The Great Declaration: A Commentary (Part 3)

In Part 2, we examined further parallels between Simon Magus and Jesus along with Paul. We also examined a few key aspects about Daniel and Ezekiel and their relationship with Simonianism (the role of the Prophets in Gnostic thought will be further examined). However, one important detail that I have not yet examined is the eponymous figure of John the Baptist. While there are many versions of John the Baptist as there are many versions of Jesus and Paul (generic Catholic/Orthodox, Muslim, Mandaean, modern occult/mythicist), what I suggest may not sit well with any of these groups. Here, I propose that John was the forerunner of Simon Magus. 

Like Simon, John was an astrologer and Magician. He never met any man named Jesus and he was dead before Simon Magus returned from Alexandria, Egypt to compete with Dositheus for the primacy of the Samaritan sect as mentioned in the Clementine Homilies. As I have been demonstrating in Part 1 and Part 2, all three of these characters were destined to be remodeled into people like Jesus, Paul, and even Peter. Jesus also exhibits characteristics from John, in other ways Simon and at times, Dositheus, hence: the Trinity. Peter also took on the name of Simon and also exhibits characteristics of Dositheus who is also named Nathaniel. Paul also exhibits many parallels with Simon. The authentic John, Simon, and Dositheus are hidden within these masks. The very root of the Christianity is essentially proto-Gnostic.

First, were going to examine the next part of the Great Declaration:

As it is written in Scripture: “For the vineyard of the Lord Sabaoth is the house of Israel, and a man of Judah is well-love shoot.” And if a man of Judah is a well-loved shoot, it is evident that the tree is nothing but a man. As to its being divided and distributed, scripture has spoken plainly enough and suffices for the instruction of those who have ripened unto perfection, to wit: “All flesh is mere grass, and everything which mortal’s glory is like the wildflower. The grass is dried up, and the wild flower droops, but the word of the Lord endures through the aeon.” So the world of the Lord is the speech which comes to flower in the mouth and in the world, for where else may it be produced?

And when Moses says, “In six days God made the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh rest from all his labors,” he tells a great mystery. This may be seen from the contradictions wherein Moses says light into being on the first day. When, therefore, Moses says that there are three days before the generation of the sun and the moon, he means esoterically mind and thought, or heaven and earth, and the seventh power, the Boundless. For these three powers were begotten before all others. And when he says, “He has begotten me before all the aeons, the words are used with reference to the seventh power. So this seventh power, which was the first power subsisting in the Boundless Power, which was begotten before all aeons, this is the seventh power of which Moses says, “And the Spirit of God hovered over the water,” which means the Spirit which holds all thing in itself, the image of the Boundless Power, the image reflecting the eternal form which by itself order everything. For the power hovering above the water is begotten by an immortal form and by itself orders everything.

The above passage is obviously an exegetic exercise of Genesis’ creation account and how the Simonian author interpreted the text, esoterically with references of Sabaoth and the seven days of the week being linked with the Seven Aeons of Simon’s Tree of Life aenology and the “seven angels of who made the world”. Here, again, we also see the idea of the Two Trees, one being mortal, a copy and vulnerable to being dissolved in a truly apocalyptic scenario and the other being the ideal model, eternal and unshakable in its root. The reference of the Spirit hovering over the water, is also reflective of the idea that the Monad, or the Unknowable Father reflected upon itself upon the living waters of the upper aeons as stated by many Gnostic codices. This mirror idea can also been seen when Sophia (in other times the Anthropos or Divine Man) looks down upon the prima materia or chaotic waters and is attracted by her own image, thus producing her lion-faced abortion from this erotic reaction.

This passage specifically includes the speculations of many Jewish heretics, which resulted in two figures: Ialdaboath and Sabaoth, both destined to play different roles in Gnostic theology. One was the “young god” or “Son of God” (Saboath), and the other was the “god of hosts” (Ialdaboath) as either figure was thought to exchange roles as the sovereign power of the cosmos. The two powers in heaven was the Unkowable God and the Demiurgical creator god. One is remote from matter, the other destined to shape matter as the Pantokrator or the lord of generation, Protogenetor.

