While this isn’t my first interview by any means, this however, is my very first audio podcast. This audio podcast features a very special guest, the author Tracy R Twyman. For those of you who aren’t familiar with her work, she has authored many books such as Money Grows on the Tree of Knowledge, Solomon’s Treasure: The Magic and Mystery of America’s Money, The Merovingian Mythos and many other great articles on the web going back 10 years. She has also been on Jesse Ventura’s television program Conspiracy Theory, Ground Zero Media and Coast 2 Coast. I personally think she’s done some great research regarding not only esoteric and occult subjects, but also work regarding America’s financial system, the CIA and mind-control, and many political subjects that is in the currently in the news. The subject of the Aeon Eye Podcast #1 is the ever so mysterious and occult figure of Baphomet. which is also the subject of her forth-coming book and a cruise! Also be sure to read my own deconstruction of Baphomet and Abraxas.
Please listen and enjoy! Aeon Eye Podcast #1
Jeremy Crow is a Luciferian/Left-Hand Path Occultist based in Toronto, Canada. He’s also part of the electro/drum ‘n bass group, Pleasure the Priestess. I’ve also interviewed him on the Youtube show, Aeon Arcanum with my co-host Karl James Smith (I’m the guy with the glasses). Recently, I asked him to take part of a Q & A session because of his Light-bringing intelligentsia and fiery Promethean Gnostic spirit that fits very well with the general theme of this blog. This is the result of our dialogue. Enjoy the interview!
1. How do you think Left-Hand Path Luciferianism and ancient, Nag-Hammadi styled Gnosticism are alike and do they differ in any specific differences, including perhaps encratic/asceticism in contrast with antinomian libertinism?
I think modern Luciferianism differs from historical Gnosticism in a number of ways. For instance, Gnosticism tended not to deviate very far from the Judeo-Christian mythos. They certainly had their own way of looking at it compared to the mainstream Christian traditions that developed and they definitely were influenced by other cultures, however it was not nearly as syncretic as modern Luciferianism. Luciferians of today borrow heavily from a very wide range of mythologies and spiritual systems both ancient and modern. For a few examples, Prometheus is almost universally considered by Luciferians as a “Lucifer” (literally “Light Bringer”) as well as characters such as the serpent from the biblical Eden story, the Norse god Odin and the Sumerian god Enki. Many even consider the Gnostic Christ to be a Lucifer.
There is a basic story arc that these various Light Bringers typically follow: The providing of forbidden knowledge to an oppressed people, punishment of the emancipator from the established authorities and finally the redemption of the light bringer. The actual practices are also wildly divergent, even among modern Luciferians. You often see more extreme forms of practice in historical forms of Gnosticism when compared with modern practitioners. Take for example the Cathar practice of avoiding reproduction in order to avoid providing physical bodies so as not to enable the Archons to imprison souls in the flesh. That is a form of extreme fundamentalist dualism that I think would be very difficult to find among modern Luciferians.
2. Do you equate Lucifer with Satan or do you consider them two distinct entities?
My thoughts on this have evolved over time. Really, “Lucifer” and “Satan” are just words that are used to convey ideas. Are those two ideas the same? To some people, they certainly are. To start with, I think it’s important to know that Lucifer is a Latin word that means “Bringer of Light” or “Bearer of Light” and that Satan is a Hebrew word that means “Adversary.” When I was first getting into Gnosticism I used the word “Lucifer” to personify the liberating truth and “Satan” to personify the demiurgic force that tries to maintain control through suppressing the truth. It was a very Manichean or dualistic way of looking at things. Now I see Lucifer and Satan more as the two primary ways of relating to the aspects of reality that we find disturbing and have a hard time accepting or integrating. For someone who is not ready to accept these difficult truths, it is more of an adversarial relationship – Satan guarding the gates of Hell from the intrusions of the unwary for their own protection. When we become mature enough and brave enough to effectively integrate the shadow, it becomes Lucifer initiating you into the forbidden knowledge. The lens has changed.
3. H.P. Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley have both exerted an enormous influence on modern Luciferian thought. Do you think its possible that John Milton’s Paradise Lost could be the origination of the celebration or deification of Lucifer?
