Holy Grail

The Secrets of Saturn

In recent memory, several conspiracy theories focused on the occult have noticed that the bad guys of the Satanic New World Order conspiracy worship Saturn. There’s of course, the vague assertion between Saturn and Satan. Many have talked about this–including the likes of David Icke, Jordan Maxwell, Tracy Twyman, among others. This makes sense, and yet there is so much more to be said.

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Saturn was usually pictured as an aged man holding a sickle, from which we undoubtedly get our representation of Death–the old man with a sickle. The Planet Saturn revolves around the sun in approximately 29 years, therefore the human lifespan would be two or three revolutions of this planet. This could be the reason Saturn is connected with Death and the Grim Reaper, which is the skeleton dressed in a black hood holding sickle that reaps human beings at their death. This same Roman deity is used to denote the end of year, and a newborn baby symbolizes the New Year, i.e. it denotes time. Another name for Saturn is Kronos, which also means time. Indeed, this is what Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 might be getting at:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

In Talismanic Magic: Saturn: The Occult Signification of His Square, Seal, and Sigils by Samuel Liddell MacGrethor Mathers, he sums up what Saturn rules over:

Saturn rules over the color Black; over Saturday in the week; over the period from the middle of December to the middle of February in the year over Capricorn and Aquarius in the Zodiac, which are called his houses, and has power in Libra, wherein he receives his Exaltation; over the dragon, the ass, the lapwing, the cuttlefish, the mole over the metal lead, the precious stone onyx, ; he is the under the power of the number three in arithmetic, and the geometrical figure of the equilateral triangle.

The actions of Saturn are associated with binding, chastening, crystallizing, hardening, hindering, limiting, magnetism, obstruction, retarding and suppression. If the forces of Saturn seek to constrain, break down and later harden, then it would follow that this process relates to the descend and crystallization of spirit into matter or consciousness into the organic material of the body. This is perhaps the Holy Grail secret of Saturn, in which we will explore later on. Saturn, so active in the cosmic changes, was regarded by all mankind as the supreme god. Seneca says that Epigenes, who studied astronomy among the Chaldeans:

“…estimates that the planet Saturn exerts the greatest influence upon all the movements of celestial bodies.” – Naturales Quaestiones VII. 4. 2.

An astrological treatise ascribed to Manetho (Manethonis Apotelesmaticorum libri sex) states that:

“In the beginning Kronos the Titan ruled the entire ether; his star the far-seeing gods called ‘the shining one.’”

The ancient Greek poets and historians like Ovid and Tacitus remembered the early tragedies enacted in the sky by the heavenly bodies asserted that Jupiter drove Saturn away from its place in the sky. Before Jupiter (Zeus) became the chief god, Saturn (Kronos) occupied the celestial throne. In all ancient religions the dominion passes from Saturn to Jupiter. In Greek mythology, Kronos is presented as the father and Zeus as his son who dethrones him. Kronos devours some of his children. After this act Zeus overpowers his father, puts him in chains in Tartarus, and drives him from his royal station in the sky.

In Saturn’s association with the Old Testament, we see in Numbers 22:21-39, we see Satan first appears as an angel that stops a guy named Balaam from going forward. Satan is an angel, which his donkey can see, but Balaam cannot. The donkey refuses to move. He beats the donkey in punishment until after the third time the donkey speaks to him. We read in Deuteronomy 23:4 that Balaam the son of Beor of Pathor of Mesopotamia was hired to curse Israel. We read in Numbers 22:4, 5 and 7, that Balak the son of Zippor, king of the Moabites, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor and “the elders of Moab … departed with the rewards of divination in their hand.”

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Both Islam and Judaism have strong Saturnian elements in them. In Islam, its revealed book of the Quran has all sorts of rules and limitations for its adherents, especially for women. Women must dress up in black, Saturnine robes, cannot show their faces, cannot drive, are subject to “honor killings”, rapes, etc. Men aren’t allowed to drink alcohol, they have to pray to Mecca five times a day, etc. In Judaism, we have the Old Covenant in which Jehovah made with various patriarchs which gave us the Law and strict Kosher laws on what they can and cannot eat. They cannot work on the Shabbat (Saturn’s day) and must get circumcised. Both religions are very restrictive and binding. They are not inherently evil or sinister but excessively obstructive and controlling. Perhaps this is why the Apostle Paul describes the Jewish Law in terms of being a “curse” in his letters. The Hexagram or the six-pointed star is the Seal of Solomon, or nowadays known as the Star of David. It’s also known as the talisman of Saturn in Kabbalistic sources. It’s sides and angles all add up to 666, much like the Mark of the Beast. In modern strands of Satanism, including Thelema, black robes are often worn in magical rituals and initiation ceremonies. Indeed, there are various Satanic/Luciferian spells and rituals with strong Saturnian elements in them.

In the Testament of Solomon, King Solomon used the seal or ring of Sabaoth (given by Michael the Archangel) to command demons or djinn to do his bidding and even torture them. If the seal is imbued with Saturnian powers it makes sense it can be used to bind spirits in some manner. In many sources, the chief symbol of Saturn is the cube. This relates to the Kaaba stone of Islam as well as the Foundation Stone in Jewish creation myths, which in turn relates to the myths associated with the Holy Grail and the Philosopher’s Stone. The Nazi Otto Rahn supposedly claimed he had found the Holy Grail that once belonged to the Cathars. According to Tarotica, the cube’s edges also forms the Hexagon, associated with the Hexagram, being a stable symbol in Solomonic ritual magic as well as Israel’s Star of David. It reminds us all to well of Hellraiser’s puzzle-box, where the person who solves it, effectively summons Cenobites from Hell and drags the unfortunate soul down with them to be tortured with chains.

The cube is the “base” of the platonic solids, and when turned and viewed from the right angle, it’s edges form a Hexagon. This is where the idea of someone being “hexed” comes from. We can take hex to basically mean “bind” or “bound.” When one puts a “hex” on someone else, all they are really doing is putting them in a box. You may positively “hex” someone by wishing them health and abundance, but negative hexing is done through things like gossip where one defines another persons space as having only certain negative and obstructive qualities. One essentially builds this box of “reality” around the targeted individual, and celebrities are all too aware of this form of binding magick as certain trivialities of their personal lives become endlessly repeated and turned back in on themselves in cacophonous “chamber of secrets” style reporting that is spread as far and wide as possible. This meaningless white noise has served to obstruct and drown out the utter Holiness of the Saturn’s Cube, itself being the chamber of prayer and sacred immanence.

Mesopotamia was the very home of Babylonian mysteries and the birthplace of astrology. The name Balaam in Semitic language means “Conqueror of the People” and definitely links us with “Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord (Genesis 10:9).” We read in verse 8 that this Nimrod, the son of Cush, began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was the great-grandson of Noah and “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel.” He built other cities like Ashur and Nineveh, which later became the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Nimrod is styled “the mighty hunter before the Lord,” or as Strong renders it, “against the Lord.” He shows that the Hebrew word paniym is more correctly translated “against” rather than “before”. Like many in Babylon, Nimrod had a tendency of changing:

“…the glory of the incorruptible God into an image liken to corruptible man, and to birds and fourfooted beasts and creeping things.” (Romans 1:23).

Nimrod was certainly “against” the Lord in all he planned and did. “The mighty hunter against the Lord” led multitudes away from the creator god and laid plans for a world-wide conspiracy against Yahweh, as the story goes. That was the reason behind the Babylonian Mystery cults. Many of the cults were dedicated to the worship of Saturn, as the House of Judah (i.e. the Jews) were dedicated to also worshiping in the Tabernacle of Saturn. Saturday is named after the star god Saturn. As it follows, Saturday is not only the seventh day of creation. It is the day set aside to the glory and honor of Saturn/Nimrod. It was Nimrod who proclaimed himself to have resurrected and ascended to the planet “Saturn” in the Babylonian Mysteries. According to the ancients, planets were called wandering stars. And yet, there are many parallels with Yahweh and Saturn as well.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary states they were worshiping the planet Saturn and the Sacred Hebdomad.

