Robert Sullivan IV is a historian, antiquarian, theologian, researcher and attorney who also dedicates himself to researching all the intricacies of the occult and the esoteric in Freemasonic influence on modern society, politics and popular culture. What spurred my interest in his work was his interview with Miguel Conner on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, especially with his take on The Ninth Gate, a film I plan on analyzing in a future post. You can find his work here. On to the interview!
1. For those, who aren’t aware of your work, what is the premise of your current book, “The Royal Arch of Enoch?”
A: “The Royal Arch of Enoch” presents a historical anomaly never before analyzed by any historians or Masonic researchers. My book documents that a high degree Masonic Ritual as developed in France in the mid-1700’s was incorporating elements of the Book of Enoch (I Enoch) which was unknown to the West until 1821 when it was finally translated into English. It is this high degree ritual – known as “The Royal Arch of Enoch” – and its related philosophies and symbology that has helped define the United States of America.
2. How does the Book of Enoch and other Jewish apocrypha influence Freemasonry philosophy and ritual?
A: With regard to I Enoch, it has to do with both the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton and the restoration of wisdom inscribed on the Pillars of Enoch. Within Masonic Lore, only through the correct pronunciation of the name of God is the seven liberal arts and mathematics restored. This knowledge is gleaned by Enoch via his interactions with Arch-Angels and Demons as described in I Enoch. In the Testament of Solomon the wise King interacts with “Enochian” demons as described in Ars Goetia; naturally it is the construction of Solomon’s Temple that is the focal point of the third degree Masonic ritual.
3. You claim that the Bible itself is more of a coded compendium of books that detail astrological or astro-theological ideas and symbolism for the initiate to recognize and I would agree with this. There are other authors, like Neville Goddard or purpose a more holistic/psychological approach to reading the biblical cannon. What are your thoughts on this?
A: Yes, in “The Royal Arch of Enoch” I present evidence that the Bible – both Old and New Testament – is an astrological metaphor; it is clear to this Masonic author that the Bible is an astrological manual. The Bible documents four ages based on the Precession of the Equinoxes: the Age of Taurus, the Age of Aries which in the Old Testament is Judaism – Moses is often depicted with ram horns symbolizing Aries. The New Testament is Christianity which is the worship of Pisces the Fishes – Christ as the “Sun of God” the fisherman – and the new age of Aquarius. Although I have heard of him, I am not familiar enough with the works of Neville Goddard enough to offer comment.
4. Is it possible to trace any specific Gnostic influence on Freemasonry and Freemasonic ideas? And can the Architect of Freemasonry be compared to the Platonic/Gnostic idea of the Demiurge or the World-Craftsman?
The concept of the “Great Architect” parallels the demiurge EXCEPT that within Masonry the Supreme Being would be a positive, not negative influence. Like Gnosticism, Masonry has its own dying yet resurrected sun man which is Hiram Abif. In Gnostic-Christianity (and Christianity in general) it is of course Jesus (cf. Horus, Mithras, Attis, etc) the dying yet resurrected solar messiah.
5. What are your personal favorite texts from the Bible and the Nag Hammadi Library?
A: My favorite line from the Bible is when God admonishes Job for not understanding astrology nor being aware of its influence. Job 38:31 God says: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?”
6. There are a few other researchers out there that propose modern money to be akin to alchemy and magic. What are some peculiar elements of symbolism tied with our money/cash system? And does this have anything to do with the popular notion or idea of the Law of Attraction?
A: The United States monetary system was designed – in part – by the Federalists Party namely Alexander Hamilton based on occult notions regarding credit and debt. There are elements of alchemy in the Federalist philosophy because, in sum, one is creating wealth out of seemingly nothingness. To the alchemist this would be the transmutation of base metal into gold or ignorance into wisdom. To the conspiracist this is best emblematized by the placing of the Great Seal of United States on the back of the one dollar bill as a Masonic control mechanism. However, the backing of paper green money with gold – our current system – is more occult than alchemical as the United States gold supply is “hidden” in Ft. Knox. Whether it is really there I leave to the reader to decide.
7. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subliminal symbolism going on in the film The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp. There is also the theory that Johnny Depp’s character, Dean Corso, represents a Gnostic aspirant or initiate or possibly Lucifer himself, who is simply has forgotten his identity as the Light-Bringer in the course of the film but achieves self-knowledge when he enters into the portal of the Cathar Church. What are your thoughts on all of this?
A: There is a lot going on in that film and I present an analysis of it in “The Royal Arch of Enoch”. I discuss more of its symbolism in my forthcoming book titled “Cinema Symbolism”. Clearly one will see elements of the Gnosticism with the character of Liana St. Martin-Telfer; her first name reflects the goddess Lilith as “Liana” Hermes Trismegistus incarnates as the Ceneza twin: Hermes is of course Mercury which rules the sign of Gemini the Twins as such the “Twins” are the restorers of lost wisdom. Boris Balken loosely reflects English magician Aleister Crowley while the composer of “The Ninth Gate” Aristide Torchia parallels Giordano Bruno who was likewise burned at the stake.
8. Do you think Freemasonry along with the Illuminati have been unfairly maligned by Christian Fundamentalists, the populace in general and the media?
A: Yes and No. Christian Fundamentalist, while trying to damage Freemasonry, have actually helped. More and more men joining the Masonic Temple are doing so out of a desire to understand the occult and esoterica. These are themes that Freemasonry – for so many years – tried to distance itself from. I am glad to report that Freemasonry is once again embracing the esoterica and the occult.
9. This also ties into the previous question. Why do you think many heretical and occult groups throughout the ages, starting with the Gnostics, Manicheans, Mandeans, Hypatia of Alexandria through the Cathars, the Albigensians, the witch burnings in Europe etc to people like Giordano Bruno, Joan of Arc, etc, have all suffered persecution from the bloodied hands of the Roman Catholic Church and to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodoxy?
A: Because they possessed occult wisdom and knowledge that was a threat to the orthodoxy. I suggest in my book that this is the entire purpose of secret societies and modern day Freemasonry is the preservation of the Ancient Mysteries handed down through the Gnostics, the Cathers, the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, the Jesuits, to what one would call Freemasonry.
10. What influence does Maximilien de Robespierre (the French lawyer and politician during the French Revolution) command on your work and the mythicist movement in general?
A: Robespierre (not a Mason) is important to me because he was willing to lay his beliefs on the line irregardless of the consequences. He was a true martyr of the French Revolution who died rather than wavering from his principles and belief system. Robespierre fostered the “Cult of the Supreme Being” and the “Worship of Reason” which can clearly be seen in both Blue Lodge and High Degree Masonry.
11. How does King David and his son, the great wise and wealthy King Solomon figure into your research? Are they actual historical figures or symbolic ones?
A: Yes – it is from the construction of Solomon’s Temple that Masonic Ritual is based. As I present in “The Royal Arch of Enoch” there are astro-theological ties to the name Solomon”. To bifurcate the name is “Sol” and “omon” or “Sol” and “moon” – the sun and moon as the lesser lights of the craft. Alternatively “Sol” and “omon” can be “Sol” and “mono” or the “One Sun” as the sun is the most important symbol within Freemasonry.
12. How does being an attorney influence your work on Freemasonry, occult symbolism and spirituality in general? Or maybe it’s the other way around?
A: It’s both and it’s a great question. When writing about Masonry I like to present a hypothesis and then lay out the arguments supporting it while dispelling the arguments against it. This comes straight out of my legal training. Alternatively, the legal profession in the United States is overloaded with Freemasonry and occultism. If one has been to law school in the United States one eventually took a course called “Evidence” which lays out the evidentiary system in America. The rules of “evidence” are based upon the works and analysis of Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) who was a Freemason and occultist. Greenleaf was the founder of Harvard Law School who compared the American lawyer or attorney to a “New World” Druidic Arch-Priest in numerous treatises. The American legal system reflects occult and Masonic sorcery: 12 jurors in the box are the 12 houses of the Zodiac, the judge wears the black robes of Saturn (as a Father-God presiding figure), the “court” is an astrological “Star Chamber”, etc.