s tradition when he “went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden” (Genesis 4:15). Some Christian websites claim that this City of Enoch, marked the beginning of man’s foolish attempt to create a Utopian society without God. It marked the expansion of the lineage of Cain, down through the ages. Even the word “Babel” is an Akkadian term, meaning “Gate of God”, which is a reference that this Tower was some sort of “stargate” as Christian conspiracy theorists might speculate, in which those building the Tower actually wanted to storm the “Gates of Heaven” and wage against God himself!

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Apparently the chief motivation for building the Tower was not just to unite the people or centralize the ancient Babylonian government, but to enact revenge on the God who wiped out their ancestors in the flood. This was the same God who threw their worthy ancestors out of the Garden of Eden; the same God who destroyed most of all of their ancestors in a flood. And now, He’ll do it to them yet again! So the people postulated: if this God ever thought to send down a flood again, they, with this new Tower would be ready! This Tower was now designed to be as tall as a mountain for another reason – extend beyond the reach of any water that his God could bring and eventually even destroy God himself! 

According to the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 109a, it tells us:

“One said, “Let us ascend and dwell there’…the second, “Let us ascend and serve idols”…and the third said, “Let us ascend and wage war [with God].”

In Part 4 of my Forbidden Fruit series, we saw how the Gnostics understood the meanings of Deluge story to say that Ialdaboth sent the Flood against human race (particularly the “Unshakable Race” of the bloodline of Seth) because they “improved” and would not worship him like he wanted them to and had spiritual knowledge outside of his domain. However, there is no Gnostic “re-telling” of this story but there is a very interesting parallel in Plato’s Symposium, specifically in Aristophanes’s Speech on Love. Apparently, according to Aristopahanes, the human race was originally a Hermaphroditic species, meaning they contained by sexes in one body. In fact, he tells us there were three sexes!

Now the sexes were three, and such as I have described them; because the sun, moon, and earth are three; and the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth, and they were all round and moved round and round because they resembled their parents. Terrible was their might and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods; of them is told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes who, as Homer says, attempted to scale heaven, and would have laid hands upon the gods.

The gods, of course, did not take this threat lightly. Zeus concocted a plan to split this powerful hermaphroditic race into two, much like the idea of Jehovah scattering off and confusing the builders of Babel. Nimrod and Cush could even be seen as synonymous with Saturn as I discuss in Part 4 of the Forbidden Fruit series linked above.

Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained. At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way.

He said: ‘Methinks I have a plan which will enfeeble their strength and so extinguish their turbulence; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg.’

Zeus’ plan doesn’t go very well even when Apollo heals the other cut half. However, Zeus comes up with the idea of splitting off solar and lunar pairs into different bodies, which (mythological speaking) explains the longing of males and females to have breed and procreate with each other.

Thus they were being destroyed, when Zeus in pity invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the front, for this had not been always their position, and they sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another; and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed, and the race might continue; or if man came to man they might be satisfied, and rest, and go their ways to the business of life. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, seeking to make one of two, and to heal the state of man.

In any case, the “Tower” archetype occurs in European aristocratic occultism, like in Enochian magic, which was devised by John Dee and Edward Kelly in the 16th century and eventually adopted and built on by S.L. MacGregor Mathers for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. We have the “Four Watchtowers” or what A Book of Supplications and Invocations written by John Dee which involves calling the Angels who preside over the Four Quarters of the Terrestial sphere. In other words, we are dealing here, with the Four Elements as developed further by the Golden Dawn. Apparently, these Watchtowers can be opened by invoking the correct Sacred names of God, which opens “gateways” to “heavenly” or “angelic cities” or dimensions. A more thorough and detailed explanation of all this can be found here.

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As I write this, I am astonished to find a really interesting parallel between Enochian Watchtower magic and some crazy vivid descriptions of the heavenly Pleroma in the The Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex as a “mother-city”.

“This is the manner in which they are all within the monad : there are twelve monads making a crown upon its head ; each one makes twelve. And there are ten decads surrounding its shoulders. And there are nine enneads surrounding its belly. And there are seven hebdomads at its feet, and each one makes a hebdomad. And to the veil which surrounds it like a tower, there are twelve gates. There are twelve myriad powers at each gate, and they are called archangels and also angels. This is the mother-city of the only-begotten one.”

