Nietzsche

Hidden Knowledge in the Grail Temple

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The Holy Grail story is familiar to many in the western world; to some it is an icon of literature and to others a source of comical amusement thanks to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is absolutely true that the Holy Grail represents the divine knowledge gained at the end of an inward spiritual journey—knowledge that is gradually lost through the cyclical ages that Hesiod, Vedic and even Hermetic traditions speak of.

Traditionally, it is a legend commencing in late 12th century, created by French and German poets like Wolfram von Eschenbach in Parzival. The Holy Grail takes various forms: a plate or bowl containing the bread of Holy Communion for the Fisher King. It is also portrayed as a stone cast down from heaven on which the abstaining angels stood for sanctuary when Lucifer rebelled against God as mentioned in texts like Isaiah and Ezekiel. The gem was given to Adam when he lived in the Garden of Eden after the rebellion of the angels. When he and Eve were cast out, the Grail was lost to him as well. Seth, Adam’s progeny, was said to have gained re-entry into Eden and to have recovered the sacred vessel. Significantly, Seth remained in paradise for 40 years. The number 40 is itself a mystical motif; Moses wandered for 40 years in the desert, with Noah on the ark 40 days and nights, for Jesus was tempted for 40 days.

It is also a cup in which Joseph of Arimathea collected Christ’s blood on the cross. More modern interpretations include Mary Magdalene as the receptacle of Jesus’ seed as the foundation for the “Merovingian bloodline,” as the authors of Holy Blood Holy Grail have theorized. The chalice is most popular today, doubling as the same cup used by Jesus in the Last Supper. Joseph of Arimathea is said to have brought the Grail to England, which then became an important part of the Arthurian myths.

The Holy Grail myth also links to ideas of gnosis in its relationship to humanity and the world, especially the world of nature and its elements. In our upcoming book Baphomet: The Mystery of the Temple Unveiled by Tracy Twyman and Alex Rivera, we go into great explanation that the Holy Grail cup wasn’t just the vessel for the holy blood of Christ but was actually connected to the Krater of Hermes and the Ophite/Orphic Bowl of the coiled dragon-like serpent (please see our book for more details on this). It is also connected to the idol head that the Templars supposedly worshiped, being Baphomet. Author authors like Julius Evola, have argued for a non-Christian and even Hyperborean origin for the Grail legend, in his book The Mystery of the Grail, a possibility in which we will explore later in the second part of this post at a future point in time.

Julius Evola writes in the same book that there are certainly repeating patterns and archetypes that any student of Carl Jung would identify with clarity. It also ties into the mono-myth cycles of Joseph Campbell as we will see later:

When we isolate the texts that make up the Grail cycle, we find that they repeat a few essential themes, which are expressed through the symbolism of knightly figures and deeds. What we are dealing with, then, are essentially the themes of a mysterious center; of a quest and a spiritual test; of a regal succession or restoration, which sometimes assumes the character of a healing or avenging action. Percival, Gawain, Galahad, Ogier, Lancelot, and Peredur are essentially various names portraying the same human type; likewise, King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea, Prester John, and the Fisher King are equivalent figures and variations on another theme. Also equivalent are images of various mysterious castles, islands, kingdoms, and inaccessible and adventurous lands, which in the narratives are described in a series that, on the one hand, creates a strange, surrealistic atmosphere but, on the other, often ends up becoming monotonous.

Like the authors of Holy Blood Holy Grail have identified, the “divine blood” is an important concept and is one that repeats in the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testament as we will see. Evola further writes about all the objects associated the Grail, especially that of the blood:

In the various texts, the Grail is essentially portrayed under three forms:

“1. As an immaterial, self-moving object, of an indefinite and enigmatic nature (“it was not made of wood, nor of some metal, nor of stone, horn, or bone”).

  1. As a stone-a “heavenly stone” and a “stone of light.”
  2. As a cup, bowl or tray, often of gold and sometimes adorned with precious stones.

Both in this form and in the previous one, we almost always find women carrying the Grail (another element totally extraneous to any Christian ritual, since no priests appear in it). A mixed form is that of a cup carved out of a stone (sometimes of an emerald). The Grail is sometimes qualified as “holy;’ sometimes as “rich”; “this is the richest thing that any man hath living.”l This text, like many others of the same period, uses the expression “Sangreal;’ which is susceptible to three interpretations: Holy Grail, Royal Blood, and Regal Blood.”

Jack Curtis writes in The Quest for the Holy Grail, is essentially:

“… a system of self transformation that can be reconciled with other similar systems in the Western esoteric tradition. It is a cosmological scheme that is comparable with Tarot, Kabala and Astrology. There are also hints of a connection with Alchemy. All of these systems or schemes follow a unifying principle that points to one underlying reality. The Holy Grail in its 5 Transformations, is one approach to that reality. To achieve the Grail, is to understand reality. To understand reality, is to be transformed and to be saved.”

How does any of this tie into the blood of Jesus Christ? For that answer, we must look beyond the natural and the flesh. The blood is obviously symbolic in its spiritual meaning. It is the spiritual power behind the blood of Jesus in which the believer partakes in, and is eternally saved to be allowed to enter a place that is so radically different than the manifest world—being the “Kingdom of God.”

The Holy Blood

In Jesus’ death on the cross, we read that in John 19:32-38, especially verse 34:

32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “Not a bone of Him shall be [a]broken.” “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” 38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body.

Note the extraordinary hiatus John introduces into the narrative at this point. Clearly he wants us to note something of supreme importance: the legend is that Joseph caught some of this blood and water in the chalice used for the last supper.

Eric Wargo in The Passion of Einstein: Light, Spacetime, and the Holy Grail, rightly points out:

I think we can really see the Grail as both objects simultaneously, and that its atemporal “absurdity” is essential to the salvific nature of Christ’s blood: How could the blood shed on the Cross have gotten into the cup of the Last Supper other than by having traveled back in time? Christ’s blood is either made of tachyons (hypothetical faster-than-light particles that most physicists currently reject) or is, in effect,outside of linear Time altogether. Only if Christ’s blood is outside of Time and Cause does it make sense that the cup that once ever held it must have always held it and will keep holding it eternally—and there is just one thing known to physics that has those properties: The blood of Christ is, in effect, light.

Blood symbolism is extremely important in the Grail mythos: In the Old Testament, it is the substance of life. Jewish temple worship revolved around outpouring of blood, and sprinkling of blood via animal sacrifice. It is taken into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled on the mercy seat on Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). Blood atones for sin and makes everything holy again. It is the seat of the spirit within the body, but it is also the animated life-force, of the body. It that which contains, as it were, the soul of the body.

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Jesus, as the Heavenly Priest of Melchizedek, also wearing the breastplate of Aaron. Also known as the “Urim and Thummim.” It is clear that Jesus is the “initiator” for the “Mysteries” of God in the Heavenly Temple.

Over at Temple Secrets, Tony Badillo explains that the animal sacrifice and its sacrificial blood represented a separation between the sins and a person’s spirit/soul:

On Ezekiel 44:6, 7 the Lord rebukes “rebellious” Israel for profaning his temple by offering him food in an unacceptable manner. What is his food? According to v. 7, “the fat and the blood;” similarly in  v. 15 where only the Zadok priests may ”offer me the fat and the blood, says the Lord God”. There you have it! His “food” is blood and fat! Should we accept this literally? Yes, in the sense that blood and fat were literally offered to him. But No because he did not consume either. Why does he say this, then? Because the blood, actually poured outside into a Temple drain, symbolizes the spirit’s separation/expiation from sin; while the fat, when turned into smoke, symbolizes the spirit’s ascension to him for acceptance. God’s “food,” then, is simply the language of symbol, and it means that separation/expiation from sin (by the blood) and ascension of purified souls (the rising smoke) are the things he desires from people.

In John 6:53-56, Jesus says to his disciples:

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Jesus implores his followers to consume his divine flesh and blood made up of of spiritual light to regenerate their own fallen meat sacks degenerated as a result of Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden and from the consumption of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Hence, the Holy Grail cup is said to contain the Christ’s saving blood of the Lamb—the remnant or leftover spiritual substance dripping from a primal trauma of a divine being, who is crucified by the rulers and authorities of the lower heavens, dies and resurrects so that his followers can follow his example, so that they might be salvaged from the sinfulness of the lower world/cosmos of the devil, which is destined to be overthrown, cast out and destroyed at the end of the apocalypse. The saved and elect are transferred into a new kingdom or reality of God while the rest who rejected the Gospel are destroyed. 

Many of the Cathars believed what the mythicist scholar Earl Doherty theorizes was the earliest form of docetic Christology: that Christ was never incarnate on earth. Most of the radical dualist Cathars believed that the whole Jesus narrative, from the beginning of his ministry to his crucifixion, occurred in heavenly world of the good god and in the astral realm of the demonic rulers.

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In the Parzival romance, the impotency of the Fisher King being his maimed, never-healing state (all thanks to Klingsor’s Spear) reflects the sterility of his land. It also reflects the nature of matter itself. In the studies of pagan practices by such scholars as Sir James G. Frazer in The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, the recurring themes of the killing of the previous high priest or king to be replaced by a new avatar (much like John the Baptist and Jesus) and the marriage of fruitfulness of this new avatar with a female deity/queen is essential to the vegetative and natural fertility and prosperity of the land. The mirroring effect between the human enactment of natural prosperity and vice versa is apparent enough in the Priest-king of the Grail, Anfortas or the Fisher King’s “Waste Land” is to appropriate this mythic pagan belief into a solid representation that the barrenness of the soul/mind and body reflects upon the surroundings/ environment and nature. This, one might say is the objective co-relative function where the emotions, experiences of the subject becomes objective reality, hence the idea that the imaginal/spirit/ideal realm controls the realm of matter and the manifest world.

It is said that the blood of Christ at Holy Communion in Catholic ritual gives new life and deifies. But that blood is wine transfigured by the descending Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. However, this ritual does seem to have strong vampiric, witchcraft cannibalistic undertones, if placed in a literal context as the Catholic Church has done for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The Cathars were infamous for being hard, uncompromising opponents of the Catholic Sacrament as well as its icons and its worship of the Virgin Mary as devilish trickery to commit idolatry. Various Gnostic groups like the Phibionites, Barbelites, Bororites, Simonians, etc. as well as the Jews (and their rituals as magic in the form of “blood libel”) were accused of human and infant sacrifice in the form of ritually consuming fetuses, in the case that women became pregnant in their infamous orgies. In these ritual orgies, semen and menses were said to be also ritually consumed as a Eucharistic sacrament to Christ as Epiphanius claims in the Panarion. All of this seems to originate in Pliney the Elder in Natural History 30.11, when he writes as a matter-of-fact, that certain magical rites of the Magi (and the Emperor Nero) involve ritually killing and eating men (e.g. cannibalism):

The Magi have certain means of evasion; for example that the gods neither obey those with freckles nor are seen by them. Was this perhaps their objection to Nero? But his body was without blemish; he was free to choose the fixed days, could easily obtain perfectly black sheep, and as for human sacrifice, he took the greatest delight in it. 

So, in other words, could the Catholic Eucharist be just a Christianized magical ritual? We certainly see Romans who viewed the Christians as simply a diabolical secret society addicted to sorcery and the conjuring of daimons, as seen in Celsus in the True Doctrine and Suetonius in Nero 16.2. All of this seems to be a precursor for the Medieval and modern gossip and rumors of witch covens and Satanic elite secret societies, like the “Illuminati” who engage in human sacrifice and Faustian pacts with demons. The drinking of wine in Dionysian rituals involved ritually imbibing the spirit of Dionysus, which is like drinking the Elixir of Life, or “being baptized in wisdom.” The wine is the blood of the earth, “fruit of the vine and work of human hands.” This wine is used as a commemoration of ritually consuming the blood of Jesus. The Gospel of John chapter 2, where Jesus transmutes water into wine certainly plays on this distinctly Dionysian idea. So the outpouring of Christ’s blood on the cross is the outpouring of his very life—the spirit of the Son of God.