That’s an interesting question. Technically, Milton’s Paradise Lost doesn’t mention Lucifer at all. It’s a story about Satan. Milton apparently didn’t intend Satan to be the protagonist although that is how it turned out. Certainly it has inspired some to sympathize with Satan and his plight. It has also been one of the major pieces of literature that led to the identification of Satan with the serpent in Eden as well as with the word Lucifer as found in the KJV version of the bible. For a very long time, the word Lucifer was not associated with Satan. Not until the KJV came out did people start thinking of Lucifer as equivalent to Satan. To this day, the Catholic Church does not see the word Lucifer as equivalent to Satan or even as something bad at all. There was even a Bishop who took on the ecclesiastical name Lucifer and was later canonized.
I would also like to mention that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was essentially an updated retelling of Paradise Lost, where the monster becomes the anti-hero style protagonist and Dr. Frankenstein is the uncaring and cold hearted creator. In the book, the monster actually reads Paradise Lost and sympathizes with Satan. Mary’s husband Percy Bysshe Shelley also wrote a lyrical drama called Prometheus Unbound, which he prefaces with a note stating that Prometheus is essentially the Satan character but in a different cultural context in which he is actually appreciated by the people he helped emancipate. Paradise Lost has been and remains an important and influential piece of literature, especially for those on a Left Hand Path.
4. How does the dual symbols of Lucifer and Satan tie into the concept of the HGA (The Holy Guardian Angel)? Could this dichotomy be compared to Carl Jung’s thought on the Shadow Self?
I alluded to this above and will elaborate here. The way I see it can be easily described with reference to Jung’s concept of the Shadow. Before I get into that, I want to make it clear that I think the modern concept of the Holy Guardian Angel as something you need to spend years trying to gain knowledge of and conversation with in order to determine your True Will is a load of crap. This kind of thinking amounts to a lot of busy-work, doing the same basic rituals over and over for years and rarely yielding any greater insight into your life’s purpose or progress toward achieving it. It is my suggestion that you likely already know what inspires you. Pick a goal in line with that and work at it as hard as you can. It will evolve or even dramatically change as you go along and that’s how it should be. If you genuinely don’t know what inspires you, explore as much as you can until you find your muse! If nothing else, you will develop your personality in the process.
The original concept of the personal guardian angel was a usually undetectable influence that subtly keeps you from harm. The Shadow, as a repository of all that you have rejected about yourself and the suppressed memories of traumatic events is frightening for the very reason that this material is potentially damaging. It was knowledge that was so disturbing or incomprehensible that your mind segregated it from consciousness so that you would not go insane. Personified, it is Satan or Hades, making sure that the damned souls and demonic entities do not escape the underworld to molest the living. Satan is the guardian angel. What many modern occultists sometimes refer to as “shadow work” is an attempt to explore the contents of this rejected personal truth (aka “forbidden knowledge”) and to heal and integrate it into the conscious mind. This work seeks to overcome the natural feelings of fear and revulsion and look upon the Shadow not as an adversarial guardian but as an initiator – the devil is transformed into an angel of light, so to speak. Eventually we should grow beyond the need for these functions to become mature and courageous enough to process difficult truths through a consciously directed process. This is why you hear that once we leap into the Abyss, we leave the HGA behind. At least that is my personal take on the HGA.
5. What are your thoughts on Chaos Magick and creative visualizations associated with ideas such as the Law of Attraction? Does the deific or daemonic (the Platonic daemon) self-identification “I am” formula in the Greek Magical Papyri and the Egyptian Pyramid texts have anything to do with these concepts and ritual practices?
I think that most Luciferians are Chaos Magickians in the sense that they develop their own personal system based on what works for them. They may not call themselves Chaos Magickians, but the basic concept is there. Modern Luciferianism is very personal and tends to be quite syncretic. As far as Creative Visualization, The Secret, the Law of Attraction, or whatever else you want to call it, I do see a lot of validity in that technique. It is important but not sufficient and therein lies the problem. Too many people reduce this to “if I have the right mental attitude and can visualize it strongly enough, it will manifest in my life” and then they spend all their free time in fantasy, never accomplishing anything. If you want something bad enough, you need to work on it from both sides. Continue to do your visualizations but you also need to put in the grunt work on the ground to create ways for it to manifest in your life. If you’re trying to get a certain type of job, wishing and praying for it usually won’t work unless you are also sending out resumes. Too many aspiring occultists spend countless hours trying to develop magickal powers without any idea of what they hope to accomplish with these powers. Usually, those hours would be better spent working toward achieving the same thing using more mundane techniques. I like to think of Creative Visualization and/or Sigil Magick as a method of enhancing the likelihood of succeeding in my conventional efforts. It’s to get that extra edge.