You have had the images of your Moloch-your king (probably representing the sun, that sits king among the heavenly bodies), “and Chiun, or Remphan” (as Stephen calls it, Acts vii.43, after the LXX), which, it is supposed, represented Saturn, the highest of the seven planets. The worship of the sun, moon, and stars, was the most ancient, most general, and most plausible idolatry. They made to themselves the star of their God, some particular star which they took to be their god, or the name of which they gave to their god. This idolatry (Deut. iv. 19); and those that retain an affection for false gods cannot expect the favour of the true God.

The prophet Ezekiel in the Babylonian exile had a vision—the likeness of a man, but made of fire and amber who brought him to some darkened chamber where the ancients of the house of Israel with censers in their hands were worshiping idols portrayed upon the wall round about. Then the angel of the vision told him: “Thou shalt see greater abominations that they do”—and he brought the prophet to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house—”and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.” Next, he showed him also Jews in the inner court of the Lord’s house “with their back toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east.” It is in this instance we find that despite Yahweh’s deep connections with other heathen gods, he is always seeking to usurp their local authority in favor of his own.

The traditional Orthodox explanation of the Genesis creation account in which God or “the gods” (the Elohim) creates man in “our image” implies the Trinity–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I’ve never bought that explanation, though. I think the earliest strands of Judaism were polytheistic, and the religion became more and more monotheistic as time progressed. The scholastic evidence suggests that the Pentateuch developed out of two separate Israelite groups: Yahwist and Elohist. They base that theory on the vocabulary used in the Pentateuch: certain portions refer to the Israelite deity as Yahweh, others Elohim. The two were eventually merged into one god, but there is evidence to suggest that Elohim represented an entire pantheon of Canaanite deities, and Yahweh was one of those gods. In that case, Judaism developed as a cult that began to worship Yahweh exclusively and gradually usurped competing regional cults. This is much like how Jupiter betrays his father Saturn/Chronos as well as fellow Olympians.

For example, El, a Semitic word used by Jews for Yahweh, was also used by Canaanites as another name for Baal. It’s a clear case for the Israelite adoption of names found in preexisting religions. Baal was merely one of these Elohim, which also represented Saturn. The bull was also symbolic of El and his son Baal Hadad and both wore bull horns on their headdress. In other words, the horned god archetype is deeply connected to Saturn and the cosmocrators. El is also the Demiurge and the Freemasonic “Great Architect of the Universe” that is obviously a reference to Ialdabaoth (the “child of chaos”) of the Ophites and the Apocryphon of John. In a way, Ialdabaoth is a mixture of Baal, Kronos, and Yahweh. El is simply another name for Saturn.

This is made evident in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Praeparatio Evangelica (Preparation for the Gospel) (X), as he quotes Sanchuniathon’s History of the Jews:

And soon after he says:

‘It was a custom of the ancients in great crises of danger for the rulers of a city or nation, in order to avert the common ruin, to give up the most beloved of their children for sacrifice as a ransom to the avenging daemons; and those who were thus given up were sacrificed with mystic rites. Kronos then, whom the Phoenicians call Elus, who was king of the country and subsequently, after his decease, was deified as the star Saturn…

Incidentally, the ach-heretic Christian, Marcion’s primary goal was to distance Christianity from other religions (especially Judaism), that is, to distinguish the Christian god from all other gods before it, so that Christianity was something entirely new and unique. That was the way Christianity could be entirely independent from competing religions while also coexisting with them, i.e., pluralism. It’s a shame that none of his writings have survived, so we can only glean whatever information is retained by anti-Marcionite apologists like Tertullian.

I have found the use of the term “Elohim” deliberately obscured as Judaism moved from henotheism to monotheism. Despite Michael S. Heiser’s contentions, the Elohim was a council of gods (Elohin in Ugarit). These were the sky gods as opposed to the Shaddim/n, who were the earth gods. In other words, they are demons. The Shaddim is related to El Shaddai. Judaic (indeed all ancient near eastern) beliefs are a jumble of different ideas with some of them being discarded as time goes on and others mutating and merging with other ideas.

If El was a sky god, then how could he be thought of as an earth god? My suspicion is that this is tied into the concept of the “throne of God”. There has always been an uneasy tension between the idea of the celestial gods (stars) living in the sky and guiding human existence and the idea of the gods living on a solid surface (such as a mountain, the Axis Mundi). The central idea of a Mountain of God (also found in the Book of Enoch where the Garden of Eden is found on the same mountain) was mostly discarded in favor for an alternate universe called Heaven. To the Ancient Jews, however, this dichotomy of a celestial heaven and mountain of God constantly played back and forth (we see this very strongly in the Ezekiel Throne / Chariot description). Thus, El was the sky god that ruled the heavens but he also ruled from the world mountain. This made him both a sky god and an earth god.

I favor the notion (as do some other scholars) that the Moloch that the later prophets railed against so vociferously, was, originally, Melech (“King”) which was the nice way of speaking of El when he was in a bad mood. He was the older, deeper god whom one appeased in the background to appeasing the reigning sky god, YHWH (also known to the Greeks and Romans as i.e. Zeus / Jupiter). In the case of El Shaddai, I suspect that the title referred to El on the Throne of God without any particular chthonic implications but that the constant associations with the Shaddim kept the title from being more popular in later days. Christians, today, have no problem with “God, the Rock” as translation has removed any relationship between Shaddai (“rock”) and shaddim (eventually mutated to “Satans”).

Some equate the Garden of Eden with the Golden Age of Saturn. Some even postulate that Eden was actually some sort of “Sacred Mountain” or the World Axis, like the climbing of Dante’s Mountain of Purgatory that represents the pilgrim’s progress, through the sphere. Eden was blocked off from Adam and Eve because of their transgression of Divine Law. This sacred mountain, upon whose summit stood the temple of the gods, gave rise to the stories of Olympus, Meru, and Asgard. The City of the Golden gates—the capital of Atlantis—is the one now preserved among the numerous religions as the City of the Gods, the Holy City, and even the New Jerusalem of Revelation, with its streets paved with gold and its twelve gates shining with precious stones.

Atlantis was said to have been a naval power that took over parts of Western Europe and Africa in 9400 B.C. before an explosion sank the island beneath the ocean. Like Eden, it was said to have been centered at the source of four rivers—which also comes from Sumerian myth of Ziusudra and the Zoroastrian legend of pairideaza, from which we get the word “paradise”. The Garden of Eden is called gannah in Hebrew, which means a hidden place. It’s an Avestan term from Old Persia, which was also used as a term to refer to enclosed parks, matching with Plato’s description of Atlantis being a highly advanced society, walled off from the rest of the barbaric world, in his writings. The author of Mystery Babylon writes about the “hidden” nature of Saturn:

Saturn was, and is, probably one of the most important figures behind the development of Mystery Babylon. Interestingly enough, Saturn was also known to be a “god of hidden counsels,” a “concealer of secrets,” and a “god of ‘mysteries.’ In fact, one of the major subtitles of this god was, “the Hidden One” or the “Hidden God.” Now, what was so mysterious about this god; that he had to be hidden?

According to some ancient thought, Saturn might have originally been equated to Noah – at least at first; and the reason he was known as “The Hidden One” was simple: Noah was “hidden” in the ark for an extended period of time! Because of this, Noah could have been considered “the first of the Hidden Ones” – but, not the last!