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The Book of Hebrews (9:22-24) tells us that the blood of Jesus (and all the Old Testament sacrifices) were necessary in order to cleanse things in the heavens–the same place in which the angelic rebellion was said to have occurred as recorded in Revelation.

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.”

Colossians 1:20 says something very similar:

“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Notice how in Hebrews, it says that the tabernacle, and all its services, were “patterns of things in the heavens.” The physical objects associated with the earthly sanctuary were “figures of the true” — the “shadow of heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5). As it follows, each physical item had its spiritual counterpart in heaven. So, as long as there was a tabernacle or temple on earth, there was a material reflection of God’s heavenly palace for mankind to see and take part in. This all sounds strangely reminiscent of certain Hermetic writings pertaining to “as above, so below.”

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Also, in a way, when Jesus Christ was nailed to the Cross, he was essentially nailed to a circular “Leviathan” which is the same as the Ouroboros of the Gnostic alchemists like Mary the Jewess, Zosimos and the Ophites. The atheistic German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche uses this symbolism to build his own theory of “eternal recurrence.” This is what the Gnostics called the “fall of spirit into matter.” Hence, we have various alchemical images of the crucified serpent, and perhaps even the same tempting serpent from Eden. According to the Apocryphon of John, there are a few archons which seem to have strong serpentine and dragon-like features, including Iao and Ialdabaoth, the chief archon and Gnostic parody of Jehovah. All of this seems to have a Pauline basis, in Colossians 2:13-15

…When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.…

In the Gospel of Matthew (20:20-23), we read that a mother of Zebedee was asking Jesus to have her sons sit at his right and the other at his left hand in the Kingdom of God. Jesus asks her sons if they can drink what he is going to drink and they answer in the affirmative. Here is what Jesus says as a reply:

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

The Baptism of Blood and Water

In Genesis 1, the Spirit hovers over the face of the deep at the onset of creation. Water signifies the chaotic, untamed and unformed material of creation. It is the proto-element out of which all creation, the whole cosmos, including humanity, is ultimately made (Gen 1:2, 6; Ps 29:3) So crossing the waters of the great Flood, the waters of the Red Sea, the waters of the Jordan, and the waters of baptism are the recreating and renewing waters of creation. This water baptism acts like a conduit that transports the believer from one world (the old man of sin)  to another (the newness in Christ). Likewise priests must bathe in water before entering Holy of Holies of the Temple of Solomon on day of Atonement. 

Brazen_Sea_of_soloman_From_Jewish_Encyclopedia

Similarly with the Sea of Glass in Revelation 15:2, beside which those who have defeated the beast are standing, singing the song of Moses. This is a reflection of the “Molten Sea” which was a large basin in the Temple in Jerusalem made by Solomon for ablution of the priests. It is described in 1 Kings 7 and 2 Chronicles 4. It stood in the south-eastern corner of the inner court.

Water in essence is a unifying and yet all dissolving element of the earth and the cosmos. Blood and water together therefore signify the fullness of saved humanity: material body and animating soul and spirit as well as the sacrificed body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John 3:5, we have Jesus saying to Nicodemus “you must be born of water and the Spirit.” In 1 John 5:6, it says, “This is he who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ…there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood.”

We need to pause for a moment to reflect on this: the incarnated Son of God took on the likeness of humanity upon himself, meaning that this was not his original nature: this humanity, united to the Second Person of the Trinity, is literally poured out from his side upon the cross. This body and blood is NOT the same as the body and blood of communion, although they are clearly related. The bread and wine of Holy Communion are the substance and blood of the earth, transfigured by the Spirit of God to become our spiritual food and drink as the Eucharist.

The chalice in itself is not the real Holy Grail—that is simply romantic myth. The real Holy Grail is the very ground onto which this blood and water is sprinkled upon. The earth itself received the body and soul of Christ in his death. This is the blood and water of his sacrifice, rather than the blood and body of communion, although again, clearly the two are related. The bread and wine of communion—Christ’s body and blood—rather than being consumed by us to become part of our body, performs a spiritual function, transforming us into the body of Christ. “Though we are many, we are one body because we all share in the one bread.” Thus consuming Christ’s body and blood transforms us into itself. Likewise with Christ’s blood and body out poured on the cross—it transforms the whole of creation into Christ’s body. Christ’s physical presence, although hidden, still abides throughout the very fabric of the universe. His humanity, which is our humanity, abides in creation, even today, transforming it and making it holy. In a sense, this relates to the infamous Baptism of Wisdom ritual of the Knights Templar in which we discuss in the book, at length. 

Christ’s crucifixion and the Harrowing of Hell, in effect, unseated and usurped the power and possession of the authorities, archons and their demonic possession of the world and perhaps even the “Wasteland” of the Fisher King, a reflection of the inner state of the sinner. The quest for the holy grail to heal the wounded king and to restore the land to its original, pristine, Edenic state. Many see this as related to Matthew 4:19 in which Christ said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This reference would later become crucial to the Christian version of the Fisher King of the Arthurian Grail romances. 

As one can see, the Parzival/Arthurian Grail stories, like the story of the Temple of Solomon is simply a retelling of Genesis (as well as a intricate visual depiction of the “Divine Man” or “Son of Man”), which in itself is a reflection of the war in heaven, and the fall of the angels. The Titanomachy of the Greeks as well as Hesiod’s Works (126) also speaks of similar tales of Olympian gods struggling against the titans and their terrible giant children, which no doubt mirror the infamous Nephilim of Genesis 6 and Enochian literature. Hesiod in the same text describes these Nephilim as being Heroes of the “Silver Race,” as a gigantic, brutal and ferocious giants:

Then, a second race, far inferior Was created, of Silver, by the gods…

Being reared by their mothers.

And when they reached adolescence,

They died a painful death,

On account of their stupidity,

For they could not contain their foolish pride and refused to worship the gods above and to sacrifice to them upon the altars.

Hesiod calls them “big children” (mega nepios) and tells how, disgusted with their impiety and arrogance, Zeus decided to wipe them off with a cataclysm, burying them in Tartarus, much like how Jehovah sends a flood to wipe the giant children of the Watchers and condemns the fallen angels in the abyss-like underworld in chains. Essentially all mythologies speak of similar wars between Blacks and Whites or between Angels and Devils, Devas and Asuras, Daevas and Ahuras, the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, Gods and Titans, etc., etc. This all seems to influence the story of Klingsor who injures the Fisher King with a spear. Klingsor also happens to be directly related with Faustus as we will see in Part 2.

Once again, we cannot ignore Tony Badillo’s thoughtful explanation of Eden with those who are baptized in the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of God, which have strong Gnostic undertones:

…in Isaiah 58:11 and Jeremiah 31:12 the people themselves are a “well watered garden,”  implying that Paradise on earth consists of an ideal relationship between God and humans. This is a key reason why the Divine spirit is not given solely or primarily for uttering profound prophecies, performing marvelous miracles, or making doomsday declarations, but for subduing the Sinful Inclination and renewing God’s “image and likeness” within each of us, and in so doing we become like a well watered garden, Genesis 2:10,  bearing good fruit for the one who did the planting. This is the true Paradise, the true Garden of Eden while we are here on earth. And that which waters one’s personal garden is the Divine spirit.

The sprinkling of his blood on the earth, prefigured in the Old Testament by the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrificial bull and goat in the Holy of Holies, has made the world the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God, signified by the rending of the veil in the Temple. Yet it remains hidden, invisible and unknown, until the day that the new heaven and new earth are revealed when Christ return again in glory as discussed in Matthew and Revelation. Just like the hiddenness of the glory of God, momentarily revealed in the burning bush, or on the Mount of Transfiguration. In that day we will see that “in him we live and move and have our being.” The sacrificial bull concept, however is an ancient Rome and eventually later from Mithraic sacrificial rites. The Gospel of John tells us that after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is made manifest to the believer, and the Body of Christ.

According to the Excerpts of Theodotus, the Valentinian teacher Theodotus said that the baptism releases the believer from the clutches of passions, Fate, destiny and demonic powers that infest the lower world in which mankind finds himself exiled in.

76 As, therefore, the birth of the Saviour released us from “becoming” and from Fate, so also his baptism rescued us from fire, and his Passion rescued us from passion in order that we might in all things follow him. For he who was baptised unto God advanced toward God and has received “power to walk upon scorpions and snakes,” the evil powers. And he commands the disciples “When ye go about, preach and them that believe baptise in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” in whom we are born again, becoming higher than all the other powers.

77 Therefore baptism is called death and an end of the old life when we take leave of the evil principalities, but it is also called life according to Christ, of which he is sole Lord. But the power of the transformation of him who is baptised does not concern the body but the soul, for he who comes up [out of the water] is unchanged. From the moment when he comes up from baptism he is called a servant of God even by the unclean spirits and they now “tremble” at him whom shortly before they obsessed.

78 Until baptism, they say, Fate is real, but after it the astrologists are no longer right. But it is not only the washing that is liberating, but the knowledge of/who we were, and what we have become, where we were or where we were placed, whither we hasten, from what we are redeemed, what birth is and what rebirth.

The Foundation Stone of Fallen Angels

The holy grail also has a strong Hermetic ring to it as Tracy and I have explored in depth in our book. We point out that the word “grail” itself has been derived from crater, the Greco-Latin term for a vessel, meaning a shallow vessel or plate where sacrifices were offered to the gods in ancient Greece. We also explore in depth how the Holy Grail concept is directly tied with the Corpus Hermeticum, as well as Wolfram’s Parzival, which is in itself almost a paraphrase of the Hermetica- a collection of ancient Egyptian texts that also reflect the Gnosticizing tendencies of Alexandria, Egypt. Wolfram rewrote it to match it with thirteenth century German sensibility. The Holy Grail themes seem to greatly match with the Krater of the Hermetica which directly mirror with Parzival’s spiritual journey. In fact, as the above link quotes a book called The Krater and the Grail: Hermetic Sources of the Parzival by Henry and Renee Kahane as towards the end of Parzival, they compare a precision of knights in the Grail Castle to the universe and the Holy Grail itself to the Monad as I.M. Oderberg writes:

A procession comprising the knights and the twenty-four maidens attending the Grail entered the hall, only Repanse de Schoie being permitted by the sacred object to be its bearer. These attendants were grouped in numbers, first four, then eight, then twelve divided into two sixes. Each group carried corresponding numbers of lights. Last came the “princess” of the Grail carrying one. This sequence has baffled many commentators, but Kahane and Kahane point out the marked similarity with the Hermetica, where the groups in the same order “represent the twenty-four stations of the journey of the soul: 4 elements + 8 spheres + 12 signs of the zodiac + 1, the Monad. . . . The Grail procession, in other words, is a representation of the mystic journey of the soul towards the Monad, itself symbolized by the Grail” (op. cit., pp. 105-6).

The end of the Grail quest is the return to the source of life and rebirth into it as divinely self-conscious entities purified by involvement in earthly experiences and having also contributed to the ongoing process of cosmic evolution by refining the substance they have used. The great lesson for Parzival — for all of us because he is our prototype — was the interconnected relationship of all earth entities. The bonds of a universal brotherhood make us all kin. The suffering of one hurts all, and compassion in our heart obliges us to ask forever: What ails our brother?