This divine tower is also associated with divine Wisdom. In Joseph and Aseneth, Chapter 2, it tells us that the tower of Asenath has its windows facing all directions but west—or to the Roman world. It has ten rooms with seven, perhaps representing the seven dimensions of the universe, populated by seven virgin servants who were all born on the same day as Asenath. The other three rooms are described as being a “storehouse” for her material, earthly pleasures and wealth. That she always looked out the east window would represent a rejection of the Roman world and/or a metaphor for looking toward the sun/Son. Near the house of the tower was an ever-bubbling spring flowing into a cistern which had a river flowing out of it that watered all the fruit trees around the house—an obvious metaphor for the garden of Eden.

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We find some more curious parallels of the Egyptian princess Aseneth, with Helena, the companion and disciple of Simon Magus in the Clementine Recognition’s (II. Xi) as being held in a Tower:

On one occasion Aquila says he was present when Luna (Helen) was seen looking out of all the windows of a tower on all sides at once.

So here Helen, looks at “all sides at once” instead of just looking in the east. And finally in Epiphanius’ Panarion. Section 2, Pt. 21, 3:2, he writes that Homer described Helen of Troy “standing on a tower”.

3:2 She is the one who is with me now, and for her sake I am come down. But she herself awaited my arrival; for this is Ennoia, she whom Homer calls Helen.24 And this is why Homer is obliged to describe her as standing on a tower, signalling her plot against the Phrygians to the Greeks with a lamp.25 But with its brightness, as I said, he indicated the display of the light from on high.’

We encounter this same archetype many times in children’s fables and fairy tales of the heroic Knight coming to rescue the trapped Maiden or princess held hostage in the Tower, usually guarded by a dragon or monster of some type. What could all of this mean, one might ask? I’m still not exactly sure myself as I can only speculate but it seems to me that the Tower represents putting hopes and emphasis on vain “worldy” efforts to reach the Divine through external means and not through the Spirit as John 1o:1-5 puts it:

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.

The Tarot card explanation also seems to support this idea as well. I’m sure there are other meanings assigned to this symbol that I have unintentionally overlooked. I guess I am sounding like a Christian here by quoting Jesus Christ as I haven’t identified myself as such for a long time…but many stranger things have happened! Comments welcomed.

Gnosis. What is it?

The word “Gnosis” can be the object of a gross misconception, unless properly understood. “Gnosis” is knowledge; but this knowledge is no collection of pieces of information about metaphysical facts. Excerpta ex Theodoto is very clear on this subject:

“Since the Father was unknown…He emitted the Only Begotten Son through His own Enthýmësis — for so He knows Himself — as Spirit of Knowledge (Pneûma Gnôseös). So He who has proceeded from the Father’s Enthýmësis has become Gnosis, and this is the Son, for through the Son has the Father been known (7:1)”.

The Only Begotten Son is the Noûs, here said to have been emanated as “Spirit of Knowledge”. His “feminine” counterpart in the syzygy is Truth, and ExTh 7:2 says that from Truth emanates the “Spirit of Love” (Pneûma Agàpës). Thus, while we find it stressed that “Gnosis” means the Knowledge of the Father, we are taught that Knowledge and Love, Gnôsis and Agàpë, are like the two faces of a coin in the Son. There is no Gnosis without Love. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:2, he claims about the futility of both faith and knowledge without the right attitude of heart:

“Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge (gnosis); and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity [love], I am nothing”.

Gnosis is also described as a “science” according to Theodotus (35):

So also scientific knowledge (gnosis), shedding its light and brightness on things, shows itself to be in truth the divine wisdom, the pure light, which illumines the men whose eyeball is clear, unto the sure vision and comprehension of truth.

The proper appreciation of what Gnosis is holds the key to the correct understanding of what “the New Covenant” means–to a Gnostic at least.

“And he took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them saying: This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).

“Do this in remembrance of me” (toûto poieìte eis tên emên anàmnësin): does “this” refer to the repetition of a meal, or–gnostically understood–to the continuation, in the life of a disciple, of the self-sacrificing attitude–the Pneûma Agàpës– of a Son of God?

The Teachings of Silvanius, a largely Christian Orthodox writing with some Gnostic and Stoic influence, writes about knowledge:

Do not become desirous of gold and silver, which are profitless, but clothe yourself with wisdom like a robe; put knowledge on yourself like a crown, and be seated upon a throne of perception.

In Luke 11:52, Jesus denounces the Pharisees and gives them a bitter warning about hindering access to the “key of knowledge”, the same “keys of the kingdom” supposedly given to Peter:

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”

In Proverbs 4:13, it makes another stark warning in guarding Wisdom’s keys of the Kingdom.

Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life.

Proverbs 3:18 also compares the key of Wisdom to the Tree of Life of Eden:

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.

Man is the keystone of the whole cosmic arch, and really, every sentient being, in which they have been entrusted with possession of the divine light, which is the soul. In essence, man is light. The soul is not made by the demiurge and is not native to this world. It’s a stranger (Allogenes) to the kosmos which is likened to Tartarus, which is any area outside of the Pleroma. Its origin is the sphere of being, which is spiritual and enduring. It is the kingdom of God the Father hid in man. Even the Simonian Great Declaration states about the luminous seed, or the immoral spark in man, which echoes the Gospel of John quite a bit:

For those what are three, and if there were not three standing aeons, there would be no ordering of the creation which hovers over the water and has been created in the likeness unto a perfect celestial being, which becomes in no way inferior to the Unbegotten Power, so that one shall say to the other: You and I are one; you are before me that I may after you.”

Compare this to the Gospel of John 10:37:

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.

So where can one find this knowledge or gnosis? How can one be one with the Father? One must realize that they are a prisoner; a slave ruled over by a prince (archon) of this world spoken by Jesus in John 12:31.

31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

According to scripture, he is also the one possessing world power (cosmocrator). In the New Testament he is described as lord of the universe with the power to dispose of this world’s goods (Luke 4:6). He is the prince of this world, and the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). The Christian interpretation of “world” in these contexts is “age”, so that the demiurge or Satan is god of the present epoch. The tactic here is to keep the prisoner occupied with various diversions (a chief tactic in warfare) from realizing that there is a spiritual war and that man is at the center of it. It is this entity that “blinds the minds of men”, and “deceives the whole world”. The Hypostasis of the Archons says many similar things to this effect as well.

In the Gospel of Truth, the Father keeps within Himself the Perfection (i.e. the Fullness or Pleroma) of all the created beings, only to bestow it to them as a boon for their return to Him. Before then all the creatures are in a condition of “Lack” (Void or Kenoma), which means lack of Truth, that is Ignorance. Ignorance generates Error (plànë) that, accompanied by Forgetting, Anguish, Oblivion and Fear, in its turn feeds Ignorance, so that a self-perpetuating chain is formed. This chain is called the Schêma (“form”, “pattern”): “The schêma is the world in which He came as a Servant” (Gospel of the Truth). It is tò schêma toû kòsmou toùtou (“the pattern of this world”) of 1 Corinthians 7:31.

Accordingly, ignorance means ignoring our true nature and identity, identifying ourselves with our ego or animal nature, itself a part of the schêma. It is then obvious that such a self-perpetuating chain cannot break by itself. Having recognized its nature, one has to abandon all self-centered interests and open oneself to the saving Presence of the Christ within. Only this “vertical” intervention can break the schêma. And with his calling and intervention, can the keys of knowledge be gained. And yet this intervention is a two way street because the soul is invited drill down to its core, into the hidden, “inner man” where the “Spirit of Love” awaits on the other side. It is the portal to a dimension, so radically different than the schêma, the cosmos of matter.

According to Proverbs (20-27), Wisdom (Sophia) calls those who are willfully ignorant as “scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge.” She also warns that all those who “distained” her counsel, will be laughed at their “calamity” and will “mock” them when “terror comes” as well as the “destruction” that “comes like a whirlwind”. Lot’s of warnings everywhere. So let’s drop off all of our male Bovine droppings and get with the program. 

Interview: Jeremy Crow 2.0

Jeremy Crow was a guest of mine last year, around this time. I enjoyed our discussion so much that I decided to interview him again on some separate but related issues. Further and beyond!

Before we begin, I have to say that I cannot speak on behalf of all Luciferians. I will, however, give my personal opinion as an individual who self-identifies as a Luciferian. – Jeremy Crow.

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From a Luciferian perspective, how would one go about defining the “Left Hand Path”?

The famous mythologist Joseph Campbell defined the Right Hand Path as the path which involves staying within the institutions and norms of the culture or society you were raised in. He defined the Left Hand Path as the Journey of the Hero: one who for whatever reason becomes an outsider to their culture, goes on a quest and returns home to enrich their community with the rewards gained and lessons learned on their journey. I think this is a great starting point. The status-quo tends to be very good at “works of light” such as promoting love and compassion as well as placing a high value on service to the community. However, they are also frequently found actively discouraging exploration into the unknown and the taboo. This type of behaviour can be poetically referred to as a fear of the dark. Contrary to popular opinion the Left Hand Path is not the polar opposite of this. In fact, the LHP is more accurately referred to as the Complete Path, as it includes both the works of light and the courageous exploration of the darkness.