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Saturn is also a staple in ritual magic and alchemy. In Zosimos’ Visions, the author indicates that the main purpose of the transformation process featured in his dream vision is the spiritualization of the sacrificing priest to become spirit or pneuma. We are told that he would “change the bodies into blood, make the eyes to see and the dead to rise again.” Later in the visions, he appears in glorified form, shining like the midday sun, much like the risen Christ. Throughout the text, it is clear that the sacrificer and sacrificed are one and the same. It goes back too the old alchemical idea of what redeems and that which is to be redeemed are also one and the same. Let us revisit Zosimos’s Visions, quickly.

The composition of the waters, and the movement, and the growth, and the removal and restitution of bodily nature, and the splitting off of the spirit from the body, and the fixation of the spirit on the body are not operations with natures alien one from the other, but, like the hard bodies of metals and the moist fluids of plants, are One Thing, of One Nature, acting upon itself. And in this system, of one kind but many colours, is preserved a research of all things, multiple and various, subject to lunar influence and measure of time, which regulates the cessation and growth by which the One Nature transforms itself.

And saying these things, I slept, and I saw a certain sacrificing priest standing before me and over and altar which had the form of a bowl. And that altar had fifteen steps going up to it.

Then the priest stood up and I heard from above a voice say to me, “I have completed the descent of the fifteen steps and the ascent of the steps of light. And it is the sacrificing priest who renews me, casting off the body’s coarseness, and, consecrated by necessity, I have become a spirit.”

And when I had heard the voice of him who stood in the altar formed like a bowl, I questioned him, desiring to understand who he was.

He answered me in a weak voice saying, “I am Ion, Priest of the Adytum, and I have borne an intolerable force. For someone came at me headlong in the morning and dismembered me with a sword and tore me apart, according to the rigor of harmony. And, having cut my head off with the sword, he mashed my flesh with my bones and burned them in the fire of the treatment, until, my body transformed, I should learn to become a spirit. And I sustained the same intolerable force.”

And even as he said these things to me and I forced him to speak, it was as if his eyes turned to blood and he vomited up all his flesh. And I saw him as a mutilated image of a little man and he was tearing at his flesh and falling away.

A little later in this vision account, Zosimos, speaks to what appears to be a spirit of metal or a planetary demon:

As he was saying these things to me and the boiling increased and the people wailed, I saw a copper man holding a lead tablet in his hand. He spoke aloud, looking at the tablet, “I counsel all those in mortification to become calm and that each take in his hand a lead tablet and write with his own hand and that each bear his eyes upward and open his mouth until his grapes be grown.”

Saturn is also associated with the alchemical element of lead and in gnosis is a planetary demon. The parallel between the Hebrew god and Saturn is of considerable importance as in regards to the alchemical idea of the transformation of the God of the Old Testament into the God of the New. The alchemists of old were naturally attracted to the great significance of Saturn, for besides being the outermost planet, the supreme archon and demiurge Ialdabaoth, he was also the spiritus niger (or the Sol Niger) who lies captive in the darkness of matter, the deity or that part of the deity that is swallowed up in his own creation. It is this dark god who steals a portion of his mother Sophia’s divine power in which Sophia seeks to recover through Ialdabaoth’s/Jehovah’s creations of Adam and Eve as we see in Irenaeus’ account of the Ophite myth in Against Heresies (1.30.6):

But as he could merely writhe along the ground, they carried him to their father; Sophia so labouring in this matter, that she might empty him (Ialdabaoth) of the light with which he had been sprinkled, so that he might no longer, though still powerful, be able to lift up himself against the powers above. They declare, then, that by breathing into man the spirit of life, he was secretly emptied of his power; that hence man became a possessor of nous (intelligence) and enthymesis (thought); and they affirm that these are the faculties which partake in salvation. He [they further assert] at once gave thanks to the first Anthropos (man), forsaking those who had created him.

In Hippolytus’ Refutation of All Heresies (V, 11), he mentions a Gnostic group called Peratics, they specifically name Cronus as the demiurge and lord of mortal generation.

For Cronus is a cause to every generation, in regard of succumbing under destruction, and there could not exist (an instance of) generation in which Cronus does not interfere.

They also say that this god is identified with the midheaven cardinal point, or the summer tropic, which is the very force that turns the wheel of fate over the world (V, 10).

Since, then, astrologers are acquainted with the horoscope, and meridian, and setting, and the point opposite the meridian; and since these stars occupy at different times different positions in space, on account of the perpetual revolution of the universe, there are (necessarily) at different periods different declinations towards a centre, and (different) ascensions to centres. (Now the Peratic here-ties), affixing an allegorical import to this arrangement of the astrologers, delineate the centre, as it were, a god and monad and lord over universal generation, whereas the declination (is regarded by them as a power) on the left, and ascension on the right. When any one, therefore, falling in with the treatises of these (heretics), finds mention among them of right or left power, let him recur to the centre, and the declination, and the ascension (of the Chaldean sages, and) he will clearly observe that the entire system of these (Peratae) consists of the astrological doctrine.

It is this god that the initiate seeking to return to the source in the Pleroma must overcome by “giving up” different aspects of himself to each astral gatekeeper. This is explained very well in the Hermetica. The Freemason Albert Pike in Morals & Dogma summarizes the Celsus’ description of the Mithraic Mysteries of ascension.

We learn this from Celsus, in Origen; who says that the symbolical image of this passage among the stars, used in the Mithriac Mysteries, was a ladder, reaching from earth to Heaven, divided into seven steps or stages, to each of which was a gate, and at the summit an eighth, that of the fixed stars. The first gate, says Celsus, was that of Saturn, and of lead, by the heavy nature whereof his dull slow progress was symbolized. The second, of tin, was that of Venus, symbolizing her soft splendor and easy flexibility. The third, of brass, was that of Jupiter, emblem of his solidity and dry nature. The fourth, of iron, was that of Mercury, expressing his indefatigable activity and sagacity. The ,fifth, of copper, was that of Mars, expressive of his inequalities and variable nature. The sixth, of silver, was that of the Moon: and the seventh, of gold, that of the Sun. This order is not the real order ,of these Planet’s but a mysterious one, like that of the days of the Week consecrated to them, commencing with Saturday, and retrograding to Sunday. It was dictated, Celsus says, by certain harmonic relations, those of the fourth.

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For the Mithriasts, Saturn was an important deity. In some depictions of Zurvan/Mithra, he is depicted exactly like Yaldabaoth as depicted in the Apocryphon of John. He also holds the keys and the rod, like Janus in the Roman Pantheon. And he has the rooster with him. You can clearly see how Zurvan’s imagery was assimilated into the Catholic depiction of St. Peter (keys and rooster). Also, Mithras is often depicted being born out of a rock. St. Peter is the rock of the church. Coincidence? I think not. These deities bear a closer resemblance to Peter than Jesus. Folk magic deities like Eshu are associated with Mithras, Saturn, Aion, Odin, etc.

Perhaps in the myth of St. George slaying the dragon lies an old alchemical idea of the crucified serpent or the tail-eating dragon, Ouroboros, where the poisonous element of matter or Saturnian dross is destroyed on the alchemical cross to reveal and create the elixir of Mercury (symbolizing spirit). We already saw that the Sethians and Manichaeans viewed the serpent as representing the Logos or Jesus, which relates to Jesus himself identifying with the bronze serpent of Moses (John 3:14). This identification troubles many fundamentalist Christians but is real, nonetheless. If this line of study is pursued, it leads to a great many “troubling” ideas and correspondences. If pursued, it will lead to many (unpopular) enlightening principles. Just as the alchemical serpent is crucified, Jesus became sin on the Cross for mankind, taking our punishment upon Him and shedding His blood on the cross in our place, as a ransom for many and steals souls from Hell when he descends there. This is similar to the idea of Prometheus stealing fire from Mount Olympus or Hari Krishna stealing souls from Yama or Indra, the god of death and the underworld. And like Jesus, Mercurius (the spirit behind the planet Mercury) or Hermes was a god of revelation, who discloses the secret of the art to the adepts. The Roman Janus is like a synthesis of the Mercurial Gemini and the solar deities.