What could be the most interesting aspect of this story, involves looking at the second clue of what the Holy Grail represents, provided by Wolfram in the form of “a precious stone, lapsit exillis (i.e. lapis or lapsi ex caelis) of special purity, possessing miraculous powers conferred upon it and sustained by a consecrated Host”, which is indeed the blood of Christ, with holy powers to act as the Elixir of Life. This precious stone fallen from heaven is both the emerald fallen from Lucifer’s crown.

Wolfram von Eschenbach identified the Holy Grail as a Stone of Heaven, he knew he was alluding to a Holy Grail tradition that had extended far back into the mists of time. Many traditions tell so primitive man, who experienced a physical and or emotional change just by being in the proximity to certain stones. Even the term “magic,” associated with the title of “Magus” or “magician” has its etymological roots in the force of magnets or magnetism, which plays into the idea of “greatness,” or “magnifying” one’s spirit or essential self under the light of God. Perhaps this is why Simon was called “Megas” Greek for “Great” which sounds virtually the same as “Magus.” The Persians thought of the their priests as “magos” as well.

Alchemists told of transforming a base metal into gold and a human into a god or goddess. Many texts were cataloged of the Muslim Empire by the Sufis, who added their own alchemical data before transmitting it to their students, the Knights Templar, who took the wisdom into Europe and supposedly carried in tradition through Freemasonry. Those indoctrinated were of the Holy grail Mysteries and eventually given the wisdom of the Alchemical or Philosophers Stone. Some tell of it being a platter or bowl full of precious stones. The Stone of Heaven is a Latin translation of the term Lapsit Exillus, closely related to Lapis Elixir, an appellation used by the Sufis that denoted, “Philosopher’s Stone.” Lapsit derived from “stone” and related to the Latin lapsus, meaning fallen, thus denoting “fallen stone.” Since the term Exillus is related to exillis stellis, meaning : “from the stars,” the entire moniker Lapsit Exillus literally translates as “The Stone of the Heavens” or “The Stone which came down from the Stars.”

The name Stone of Heaven can also be derived from the word Grail. The term Grail derived from the French gres or Persian gohr, both denoting a stone. Grail of Greal could also be related to the French grele, meaning hailstone, which is a “stone” from heaven. According to Arthur Edward Waite, the term Lapsit Exillus is “Exiles Stone.” This surprisingly affiliates the Stone of heaven with Heaven’s most notorious exile, Lucifer. A poem of a German heritage called, Wartburgkrieg, the “Wartburg War,” summarizes the heavenly battle between Lucifer and St. Michael, and identifies the Stone of Heaven as a large emerald that became dislodged from Lucifer’s crown and descended to Earth:

“Shall I then bring the crown

That was made by 60,000 angels?ill

Who wished to force GOD out of the Kingdom of Heaven.

See! Lucifer, there he is!

If there are master-priests,

Then you know well that I am singing the truth.

Saint Michael saw GOD’s anger, plagued by His insolence.

He took (Lucifer’s) crown from his head,

In such a way that a stone jumped out of it.

Which on Earth became Parsifal’s stone.

The stone which sprang out of it,

He found it, he who struggled for honor at such a high cost.”

Lucifer’s fall that is incorporated into this poem first popularized by the Prophet Isaiah during his harangue against the King of Babylon. When describing the decline and all of the King of Babylon, Isaiah used the metaphor of the Morning star’s “fall” or descent below the horizon at sunrise, an image subsequently became linked to Lucifer when translated into Latin was Luz-I-fer or Lucifer, the Light Bringer. Morning Star then became known as Shahar or Helel, which were the names of Venus’ dawn appearance. Thus, Lucifer is associated with both Venus and Helel, a name that evolved into Hell, Lucifer’s underworld home.

In the Book of Ezekiel, he expanded upon the meaning of Lucifer’s infamous fall. While comparing the King of Tyre with Lucifer, Ezekiel identifies Lucifer as the anointed cherub and forever-young boy who once walked in the Garden of Eden while covered in precious stones, including the emerald, and was perfect in his ways and from that day he was created until iniquity was found in him. Thus Ezekiel perpetuated the tradition of Isaiah by making  Lucifer’s fall the product of pride.

Ezekiel 28:13 tells us:

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

Lucifer then resolves to rule in Heaven and this culminated in his expulsion from Paradise. When St. Michael and his angels fought with Lucifer/Samael over his right to rule, states John the Revelator, “that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan which deceiveth the whole world…was cast out (of heaven) into the earth, and his angels were cast with him.”

The remainder of Lucifer’s legend in the poem states that during the battle with Michael an emerald became dislodged from Lucifer’s crown and fell to Earth. This is based on Ezekiel’s description of the gems-especially the emerald-that adorned Lucifer’s regalia in the Garden of Eden. It is also influenced by the Knights Templar. But of course this predates the Templar’s by many thousand of years. Before their time the emerald had been recognized as the esteemed Stone of Venus, the “fallen star” of Lucifer.

Strangely enough, however, Lucifer does seem to embody the twin archetype we see over and over in world mythologies. In a way, Michael the archangel could also very well be his angelic twin, just as Metatron is said to have an angelic twin soul in the form of Sandalphon. Both of these angels’ lower selves exist in the forms of both Enoch and Elijah, both of which are intimately connect with Hermes Trismegistus. In Roman myths, we have Romulus and Remus, in Genesis, Cain and Abel, Ariman and Angra Manyu in Persia, the Ashvin Twins, or Mitra and Varuna in India; Zeus and Poseidon, Castor and Pollux, Apollo and Dionysus and Hercules and Atlas in Greece; Set-Typhon and Horus in Egypt, etc. In a way, Lucifer is simply a reflection of the Supreme Heavenly Father, who is the spiritual sun of Heaven.

As the story goes, a number of angels having remained neutral and inactive during the battle of Lucifer and the rebel angels against God and the faithful heavenly hosts, after Lucifer’s fall they were condemned by God to support this stone, which had dropped from Lucifer’s crown, hovering between Heaven and Earth until the hour of redemption of sinful mankind and the “Day of Judgement” at the end of the apocalypse. Then they brought it to Earth, and, formed into a holy vessel, it served for the dish out of which the Jews ate the Paschal lamb in Exodus 12 on Passover, and in which Joseph of Arimathea received the Saviour’s blood, and perhaps even the receptacle for the severed head of John the Baptist.

By uniting the two objects, being the kraters and with meteoritic stones fallen from heaven, it becomes obvious. We see ancient worship of meteorites in the Kaaba Stone of Mecca in Saudia Arabia, which is associated with the worship of Venus/Lucifer and Saturn/Chronos, the pyramids of Mexico, the vajra thunderbolt of Hinduism, etc. So the Grail is indeed the meteorite crater opened up by a falling object from the heavens. It may also refer to volcanic activity and magma, associated with the conflagration spoken by the ancients that is said to have destroyed Atlantis-Eden.

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Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher and esotericist famously reimagined the grail, foundation stone as a, “dodecahedron fashioned in copper in 1913 to consecrate the building called the first Goetheanum, with twelve, pentagonal (five-sided) facets and called the “dodecahedron of man.” (Bill Trusiewicz, The Foundation Stone as The Golden Triangle, The Mystic Hammer, and The Lost Word)

Bill Trusiewiscz further asks:

Firstly, we should ask: What is a foundation stone? Also called a “cornerstone,” a foundation stone is a stone ceremoniously set in place at the start of the construction of a building. This is done to initiate certain defining principles or ideas in connection with the proposed building with the intention of consecrating it for a specific purpose. It is, if you will, a “mental” building to use modern terminology, to correspond to a physical building proposed. Students of spiritual science would likely be comfortable with the idea that the “soul and spirit” foundations of the building were being laid alongside of the sense perceptible building itself.

Indeed, the Foundation Stone concept can be found all throughout the Old Testament and in the Jewish apocrypha, especially in 2 Enoch (see my paper “The Gods of Imagination: Alchemy, Magic, and the Quintessence” found in The Gnostic 6 by Andrew Phillip Smith). It is the starting point or even the “heart” in which the world and even the whole breadth of the cosmos is founded upon. It is also the Holy of Holies, in which it becomes the “cornerstone” of the Temple of Solomon, which is just another form of the Grail Temple of Parzival. Perhaps this is where the Theosophists would claim that Shamballah of Tibet would be the “heart of the earth” and the “King of the Earth” being “Sanat Kumara,” the so-called “Lord of the Flame” came from Venus! This is undoubtedly connected to Lucifer, the equivalent of Rex Mundi of the Cathars, Melek Taus of the Yezidis, Satan “the god of this world/cosmos” to St. Paul and Ialdabaoth and his legions of archons to the Gnostics. As it follows, the foundation stone is currently owned by Lucifer on his crown, since he is essentially the “prince of the world,” as the Fourth Gospel puts it, when he fell into the depths of the sub-lunar realm after the War in Heaven.

Sacred-Topography-of-Eden-and-the-Temple

In The Creation and the Garden of Eden as Models for Temple Architecture by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, he quotes from a not-so-easily identifiable source but it is worth quoting nonetheless:

The brightness of the Holy of Holies was the light of Day One, before the visible world had been created… Those who entered the Holy of Holies entered this place of light, beyond time and matter, which was the presence of “the King of kings and Lord of lords who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light.” This was the place of glory to which Jesus knew he would return after the crucifixion, “the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.” In the Gospel of Thomas, Christians are described as the new high priesthood who enter the light, and Jesus instructed his disciples to say to the guardians (the cherub guardians of Eden?) “We came from the light, the place where the light came into being on its own accord and established [itself]…

Bradshaw rightly points out that the tabernacle of Moses is an earthly attempt to recapture the Edenic state that that man once held before the fall:

Carrying this idea forward to a later epoch, Exodus 40:33 describes how Moses completed the tabernacle. The Hebrew text exactly parallels the account of how God finished creation. Genesis Rabbah comments: “It is as if, on that day [i.e., the day the tabernacle was raised in the wilderness], I actually created the world.” With this idea in mind, Hugh Nibley has famously called the temple “a scale-model of the universe.” As a complement to the view of the Creation as a model for the temple, BYU Professor Donald W. Parry has argued that the Garden of Eden can be seen as a natural “temple,” where Adam and Eve lived in God’s presence for a time, and mirroring the configuration of the heavenly temple intended as their ultimate destination.

Bradshaw concludes that the temple symbolism of Revelation also carries on this Edenic/Solomonic tradition:

Fittingly, just as the first book of the Bible, Genesis, recounts the story of Adam and Eve being cast out from the Garden, its last book, Revelation, prophesies a permanent return to Eden for the sanctified.36 In that day, the veil that separates man and the rest of fallen creation from God will be swept away, and all shall be “done in earth, as it is in heaven.”37 In the original Garden of Eden, “there was no need for a temple—because Adam and Eve enjoyed the continual presence of God”—likewise, in John’s vision “there was no temple in the Holy City, ‘for its temple is the Lord God.’”38 To reenter the Garden at that happy day is to return to the original spiritual state of immortality and innocence through forgiveness of sin, and to know the oneness that existed at the dawn of Creation, before the creative processes of division and separation began. The premortal glory of the righteous shall then be “added upon” 39 as they receive a fullness of the blessings of sanctification, “coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.”

What does any of this have to do with the lore and legends of Baphomet and the Knights Templar exactly? This is a very good question that is answered thoroughly in Baphomet: The Mystery of the Temple Unveiled. The Even ha’Shettiya, also known as the “Stone of Foundation,” which currently resides within the eight-sided Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Holy City and center and heart of the earth as European mapmakers charted.