What is your view(s) on Baphomet and how does this archetype relate to Luciferianism?

It isn’t something that I have worked with extensively, but I think it could be used as a symbol of the Complete Harmonized Self. In other words, it combines all the parts of the self, even those that seem to be in opposition, and gets them all working together in harmony. All internal dualities have been transcended, both the Shadow and the Transpersonal Spirit have been integrated and a more focused and powerful being has emerged.

Is there a “Left Hand” path view on the Apocalypse or Eschatology (The end of the world)? Is this anyway related to the concept of “Year Zero”?

The mainstream Gregorian calendar divides our concept of time into the world before and after the birth of Jesus Christ. Hence we have B.C. to refer to the years “Before Christ” and A.D. or “Anno Domini” meaning “the year of our Lord” to indicate the years since Christ entered the world. The Age of Christ corresponds roughly to the esoteric concept of the Age of Pisces. We are currently in a transition out of the Age of Pisces and into the Age of Aquarius. A very simple sign of this shift is the modern usage of C.E. or “Common Era” to replace the reference to Christ in our standard method of counting time.

In addition, a few years ago one could observe a popular obsession with the Mayan Long Count calendar, which described a much larger cycle of not just the transition between two Ages but the end of a full set of twelve zodiacal Ages. We can think of a zodiacal Age as a Macrocosmic or “Great” Month. The long count calendar describes an entire Great Year, and that Great Year was said to end on December 21st, 2012 C.E. A great many people predicted something catastrophic would happen on this date, up to and including the End of the World.

I say that the End of the World actually did happen on that date and the New Luciferian Era (NLE) sprung up to take its place. It is the start of a brand new Great Year: An entire new set of Ages of a fundamentally different quality than those which preceded it. I like to call that moment when the NLE arose from the ashes of the End of the World as the start of Year Zero. As I am writing this, we are approaching the start of Year Two of the New Luciferian Era, or 2 NLE. In the wake of this new Aeonic current of cosmic energy the Luciferian movement has made a profound level of progress, and we’re just getting started!

How does Jesus Christ fit into Luciferianism? Or can it all?

It can be said that Jesus Christ was the prophet of the previous Age. Each of these Ages prepares us for the next. Jesus Christ is clearly a Right Hand Path figurehead, however if we are honest we can clearly see more than a glimmer of the Light Bearer archetype in him. This is especially true if we look at this mythological character through a Gnostic lens. Before the term Lucifer became synonymous with the character of Satan in the public mind, Jesus was often referred to as a Lucifer or Light Bearer. To borrow a parable, his message was a seed that fell mostly on hard soil hostile to the intended crop. His message has since been distorted and abused by many along the way. Christianity has become a powerful movement and isn’t likely to fade into oblivion anytime soon. If they can capture some of that original gnostic light bearer archetype, if they can learn to adapt with the changing times and if they can gain a tolerance for other religious beliefs, I can see a place for a reformed version of Christianity within the New Luciferian Era.

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What is the Luciferian view on the “Divine Feminine” or what is often called “Sophia” in Platonic, Jewish and Gnostic literature?

The original term Left Hand Path came from Hindu Tantra. In this practice, women would sit to the left of their male partner. This is one part of the meaning behind the term Left Hand Path. Personally, I see the modern Left Hand Path (or Complete Path, as stated earlier) includes a generous dose of recognition and even veneration of the divine feminine. Within Luciferianism specifically, we see that the term Lucifer is a term applied to the celestial phenomenon of the Morning Star. This is the last bright object in the sky before the rising of the Sun. In this sense it is the herald of the dawn or bringer of the light. This bringer of light is actually the planet we now call Venus, which has been considered a feminine force since the beginning of recorded time. We can even look to the myth of the serpent in Eden (who was clearly an example of the Light Bringer archetype) that tells us that a woman was the first initiate into forbidden knowledge. She then shares that knowledge. I usually use the feminine pronoun when referring to Lucifer as an entity or character. I feel that the divine feminine is very important in Luciferianism.

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Can you explain the significance of the Ziggurat of Enki?

An ancient myth speaks of the Babylonian people building a Tower to reach the heavens and attain equality with the gods. There were indeed towering structures built by the ancient Mesopotamian people. These structures were a type of stepped pyramid called a Ziggurat. The building of a Ziggurat can be seen as an analogy for both the establishment of a powerful legacy and on a more subtle level, for the emergence of an immortal Body of Light.