The last part of Zosimos’ Visions (quoted above) recalls the saying of St. John Chrysostom’s saying that in the Eucharist, Christ drinks his own blood and perhaps eats his own flesh. It also reminds us of the orgiastic meals of the cult of Dionysus, where animals were sacrificed, torn into pieces and eaten. They represent Dionysus Zagreus who was also torn into pieces by the Titans (including their leader Chronos/Saturn). The composition of the waters in which the spirit splits off from the body is a clear reference to the heavenly baptism of John the Baptist, where the sins of the repentant are washed away in the spiritual waters of grace and truth (the Holy Spirit/comforter) flowing from Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Speaking of John the Baptist, on January 6, the date is famous for the instance when Jesus was baptized by John celebrated on Epiphany. This date falls under Capricorn, the goatfish or Aegipan. According to Zlatko Pletze in Fate, Providence and Astrology in Gnosticism (1): The Apocryphon of John, he connects Capricorn with Saturn and Adoni as well as Sabaoth. He’s referencing the archons and authorities from the Apocryphon of John and the Zodiac (obviously). According to John 19:34, the stabbing or piercing of holy lance or “spear of destiny” into Jesus’ side by the Roman Centurion named in extra-Biblical tradition (the Gospel of Nicodemus) as Caius Cassius Longinus, resulted in the pouring of blood and water. This reminds us of Jesus’ saying in Matthew 10:34:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Killing with the sword is a recurring theme in alchemy. The “philosophical egg” is divided with the sword, and with it the “King is transfixed” and the dragon or “corpus” is mutilated. The alchemical sword, like the cross brings about the separation of the elements (flesh and spirit), so that a new more perfect body can be processed. It is this sword that “kills and vivifies,” and dipped and anointed with the waters of life. Mercurius is the giver of life as well as the destroyer of the old form. It is the sword that comes of the mouth of the Son of Man in Revelation of St. John, and according to Hebrews 4:12, the Logos, the Word of God, and hence Christ himself is that sword.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

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Christ is the mediator and savior, the solver and separator, who is a sword, for he is the “penetrating spirit” “more piercing than a two-edged sword”. And so, the spirit of Christ pierces the veil that covers over the blinded soul, in which the believer is said to cross over from the Saturnian/Satanic hyper-cube of time, space and flesh (symbolized as the old man in Pauline literature) and into the realm of spirit, being the Kingdom of God (the new man in which the fleshy deeds of the old man are mortified). The divisive and separate function of the sword in alchemy is prefigured in the flaming sword of the angel or cherub that separated Adam and Eve from paradise. Separation by a sword is a theme that can be found in the Ophite diagram: the earthly cosmos is surrounded by a ring of fire which at the same time encloses paradise. But paradise and the ring of fire are separated by the “flaming sword.” An important interpretation of the cherub’s flaming sword is given by Simon Magus as reported by Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (VI.12):

This, he says, is the flaming sword, which turned to guard the way of the tree of life. For the blood is converted into seed and milk, and this power becomes mother and father— father of those things that are in process of generation, and the augmentation of those things that are being nourished; (and this power is) without further want, (and) self-sufficient. And, he says, the tree of life is guarded, as we have stated, by the brandished flaming sword.

For Simon, the sword represents the fiery force of generation which turns and spurns the spirit from escaping out of the realm of matter and into the Simonian fiery tree of life, which represents the aeons and the Godhead. This teaching prefigures the Kabbalah by several hundred years, at least. And yet the flaming sword represents the very fiery force that “turns” something small and into something great. It is the means of transformation of the vital spirit in man into the Divine or the true arcane substance of alchemy symbolized as seed and milk in Simon Magus’s doctrine.

If, however, these be converted into seed and milk, the principle that resides in these potentially, and is in possession of a proper position, in which is evolved a principle of souls, (such a principle,) beginning, as it were, from a very small spark, will be altogether magnified, and will increase and become a power indefinite (and) unalterable, (equal and similar) to an unalterable age, which no longer passes into the indefinite age.

How does any of this relate to Saturn? In the quest for the Holy Grail, the answer is revealed. Tracy Twyman in Regnum in Potentia, Part 1: Saturn’s Kingdom Transformed Into the Golden Age, writes about a particular Holy Grail romance:

In Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival, the knight Gawain is sent on a mission by a hermit who looks young, although he is 75 years old. The mission is to find the sword that John the Baptist was beheaded with, which he will need to enter the lands of the Fisher King. The sword belongs to a pagan king named Gurguran, who promises Gawain that he can have it if he will rescue the king’s son from a giant who has kidnapped him. Gawain kills the giant, but the boy is strangled to death in the process. Then, in a strange rite, Gurguran chops his sons body into pieces and distributes them to his subjects to eat. Gawain then receives the sword and is led to the Grail banquet at the Fisher King’s court, where 12 knights who are hundreds of years old (reminiscent of the 12 Olympian gods) sit around a banquet hall, all looking youthful except for their grey hair.

Indeed, we see Wolfram revel in providing us a number of deep mystical truths in his poem. At one point of the story, in Parzival, Wolfram tells us that the cycles of Saturn governs the intensity of Grail King Amfortas’s perpetual wound.

Then answered the host, * Far sorer than before was the monarch’s pain, In this wise did he learn the tidings that Saturn drew near again, And the star with a sharp frost cometh, and it helpeth no whit to lay. The spear on the sore as aforetime, tn the wound must it lunge alway. When that star standeth high in heaven the wound shall its coming know Afore, tho’ the earth shall heed not, nor token of frost shall show. But the cold it came, and the snow-flakes fell thick in the following night…

To be “saturnine” means to be slow, gloomy, and depressed. The Gospel of Truth calls the universe of matter in terms of being a nightmare filled with violence:

Since it was terror and disturbance and instability and doubt and division, there were many illusions at work by means of these, and (many) empty fictions, as if they were sunk in sleep, and found themselves in disturbing dreams. Either (there is) a place to which they are fleeing, or without strength they come (from) having chased after others, or they are involved in striking blows, or they are receiving blows themselves, or they have fallen from high places, or they take off into the air, though they do not even have wings. Again, sometimes (it is as) if people were murdering them, though there is no one even pursuing them, or they themselves are killing their neighbors, for they have been stained with their blood.

This is not so dissimilar to how Plutarch describes the perpetual dreams of Saturn. Parzival at one point in his story sits next to his host, the Grail King Anfortas (possibly symbolizing the crucified Christ), amidst the Grail, the holiest of holies, surrounded by the celestial hierarchies. He has witnessed the bleeding spear and the suffering it has caused the King and is court. He has seen the mysterious destroying power of Saturn and the sickness, old age and death in its wake. Yet he has not connected them with the glorious regenerative power of the Grail that overcame the Saturnine decay. Later, Parzival is forced to demonstrate his fitness for Grail membership. A squire steps forward and hands Anfortas a sword made of ruby. The King presents Parzival with the sword saying:

“This sword often came to my aid in the greatest need, that is before God’s will I receive so sore a wound. Now I give it to you. May it bring to you what you can never acquire by simple gazing at what is taking place here.”