This is the same rock that supposedly was the same rocky site upon which Abraham was coerced into sacrificing his own son Isaac in the sight of Jehovah, to test his faith, as well as the place where Mohammed was lifted into Heaven by the archangel Gabriel. This is also the same site that the Knights Templar resided nearby when they founded modern day Jerusalem. So the Stone of Foundation for the Jews, Muslims, and the Catholic Crusaders was in fact, the Stone of Lucifer as part of the Axis Mundi or column that unites Heaven and Earth, and even the Underworld. King David, who purchased the rock of the Even ha’Shetityya from the Jebusites as the location of the Ark of the Covenant, was not overlooked by him. This sacred object primarily served as a vehicle for communication with Jehovah/Yahweh.

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King Solomon holding the Grail Temple and Royal Scepter.

David’s son, King Solomon, a famous alchemist, similarly thought that the stone’s alchemical properties as a mediator between Heaven and Earth, used the rock as a cornerstone or foundation for his famous Temple, which would draw upon the power and spirit of YHWH. We see the Testament of Solomon depicting Sabaoth as the god of Solomon, who gives him a magical ring through the archangel Michael to build the temple through the forced help of 72 goetic demon helpers. This is Sabaoth is probably the same deity as Abraxas. (This connection is fully explored further in depth in the book.)

Perhaps the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico were constructed by similar means though the use of demonic, supernatural power. Furthermore, perhaps this is what the Knights Templar were so drawn towards—the supernatural power behind the Temple of Solomon—the same power that would one day make them so rich that they would become a threat to French and Catholic nobility. It is this power that manifest itself in the form of a head of a man or even of a cat, and eventually from the Dionysian and Azazel-like goat head.

What is most fascinating as that the Freemasonic pontif Albert Pike in Morals & Dogma seems to spur and condemn the idea that the Templars also worshiped Baphomet when he writes:

“[It is absurd to suppose that men of intellect adored a monstrous idol called Baphomet, or recognized Mahomet as an inspired prophet. Their symbolism, invented ages before, to conceal what it was dangerous to avow, was of course misunderstood by those who were not adepts, and to their enemies seemed to be pantheistic. The calf of gold, made by Aaron for the Israelites, was but one of the oxen under the laver of bronze, and the Karobim on the Propitiatory, misunderstood. The symbols of the wise always become the idols of the ignorant multitude. What the Chiefs of the Order really believed and taught, is indicated to the Adepts by the hints contained in the high Degrees of Free-Masonry, and by the symbols which only the Adepts understand.

Pike is claiming that the symbolism associated with the Templars and Freemasonry is veiled and misunderstood by the masses also reflects the idea that the alchemical Philosopher’s Stone was simply a ruse created by alchemists to confuse the masses and mask their true and secret methods and sciences to create gold or something else completely. However, this doesn’t answer the general claim that a certain Templar possessed a severed idol head and turned to it to form their own Faustian pact with the spirit of Baphomet. We can gain more clarity on this subject from Sean Martin in The Knights Templar (p. 139):

Misunderstanding is almost certainly at the root of the allegation that the Templars worshipped an idol called Baphomet. Descriptions of it varied, but it was usually described as being a life-sized head, which was said to make the land fertile (as is said of the Grail). That the Templars did possess heads is without doubt. They possessed the head of St Euphemia of Chalcedon at their preceptory in Nicosia on Cyprus, and, more curiously, a silver head shaped reliquary was found after the arrests at the Paris Temple. This bore the inscription CAPUT LVIII, and inside it were parts of a woman’s skull (who was believed to have been one of the 11,000 virgins martyred at Cologne with St Ursula). The heads may have indeed been worshiped, in the way that the Celts revered the head.

The Assassins, during their initiation ceremonies, buried the initiate up to his neck in sand, leaving only the head visible, before disinterring him. Given their simulation of Saracen torture, the Templars may also have carried out this practice. A further possibility is that Baphomet, long thought to be a mistranslation of ‘Mahomet’ (the Prophet Muhammad), could well be a corruption of the Arabic word abufihamat, which means ‘Father of Understanding’, a reference to a spiritual seeker after realization or enlightenment has taken place: ‘The Baphomet is none other than the symbol of the completed man.’44 It is therefore possible that the supposed head the Templars worshipped was actually a metaphorical head. That Hugues de Payen’s shield carried three black heads suggests that certain elements within the Order – the upper echelons perhaps – were involved with esoteric disciplines learned from the Sufis from the very beginning of the Temple’s existence.

Could these “alchemical heads” be code words for a secret knowledge held by the minds of the initiated as well as literal severed heads who supposedly “prophesied”? The Templars were also said to have in their possession, ritual skulls made out of precious metals and human bone covered in gold and silver. These skulls may have been their own deceased brethren. There are testimonies taken from the Catholic inquisitions that purport of the Templars alluding to possess metallic skulls used in Templar ceremonies, especially in the legend of The Necromantic Skull Of Sidon.

Skulls tend to be used in ancestor worship and also happen to be the premiere emblem of Mexican commemoration of the Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead” being a pre-Colombian tradition of ancestor worship and colonial Catholicism) and demonic deity of the drug cartels, Santa Muerte, a mixture of the Virgin Mary (who, herself is the Catholic version of Astarte and Ishtar/Lilith) and the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli. The Yale Masonic secret society of the “Skull & Bones,” a Satanic club of which a string of U.S. Presidents belong to (John Kerry, the Bush family, etc.) via secret oaths and initiation rites into diabolism similar to the ones found in Templar Baphometic rites. These “Bonesmen” have their origins in the so-called “Bavarian Illuminati” who themselves come from the Jesuits, whose saints are often depicted next to skulls or holding skulls. There are paintings depicting Mary Magdalene holding a skull as well.

Georges_de_La_Tour_-_Magdalen_of_Night_Light_-_WGA12337

The famous skull and crossbones motif normally associated with pirates is often said to have originated with this skull from Sidon, but it was probably much older. This haunting motif, which we today associate with poison, was most likely a symbol related to the earlier alchemical rites of the Templar Knights. During these early rites, skulls were used representing “Caput Mortumm” or “Dead Head,” which refers to a stage in alchemy preceding creation of the “Philosophers Stone,” which is the Great Work of the alchemists, equated with spiritualized gold. This is the stage of “Nigredo” or the “blackening” in Hades/Hell. The Gnostic-Hermetist Zosimos depicts this stage in the most extreme and gruesome imagery in his alchemical work Visions.

The most important skull or head used in the rites of the Knights Templar was known within the Order as Baphomet. This most sacred of heads, which many of the Knights alluded to during their depositions preceding their French trial, may have been that of John the Baptist, whose head was acquired by the Templar’s as part of treasure they looted from Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in the 11th century. Even stranger is the fact that this Baphomet skull could also be related to the head of Simon Magus! Be sure to check out our book for more details on all of this.

However, the idea that the Templars revered Baphomet in its Gnosticized form, seems to be a later additional detail that emerges during the French Revolution and later emphasized with the likes of Purgstall, Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, etc. Whatever the case may be, it seems as though the Templar treasure is somehow tied with the symbolism of the head, the mind, as well as the Holy Grail cup which is associated with drinking the wisdom of various Hermetic and Gnostic deities and alchemists like Zosimos, as we explain in the book. Indeed, even the Holy Grail/Fisher King legends themselves have strong associations with Gnosticism, and it is this heresy that the Orthodoxy greatly desired to have stamped out of existence and absorbed into their own “universal” collective religion.

(In Part 2, we will re-examine the infamous Medieval legends of Faustus and Simon the Magician and his consort, Helena/Sophia and how it all relates to the Holy Grail legends.)

The Zarathustra Seed (Part II)

“With a torch in my hand, the light of which is not by any means a flickering one, I illuminate this underworld of ideals with beams that pierce the gloom.” – Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.

Part II.

In The Gay Science, Nietzsche announces to the reader that “common goal is to erect a new image and ideal of the free spirit,” in reference to the middle period of his work. In Thus Spake Zarathustra, Nietzsche does indeed “erect a new image and ideal of the free spirit” in his pursuit of the higher man, the Übermensch. Zarathustra is as a whole a compendium of unleashed, overflowing thoughts of the deep, formulations of mythological figures and fearsome archetypes, brimming in an ocean of paradox and contradiction. The doctrine of the “higher man” as proposed by Zarathustra sounds strangely reminiscent to the Indian formulation of the Atman, the the true self that exists in everyone; the small thumbling in the heartbeat of life.  This is the equivalent to the inner core, the pneumatic spiritual seed that is the seat for gnosis that the ancient Gnostics recognized as the spiritual marrow of the soul. I won’t go into every aspect of Zarathustra, but only a few notable excerpts that I think I relevant to the topic of this essay. In Chapter 61, The Honey Sacrifice of Zarathustra, the speaker is depicted as a “fisher” of men, similar to Jesus’s proclamation in Mark 1:17 or even the Hermetic figure of Poimandres the “Man-Shepherd”, seeking those who are in search of the truth of the higher man:

The best bait, as huntsmen and fishermen require it. For if the world be as a gloomy forest of animals, and a pleasure-ground for all wild huntsmen, it seemeth to me rather – and preferably – a fathomless, rich sea; – A sea full of many-hued fishes and crabs, for which even the gods might long, and might be tempted to become fishers in it, and casters of nets, – so rich is the world in wonderful things, great and small! Especially the human world, the human sea: – towards it do I now throw out my golden angle-rod and say: Open up, thou human abyss!

In the first chapter of Zarathustra, “The Higher Man” the speaker and sage of the text contemplates the fate of mankind and his predicament in his dwelling place on a mountain.

Altered is Zarathustra; a child hath Zarathustra become; an awakened one is Zarathustra: what wilt thou do in the land of the sleepers?

The Atman personified subsequently decides to descend from a mountain after 10 years of meditation and down into the market place of the mob to proclaim the truths that he discovered out of his own innate altruism and compassion to his fellow man.

Zarathustra answered: “I love mankind.” “Why,” said the saint, “did I go into the forest and the desert? Was it not because I loved men far too well? Now I love God: men, I do not love. Man is a thing too imperfect for me. Love to man would be fatal to me.” Zarathustra answered: “What spake I of love! I am bringing gifts unto men.”

To his dismay, he realizes he spoke too soon when his words fall upon dead ears from those in the market place  and even spurns his attempts to proclaim the gospel of the higher man in mockery and scorn in order to maintain their mediocre status-quo.

“You higher men,” — so sputters the crowd — “there are no higher men, we are all equal; man is man, before God — we are all equal!” Before God! — Now, however, this God has died. Before the crowd, however, we will not be equal. You higher men, go away from the market-place!

Nevertheless, he gives his speech:

Lo, I teach you the Superman! The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall he the meaning of the earth! I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying ones and poisoned ones themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so away with them! Once blasphemy against God was the greatest blasphemy; but God died, and therewith also those blasphemers. To blaspheme the earth is now the dreadfulest sin, and to rate the heart of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth!