The heresy of the “two powers of heaven”, however, doesn’t exactly originate in Gnostic dualism or early Christianity but rather in the Jewish speculation about the Name or the Bearer of the Name, being Jaoel or little YHWH (later being called Metatron). Philo of Alexandria calls the Angel of the Lord or Logos, a second God as a positive power rather than an antagonistic one like chief ruler of the Apocryphon of John.

This distinction that the Hypostasis of the Archons and the Origin of the World make between Ialdabaoth and Sabaoth might also be remembered. They were two figures of the God of the Bible, but only the first is rejected. If Sabaoth remains distinct from the true God, at least he is depicted as submitting himself to Wisdom. Sabaoth, in the Apocryphon of John, is depicted as having a dragon’s face. This corresponds to many instances of Yahweh having many dragon-like characteristics as mentioned in the Old Testament, such as Zechariah 10:8, Psalm 18:8, 2 Samuel 22:9, etc. Maybe God is a draconian reptilian from Orion! Watch out, David Icke!

Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake

The names of the Archons such as Ialdaboath, Iao, Sabaoth, Adonai, Eloeus/Aiolaiso, Horais/Oreus, Astophaios as featured in Contra Celsus (VI 21 and 32), Irenaeus’ Against Heresies (30,5), all indicate that the creator god was depersonalized into multiple angelic powers. And it these powers that the above verse indicates as representing the seven days of the week. These are of course the same angelic powers that detained fallen Wisdom or in Simon’s case, Helen. According to Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (VIII, 14, 1) the heretical teacher, Monoimos spoke of the first six days of creation as six “powers”. For the first six days, they were represented as angels, but the seventh, being more sacred, could be representative of being God himself.

Like Yahweh, the seven angels or Archons are also the originators of not only the “coat of skins” of Adam and Eve, and the formation of the world, but also the Law of Moses. The Mandaeans (a Middle eastern baptist sect and the only Gnostic group barely in existence today from antiquity), for example, also knew that the Seven participated in the redaction of the Torah. Moreover, the Gnostic belief that the Creator had a lion’s face (the Zodiacal sign being Leo) seems to underscore the fiery/solar nature of the YHWH as indicated a few instances in the Old Testament.

IAO Sabaoth

“Yahweh of Hosts who dwells (among) the cherubim” (1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 1 Kings 8:6–7) is an expression for the God of Israel that is virtually synonymous with the theology of the Jerusalem Temple. This seemingly enigmatic expression “Yahweh of Hosts” (Yahweh Tsva’ot) implies that Yahweh was head of the stars and was to be identified with the most important star of all, the sun. Support for this suggestion is found in several Biblical passages: “You who are enthroned on the cherubim, shine forth. … Restore us, O God; let your face shine” (Psalm 80:2–3); “The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran” (Deuteronomy 33:2).

Moreover, in Jewish incantations and prayers of the Graeco-Roman period we find such prayers as “Hail Helios, thou God in the heavens, your name is mighty … ” and an incantation that invokes “Helios on the cherubim.”

YHWH Helios

Moreover, Yahweh happened to be worshiped and praised by many ancient Roman pagans, such as Celsus in his The True Doctrine as attested by Origen in Contra Celsus. Yahweh was also worshiped and sacrificed to in a similar manner of that of a pagan solar deity! At the same time, Yahweh was seen as nothing special, in comparison with the vast number of deities, gods and heroes of the ancient world despite his jealous vanity. Even Plato in the Republic, Book 2.7 recognized Yahweh as belonging to the vast pantheon of multiple gods in existence, belonging to different tribes:

“The gods, too, may be turned from their purpose; and men pray to them and avert their wrath by sacrifices and soothing entreaties, and by libations and the odor of fat, when they have sinned and transgressed.” And they produce a host of books written by Mousaios and Orpheus, … according to which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

As mentioned in Part 2, Simon saw the prophets or “heralds” as belonging to different archons or the false gods of the Jews (see Irenaeus AH book 1, ch. 30, paragraph 11). Similar to Plato’s contention, each tribe of Israel was assigned a different god or angelic ruler. It appears that the Israelites themselves were polytheists!