The Ziggurat of Enki is an esoteric Order for the New Luciferian Era that embraces the Complete Path. Its rituals are based on the myths of Mesopotamia. Enki is the Sumerian name for a promethean character who in myth was the god of magick and both the creator of humanity and later through the divulging of forbidden knowledge also became its saviour. This god was also known to the Babylonian people as Ea. Since the ZoE is a Magickal Lodge, its symbolic patron and archetypal inspiration is naturally Enki.

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The Zigurat of Enki takes a novel approach to working a Magickal Lodge system. Much of the concepts are drawn from the Open Source movement. There are no oaths of secrecy regarding the ceremonies, to the point where non-initiates can even be present during an initiation if all the primary participants are comfortable with that. When potential members are permitted to read (or observe) an initiation ceremony before becoming an initiate, everybody knows exactly what they are getting themselves into. A heightened state is achieved in ways that do not require the element of surprise.

Another break with tradition is that there is no requirement for a Charter in order to start a lodge. Anyone who has managed to obtain a copy of the ritual, one way or another, can choose to utilize that ritual without asking anyone else for permission. This allows an incredible level of flexibility and freedom. If you want to open a secret lodge of the Ziggurat of Enki, you can do so without anyone but the individuals directly involved knowing. You can also open a temporary lodge that will only operate for one night and never again if you so choose. This type of independent and autonomous lodge system offers great potential to anyone creative enough to experiment with it.

Currently the best and most complete information about the Ziggurat of Enki is available in my book “Initiation into the Left Hand Path.” The limited advance edition is currently available on my website JeremyCrow.com. Each of the only 45 copies are signed and numbered. Most have already been sold but there are still a handful of copies available.

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What is the Greater Church of Lucifer?

The Greater Church of Lucifer is an organization founded by Jacob No. Other leaders of the Church include Michael W. Ford, Etu Malku and me. The word Church is being used to indicate a gathering or community based around a shared set of similar beliefs and philosophies. We all have our own way to describe this particular set of philosophies such as Adversarial Thought, Mercurial Consciousness, Left Hand Path or my personal favorite, The Complete Path. The word Lucifer, meaning Bringer of Light, is used to indicate that our philosophy includes the goal of making knowledge available to others who seek it. While rational self-interest is viewed as important, this is not a path of pure selfishness. We seek to leave the world a better place than we found it through our individual and collective actions.

That being said, we do not focus exclusively on works of Light. It is also valuable to explore, understand and integrate the contents of the Shadow. We do not shun the Darkness for we understand that it is a very real part of ourselves. To shun it would not eliminate it but only repress it, where its contents will continue to grow twisted in the dark, subtly (or not so subtly) influencing our decisions. We can liberate a lot of mental and emotional energy by unraveling past traumas, addressing them with self-compassion and allowing them healthy expression and respect as a valid part of the complete self. Again, all of this works toward establishing a Complete Harmonized Self.

This balance of focus on both Light and Darkness is a large part of the New Luciferian Era, which the Greater Church of Lucifer fully embraces. The planet Venus is not only the Morning Star or “Bringer of Light” but is also the celestial body which produces the phenomenon of the Evening Star or “Bringer of Night.” They are like two sides to the same coin and we should strive to work with both these complementary forces towards the goal of elevating the human species through the empowerment of individuals.

The Greater Church of Lucifer is very much about community and education. While many of the members may be interested or involved in the occult, this is not the primary focus of the GCoL. Instead we first want to explore the philosophy and lifestyle of those who choose to take up the banner of Luciferianism. We have some very ambitious plans, including the establishment of brick and mortar locations for local meetings, starting in the areas with the most members and spreading out from there as we are able. We are also working on educational programs, campaigns to provide food for the hungry and even assistance with addiction related issues. To find out how you can get involved please check out GreaterChurchOfLucifer.org.

Biblical Exegesis: Nicodemus’ Mistake

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“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him: Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him” (John 3:1-2).