Here, Zarathustra through the conduit of Nietzsche’s (and yes I totally flipped that dichotomy on purpose) deepest concern is to show that neither the “death of God”, nor the demise of all faiths predicated upon otherworldly hopes or this-worldly optimisms, give the last word on man’s existential drama; and to find a way beyond it without recourse once again becomes vulnerable to disillusionment which was a real concern to Nietzsche. More controversially: the death of God eliminated the idea of some despotic divinity judging human beings and weighing down upon them as some oppressive force. But with this weight gone some began to speak of the unbearable lightness of being, as if with the absence of God, and thus with the permission to do anything and everything, life seemed to lack the gravitas of ultimate significance. The eternal recurrence is Nietzsche’s way for the self to generate its own gravitas in the absence of God. It is only though the virtues of the higher man that the “great nausea” of the emptiness and shallow reality of the mob, the rabble, the herd can be solved and wholly transcended. It is Zarathustra who cannot ignore the great distress of humanity; he is the Atman personified, always ready and able to run the source of the cry for self-realization. In the Subala Upanishad, it describes the spiritual man’s roots as a foundation to “Narayana [one of the names for the Hindu deity, Vishnu], the indwelling spirit of all”:

There abides for ever the one unborn in the secret place within the body. The earth is his body; he moves through the earth but the earth knows him not. The waters are his body, but the waters know him not. Light is his body, he moves through the light but the light knows him not. Air is his body, he moves through the air but the air knows him not. Ether is his body, he moves through the ether but ether knows him not…Thinking mind is his body, he moves through thinking mind but thinking mind knows him not. He alone is the indwelling spirit of all beings, free from all evil, the one divine, radiant Narayana.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra differs in the values of both the Buddhist and the Vedantic mystic:

 “Good and evil,” says the Buddhist, “are both fetters: the perfect one became master over both.”; “what’s done and what`s not done,” says the man who believes in the Vedanta, “give him no pain; as a wise man he shakes good and evil off himself; his kingdom suffers no more from any deed; good and evil – he has transcended both” – an entirely Indian conception, whether Brahman or Buddhist. (On The Genealogy of Morals, What Do Ascetic Ideals Mean?)

Zarathustra is the higher man who masters duality and the fetters of nihilism and disillusionment.  Zarathustra is his own god, and runs counter to the Brahman or Advaita Vedantic mystic who’s aim is to achieve mystical union with the One, Brahman or the collective Atman, communicating his sarcasm and ire against such teachings as asserted in In The Happy Iles in Zarathustra:

“Evil do I call it and misanthropic: all that teaching about the one, and the plenum, and the unmoved, and the sufficient, and the imperishable! All the imperishable—that’s but a simile, and the poets lie too much.—”

This so-called unity to Nietzsche was merely a doctrine of the “oldest and most venerable script” in which is to be rejected in favor of a more life-affirming script in support for his gospel of the Superman. It isn’t just a condemnation of one type of mysticism in favor for other stripes but a wholesale rejection of its every incarnation. In On the Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche summarizes his contempt for such nihilism masquerading itself as self-negating and transcendent mysticism:

…the hypnotic feeling of nothingness, the silence of the deepest sleep, in short, the loss of suffering – something which suffering and fundamentally disgruntled people have to consider their highest good, their value of values, and which they must appraise as positive and experience as the positive in itself. (With the same logic of feeling, in all pessimistic religions nothingness is called God).

It becomes rather obvious that Nietzsche goes at great lengths to deny an impersonal, supreme and transcendental power that lies beyond the world of the material such as Brahman. Buddhism and its founder Siddhartha  receives a lesser disdainful evaluation, despite the fact that they fundamentally agree on such “fictions” as an immortal soul that survives the sudden cut off of death. It is notable that  ideas such as Eternal Recurrence in which Nietzsche adopts into his personal philosophy shares an affinity with the idea of the cycles and wheels of Samsara or metempsychosis under the realm of dukkha. So what exactly survives death? To Nietzsche there is no “soul” that transmigrates into another body or thing. Instead, the “soul” is replaced by the Will to Power alone, although it seems as though Nietzsche was simply arguing semantics. Still, Nietzsche is far from completely denying a spiritual reality, but yet maintains that it must be understood as shorthand for our experiential lives in the here and now. Consciousness to him isn’t exactly a purely metaphysical or mystical substance but rather a product of social conditioning and of social existence in conjunction with our practical needs and abilities. In The Indian Origin of Nietzsche’s Theory on the Eternal Return by D. Bannerjee, he goes in greater detail in their similarities:

The central theme of his (Nietzsche’s) passionate hope and aspiration for the future of mankind, namely, the survival of human character and personality in a ceaseless cycle of births  (death being only a harbinger to the eternal return of life’s perfect and heroic moments) discloses likewise an Indian origin and in fact, constitutes the main tenet of Hinduism and and Buddhism alike.” (p. 163)

It seems as though Nietzsche had adopted the concept of reincarnation for his philosophy. Nietzsche’s connection to Asian religion and philosophy started with Paul Deussen aka “Deva-Sena” (a name he adopted for his admiration for the Hindu religion), a German Sanskrit scholar, something of which Nietzsche acknowledges in his works. In the Advaita Vedanta teaching, it posits that there is an eternal, emantative and incomprehensible spirit beyond the material universe yet imminent in the life-process as an energizing principle. As follows, every sentient being is a unique manifestation of this ineffable force or principle,  in which the world of appearances makes this realization difficult to realize that we are identical to the Supreme Spirit, since the cosmos is marked in terms of separation, illusion and duality under the umbrella of Maya. The Atman thus returns to the Ultimate Reality as the pinnacle of its spiritual journey through direct experience via the dissolution of form and into the unborn. It is this viewpoint that Nietzsche contends with in that he categorically rejects the idea of the world of appearances as the shadow of a noumenal world as promoted by the likes of Plato in the Theory of Forms of his dialogue Phaedo, the Gnostics and the Hindu mystics as a pursuit of a metaphysical fancy.

The attachment and emphasis on the world of ideals is what he dismisses. To Nietzsche, the world of experience, the world of appearances was the only real world, the channel in which the Superman ceaselessly pour the creative energy of the Will to Power. It is the concept of Samsara in being subservient to something that is both space-less and timeless, in which a moral necessity for an absorption back into Brahman to Nietzsche was no different then the notion of the Judeo-Christian God in which he considered a crutch for the decadent and antithetical to the virtues of the Superman. The Atman according to Nietzsche is its own source that it returns too and not some vague mystical reality that is yearned to the nth degree by mystics throughout history. In The Anti-Christ, although Nietzsche also expresses the Buddha’s doctrine under the banner of nihilism, it is far more favorable in comparison in his contempt for the (proto-Catholic corruption of) Pauline Christianity:

Buddhism is a hundred times as realistic as Christianity — it is part of its living heritage that it is able to face problems objectively and coolly; it is the product of long centuries of philosophical speculation. The concept, “god,” was already disposed of before it appeared. Buddhism is the only genuinely positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even to its epistemology (which is a strict phenomenalism) — It does not speak of a “struggle with sin,” but, yielding to reality, of the “struggle with suffering.” Sharply differentiating itself from Christianity, it puts the self-deception that lies in moral concepts be hind it; it is, in my phrase, beyond good and evil.

To Nietzsche, the Buddha offered a far more realistic and approachable path for spiritual practitioners, that was leavened with reason and moderation in light of the Middle Way to liberation without all the extreme bodily mortification prevalent in asceticism of the Yogi’s (for example) or abstaining from addictive sense pleasures and vices of all stripes

Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more objective. It no longer has to justify its pains, its susceptibility to suffering, by interpreting these things in terms of sin — it simply says, as it simply thinks, “I suffer.” To the barbarian, however, suffering in itself is scarcely understandable: what he needs, first of all, is an explanation as to why he suffers. (His mere instinct prompts him to deny his suffering altogether, or to endure it in silence.) Here the word “devil” was a blessing: man had to have an omnipotent and terrible enemy — there was no need to be ashamed of suffering at the hands of such an enemy.

While he has a reasonably favorable view of Buddhism in comparison to other more decidedly theistic religions, he however dislikes its evaluation of suffering as a category definition of the world, thus weakening and even negating the Will to Power, instead of fortifying it. To Nietzsche, the weak man dwelt in his own miserable state, picking his mind with festering thoughts of jealously and inferiority while placing blame on others. It is this slave morality that denounces power and happiness while promsing the weak will receive eternal bliss in the afterlife. Yet, Nietzsche had also rejected the idea that mankind was guilty and responsible for everything inherently wrong in the world because this shifting of responsibility from God to man is false though it reverses the direction of the resentment and might serve as a catalyst to personal development.

This world, the eternally imperfect, an eternal contradiction’s image and imperfect image- an intoxicating joy to its imperfect creator:- thus did the world once seem to me.

It is here that Zarathustra paradoxically shares the pessimistic anthropological attitude of the ancient Gnostics such as the Sethians who disregarded the world and its creator as an abortive mistake to be repudiated and transcended. They believed that the creator god was by no means a universal one, but a secondary, subordinate god, angel or even a malicious demon empowered with the ability to craft and construct. It is this being who in his vanity created the world and cosmos in which he was satisfied this work was good and perfect, but in reality was a sham in which its iron manacles kept the inner luminary of man captive to the realm of fate, similarly to the idea of Eternal Recurrence. Yet, he was admonished by his own Mother of the Angels (Sophia) for being opaque and blind.

It was the real and true Father which took pity on the half-conscious worms that this creator angel had formed out of the dust of the earth and through his emissaries, provided them spirit and consciousness to animate them on their journey to salvation by carrying the sparks of divine Light to heaven which are burred in living matter. English poet and artist, William Blake writes in The Book of Urizen where the god of Reason recounts how the mind is imprisoned in the cosmos, deprived of light and eternity:

In chains of the mind locked up, Like fetters of ice shrinking together Disorganiz’d, rent from Eternity, Los beat on his fetters of iron; And heated his furnaces & pour’d Iron sodor and sodor of brass

The human being, accordingly is really a spirit entrapped in the tomb that is bodily flesh, like a pearl buried in mud. Both the world of humanity and the world of the cosmos at large are battlegrounds in a war between good spirit of light and the malevolent, counterfeit spirit that rules over matter. Man was originally pure spirit or consciousness, but somehow in the process of emanation and creation, man had become entrapped by the evil eon to the shackles of the cave-world Plato described in his famous Cave allegory.

The human race experiences this reality in whatever he projects from his own consciousness but is really a sort of malevolent simulacrum, a matrix-like “time out of joint” as Shakespeare’s Hamlet put it. In this Gnostic revelation, the pre-cosmic fall of being from the world of light leading to the creation of an evil, prison-like world made by a stupid and inferior creator becomes the center stage of this unfolding, divine drama. Whether or not, Nietzsche was familiar with the doctrines of the Gnostics (probably not), he definetly shares a similar attitude as expressed earlier on, despite his insistence on laying a hold of the beauty in the gloomy cosmos as a thriving and independent isle of virtuous light and power that transcends the dichotomy of good and evil. The Gnostic acosmic denial of existence would have turned him off, however.

Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks — those who write new values on new tablets.

Notably, in Plato’s allegory of the cave — there are four phases in the story which includes the prisoner in the darkness, the liberation from the shackles of ignorance, the contemplation of the pure forms outside the cave, and the return to the cave to liberate the prisoners left behind much like a Bodhisattva or a Manichean light-savior would do out of divine compassion to those still left lingering in the world of suffering and ignorance. This is similar to the threefold process of transformation or as it is called in Zarathustra “The Three Metamorphoses” that the spirit of the Übermensch undergoes:

THREE metamorphoses of the spirit do I designate to you: how the spirit becometh a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child. Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong load-bearing spirit in which reverence dwelleth: for the heavy and the heaviest longeth its strength.

The tripartite archetypes in "Thus Spake Zarathustra".

The obedient camel is representative of the herd man who embraces the virtues of the slave. The freedom-loving lion is second transformation of the spiritual Atman in which the lion becomes the chief symbol for the Will to Power who is ready to pounce and tear at the virtues of the weak and the lukewarm and make it into a strewn, bloody carcass. Yet, Zarathustra makes it very clear that not even the lion can replace the old values of the dead and buried; it has to take a completely new archetype to forge the new ideals like an alchemist transmuting lead to gold. The playfully creating child becomes the last stage in which the Übermensch can rise from the dark ashes of the former into the new, fiery light of the reborn Phoenix. This threefold progression mirrors the three natures doctrine of the Gnostics, that being the Hylic, Psychic and Pneumatic. The Übermensch is also (obviously, if you’ve been paying attention) represented likewise through the figures of Zarathustra and Dionysus whom both forged new vistas of vision, new universes of possibility, freedom and liberation:

Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea. Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed a holy. Yea unto life: its own will, willeth now the spirit; his own world winneth the world’s outcast.