6 On various social media websites (including Facebook and Youtube), you’ve spearheaded an Occupy the Temple movement. Could you elaborate more about this?
Occupy The Temple is an initiative to challenge the status quo of occult organizations and Esoteric Orders. There are many ways of going about doing things that may have been necessary in the past but could be discarded or improved upon for the modern era. Many times, the only reasons these methods persist is because of the reverence for tradition and (more often) because they allow the leaders of these groups to hold and maintain more power over their membership. Occupy The Temple seeks to educate people about these specific issues and to encourage [and where possible, to also provide] alternative ways of doing things. Ideally these changes will be possible to enact within the existing establishments but where it cannot, we encourage individuals to take it upon themselves to defiantly do things the way they feel is right without asking for permission from someone who has taken on a position of authority in their group. Occupy The Temple is a leaderless movement in a manner similar to the hacker collective Anonymous, in that anyone can take up the Occupy The Temple mantle and take direct action without asking permission from anyone. These individuals take both credit and responsibility for their own actions. For examples of issues, I encourage anyone curious to look us up.
7. Are there any upcoming musical or book projects to expect, down the pipeline for 2014?
Yes, I have a few things in the works. Pleasure The Priestess is working on a new album which we plan to release on vinyl, cassette tape and digital download sometime in 2014. The new songs are going to be closer to our Industrial roots compared to the more dance music oriented stuff we released in 2013. We’re going to experiment with crowd-funding to help finance the project. We also intend to continue putting out music videos on our YouTube channel. I hope people will check out our channel and if they like what they see, they can show their support by subscribing on YouTube.
As far as books, you can expect to see at least two publications in 2014. One of these is a compilation of articles written by members of the Luciferian Research Society (LRS) mostly on topics of practical occultism. It is therefore a “Book of Shadows” for our community and we intend to publish a series of these over time. If it pays for itself it will be a worthy project, as it will publish the work of aspiring authors and help them get noticed. If it actually generates some income, these funds will be used to support the expenses of the LRS and its official projects. For more info on the LRS, please visit: http://luciferianresearch.org/
I also have a personal project to publish a book containing four original rituals that I have written for use by Left Hand Path occultists. The first three of these are solo rites. The final ceremony is a full lodge initiation which requires five people to perform: Four officers and one candidate for initiation. This group ritual will form the basis of a sort of Open Source Order, as anyone can perform it without asking permission or paying dues to any governing body. No governing body such as a Grand Lodge or Sovereign Sanctuary will even exist in the first place and if someone should try to set one up, it could not be enforced as there will be no oath of secrecy attached to the initiation ceremony. A digital copy of this rite will be freely available to encourage sharing and I will also be publishing and selling physical copies of the book.
In Part 3, we discovered that the two trees being the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge were seen as living symbols for the Gnostics’ cosmology being the Aeons in the Pleroma and the veil or Platonic (X) or limit that separates it from the deficiency or hysterema of the material world, marked of illusion and imperfection, time and flux. It is therefore useless to identify with the physical symbol of a cross as it is more of an archetype.
The Stauros (Cross), which means to “stand” or “straighten up” (e.g. the “Standing One” per Simon Magus?) in its true self is a living idea, a reality or root-principle of separation and limit, dividing entity from non-entity, being from non-being, perfection from imperfection, fullness and emptiness, Light from Darkness. The Stauros or Horos was also seen as synonymous with the Logos and was also seen as the sign of victory as per the doctrine of Christus Victor atonement i.e, that Christ defeated the powers by duping them into crucifying him.
Guarding this Horos was the Limit-Setter, the Across-Taker, the Emancipator, the Guide or Leader that guides the initiated soul from its astral journey from the underworld, to the zodiacal cosmos, to the eighth heaven or “ogdoad” where Sophia is said to dwell, near the gates and finally to the Heavenly Cross, functioning like a portal or gateway into the realm of the Father or the Pleroma. The Logos himself is designated as a “door” or a “gate” into eternal life symbolized as pasture, for the saved sheep (or souls) (John 10:9).