The sword is unique, yet Parzival could not recognize this fact. If he had but known, he would have seen the full harmony of wisdom, love and strength from this weapon (representing the Logos). Parzival should have seen how the pitiful suffering of the king and realize that the power the King once had in his sword now belongs to him. As Parzival reveals, the path of initiation is long and weary, full of doubt, sorrow, pain that pierces the veil into the Holy of Holies of the spirit where regeneration occurs with the Logos. It is the “narrow gate” that Jesus in Matthew and Luke once advocated and commanded his followers to walk through, out of Saturn’s/Satan’s Kingdom, to be saved. It is the second journey towards the Grail Castle that will teach him the necessary wisdom that he must not only ask but also provide the answer himself. He will be armed with the wisdom that he will translate thus:

” I myself am guilty for the suffering of humanity; only if I reach the highest goal, and then not for myself, but in service of the word, can I bring forth healing.”

It is the Grail King who understands how the great cosmic forces operating in the macrocosm rule in the microcosm of the human body. This is the secret of the Hermetical axiom: “As above, so below.” As we’ve seen, Saturn’s power primarily works in obstructing and inhibiting, just as how the control system mankind is currently in bondage to, behaves. The controllers (in their various guises) prevent their slaves from seeing certain truths, from forcing us to live their way of reality. Perhaps this is why the term “royalty” is tied to the word “reality.” The excess Saturnian energy may be why so many people are unwilling to change their minds even when confronted by evidence.

Could it be that the good and evil of the spirit world are really just two different masks of the same underlying reality, at least in our universe? Saturn/Chronos/Father Time is the supreme god here. Perhaps even deities like Yahweh and the whole Mediterranean, Babylonian, Sumerian and Canaanite pantheon are just different facets of this supreme force, personified as time itself. It’s neither good nor evil in terms we think of it as it has its own agenda, and we are its puppets. Authors like Philip K Dick thought similar things like we see in the novel, Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

The conspiracy author David Icke has often said that consciousness is like a ball under water. It rises to the surface by itself unless there is someone pushing it down. Perhaps this is why Saturn and the dark solar gods are so important to the controllers and “secret societies”. However, they too, like everyone else, are prisoners in this continuum of Saturn and with various machinations are seeking to break out from. Here are a few more videos worthy of your consideration.

The Faustian Grail

Since the early 16th century, a tragic and sinister story has weaved its way through western culture and even today in pop culture and science—the legend of a man who makes a pact with the devil and then has to come to terms with the contract he signed. It’s the legend of Johannes Faustus. Faustus makes a deal with the devil to gain more intellectual enlightenment even though he is at the top of his intellectual studies in society’s standards but for some reason, it did not satisfy him. The main logistics of the deal was that the devil would serve Faust while he is alive to help him find this enlightenment and in return Faust would have to give up his soul and be the devil’s servant in hell.

And yet, both versions of Faustus present us with a highly unconventional representation of both the sinner/sorcerer (Faust) and the devil in the figure of Mephistopheles. He is a malevolent force, yet brings about good despite himself. Aware of this, he still performs his duty in Faust’s corruption, and in his eventual salvation (or damnation in later accounts). This devil-as-savior motif is perplexing from the standpoint of traditional Christian doctrine, though it did correspond with contemporary but radical ideas expressed in the writings of William Blake (1757-1827) and Lord Byron (1788-1824). Unsurprisingly, Faustus has a lot of crypto-gnostic underpinnings.

Yet to truly understand the role that Mephistopheles plays in Faust we must look deeper still, into the shadowy light of the alchemical and Gnostic sources that were so influential in the crafting of these legends. Mephistopheles is inextricably connected to the Ouroboros serpent, the alchemical motif of a snake devouring its own tail. We find this in Cleopatra the Alchemist’s Chrysopoeia as well as the Ophite cabalistic-like diagram described by Celsus and Origen. This interpretation not only helps us to understand Mephistopheles’ individual role in the drama of Faust but can shed new light on the entire structure of the Faustian narrative.

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But before we explore Mephistopheles, we must examine Faustus himself. Since Faustus has already exhausted the known sciences, he wishes to obtain, with the assistance of Mephistopheles, a complete knowledge of the universe. It is in the black arts that he finds what he believes will satisfy his search for the ultimate gnosis, as well as the power that he believes will accompany it:

These metaphysics of magicians And necromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, letters, characters- Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires. O, what a world of profit and delight, Of power, of honor, and omnipotence Is promised to the studious artisan!

Faustus was apparently a historical character who lived in Germany during the early 16th century. A student of divinity, Faustus claimed to have extraordinary powers. In his imagination, he was a necromancer (someone who communicates with the dead) and a practitioner of black magic and sorcery. Although this version of Faustus was nothing more than a braggart and a charlatan, his legend flourished.

The earliest collection of the tales of Faust came in 1587 in an anonymous work titled the Historie of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Dr. John Faustus. The legend was soon picked up by English playwright Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth. According to rumor, Marlowe was an agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service—much like John Dee, the pious and famous Renassiance man who would engage in various occult operations in channeling “angels”. Marlowe’s version of Faust’s story, the play The Tragicall History of D. Faustus (1604), soon became the model for the many versions of Faust’s story that followed. It is the story of a man who trades his soul to the devil in exchange for a period of ultimate knowledge and power.

The original story of Johannes Faust, was first translated into English by an unknown author in 1592. As it is known that the author of Faustus, Christopher Marlowe studied with English Catholics at Rheims (possibly spying on them), as references are to the Latin Vulgate (also called St. Jerome, after its original translator in the fifth century) and the Catholic Douay-Rheims version. It is also possible that he used the Protestant Geneva Bible, but all the references he makes are to Jerome.

Marlowe’s Faust is not simply a charlatan. He is a tragic hero, a superman, the archetype of the Renaissance man. Where did Marlowe get the idea to depict Faust as a powerful sorcerer whose willingness to do anything for knowledge and power leads him to the dark side? Perhaps from the apocryphal legends of Simon Magus, the first-century magician who challenged God (like Lucifer) and clashed with Peter in magical feats of sorcery. This connection may derive from Simon’s use of the Latin sir-name Faustus, meaning the “favored one,” meaning that he was the “chosen one” to continue John the Baptist’s tradition, according to the Clementine’s.

There were many sources available to Marlowe concerning the life of Simon Magus. Probably the most important was The Golden Legend (Legende Aurea), a popular collection of tales of the saints by the 13th-century archbishop of Genoa, Jacobus de Voragine.

Simon, of course, is portrayed as a sorcerer who fooled Samaria into believing his divine powers and at one point even claimed he was the holy trinity, being the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We already saw in a previous post that, according to Justin Martyr’s Apologia, he went to Rome in the time of Claudius (who was the fourth Emperor of the Roman Empire and ruled between 41 and 54 BCE) and was so convincing at being a God, the nebulous “they” erected a statue to him, under the god “Semo Sancus” being the equivalent to Mithra, Apollo or Helios. He follows Phillip around for a bit before running into Peter and John for trying to bribe them for Holy Spirit power and apostleship (Simony) but those two chastise Simon rather severely before heading back to Jerusalem. But as we’ve already saw in Johnny Mercury, this story seems suspect and reads more like a parody of a Simonian anointing ritual than a genuine account. But, if what Irenaeus says is true about Simon feigning to be the Holy Trinity then this is probably tantamount to blasphemy.

As literary critic Beatrice Daw Brown in Marlow, Faustus, and Simon Magus writes, the careers of the two magicians, Simon Magus and Marlowe’s Faust, follow the same pattern, and their lives have many parallels. Both are extremely powerful sorcerers able to withstand fire, to move objects without touching them and, most importantly, to evoke the spirits of the dead. Both defy God in their own way, Faust with his pact with the Devil and Simon with his arch-heresy of proclaiming himself the Christ and the Standing One. Both travel to Rome, both perform their miracles before the emperor and both have demons at their beck and call. Simon Magus has demons who aid and carry him (shown licking and tormenting him in a relief from the St. Sernin Cathedral in Toulouse, France).