I take that in light of what Nietzsche wrote about when the highest values have become devalued, a new system of values needs to be created. The Übermensch must first grow in the wilderness of past mythology and metaphysics, then he must surpass those “lying specters of the ages” and forge his own destiny by staying truthful to his virtues midst the drowning miasma and noise of the herd. Nietzsche correctly understood that fixed values of the old religions and sciences weren’t not enough to make humans reach their optimal state.  They would need an intelligent utilitarian will, an executive power which transcends moral law and seeks the most highly beneficial outcome in circumstances which the virtues and laws of the common man could not properly address.

 The virtues of the common man would perhaps mean vice and weakness in a philosopher; it might be possible for a highly developed man, supposing him to degenerate and go to ruin, to acquire qualities thereby alone, for the sake of which he would have to be honoured as a saint in the lower world into which he had sunk. There are books which have an inverse value for the soul and the health according as the inferior soul and the lower vitality, or the higher and more powerful, make use of them. In the former case they are dangerous, disturbing, unsettling books, in the latter case they are herald-calls which summon the bravest to THEIR bravery. Books for the general reader are always ill-smelling books, the odour of paltry people clings to them. (Beyond Good and Evil)

A genuine measure of individual sovereignty or autonomy and self-mastery becomes the laid foundation for this  “higher” type of human being, transcending “beyond good and evil” and attaining a higher calling or spirituality. This philosophy does not call for the eradication or repression of ones most innate and basic drives with which humanity is endowed, but rather they are sublimated into a flouring vitality. It supplies the impetus to all higher spirituality and culture, through which alone human life can transform itself into something worthy of esteem. This new set of values provides the means to emerge to a higher platform of vision and being, transcending the  brutish nihilism that is left from a disbelieving herd or mass of people who have resigned themselves to an unsatisfactory life of mediocrity and conformity.

Nietzsche’s characterization of the general idea of an objective truth as a kind of error, and knowledge as a kind of fiction also becomes notable, at last in relation to the traditional model of truth as the process correspondence of thought to being, and of knowledge as justified true belief. This in his view is a myth. All truth expressed by a human has a relational or relativistic character that requires to be understood differently and is purely subjective in perspective. So, what does that say about Zarathustra who ministers and proclaims his existential truths to the mob?

The figure of Zarathustra himself also shares a remarkable similarity to the Hermetic-pagan figure of Poimandres who is likewise similar to the Gnostic Savior or Christ. Poimandres is considered to be the nous or Logos of the highest godhead. Of course, Poimandres was also the name for the first chapter of The Corpus Hermeticum. As mentioned earlier, Poimandres was also called the “Shepherd of Men” who becomes sort of an Illuminator mentor to the Gnostic aspirant and speaker of the text. He is in essence, the sublime Promethian Gnostic hero, similar to the Superman through his own realization, setting an example for those who are strong enough and called to follow. And yet, Hermes himself is a teacher of wisdom not meant for the mob, but only for those initiated into his “secret knowledge”. In the Corpus Hermeticum, it asserts something that Nietzsche would have approved of:

“If, then, being made of Life and Light, you learn to know that you are made of them, you will go back to the Life and Light.”

In The Poimandres as Myth: Scholarly Theory and Gnostic Meaning, the author Robert A. Segal writes in a footnote:

…The “Will of God” means the “Counsel of God,” and entity which is distinct from both Nature and the Word and which mediates between God and the material world, at once unnecessarily complicates the cosmogony and really makes the Will equivalent to the Word.

Accordingly, perhaps Nietzsche was in fact channeling the Will from the Word or Logos, Zarathustra. Much like in the way Paul had the private revelation an entity he identified as the spiritual Christ appear before him which bubbled up from deep within his unconscious, Zarathustra likewise does the same with Nietzsche dictating the law of the Will to Power. Christ himself becomes is the perfect symbol of the hidden immortal within the mortal man. Other Gnostic archetypes as well (Hermes, Poimandres, Seth, and even the Buddha) can be compared to the Superman as flourishing figures of the four gates of self-knowledge: light, life, love and liberty, shining through the dark miasma of nihilism and the fetters of the material world. Nietzsche recognized the spiritual and even Gnostic virtues expressed by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, eliminating the Church’s orthodox authority over his words of wisdom in regards to the true “Kingdom of God” that is nowhere to be found but within:

The “kingdom of heaven” is a state of the heart—not something that is to come “above the earth” or “after death.” The whole concept of natural death is lacking in the evangel: death is no bridge, no transition; it is lacking because it belongs to a wholly different, merely apparent world, useful only insofar as it furnishes signs. The “hour of death” is no Christian conception: “hour,” time, physical life and its crises do not even exist for the teacher of the “glad tidings.” The “kingdom of God” is nothing that one expects; it has no yesterday and no day after tomorrow, it will not come in “a thousand years”—it is an experience of the heart; it is everywhere, it is nowhere.

Nietzsche as a whole is severely critical of everyday cherished beliefs and aspects of society — everything from religion, morality, science, philosophy and traditional values. In this instance, Nietzsche becomes one of the first deconstructionists. However, this does not stop Nietzsche from having the “Lulz” when he suggests that we bury all these serious ideals embodied in the Übermensch, the Will to Power and the urgent need for self-overcoming and make time for laughter and joy, even in the face of utter despair and misery as he writes in The Gay Science:

To laugh at oneself as one would have to laugh in order to laugh out of the whole truth, to do this, the best have not hitherto had enough of the sense of truth, and the most gifted have had far too little genius!  There is perhaps still a future even for laughter!  When the maxim, “The species is all, the individual is nothing,” has incorporated itself in humanity, and when access stands open to everyone at all times to this ultimate emanciption and irresponsibility.  Perhaps then laughter will have united with wisdom, perhaps then there will be only “joyful wisdom.”

This same sentiment is repeated in Twilight of the Idols:

A revaluation of all values: this question mark, so black, so huge that it casts a shadow over the man who puts it down — such a destiny of a task compels one to run into the sunlight at every opportunity to shake off a heavy, all-too-heavy seriousness.

Even the Übermensch must laugh and crack jokes every now and then, which ultimately reflects Nietzsche’s attitude towards life and oneself on the journey towards ascending the golden starecase of self-mastery and into the light of self-possessed being. It is laughter which demonstrates the capacity in taking command of one’s self and the heights of the soul because it is capable of affirming life for what it is, in the here and the present. It is only in the present that the higher man can flourish.

My wise longing cried and laughed thus out of me – born in the mountains, verily, a wild wisdom – my great broad-winged longing! And often it swept me away and up and far, in the middle of my laughter; and I flew quivering, an arrow, through sun-drunken delight, away to distant futures which no dream had yet seen.

The Zarathustra Seed

Part I.

Friederich Nietzsche’s evaluation of the world religions varied from one another. Through his “trans-valuations” of the religions and philosophies of his heyday, he created his own Spartan-like doctrines that emphasized the joy, vitality and strength of existence. The worst offenders of his animus belonged to the “decadence” and “immortal blemish of mankind” that was contained in 19th century, European Christianity. However, his estimation of the eastern doctrines of Buddhism and Hindu mysticism were held in a more favorable light. Yet further still, the doctrine of the Buddha had still belonged to what he loathingly referred to as “passive nihilism” (which will be discussed further on in Part II of this essay). Certain aspects of Greek philosophy and even Hinduism however held a much loftier place in Nietzsche’s heart thanks to a colleague by the name of Paul Deussen. Even a cursory reading of Nietzsche’s seminal Thus Spake Zarathustra seems to echo streams of both Greek and Hindu thought. Is it probable that even the sublime basis of Nietzsche’s philosophy was in fact centered in Greek, Hindu and other esoteric doctrines?

It is by in large nearly impossible to draw a sharp line on Nietzsche’s frame of thought and philosophy. His published works such as Beyond Good and Evil, Will to Power and Thus Spake Zarathustra, however gives us a clear insight into his frame of thought and even religiosity as expressed in the later. His most famous literary work, Thus Spake Zarathustra in which Nietzsche’s philosophy is expressed poetically and symbolically through the affirmative voice of the Persian religious teacher Zoroaster. Nietzsche’s search for meaning was carried out by pointing with a silver-tongue and sharp vigor the equalitarianism of conformity through the “herd”, the stiff sobriety of society over the submerged, chthonic creative forces as symbolized through Apollo and Dionysus, the resentment of the gifted and the increasing nihilism of his fellow man. Rising above this dark mire was his “Ubermensch”, the “Superman” or the “Overman” that was in essence the master of himself and his chaotic passions, the animal nature within. He is an untamable, contrarian revolutionary that rejects societal conformity and religious delusion that draws the person away from the “here and now” of the present world and into escapism of other-worldly hopes found in many religions, in especially Christianity. Nietzsche’s contemptuous and hostile treatment of Christianity no doubt earned him considerable attention through works such as The Anti-Christ.

Of central importance to Nietzsche’s philosophy was the “Will to Power”, which describes the main driving force or “inner dynamo” of man into achieving ambition to achieve the highest possible position life which is essentially life-affirming rather than life-denying inherent in more ascetic, religious paths. Achieving one’s true will is in essence the “Will to Power”, the advancement or expansion of one’s life and surroundings in the greater present. This worldview is expressed succinctly in The Birth of Tragedy:

For a short time we really are the primordial essence itself and feel its unbridled lust for and joy in existence; the struggle, the torment, the destruction of appearances now seem to us necessary, on account of the excess of innumerable forms of existence pressing and punching themselves into life and of the exuberant fecundity of the world will. We are transfixed by the raging barbs of this torment in the very moment when we become, as it were, one with the immeasurable primordial delight in existence and when, in Dionysian rapture, we sense the indestructible and eternal nature of this joy. In spite of fear and pity, we are fortunate vital beings, not as individuals, but as the one living being, with whose procreative joy we have been fused.

This also includes one’s own consciousness. According to this concept everything in this universe whether living or non-living struggles to expand its power and influence.  From this vantage point for discharging expansive energy, religiously oriented morality becomes insignificant and moot. This point is emphasized in The Will To Power:

‎There is no struggle for existence between ideas and perceptions but a struggle for dominion: the idea that is overcome is not annihilated, only driven back or subordinated. There is no annihilation in the sphere of spirit. (323)

For the noble, “strong-willed”, the “good morality” consists of strength, valor and power whereas the “bad” is defined as weakly, cowardly, timid and petty, “Fear is the mother of morality.” (Beyond Good and Evil) This kind of morality to Nietzsche was the morality of “slaves”. It is this “slave” morality that denies life’s most basic and vital impulses to promulgate its self-interests such as love and passion. The morality of “masters,” the autocrats and kings was this Will to Power an unwavering, passionate fire for dominance and authority over the flaccid. Yet more importantly, this doctrine was central to the idea of self-overcoming that is the weaknesses and short-comings within as opposed to the dominance of others. Common religion, to Nietzsche was seen as a crutch that man uses to abrogate responsibly for this life. Rather than assigning the fortunes and misfortunes to some vague notion of “God’s will” or even “fate”, he would rather his fellow man accept the responsibility of their actions and consequences they reap. It is not “God’s will” that Jack graduates from law school but rather through Jack’s “Will to Power” that he achieves this feat.