The phrase “A ruler of the Jews” indicates that Nicodemus symbolized an àrchön, which is the exact word used in the Greek original. An àrchön is the Gnostic technical term for any power or agent of the Demiurge, to whom John 12:31 refers with the words: ho àrchön toû kòsmou toùtou, “the ruler of this world”, whose agents, in Paul’s words, are hoi àrchontes toû aiônos toùtou (“the rulers of this aeon” – the kòsmos) of 1 Corinthians. 2: 6, 8 (there in the genitive). Therefore also Nicodemus’ name may be significant, for Nikòdëmos means “conqueror of the people”, and the Demiurge is the one who “conquers” people and keeps them in slavery through the power of his heimarmènë, the Fate (karma). This means of slavery is called the “counterfeit spirit” in the Apocryphon of John.

The Jewish Pharisees, in John’s Gospel, symbolize the hylic class of human beings. The Law of Moses according to Paul also symbolized the flesh and was thus crucified on the Cross. The Gospel of John attaches fundamental importance to the cross and through it Christ throws down the Prince of the world. It is the cross that for Paul and John, it must be looked upon in order to be saved, just as the bronze serpent was looked at.

The Demiurge rules within the shadows, and therefore moves in the darkness. Not by chance then Nicodemus “came to Jesus by night”. It is an apt description of Nicodemus’ life and all those who live within the cave of matter. Man is a prisoner of this cave, or the box of time-space continuum. Now how can any demiurgic power, or any man under the demiurgic rulership, understand the nature of what shines beyond its sphere?

First of all, such power or man cannot but reason in terms of heimarmènë, of cause and effect, ignoring that space and time do not exist beyond his world of cause and effect. He believes that he can recognize a divine incarnation (an Avatara) from the “signs” He does. He thinks he can measure the divine dimension as he would the ability and the cleverness of a juggler. Jesus does not waste his time in explaining him the difference. He just points at Nicodemus’ blindness (because of the darkness he moves in) and at the condition necessary to overcome it:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born ànöthen, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”(3:3).

Anöthen means both “anew” and “from above”. Naturally Nicodemus understands it in terms of time (“anew”) and of “reincarnation” which indicates his carnal thinking:

“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”.

Nicodemus is one of those who believe that one can reach the infinite by adding step to step, or that eternity is an infinite summation of days. He believes that finally his heimarmènë will produce the uncaused. Now Jesus tries to open Nicodemus’ eyes:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

(The words “of the water and” are missing in many ancient manuscripts). And Jesus explains the difference between the heimarmènë-bound world of matter and that of Spirit’s freedom:

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you: You must be born (ànöthen). The spirit (Pneuma) blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes”.

And finally He makes it clear what ànöthen really means:

“No one has ascended to heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man (the Anthröpos) (ho hyiòs toû anthròpou)”.

Here “the son of the Anthropos” is the Pneumatic (spiritual) element in man. Anöthen means a vertical movement intervening in the horizontal chain of cause and effect in time and space, which is the schêma, the latter being unable to stop itself. The laws of cause and effect are also very much a big concern in later Hermetic texts. Although this scene is not mentioned in Heracleon’s (a Valentinian teacher) fragments as preserved by Origen, he does give some interesting insights into another scene that is somewhat reminiscent of the scene with Nicodemus. Here is one example taken from these fragments:

Fragment 20, on John 4:21 (In John it says, “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.’”) The mountain represents the Devil, or his world, since the Devil was one part of the whole of matter, but the world is the total mountain of evil, a deserted dwelling place of beasts, to which all who lived before the law and all Gentiles render worship. But Jerusalem represents the creation or the Creator whom the Jews worship. . . The mountain is the creation which the Gentiles worship, but Jerusalem is the creator whom the Jews serve. You then who are spiritual should worship neither the creation nor the Craftsman (Demiurge – my emphasis), but the Father of Truth. And he (Jesus) accepts her (the Samaritan woman) as one of the already faithful, and to be counted with those who worship in truth.

As we can see, allegory was a common teaching tool that many early Christians and Gnostics were engaged in. Even Hellenistic Jews like Philo Judeaus of Alexandria was heavily invested in this allegorical methodology but applied to the Old Testament. Another example of this can be seen in the Valentinian teacher Theodutus’ fragments as preserved by Clement of Alexandria:

XXIV. For we are of the earth. . . . Caesar is the prince, for the thee being, whose earthly image is the old man, to which he has returned. To him, then, we are to render the earthly things, which we bore in the image of the earthly, and the things of God to God. For each one of the passions is on us as a letter, and stamp, and sign. Now the Lord marks us with another stamp, and with other names and letters, faith instead of unbelief, and so forth. Thus we are translated from what is material to what is spiritual, “having borne the image of the heavenly.” [2]

Stay tuned for more small posts like these in the tradition of the Biblical Exegesis.