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Faust has Mephistopheles, a servant of Lucifer, who gives him the power to do his magical acts. Simon Magus and Faust both attempt to fly, Faust in Venice and Simon at Rome, and both fail.

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(Mephistopheles peers menacingly over Faust’s shoulder in the statue from the Villa Borghese in Rome, celebrating Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who penned his own version of the Faust legend.)

Faust like Simon, has a semidivine female companion, who is also named Helen. According to many church fathers, Helena is a reincarnation of Helen of Troy. In the Faust legends, she is also Helen of Troy. In Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and in the famed poetic drama of Goethe, Mephistopheles employs the most beautiful woman in antiquity to seduce Dr. Faust into the occult realms in Faust’s search for wisdom. Thus Marlowe writes:

“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships / And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”

And finally Simon Magus and Faust both meet an inglorious and violent death. Simon Magus tries to fly but crashes to the ground with broken limbs. Faust’s body is found the morning after his pact ends, mangled and torn to pieces.

In Marlowe’s play, Faust’s final soliloquy, the most moving of the entire work, evokes the fall of Simon Magus. In the last hour before his payment comes due, Faust laments:

“The starres move still, time runs, the clocke wil strike, / The deuil wil come, and Faustus must be damned / O Ile leape up to my God: who pulles me downe?”

Faust is also reminiscent of the fall of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost by John Milton. In a way, Eve’s mistake of eating the fruit of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil to gain more knowledge is somewhat similar to the Faustian Bargain. First, in both cases, the serpent initialized the interactions with the humans. In later traditions, as in Revelation of St. John the Divine and the Books of Adam and Eve, Satan manifests a form of a snake with Eve and in a dog and a nobleman for Faust. In Paradise Lost, it was more to tempt God’s precious recreations to sin for vengeance. By offering the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, Eve did gain knowledge (cabbalists would say sexual knowledge which led to birth and death in the world), but in return, she and Adam were also banished from Garden of Eden for her disobedience to God, in which they were no longer under the rulership of Jehovah and his gods.

In Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled, we wrote:

In Genesis 3:22, Jehovah declares, clearly to other gods (or Elohim divine council found in Psalms 82:1), that “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” Jehovah expresses fear, “lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” The creator seems concerned that, with the wisdom they gained from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve will realize that he’s not the only god, and also that, if they gain immortality by eating from the Tree of Life, they will become gods as well, no longer under his control.

In another chapter, we also note:

In mythology, there is an archetypal scenario in which a person travels from one realm to another, and becomes stuck there upon eating the food of the other realm. This happened to the Greek figure of Persephone when she ate the food of the underworld. Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and it changed the universe, or perhaps it created a new universe, and she became trapped in it. Jesus told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood to live forever in the New Jerusalem (the “Kingdom of God”) after death. In the New Jerusalem everyone drinks of the waters of life from the rivers of Paradise and becomes immortal. So perhaps there are other recipes involving similar ingredients that likewise could affect the universe around you upon consumption.

Satan, according to some interpretations, is God’s firstborn son, who came before Adam. But Adam was his favorite, and when his firstborn son refused to honor his younger brother, God sacrificed or expelled him. Satan embodied the forbidden wisdom that Adam was not allowed to have, and God told him not to eat of that “tree.” Was this “fruit” the product of sexual union? The carnal knowledge that Eve was endowed with, according to the cabalistic legends, came from her having carnal knowledge of the Serpent, which bred Cain (and perhaps others, according to some stories). What happens when a human and a spirit of the chaos realm mate? Better yet, what happens when you eat the child that was born of such a union?

And so, Adam and Eve were sent away and their children would be born with, according to Catholic tradition, the “original sin”. In this sense, the serpent gave Eve what he promised her: knowledge, but Eve did not know that in the end she would become a person under the authority of the Serpent or Satan and entered in a new universe of sex, birth and death (which is symbolized as the Ouroboros) because of her disobedience to God or the Elohim, the angels of order and creation. In Genesis (1:28), it is Adam who originaly has managerial authority over the world and perhaps even the universe:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

John Milton would write in Paradise Lost:

“Of Man’s first disobedience and the fruit / of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste / Brought death into the world, and all our woe” (1.1-5).

As Sherman Hawkins in The Education of Faust points out, “Faustus’s sin is that of Adam – he seeks by knowledge to be as God.” In fact, the Bad Angel that tempts Faustus to pursue the dark arts says:

“Go forward Faustus, in that famous art Wherein all nature’s treasure is contained. Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements!” (Marlowe).

This statement is a parallel for the serpent who tempts Eve by telling her, “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything both evil and good” (Genesis 3:4-5). Eve and Adam became the followers of the Serpent and yet their relationship is wholly antagonistic as history flows from their deed. This is personified as the “Seed of the Serpent.”

In Gnostic parody accounts, the Serpent was sent by Sophia to awaken Adam and Eve, and in Manichaean accounts, the Serpent was actually an incarnation of Jesus, the Splendor (this is probably connected to John 3:14). According to Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (V. 14), the Sethians equated the Serpent with the Logos in which it entered the virgin womb and produced the perfect man of Jesus Christ:

The perfect Word of supernal light being therefore assimilated (inform) to the beast, (that is,) the serpent, entered into the defiled womb, having deceived (the womb) through the similitude of the beast itself, in order that (the Word) may loose the chains that encircle the perfect mind which has been begotten amidst impurity of womb by the primal offspring of water, (namely,) serpent, wind, (and) beast. This, he says, is the form of the servant, and this the necessity of the Word of God coming down into the womb of a virgin. But he says it is not sufficient that the Perfect Man, the Word, has entered into the womb of a virgin, and loosed the pangs which were in that darkness.

In Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve was the representation of humanity as they were the first to be created by God. They committed a sin and that is why every infant, according to Orthodox tradition is said have that original stain of sin and have to be baptized because under the laws of God, we are their descendants.

The Faustus story much like Paradise Lost, is about the “temptation” and desire, which is not different from any other human cravings of being more than human. His sinful wish is not different from that of Adam and Eve, only his channels are dissimilar. Faustus conjures up the Devil himself, that is why it is quite doubtful to speak about a real temptation in his situation. We can risk saying that Faustus is already a “fallen angel” or rather a “fallen man” at the beginning of the drama.

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“A Fairy under Starry Skies” by Luis Ricardo Falero

The main difference between a sinful human being and a “fallen angel” is in the later one’s incapacity to regret. Both Dr. Faustus (and even Shakespeare’s Macbeth) are in a situation where repentance is almost impossible. Faustus for example is unable to step further to the next station of penitence, namely humiliation. Consequently, he commits the sin of hardening of heart, which is gradually followed by the futile agony of despair. Faustus’ lack of belief in his salvation, his incapacity to regret, which makes him similar to “fallen angels.” Faustus’ free will plays an important role in the tragedy, since if he was predestined to be damned, we would not have any right to speak about tragedy at all.

Mephistopheles makes a vow with the Lord that he himself as the Devil can win the soul of Faust. Many have dealt with the Faust legend dating from Marlowe to Berliez. Faustus was a man who like Shakespeare and Emanuel Swedenborg was well versed in almost every art and science. This story more than likely originates in Job of the Old Testament where Satan challenges Jehovah he can steal the soul of Job.