Of course, this does not mean that man is responsible for everything that happens to him (for example: being laid-off during a recession). Rather, it’s entirely up to each individual on how they would react to such circumstances (i.e. being the victim or overcoming the obstacle). Yet, no one can deny Nietzsche had his share of bad luck during his life time relating from health to relationships with women and financial hardships. Throughout Nietzsche’s life, he was plagued with health problems relating to congenital disease which induced spells of intense head-aches, poor eye-sight and prolonged periods of exhaustion (not to mention contracting syphilis at a German brothel) which added to his several bouts of depression. From his long phases of self-reflection, his views on politics (socialism and democracy especially), religion, philosophy, war, pacifism and even sexuality were realized. Yet, he never really complained of these hardships. In fact, he reveled in them—viewing such painful experiences as a fiery mallet wielded by a blacksmith while the self as the malleable steel being forged into a sword of triumph. From these newly acquired perception and Will to Power, the search for truth and the “meaning of life” becomes a sojourn for self-reinvention and life-affirmation in which is required the full resources of his genius to solve.

A doctrine is needed powerful enough to work as a breeding agent: strengthening the strong, paralyzing and destructive for the world-weary. (Nietzsche, Will To Power. Pg. 106)

Eventually, it becomes apparent by reading Nietzche’s writing that it employs insidious language that lures the reader into his philosophies and beliefs that one can find that one isn’t being critical of what he’s proclaiming as truth. Perhaps it’s this persuasive and confrontational manner that shakes the conformist of the herd from the “decadent bubble”. “I’ll lead you to the water, but you have to drink!” This is but one of many impressions I have garnered from his works. In essence, this is the “feeling” that pervades many of his writings. However, this tactic seems to be missing in Thus Spake Zarathustra. In the same text, the Ubermensch is represented as the religious figure of Zoroaster (Greek/Latin) or Zarathustra (Persian).

The name Zarathustra carries many meanings including “ferocious” and “undulated light”. Of course, Zarathustra is also the founder of Avestan (Iranian) religion of Zoroastrianism. It is often suggested that both western religion (including Greek, Jewish, Christian, Manichean and Muslim thought) and philosophy owes much of its inspiration from Zarathustra himself. Radical dualism also finds its origins in Zarathustra’s religious ideas concerning two opposing, independent principles of light versus darkness (the two worlds) embodied in Ahura Mazda, the Creator of Goodness and Anro Mainyus (Ahriman), the Evil Spirit. This type of radical dualism later resurfaces within Manichean doctrine that would eventually include many other religious figures such as Zarathustra, Jesus Christ and even the Buddha into their pantheon of avatars of light battling against the denizens of darkness. (For a more precise summary of the Manichean religion and its Zoroastrian influences see The Gnostic Religion by Hans Jonas.)

Nietzsche however employs Zarathustra as a protagonist for his philosophy which inevitably turns the tables of the world-denying tendencies of religious faith and dualistic heresies of the ancient world. The irony in that Nietzsche would use the founder of religion and by extension Judeo-Christianity and metaphysical morality becomes apparent, thus completely reversing or “correcting” this particular religiosity once conjured up by Zarathustra. It was Nietzsche’s adoption of  Zarathustra’s name that made the ancient philosopher well known to the people of the modern world, whose name and doctrine was lost since Arab invasion in 7th century AD. Nietzsche, like Zarathustra also used battling dualities in his work to express his philosophy. In Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, the German philosopher pits the qualities of the Greek gods viz. Apollonian solar deity’s virtues, beauty and laws against Dionysus’ savage, atavistic and chthonic primal energy. Dionysus is the energy of the Bacchic revel which renders the false idol or the egoic-self into pieces. It is this terrible reveling archetype that poses a threat against materialist culture that struggles in fear to keep the lid on this explosive energy.  It is this heathen-like, defiant spirituality in which Nietzsche based his doctrine upon. Nietzsche reveled in the wild, the atavistic, the fierce and erotic and the totally unapologetic.

Apollo is inevitably a materialist in this context, clinging to the solid, day to day world of the mundane, the visible, and the stable. Greek Mythology also revolved around the rivalries between gods and men, wherein in the end men gained victory over the gods. Here also he proclaims the death of God and hence a need for a  “superman”, a man who overpowered God or the “gods”, a being who would bring a new order, a new morality of vitality.  This eternal and dualistic dichotomy appears again and again in mythological tropes, stories across the world over. The unrestrained Dionysus rises up to tear the totalitarian system of controls that have bred the greatest evils in cool, orderly and iced intellect of the worst murderers of history, including the Nazi’s who would come to twist and pervert Nietzsche’s words in order to fit their reprehensible and ugly agendas.

Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote in regards to the sinful nature of man that would add to the doctrine of pre-determinism (a Manichaean doctrine as well), a view that would be later shared, utilized and taken advantaged of by the likes of later Christian Theologians from John Calvin to Jonathan Edwards:

Adam and Eve in punishment for their sin “became a natural consequence in all their descendants”.  Moreover, it is not just a corrupted physical nature that we have inherited from Adam, but our… ” human nature was so changed and vitiated that it suffers from the recalcitrance of a rebellious concupiscence…. –City of God, xiii. pg. 3

John Calvin repeats this same sentiment:

For our nature is not only utterly devoid of goodness, but so prolific in all kinds of evil, that it can never be idle. Those who term it concupiscence use a word not very inappropriate, provided it were added, (this, however, many will by no means concede,) that everything which is in man, from the intellect to the will, from the soul even to the flesh, is defiled and pervaded with this concupiscence; or, to express it more briefly, that the whole man is in himself nothing else than concupiscence. (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 1, Section 8.)

Of course, this teaching flies in the face of many, much earlier Christian theologians that recognized the closer doctrine to actual Biblical theology of free-will as evidenced with Irenaeus in Against Heresies XXXVII:

This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves . . .

Yet it is Augustine’s assertion as well as parts of the New Testament, specifically in Romans 8:7-8 that the good works of men are but filthy rags in the eyes of God and that mankind is unable to save himself from the fatal illness that has infected is being from birth to death (due to the original sin), and into the flaming pits of eternal damnation. It is this conception of Original Sin that posits that man was innately and totally depraved due to the “fall of man” which was conceived by his ancient parents of Adam and Eve by the ingestion of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. This is the doctrine of the ancestral inheritance of sin and it is an article of faith that is not even found in either the Old or New Testaments and simply a result of misreading scripture. Adam and Eve was merely an archaic explanation of this as to how evil must have came to exist within God’s perfect creation, not necessarily something that, in this day and age, should be taken as fact or anything other than allegorical. This is of course, something Nietzsche more than likely recognized.

In Isaiah 53, it reads the greatest Old Testament description of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death. That chapter emphasizes the Biblical God’s activity in the events surrounding the crucifixion. It was, the Jewish deity, Jehovah who laid on Jesus the sins of all of mankind. In Isaiah 52:10, it plainly states that this deity was pleased to crush his own Son as a blood-sacrifice in order that salvation might come to a spiritually sick world. The Anti-Christ takes special note of this ridiculous and ironic doctrine of death and lunacy:

God himself sacrifices himself for the guilt of mankind, God himself makes payment to himself, God as the only being who can redeem man from what has become unredeemable for man himselfCthe creditor sacrifices himself for his debtor, out of love (one can credit that?), out of love for his debtor!

It is these notions of sin and redemption that makes up the slave-morality paradigm that Nietzsche completely rejects and eviscerates in The Anti-Christ. Christian morality to Nietzsche relegates self-affirmation as evil, and blesses the meek, the yielding, and the pitying—in short, the slaves and the herd. The mind-set of the “wretched, unsaved sinner” is a vice and anathema for kings! In place of this “slave morality” Nietzsche suggested a Greek morality, a pagan, life-affirming, and rejecting the contrast between good and evil and in favor that is between and above good and evil — the Ubermensch. It is this ideal man that Nietzsche recognizes as a healthy, flourishing and potent archetype who embraces the virtues of pride, courage and the Will to Power. Love your neighbor as yourself is all fine: but make sure first that you love yourself. The true sin isn’t disobedience to the Biblical God’s will; it is disobedience to your own!

In The Anti-Christ, Nietzsche responds to the Christian religion’s incessant proclamation that man is born in sin from the get-go, is unsaved, pitiful and above all, eternally hell-bound. He shows the decadent ideal no mercy in his evisceration of it:

Christianity finds sickness necessary, just as the Greek spirit had need of a superabundance of health — the actual ulterior purpose of the whole system of salvation of the church is to make people ill. And the church itself — doesn’t it set up a Catholic lunatic asylum as the ultimate ideal? — The whole earth as a madhouse? — The sort of religious man that the church wants is a typical decadent; the moment at which a religious crisis dominates a people is always marked by epidemics of nervous disorder; the “inner world” of the religious man is so much like the “inner world” of the overstrung and exhausted that it is difficult to distinguish between them; the “highest” states of mind, held up before mankind by Christianity as of supreme worth, are actually epileptoid in form — the church has granted the name of holy only to lunatics or to gigantic frauds in majorem dei honorem….

Furthermore, Nietzsche in the Anti-Christ also minces no words in regards to the stagnant anti-intellectualism of the Christian churches in his day (and arguably today’s Mega-Churches and even modern society at large):

We should not deck out and embellish Christianity: it has waged a war to the death against this higher type of man, it has put all the deepest instincts of this type under its ban, it has developed its concept of evil, of the Evil One himself, out of these instincts — the strong man as the typical reprobate, the “outcast among men.” Christianity has taken the part of all the weak, the low, the botched; it has made an ideal out of antagonism to all the self-preservative instincts of sound life; it has corrupted even the faculties of those natures that are intellectually most vigorous, by representing the highest intellectual values as sinful, as misleading, as full of temptation. The most lamentable example: the corruption of Pascal, who believed that his intellect had been destroyed by original sin, whereas it was actually destroyed by Christianity!

Not only is Christianity reviled in the strongest terms, Nietzsche spares no punches in his trans-valuation of the Christian God as evidenced in The Anti-Christ:

The Christian concept of a god — the god as the patron of the sick, the god as a spinner of cobwebs, the god as a spirit — is one of the most corrupt concepts that has ever been set up in the world: it probably touches low-water mark in the ebbing evolution of the god-type. God degenerated into the contradiction of life. Instead of being its transfiguration and eternal Yea! In him war is declared on life, on nature, on the will to live! God becomes the formula for every slander upon the “here and now,” and for every lie about the “beyond”! In him nothingness is deified, and the will to nothingness is made holy! …

Calvinism, a subsidiary Protestant doctrine sort of promotes this same worship of a malicious tyrant of death. It is the Ubermensch that plunges forth his sword of truth against these doctrines of decadence and falsehood. Thus, the Ubermensch is realized and rises like a fiery phoenix over the profane masses and the “great nausea” that is associated with both the Judeo-Christian doctrines and all its schisms as well as nihilism. It is important to note that the Ubermensch is a journey towards self-mastery rather than an end-result in itself.

God is dead. God remains dead. And we killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? (Nietzsche, the Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufman).

These ideas represent three stages interconnected and one leading to the other. This highly provocative statement is actually a stark observation of Nietzsche concerning Christianity and European society of his time. In Nietzsche’s view, recent developments in modern science and the increasing secularization of European society had effectively “killed” the Christian God, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for a thousand and plus years.

The idea of man (or more accurately) the Roman Catholic Church had effectively killed the concept of God by having a parasitic priest class convening over the congregation through their abuse of power and control throughout ecclesiastical history. Interestingly enough, the Apocalypse of Peter found in the Nag Hammadi Library had also said the same thing nearly 1,800 years ago!

And they will cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking that they will become pure. But they will become greatly defiled and they will fall into a name of error, and into the hand of an evil, cunning man and a manifold dogma, and they will be ruled without law.