“Moreover, they distribute the prophets in the following manner: Moses, and Joshua the son of Nun, and Amos, and Habakkuk, belonged to Ialdabaoth;  Samuel, and Nathan, and Jonah, and Micah, to Iao; Elijah, Joel, and Zechariah to Sabaoth; Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel, to Adohai; Tobias and Haggai to Eloi; Michaiah and Nahum to Oreus; Esdras and Zephaniah to Astanphaeus. Each one  of these, then, glorifies his own father and God, and they maintain that Sophia, herself has also spoken many things through them regarding the first Anthropos  (man), and concerning that Christ who is above, thus admonishing and reminding men of  the incorruptible light, the first Anthropos, and of the descent of Christ. The  [other] powers being terrified by these things, and marvelling at the novelty of  those things which were announced by the prophets, Prunicus brought it about by  means of Ialdabaoth (who knew not what he did), that emissions of two men took place, the one from the barren Elizabeth, and the other from the Virgin Mary.”

Reading from Irenaeus’ testimony, it appears that the birth of John and Jesus was thought to be a trick on Ialdabaoth/Yahweh/Jove by Prunicus (Sophia) to prepare a vessel for Christ’s descent into the world, for the liberation of the children of light from those who, “wise of their own interests beyond the children of light”, as mentioned by the Gospel of Luke. These dual redeemers- one who made the way, and the other the Paraclete who explained it- would free mankind from the flood of ignorance that the angry and jealous false notions of God had brought by way of the prophets. Thus, the Gnostics, like their forerunner, Simon, held a lower view of the prophets in the sense that only some of which each said was inspired by Sophia or Wisdom, while the rest were inspired by the Lawgiver and his angels.

One of Simon’s successors, Saturnilus would claim that the prophets themselves were strangers to the revelation of the true God (Irenaeus, AH, 1, 24, 2). However, the lack of an explicit reference of a Demiurge figure in the Great Declaration is notable as there are only angelic powers that govern the world in this Simonian myth, but the fact that it quotes the New Testament suggests that it is a later writing (2nd to 3rd century) and the author more than likely was aware of the myth of the Demiurge. John the Baptist was of course, also considered a “herald” of the coming Logos, and other times, was considered the Logos or Christ himself. In this instance, Jesus and John would be conflated as the same person! And even in other instances, John the Baptist is also condemned with the rest of the Old Testament prophets as seen in the Second Treatise of the Great Seth.

St John the Baptist, the Angel

Simon as Successor to John the Baptist

In the two works ascribed to St. Clement of Rome, the Clementine Homilies and Recognition’s, we learn that Simon Magus is intimately connected with John the Baptist. In it, it lists Jesus as representing the sun (just as Yahweh is sometimes depicted as the sun) and had twelve apostles corresponding with the twelve signs of the Zodiac. John the Baptist represents the moon, and had thirty disciples, corresponding with the thirty days during which the moon completes its heavenly circuit. These disciples also corresponded with various aeons as listed by the Valentinians. Owing to the fact that the moon does not occupy thirty full days, one of these disciples is a young woman. In one of these works she is called Helen, in another Luna. The reason being that Helena’s name is changed to Luna to reflect what was stated in the Homilies above about her being half a man (Aristotle would agree) and making up the imperfect cycle of the moon in it’s final half day. Luna, of course, means Moon in Latin.

But that he came to deal with the doctrines of religion happened on this wise. There was one John, a day-baptist, who was also, according to the method of combination, the forerunner of our Lord Jesus; and as the Lord had twelve apostles, bearing the number of the twelve months of the sun, so also he, John, had thirty chief men, fulfilling the monthly reckoning of the moon, in which number was a certain woman called Helena, that not even this might be without a dispensational significance.