The Old Testament also condemns the pagan gods of competing religions in the surrounding areas of the Mediterranean. It condemns sacrifice to them, divination and prophecy through those gods, worshiping them, etc. But if you closely scrutinize Yahweh/Jehovah, he operates virtually identically to the pagan gods. He makes pacts with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Moses: they worship Yahweh in exchange for material blessings on themselves and their descendants. He demands animal sacrifices and burnt sacrifices. He demands submission. He wants temples and altars erected in his honor. And if the descendants of those who originally made the pacts, i.e., the Jews, renege on those pacts, he takes away everything that he has blessed them with and curses them. Sounds an awful lot the Faustian Devil, doesn’t it? Jehovah really isn’t that much different than Faust’s Mephistopheles.

In a sense, Christ’s death on the cross can be considered a “contract” between the Father (according to Marcion is above Jehovah) and Satan for the souls of mankind, signed with Christ’s own blood. This is very much like how Faustus signs his own contract with blood, a contract in which Dr. Faustus is in fact promising his soul to Satan. Mephistopheles tells Faustus that he “must bequeath it solemnly And write a deed of gift with thine own blood, For that security craves Lucifer.”

Marlowe makes the connection between Faustus and Christ again when Faustus says, “Consummatum est!” Here Faustus quotes Christ’s dying words, “It is finished!” (John 19:30) when he has signed his own contract with Satan, and in doing so, his contact is compared to Christ’s shed blood on the cross. Images of the alchemical crucified serpent also come to mind. Edmund Siderius in Faust and Alchemy, specifically connects Mephistopheles with the alchemical serpent of the Ophite Gnostics:

In the first part of Faust, Mephistopheles is twice directly connected with the serpent, in the Prolog im Himmel and then in Wald und Höhle. In the Prolog im Himmel he brags that he will quickly return to heaven and declare his victory. No doubt; it’s a short journey anyway.

“/ I’ll win my wager without much delay. / And when I do, then, if I may, / I’ll come back here and boast of my success. / I’ll make him greedy fort he dust, the way / The serpent was, my famous ancestress!”

For Alice Raphael, author of “Goethe and the Philosophers’ Stone”, this is the first indication that we should see Mephistopheles’ role as something other than that of the traditional devil, but rather as that of the Ouroboros in both its destructive as well as constructive qualities. According to her, Goethe knew of the Gnostic Naassenes, or Ophites, probably through Geschichte der Schlangenbrüder by J.L. von Mosheim. As she says, they worshiped the Naas, which in Hebrew was Nachash (serpent) and was the numerological equivalent of Messiah. The serpent as savior motif comes from texts like On the Origin of the World and assorted Manichaean texts. In this regard the Naas was:

“…in primitive times a cult object, later a matriarchal power, and finally a symbol of wisdom. [There is a hidden reference to the Serpent in Faust, Part I] not as the traditional temptress of Genesis, but as ‘Frau Muhme,’ Goethe’s allusion to the female divinity of the Ophites.”

In this scene Mephistopheles describes his motion as circular (from heaven to earth to heaven), and his serpent ancestor’s hunger for dust. On the one hand this could be seen as referring to the bible, yet given his later confession that he seeks to specifically destroy all matter it could instead be interpreted in terms of the Ouroboros’ symbolic role of breaking down matter in the alchemical vessel into prime matter, so that it may be purified.

The next time Mephistopheles makes an appearance alongside a serpent he does so in his role as instigator and agitator of yet more circular action in the play. Faust, after a moment of calm reflection, is yet again driven by the “fire” of desire to pursue the maiden Gretchen for his pleasure. Before he does so, however, he curses Mephistopheles for disturbing his quietude with the insult: “Snake! Snake!”

This in and of itself will come as no surprise, for even in orthodox Christianity the serpent is seen as being a sign of the devil. What is perhaps more telling in this scene is its thematic circularity, a circularity which, when seen in light of the whole work, is a fundamental component of Faust’s redemption. It occurs almost immediately after Faust, in a high point of spiritual reflection, muses to the Erdgeist, the earth spirit:

“You added a companion, who already / Is indispensable to me, although / With one cold mocking breath he can degrade me / In my own eyes, and turn your gifts to nothing.”

The image of the serpent as savior, in the most blatant of alchemical formulations, had already appeared in Goethe’s Das Märchen, published in 1795, thirteen years before the publication of Faust: One. According to Ronald Gray in his text Goethe the Alchemist, Goethe encountered the destructive-creative principle of the Ouroboros in numerous forms. As he says:

“The self-destruction implicit in the rotating serpent was identical with the ‘putrefaction’, or death to self, spoken of elsewhere. Only when man’s lust had completely consumed itself ‘by revolution’ […] could he appear again in his former angelic splendor […]. It was necessary to yield all personal desires and become one with the universe.”

Seen in this light, the excesses that Mephistopheles leads Faust to on Walpurgisnacht can be made sense of in terms of the logic of the Ouroboros, for only when Faust’s lust has consumed itself will he able to become “one with the universe” or “Mr. Microcosm”, his soul purified like alchemical matter through a successive series of decompositions and reconstitution.

We must stop here to comment. In the Hymn of the Pearl, it presents things like the serpent, the sea and Egypt as symbols of worldly bondage. The serpent for the Ophites was a pneumatic symbol, but to the authors of Hymn of the Pearl and the Pistis Sophia, the serpent is presented as an earth-encircling dragon from the original chaos, the ruler or evil principle of this world. This is the same as the Babylonian Tiamat, the chaos-monster slain by Marduk in the history of creation. Hans Jonas in The Gnostic Religion, quotes a little known text called The Acts of Kyriakos and Julita and comments on this situation:

The closest gnostic parallel to our tale is to be found in the Jewish apocryphal Acts of Kyriakos and Julitta (see Reitzenstein, Das iranische Erlosungsmysterium, p. 77), where the prayer of Kyriakos relates, also in the first person, how the hero, sent out by his Mother into the foreign land, the “city of darkness,” after long wandering and passing through the waters of the abyss meets the dragon, the “king of the worms of the earth, whose tail lies in his mouth. This is the serpent that led astray through passions the angels from on high; this is the serpent that led astray the first Adam and expelled him from Paradise. . . .” There too a mystical letter saves him from the serpent and causes him to fulfill his mission.

Egypt as a symbol for the material world is very common in Gnosticism (and beyond it). The biblical story of Israel’s bondage and liberation lent itself admirably to spiritual interpretation of the type the Gnostics liked. But the biblical story is not the only association which qualified Egypt for its allegorical role. From ancient times Egypt had been regarded as the home of the cult of the dead, and therefore the kingdom of Death; this and other features of Egyptian religion, such as its beast-headed gods and the great role of sorcery, inspired the Hebrews and later the Persians with a particular abhorrence and made them see in “Egypt” the embodiment of a demonic principle. The Gnostics then turned this evaluation into their use of Egypt as a symbol for “this world,’* that is, the world of matter, of ignorance, and of perverse religion: “A11 ignorant ones [i.e, those lacking gnosis] are ‘Egyptians,'” states a Peratic dictum quoted by Hippolytus (V. 16. 5).

And so Egypt, being the well-spring and source for Alexandrian mysticism that greatly inspired many Gnostic sects is also (ironically) symbolic of the dark world that all lost souls inhabit. It is this serpent’s circle that we find ourselves entrapped in, as a sort of Eternal Reoccurrence, as the atheist philosopher Nietzsche often wrote about. Again, Edmund Siderius successfully connects the Encircling Serpent with Mephistopheles:

…it is possible to gain a better grasp of Mephistopheles’ role, and where it may have come from. If we see Mephistopheles as the Ouroboros of the Alchemists and Gnostics (and not merely as the Christian Satan) he maintains the traditional associations of the devil, such as destruction, the obsession with the material, fire and the serpent, but gains all the other roles he plays in Faust. The destruction he brings is inextricably bound with creation, which is purified through cycles of fire, be they physical or metaphorical. These cycles tend to be brought about either directly though his catalyzing acts or through pharmakon which share in his inherent ambiguity. It is in this way that Mephistopheles as the Oroborus can serve Faust as Vergil did Dante, allowing him to explore the whole circle of creation: “And with swift steps, yet wise and slow. [Go] [f]rom heaven, through the world, right down to hell”!