Nietzsche claimed the death of God would eventually lead to the loss of any coherent sense of meaning in life. In essence, secularism would breed nihilism. Nihilism, according to Nietzsche was one of the unfortunate “side-effects” for an existential quest for meaning; a void that was felt when Christianity was experienced as a disillusionment and ultimately rejected. Nihilism in a nutshell: Life is a big nothing.

Nihilism according to Nietzsche was sort of a vacuous hole left in man’s existential yearnings since his fellow countryman had abandoned Christian virtues and was left to their own vices. In Will To Power, Nietzsche explains Nihilism in psychological terms:

Nihilism as a psychological state will have to be reached, first, when we have sought a “meaning” in all events that is not there: so the seeker eventually becomes discouraged. Nihilism, then, is the recognition of the long waste of strength, the agony of the “in vain,” insecurity, the lack of any opportunity to recover and to regain composure–being ashamed in front of oneself, as if one had deceived oneself all too long. (4)

This was a great opportunity to reevaluate societal values into something “new” as explained in Will To Power:

Because the values we have had hitherto thus draw their final consequence; because nihilism represents the ultimate logical conclusion of our great values and ideals—because we must experience nihilism before we can find out what value these “values” really had.—We require, sometime, new values. (51)

As Martin Heidegger wrote in The Word of Nietzsche: God is Dead:

If God as the supra-sensory ground and goal of all reality is dead, if the supra-sensory would of the Ideas has suffered the loss of its obligatory and above it its vitalizing and upbuilding power, then nothing more remains to which man can cling and by which he can orient himself. (67)

In response to the loss of values in face of the cold winds of nihilism, Nietzsche wrote Thus Spake Zarathustra, therein introducing the concept of a value-creating “Ubermensch.” Life isn’t about nothing, nor is it about self-gratifying happiness or worshiping a petty, cosmic tyrant in an sadomasochistic like manner (love and fear God at the same time). Life is about power. Nietzsche’s complaints of Judeo-Christian religion were chiefly centered on the ethical dilemmas and the implications of its metaphysics. He never attacks religion from a materialist or secular standpoint; in fact he often complained of the spread of secularism in which he saw as a breeding ground of nihilism as mentioned before. His usage of myth and symbolism in works such as Thus Spake Zarathustra is illustration of his advocating of such devices. The slave-religion of Christianity was so despised by Nietzsche since in many ways had risen up the emasculated morality of the lower classes of the “God fearing sinners” (blessed are the poor in spirit) which undermined the masculine master-class morality.

It should be noted that Nietzsche didn’t hate everything about the Christian religion per se (in fact he held Jesus Christ in very high esteem while holding the founder of Christianity, St. Paul in utter contempt), what he hated was the conventional Christian personality as the soft and effeminate, the “meek and mild”. Indeed, one of his descriptions of the Ubermensch was “the Roman Caesar with Christ’s soul” in the Will To Power. His rejection of Christian concepts in favor for Greek ones is obvious. In The Antichrist, of all books, he gives a great summary of Jesus’ teachings, an almost Gnostic examination of Christianity, abolishing the churches’ authority or “orthodoxy” over spirituality because the Kingdom of God resides in every man in the deepest recesses of the inner core, the formless Atman and autonomous spiritual seed.

Part II forthcoming…

The Battle Within

Jesus said, “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.

The Gospel of Thomas, Logion: 16

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

And if ye cannot be saints of knowledge, then, I pray you, be at least its warriors. They are the companions and forerunners of such saintship

Nietzsche,Thus Spake Zarathustra

Born is the battler who make peace.
The all-good highest of the gods gives you three tasks;
Destroy death, strike the enemies, and cover the whole
Paradise of Light! You paid homage and went out for battle
and covered the whole Paradise of Light.
The tyrant prince was bound forever and the dwelling place
of the Dark Ones was destroyed.
The Light Friend, Primal Man, remained until he carried
out his fathers will.

The First Hymn of the Primal Man

Blessed are you, oh Soul, you with the divine form!
Blessed are you, oh Soul, weapon and battlement of the gods,
Blessed are you, radiant Soul,
Splendor and glory of the … Worlds of Light!
Blessed are you, divine radiant Soul,
Weapon and might, soul and body, gift of the Father of Light.

Hymn to the Living Soul, A Manichaean hymn in Parthian.

“O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.”

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.”

“That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.”

“The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.”

“Neither he who thinks the living entity the slayer nor he who thinks it slain is in knowledge, for the self slays not nor is slain.”

“For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”

The Bhagavad Gita, 2: 10-20

And as to what, again, they say of sleep, the very same things are to be understood of death. For each exhibits the departure of the soul, the one more, the other less; as we may also get this in Heraclitus: “Man touches night in himself, when dead and his light quenched; and alive, when he sleeps he touches the dead; and awake, when he shuts his eyes, he touches the sleeper.”[4] “For blessed are those that have seen the Lord,”[5] according to the apostle; “for it is high time to awake out of sleep. For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light.”[6] By day and light he designates figuratively the Son, and by the armour of light metaphorically the promises.

Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, Chapter XXII: THE TRUE GNOSTIC DOES GOOD, NOT FROM FEAR OF PUNISHMENT OR HOPE OF REWARD, BUT ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF GOOD ITSELF.

Heaven & Hell

 “Every one who has ever built anywhere a “new heaven” first found the power thereto in his own hell.” – Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals.

***

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” – Siddhartha Gautama.

***

‎”He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.”

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

“The pride of the peacock is the glory of God. The lust of the goat is the bounty of God. The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God. The nakedness of woman is the work of God.”

William Blake, The Proverbs of Hell.

It all fits.

Writing In Blood

Climbing the Mountain of Triumph.

In Chapter 7, “Reading and Writing,” of Thus Spake Zarathustra, Nietzsche writes:

“Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit. It is no easy task to understand unfamiliar blood; I hate the reading idlers. He who knoweth the reader, doeth nothing more for the reader. Another century of readers—and spirit itself will stink.”

The above excerpt affirms the “gutsy” and brazen spirit of Nietzsche’s affirmation of life rather than the denial of it that is often found in many religions. Nietzsche was a truly brilliant, arrogant (and rightly so) insufferable prick—even more so because his very logical philosophy rings so truly. Nietzsche is by all means a very complex philosopher and one shouldn’t take his writings at face value. Thus Spake Zarathustra is no exception since it is a literary work expressing various aspects of his philosophy summed up as the “Will to Power” through the overman or “Übermensch” by the means of parables and colorful allegory. Nietzsche’s philosophy is, first and foremost, a declaration of freedom—in all respects, including the intellect. This freedom often inferred a complete dissolution from the chains of Judeo-Christianity (which I will get to in a more in-depth future blog-post).

Books that are “written in blood,” or in other words, the drawing inspiration from the pre-rational mind deep from the unconscious, for example are far much deeper and passionate then the detached, stiff sober writings of the purely cold and rational intellect. The purely cerebral works of academics and philosophers have no place in Nietzsche’s world. It is this disturbing descent into the rabbit hole that is the unconscious that the best writings are realized. Jung did it.  This dichotomy was often represented as the two dualities embodied in Apollo and Dionysus. Apollonian order and rationality struggling against the Dionysian glorification of the purely instinctual were the almost cosmic forces at play inherent in man and society.

Much like the periods of the sun’s daylight and the night’s darkness and faint illumination of the pale moon, one cannot exist without the other force to balance each other out in an almost Taoist-like fashion. Each side serves as a viable function. Dionysian existence was the means to accept the tragedy inherent in our angsty, emo-ridden world and an affirmation of it despite the most terrible circumstances that one might experience. Yet, his philosophy would often be expressed in such related aspects of the Dionysian: the will to power, the eternal recurrence and the Overman. It is these “evil” and painful Dionysian forces in the universe that incite fear in people that they are wholly shunned. Zarathustra goes to great lengths to affirm life in spite of the darkness and potential terrors one might find in the shadowy corners of the world.

Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy tells us further about looking for the light in tragedy:

“But what changes come upon the weary desert of our culture, so darkly described, when it is touched by the magic of Dionysus! A storm seizes everything decrepit, rotten, broken, stunted; shrouds it in a whirling red cloud of dust and carries it into the air like a vulture. In vain confusion we seek for all that has vanished; for what we see has risen as if from beneath the earth into the gold light, so full and green, so luxuriantly alive, immeasurable and filled with yearning. Tragedy sits in sublime rapture amidst this abundance of life, suffering and delight, listening to a far-off, melancholy song which tells of the Mothers of Being, whose names are Delusion, Will, Woe.”

Nietzsche embraced the chaotic and irrational passions and conquers them through his ideal figure of the Übermensch rather than simply extinguish them that many philosophers before him had taught. Although Nietzsche had often disagreed with Plato, he still owes much of his inspiration from the ancient philosopher. In Republic IX, 588a-589b, Plato has intellectual and carnal appetite at odds with one another and illustrates this in an allegory, suggesting the human soul contains three features: the man (logos), a lion (thymos) and a hydra (eros). A healthy person is encouraged to use the man to train the lion in order to keep the thrashing hydra beast and its irrational passions at bay so that peace may be achieved. The opposite may be said for someone who has not tamed the hydra within.

Likewise, the Übermensch as represented as Zarathustra is a master over his irrational soul or “hydra” and wholly embraces it with all its fortitude and ugliness. Nietzsche however seems to disregard the dualism posited by Plato in regards to the body of being made up of physical and non-physical (spiritual) substances through the affirmation that “blood is spirit.” People do not have bodies. They are bodies. It is their physical characteristics that truly define their existence, here in the now, instead of  the stressing of the metaphysical and mystical qualities of another world.

Writing from fiery inspiration of the belly is the true creative hallmark of every writer. Without the passionate drive to create, every work of art cannot exist. In fact, every living thing and person on the face of this planet cannot exist without the inherent drive to create and promulgate its interests by the fuel of the passions. It’s the call of the Dionysian lust which inspires passion. The true Übermensch masters both Apollo and Dionysus within one’s self. Zarathustra is the “lone wanderer” within the valley of life, taking on an almost spiritual sojourn that is of itself a most arduous task:

 “Before my highest mountain I stand and before my longest wandering. To that end I must first go down deeper than ever I descended-deeper into pain than I ever descended, down into its blackest flood.”

Yet Zarathustra does not waver in face of adversity and instead laughs in the faces of his obstacles:

“Ye tell me, “Life is hard to bear.” But for what purpose should ye have your pride in the morning and your resignation in the evening? Life is hard to bear: but do not affect to be so delicate! We are all of us fine sumpter asses and she-asses.”

In other words: Don’t be a pussy. Those who constantly whimper to avoid pain and suffering remain little men and bereft of virtue and good merit. The writer likewise must face the scourges of the mind, of their existence and slay them with a sword of triumph (or at least conquer them and keep them enslaved to their will).

“I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity—through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!”

Most people live constrained and enchained to their past, while others live in a non-existent future which has not happened yet. Both the past and the future are different forms of non-existence, against which we compare and define the present moment. The teacher, Zarathustra knows ultimately that both these theoretical states of existence are irrelevant since the true joy of living and creating exists in the present moment, right here, right now.

His vision of the present is one of a bright, heroic future that proceeds from the magnificent now. The debilitating implications of eternal reoccurrence (that the universe is in an infinitely, constant samsara-like loop) becomes of no consequence because the self-realization that the higher-man Zarathustra has overcome these obstacles within and without. Without this knowledge, mankind remains enslaved to their pasts, their customs, to the decadence of society and perpetual mundane worldliness. Get some balls and move on with life! Volition is your friend. Write something that you truly love, not what you think someone else might like. Stumbling over artist or writer’s block? Cut it down! Do not do what you hate. Do what inspires. Do not slink into the corner in the face of difficulty.  Follow your bliss. It’s entirely up to you.