Sun & Moon

Hippolytus and Eusebius as well as by the author(s) of the Clementine writings, describes this Simon as a baptist and as a disciple of John the Baptist. On both counts, this makes the Clementine picture of Simon a valuable one as representing a still surviving tradition about one who has been called “the first Gnostic”. Accordingly, Simon was also the immediate successor to John, in his untimely death, the Baptist was another Samaritan, Dositheus, as Simon was in Egypt at the time of the Baptist’s martyrdom. The Clementine Homilies. 11. xxiv recounts that when Simon returned, the two men quarreled. Simon’s superiority was proved miraculously after a magical duel (like how Simon and Peter battle it out in front of Nero, although in this battle Simon loses whereas in the battle between Dositheus, Simon wins) and Dositheus ceded his position as head of the sect to Simon and forms his own group. According to the Clementines, it is Dositheus who get’s John’s instructions incorrect and Simon proves his gumption by defeating him. Legend may contain grains of truth and we know from patristic sources that baptizing sects of the Simonian school survived for some time.

The Orthodox polemicist and historian Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, IV. xi, names offshoots of the Simonian type: Simon’s immediate successor, the Samaritan Menander (op. cit. III. xv), Saturninus in Antioch, and in Rome Cerdo, all came under this heading. The last-named, according to Eusebius, settled in Rome in the time of, “Hyginus who held the ninth place in the Apostolic succession.” Contemporary with Cerdo and Valentinus was Marcus the Magician, whose sacramental mysteries are described in a slanderous manner by Irenaeus in Against Heresies, where Marcus taught that the wine of the Eucharist symbolized Wisdom’s blood instead of Jesus’. In what appears to have been a hieros gamos rite, ‘cups were mixed with wine’. As the cup of wine is offered, he prays that “Grace may flow” (AH 1.13.2) into all who drink of it. Eusebius gives a slightly more moderate account:

Some of them [i.e. the Murcosim] construct a bride-chamber and celebrate a mystery with certain invocations on their initiate and say that what they do is a spiritual marriage according to the likeness of the unions above; others bring them to water and baptize them with this invocation; ‘To the name of the Unknown Father of the Universe, to Truth, the mother of all things, to Him who descended into Jesus’, and others invoke Hebrew words in order more fully to amaze the initiate. (Op. cit. IV. xi.)’

The words “who descended into Jesus” recall the Jewish-Christian belief that Jesus, as Messiah and Son of God, had appeared in or been foreshadowed by other “true prophets” or “prophets of the truth”; a belief which appears plainly in Luke ix. 18-20. Matt. xvii. 10-13, and John i. 21. Simon the Magian, too, looked upon himself as an embodiment of, or as possessed by, the divine “Father”, the androgynous Father-and-Mother in One, when he calls himself “the Standing (i.e. ‘living’, ‘persisting’) One”.

John the Baptist

For some people like the Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci, John was the Christ. This belief goes back at least as far back in literature as the Clementine Recognitions.

Yea, some even of the disciples of John, who seemed to be great ones, have separated themselves from the people, and proclaimed their own master as the Christ. But all these schisms have been prepared, that by means of them the faith of Christ and baptism might be hindered.” Clementine Recognitions 1.54

“And, behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus Himself declared that John was greater than all men and all prophets.” Clementine Recognitions 1.60

This is the same John who taught Dositheus and Simon Magus, the notorious heresiarchs of the early days of a blooming “Christianity”. One might be familiar with the rebellious yet righteous John who chastises kings and loses his head after a lap dance of death from Salome. Which head he lost is best left to the imagination. This same John appears in the Gospel of John as his follower Nathaniel is an Israelite and his buddy Jesus is accused of being a Samaritan Magician with a daemon and Nathaniel actually means “gift of God” as does Dositheus. Even stranger still, the conflation between in Jesus and John seems to be alluded in Mark 11:28-30 when Jesus counters the chief priests’ question as to his authority by asking their estimate of John’s authorization:

And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.

Another curious parallel between Jesus and John can be found in Mark 6:14 and Romans 1:4. The emphasized words are in bold:

…and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

Could it be that John, instead was the one who achieved resurrection and took on the title “Jesus” as Philippians 2:6-11 claims? Maybe Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t that off after all. John also happens proclaims himself the Standing One like Simon in the Mandaean Book of John when he says:

“Stand not I here alone? I go to and fro. Where is a prophet equal to me? Who makes proclamation equal to my proclamations, and who doth discourse with my wondrous voice?”