So, if Faustus is simply modeled after the Simon Magus myth, then it is Simon, who makes a deal with the Ouroboros for knowledge and occult powers (like Eve and Adam), much like how Paul makes a deal with Satan in 1 Corinthians 5. And as Amanda Myers writes in Biblical Parallels in Marlow’s Faustus, there are parallels between St. Paul and Faustus and even Mephistopheles:

Mephistophilis is first summoned by Dr. Faustus, he quotes St. Paul’s query upon converting to Christianity: “What wouldst thou have me do?” (Holy Acts 4:9). By putting the words of a venerated saint into the mouth of a devil, Marlowe contrasts Paul’s decision to accept Salvation with Faustus’ decision to reject it (O’Brien 4). Later, when Marlowe has Faustus ask, “When Mephistophilis shall stand by me What power can hurt me?” (Marlowe 19), which is an adaptation of Romans 8:31’s “…If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”, he points out the grave error in Faustus’ thinking. By replacing “God” with “Mephistophilis,” Faustus deludes himself into thinking that through a minor devil he could access the omnipotence of God.

The Clementine Homilies (XXXII) also presents many of Simon Magus’ magical abilities which includes shape-shifting into a serpent as well as a goat, reminding us the imagery associated with Baphomet. (Please see our book for more surprising connections between Simon Magus and Baphomet). Simon also has the ability to cast illusory banquets. According to Celsus, Christ could summon banquets and in the medieval grimoires, one can do exactly this by the aid of demons.

Aquila having thus spoken, I Clement inquired: “What, then, are the prodigies that he works?” And they told me that he makes statues walk, and that he rolls himself on the fire, and is not burnt; and sometimes he flies; and he makes loaves of stones; he becomes a serpent; he transforms himself into a goat; he becomes two-faced; he changes himself into gold; he opens lockfast gates; he melts iron; at banquets he produces images of all manner of forms.

The name “Faustus” also belongs to the two twin brothers (Faustus and Faustinianus) as well as the father, of Pope Clement, the supposed author of the Clementines. The name Faustus also is given to a Manichaean Bishop who debates St. Augustine in Confessions  and Reply to Faustus the Manichaean over various theological issues, much like how Simon debates Peter in the Clementines.

Throughout the play, Dr. Faustus sins deliberately over and over again. And yet he also doubts his commitment to the devil, but always deliberately and systematically rejects God and reaffirms his contract with Satan:

“What boots it then to think on God or heaven? Away with such vain fancies, and despair Despair in God and trust in Belzebub!”

Faustus’ heart is so hardened that he rejects outright the guidance of the Good Angel, the wise and sympathetic Old Man, and even the warnings of Mephistopheles himself, who describes his own eternal damnation to Faustus:

“Why this is hell, nor am I out of it. Think’st thou that I who saw the face of God And tasted the eternal joys of heaven Am not tormented with ten thousand hells In being deprived of everlasting bliss?”

There is a part in Marlowe’s Faust where Faust asks Mephistopheles how it is possible that a demon can manifest itself on earth, since demons have been condemned to hell, and Mephistopheles explains that earth is merely an extension of hell. This is not so dissimilar to how the Gnostics viewed the world.

“We can say that Faustus makes a choice, and that he is responsible for his choice, but there is in the play a suggestion—sometimes explicit, sometimes only dimly implicit—that Faustus comes to destruction not merely through his own actions but through the actions of a hostile cosmos that entraps him. In this sense, too, there is something of Everyman in Faustus. The story of Adam, for instance, insists on Adam’s culpability; Adam, like Faustus, made himself, rather than God, the center of his existence. And yet, despite the traditional expositions, one cannot entirely suppress the commonsense response that if the Creator knew Adam would fall, the Creator rather than Adam is responsible for the fall; Adam ought to have been created of better stuff.”

But as Amanda Myers reveals, Faustus, in the end, is actually saved—at least in Marlowe’s version:

And just as Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, telling him, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise,” Marlowe provides subtle evidence that Dr. Faustus, too, is saved. Many would find it hard to believe that Faustus could obtain salvation after consciously selling his own soul to the devil, but despite his previous transgressions, “what Faustus has dared or done, seems now irrelevant, because, according to doctrine, he need only repent and have faith to be saved” (Ornstein 1380). And that is exactly what he does. Upon a hasty reading of the play, it would appear that this is not so. The final scene is most commonly interpreted as describing the fulfillment of Faustus’ contract with Satan: as the clock strikes twelve, the devils enter and drag a screaming Faustus away. But a careful reading reveals several instances where Mephistophilis threatens “I’ll in piecemeal tear thy flesh” (Marlowe 73), and Dr. Faustus expresses his fears that the devil will in fact “tear me into pieces if I named God” (Marlowe 77).

What Amanda Myers does not acknowledge is that although Faustus’ final act of repentance nullified his contract with Satan, the Devil is forced to act on his threat to tear Faustus apart:

“His faith is great. I cannot touch his soul. But what I may afflict his body with I will attempt, which is but little worth.”

And so because Faustus finally repented at the 11th hour, such an act will guarantee entrance into paradise. This is very much like how St. Paul inflicts a magical death curse upon a member of his own congregation in 1 Corinthians 5, as we saw in the previous post. And so we come to the end to this sordid tale and realize that it doesn’t take a seminary student to realize Marlow’s Dr. Faustus is still a very powerful work and morality cum tragedy play that reminds its readers to consider their own convictions about the soul, eternity, and God.

dr-faustus-in-a-magic-circle-frontispiece-of-gent-s-translation-of-dr-faustus-published-1648

The occult legends of Faustus and similar tales associated with Cornelius Agrippa and the Knights Templars with Baphomet may also be compared to the sin of Sophia in the Gnostic Gospels, since occultism, in many ways (as demonstrated in the Faustus story), separates the occultist from God because they are dedicated to gratifying the self or self-worship instead of unifying with God by rendering yourself in obedience to his will. This also seems to the prevalent attitude in Western culture as of 2016, especially in the United States (in various forms)—which indicates to me it is on the verge of cultural collapse. We also see a wide variety of rumors associated with Hollywood celebrities, musicians and gangsta rappers who sell their souls for success to the “Illuminati” and sacrifice the non-compliant as well.

In the Gnostic myth, Sophia wanted to separate from the Monad and be her own goddess, and as a result, she was expunged from the pleroma and birthed the demiurge. Even most of the great Christian occultists throughout history, like Cornelius Agrippa, Eliphas Levi and John Dee, eventually realized this and disowned it. Agrippa makes a chilling renunciation of it all in the vanity of arts and sciencesBut fear not, there is still time to reflect on your spiritual life and see the Light. This is what the Holy Grail cycle is ultimately about. Here are some parting words taken from the Apocryphon of John:

And I said to the savior, “Lord, will all the souls then be brought safely into the pure light?”

He answered and said to me,”Great things have arisen in your mind, for it is difficult to explain them to others except to those who are from the immovable race. Those on whom the Spirit of life will descend and (with whom) he will be with the power, they will be saved and become perfect and be worthy of the greatness and be purified in that place from all wickedness and the involvements in evil. Then they have no other care than the incorruption alone, to which they direct their attention from here on, without anger or envy or jealousy or desire and greed of anything. They are not affected by anything except the state of being in the flesh alone, which they bear while looking expectantly for the time when they will be met by the receivers (of the body). Such then are worthy of the imperishable, eternal life and the calling. For they endure everything and bear up under everything, that they may finish the good fight and inherit eternal life.”