The narcissism of John in the Mandaean Book of John is unrivaled by any other Biblical figure. John losing his head is a strange occurrence. The Apocryphon of James, has the “Lord” telling James:

“Do you not know that the head of prophecy was cut off with John?”

It is not altogether clear what this passage is intended to mean. It could be a derogatory passage against prophets but who really knows for sure?

“Head anyone?”

To be decapitated is usually a sign that one was a Roman citizen. Paul was said to have been decapitated as well while Peter, at the same time, was supposedly crucified. In ancient Egypt as attested in the Pyramid TextsCoffin Texts, the Book Going Forth by Day/Book of the Dead, as well as an array of the royal Nether-world Books, to have one’s head cut off was an intensely negative thing, which basically meant that the spirit was cut off from the afterlife or the night lands (e.g. the Second Death or oblivion). This is a common motif in ancient literature and cultural beliefs. The nagging question remains to be answered: Was John a Roman citizen?

Gustave Moreau

It is said that John was killed while Simon was in Egypt. In the Gospel of Matthew, we find that Jesus was in Egypt before the baptism scene (see Matthew 2:13-18), but instead of returning upon the death of John, Jesus returns upon the death of Herod (see Matthew 2:19-23). To make matters even more intriguing, Herod the Great never slaughtered the infants as told in this writing. In Josephus’ writings the information is relayed that Herod planned to fill up the Hippodrome with infants and then slaughter them but died before he carried it out.

This leads me to the John of Josephus. In Josephus’ records, Jesus is killed before John the Baptist as found in the golden passage that is so controversial. John is then killed in 26/27 AD or 33 AD depending on what, “About this time”, means following, “in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius”.

“Now, some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins only, but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now, when others came in crowds about him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure against him.” – Antiquities of the Jews 18.5.2 and 18.3.3

This account complements the one concerning the prophet abused by Pontius Pilate at Mt. Gerizim while trying to separate the mythical, messianic aspects from John. In both cases a crowd assembles in Samaria and it appears clear that the assembly is without provocative or insidious intent. In the cases of both Pilate and Herod, only simple political precaution motivated their brutal aggression against the Baptist and his unfortunate disciples who were left rudderless and splintering into other diverging groups and factions along with their leaders (e.g., Ebionites, Sabeans, Mandaeans, Nasoreans, Barbelo-Gnostics, with Simon, Dositheos, Jesus, Marcion, Valentinus, Menander, etc, etc.) after his murder.

The Gospel of Thomas is very much in opposition to the above texts:

“Jesus said, “From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much greater than John the Baptist that his eyes should not be averted.

But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will recognize the (Father’s) kingdom and will become greater than John.”

It seems Thomas is trying to say that John was so great one could not look upon him as a sign of respect, as if he were the Lord himself. This is the very opposite of how the Mandaean Book of John portray Jesus and John’s relationship as being entirely hostile and antagonistic. Mandaean literature dates more than likely, much later than what they claim (probably around the 6th century) than Simonian and Gnostic literature, so they could be inaccurate about the true nature of John and Jesus’/Simon’s relationship. One John complains about Jesus, the carpenter God, and Paul even:

“YAHYĀ proclaims in the nights.—Glory rises over the worlds.

Who told Yeshu (Eshu)? Who told Yeshu Messiah, son of Miryam, who told Yeshu, so that he went to the shore of the Jordan and said [unto Yahyā]: “Yahyā, baptize me with thy baptizing and utter o’er me also the Name thy wont is to utter. If I show myself as thy pupil, I will remember thee then in my writing; p. 49 I attest not myself as thy pupil, then wipe out my name from thy page,”

Thereon Yahyā answered Yeshu Messiah in Jerusalem: “Thou hast lied to the Jews and deceived the priests. Thou hast cut off their seed from the men and from the women bearing and being pregnant. The sabbath, which Moses made binding, hast thou relaxed in Jerusalem. Thou hast lied unto them with horns and spread abroad disgrace with the shofar.”

Notice here that we have a Jesus who discourages procreation and relaxes the Sabbath. This Jesus is like the Jesus of the Gospel of John, who’s Father is always at work. This God of his is the Great Invisible Spirit of Simon who is above the creator. He never took a day off, he never had a Sabbath but rather he allowed the Sabbath for man as a consolation for his hardships in life (Egypt).

Yet, whoever becomes a child of light will recognize the kingdom of the Father and become greater than John. This John is merely a servant of the Demiurge. It would not be shocking for him to represent the Demiurge, as many scholars such as Elaine Pagels in the Gnostic Paul, have noticed similar instances in which figures such as David and Abraham are symbolic of the Demiurge in Valentinian exegesis of the Apostolikon (a collection of Paul the Apostle’s letters) as attested to the arch-heretic Marcion of Pontus. Perhaps this is why John the Baptist was condemned in Treat. of Seth. 

John, the Womb?

Da Vinci's Fetus Sketch

Finally, we’ve arrived to the next part of the Great Declaration which also happens to parallel one excerpt from the Testimony of Truth:

“But the Son of Man came forth from Imperishability, being alien to defilement. He came to the world by the Jordan river, and immediately the Jordan turned back. And John bore witness to the descent of Jesus. For it is he who saw the power which came down upon the Jordan river; for he knew that the dominion of carnal procreation had come to an end. The Jordan river is the power of the body, that is, the senses of pleasures. The water of the Jordan is the desire for sexual intercourse. John is the archon of the womb.”

John is clearly symbolic of the womb and that womb’s waters are the Jordan or the seas of the world, which is life-giving water; no planet can flourish with life, none of the plants, animals and mankind could thrive or even exist without its life-giving water. This water at the same time enslaves us. John is basically depicted as the ruler or “archon” of procreation. As in the Mandaean Book of John it is said that Yahya did not marry much like how the Jesus of the Gospels remained abstinent. John knew that procreation and the cosmos would eventually come to an end so he was trying to just cut mankind’s losses and throw in the towel prematurely it seems.

The mystery of child birth was a great one for the ancients and even for Simon Magus. It is mentioned in patristics and Simon’s Great Declaration. The river Jordan became a symbol of this. This is likely why children are emphasized along with water and birth pangs, in many Christian/Gnostic documents. In John 19: 31-34, water and blood flows from Jesus’ side when he was pierced by the spear of one of the Roman soldiers. This seems to be symbolic of birth trauma and perhaps even the breaking of the hymen during intercourse. The Great Declaration provides us a very similar account to the Testimony of Truth, in which I will quote in full:

Having made the world in some such fashion, God, as Moses says, formed man by taking dirt from the ground. And he made him not single but double according to both the image of the likeness. And the image is that Spirit hovering over the water which, if it does not mature into its true form, perishes along with the world since it has lingered in potentiality and never attain unto actuality. And this what scripture means when it says, ”So we may not be condemned along with the world.” But if it matures perfectly into its intended image and it is begotten from an indivisible point, the small shall become great. And this great thing shall persist through the endless and eternal aeon since it no longer belongs to the process of becoming.

How and in what manner does God fashion man? In the Garden. We must view the womb as a garden or a cave, as in the scripture when it says, “It was you who formed my inner parts, you who knitted me together in my mother’s womb. My frame was not unknown to you when I was being made in secret, intricately crafted in the caverns of the earth.” This is why he chose this metaphor. So when he speaks of the Garden, Moses referred allegorically to the womb. Or so he must if we are to believe the world and not dismiss it as nonsense.

And if God fashion man in his mother’s womb, that is, the Garden, as I have said, not only must the womb be understood for the Garden, but Eden is to be understood as the area around the womb, and then “river going out of Eden to water to Garden” as the umbilical cord. This cord is divided into four channels. On either side of the cord are a pair of air ducts so the fetus my breathe and a pair of veins through which the blood flows carry it from the Edenic region through the so-called gates of the liver, they nourish the fetus. And the air-ducts, channels for the breath which surround the bladder on either side in the pelvic region are united at the great duct called the dorsal aorta. In this way the breath passing through the lateral doors into the heart provokes the motion of the embryo. For as long as the babe is being fashioned in the Garden, it neither receives nourishment by the mouth nor breathes through the nostrils. As it is completely surrounded in water, death would strike as soon as it were to take a breath. It would inhale the fluid and die. Father, the whole is contained in an envelope called the amnion and nourished through the umbilical cord and receives the same thing breath conveys through the dorsal duct, as I said.

Thus, the river which goes out of Eden and divides into the streams, four ducts, speaks in reality of the four senses of the fetus: vision, smelling, taste, and touch, these being the only senses possessed by the child while still in the womb.

If Carl Jung read this, he would have given a standing ovation to Simon Magus’ insight of the Garden of Eden being an allegory for the womb. To Jung paradise was the positive aspect of the archetypal mother, and he related it to the Kingdom of God and the Heavenly Jerusalem, symbols of salvation. Carl Jung of course had a lot more to say about these issues than Freud, who on clinical grounds would be more reluctant to stress universal symbols in the dreams of his mental patients. In this formula, Exit from the Garden meant a life of hardship in the Wastelands of Matter, then the Quest for the Holy Grail being the Source, and finally Knowledge and Apotheosis. Hippolytus in Ref. 5.19, claimed the Sethian-Gnostics (being Dosithean disciples) held very similar ideas to Simon:

Heaven and earth have a shape similar to the womb …and if…anyone  wants to investigate this, let him carefully examine the pregnant womb of any living creature, and he will discover an image of the heavens and the earth.

Marcus the Valentinian Magician, would declare that such views comes directly from “the cry of the newborn,” a spontaneous cry of praise for “the glory of the primal being, in which the powers above are in harmonious embrace” (AH 1.14.7-8). A prophet and visionary, Marcus calls himself the “womb and recipient of Silence” (AH 1.14.1). The visions Marcus received of the divine being appeared, he reports, in female form. This all would of course, mirror Valentinus’ Vision of the Logos being a newborn infant: “I saw a newborn child, and questioned it to find out who it was. And the child answered me saying, “I am the Word.” The idea of the Virgin Birth is also interpreted symbolically to mean the Spirit was virginal (as well as the Mother Earth from which Adam is formed from) and was seen as synonymous with Mother Wisdom as attested in Marcus the Magician’s doctrines as well as the Gospel of Philip.

In Mathew and Luke the Mary who gives birth to Jesus is a virgin. Jesus was born by the holy spirit descending into Mary and not through conception by a man. This is the point the gospel writers are trying to make. Believing that the birth of Jesus was physical they do so through the absurd idea of a virgin giving physical birth.

According to the Clementine Recognitions (2.7), Simon also claimed to be born of a virgin:

“For before my mother Rachel and he came together, she, still a virgin, conceived me, while it was in my power to be either small or great, and to appear as a man among men.”

Symbolic interpretations of the Garden of Eden have been many and varied. Ancient Hermetic writings as well as the Naasenes of Hippolytus saw it as the head rather than the womb. The Fall of Man from Eden is also associated with Adam’s discovery of his sexuality, following from the temptation to eat the “fruit of knowledge” thanks to the eager intercession of the Serpent, who also has very overt sexual, occult and alchemical connotations as discussed in Part 2 of my Forbidden Fruit series. The garden where Venus and Adonis cavorted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses was sometimes also equated with the Garden of Eden.

Getting back to the Orthodox John the Baptist, it is stated in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus came to be baptized by John the fifteenth year of Tiberius. This is roughly 28 AD, after September 18th. That means it occurred around the winter of 28/29 AD. That is about one to two years after John died in 26/27 AD! This lends credence to my conjecture that Jesus was just a title for Simon who returned from Egypt after the death of John. Probably about year after his death. In that year, Dositheus who is Peter/ Nathanael, ran the sect. Anyway, I hope I have showed you a side of John you hoped you’d never see and I hope I busted your Orthodox cranium wide open.

In Part 4 and eventually 5, we’ll go more in depth about Samaritian concept of the Messiah, Simon’s possible connection with Philo of Alexandria and Moses, as well as the Orphic and Hermetic mystery cults and its mystagogue Saviors. Until next time truth seekers.

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