This region was also called the “suburbs”, a frontier or the barrier, demarcating the boundary between the worlds. The term “suburbs” is also used in a Peratic text that the Church Father Hippolytus quotes at length called The Suburbs up to the Aither in the Philosophumena or the Refutation of All Heresies, which I will briefly touch on later on. In Plato’s Timaeus, he refers to the soul-stuff of the universe in terms of two circular strips joined together like the Greek letter chi (X). Similarly, tau, the last letter of the Phoenician and Old Hebrew alphabets, is shaped like a cross, and was popularly held to be a protective emblem of supernatural power. Crosses were also said to be used by Roman General Marcius Turbo’s forces in the first century to carry their food and clothing.
In Plato’s radical dualism, he thought that matter and the Demiurge were uncreated and co-existed eternally with the world of forms or the eternal archetypes. And he believed that matter and the forms were eternally separated by what he called the “divided line.” In Ephesians 2:19, the invisible cross is represented as bestriding the cosmos in terms of “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge.
Only through the stauros can souls enter into life eternal. Without it, humanity are held in thrall by time, subject to Satan, to fate and to reincarnation. The stauros is the axis of the mighty spiral that reverses the order of the cosmos, and takes man from the emptiness (kenoma) of the illusory lower world, to the fullness of the upper world of Reality. It is this reality which Luke 13:19 describes as:
It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.
The fruit of this aeonic Tree were manifested as the Cosmic Christ or Logos and his otherworldly redemptive mission when evil came into existence. His work on earth and even the universe at large was to touch every region on our side of the Stauros, to fulfill a specific mission for every form of creation: from the fallen angels, archons, fallen aeons, for man and so forth and so on down to the Chain of Being. It is his presence on earth that was hotly debated and gave birth to a religious movement that ultimately become the very thing it once strove to liberate itself from. Christ would be reduced to a rotting corpse on a cross, in which the Orthodox “cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking that they will become pure” as the Apocalypse of Peter would say.
Yet, the very reason for the existence of the Logos is explained in a “fall of man” scenario which occurs in not just in Jewish and Christian literature but also in Hermetic and Indian literature. We will examine the events that unfold right after the fall of man that eventually precipitates into events surrounding the Flood and how they relate to all these concepts associated with the Garden. Is there a possible deeper message to the Flood myth?
The Flood of Darkness
In Josephus, Antiquitates I 69-71 and Vita Adae et Evae XLIX 3-L2, he discusses the coming destruction by fire and water. The Apocalypse of Adam and the Gospel of the Egyptians also mentions destruction by water which was identified with the biblical flood, and by fire. Plato’s Timaeus 21E-22E also relates a similar idea for periodical destruction of the earth by water and fire. Its influence on the idea of a periodical disaster was widely known in Jewish and Christian literature. In the Latin Life of Adam and Eve, after the funerals of Adam and Abel, Eve tells her children of a coming divine judgement, “first by water and then by fire,” and gives them the recommendation to preserve the account of their parents’ lives by writing it down in two sets of tablets, one made of stone and the other of clay (49–50).
By the fourth century BC, Greek philosophers and geographers eventually opined that the earth was not a flat disk consisting of a single land mass and swirling waters, like Homeric geography posited, but rather a sphere with multiple continents and seas. Plato, for example, would often use myth and story to service his philosophical endeavors. In the Phaedo 110b, Plato’s Socrates describes the earth as viewed from above as “one of these balls made of twelve pieces of skin, variegated and marked out in different colors”. Plato would engage the Ocean even more directly in his myth or story of Atlantis in Timaeus 25a, which tells us:
The island (Atlantis) was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean, for this sea which is within the Straights of Heracles is only a harbor, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the land surrounding it on every side may be truly called a boundless continent.
Plato would go on about the greatness, hubris, and demise of Atlantis in the Critias, although the account was not completed because Critias was never finished. He made another reference to its destruction in Timaeus. Plato’s myth-making or speculation was a self-admitted speculation in the service of philosophy. He signaled this by having Socrates say in Phaedo 114d, “Of course, no reasonable man ought to insist that the facts are exactly as I have described them.” Plato’s “invention” of Atlantis was explicit, and he was, in the end, uninterested in the truth value of his own world created out of a pastiche of myth, philosophy and geography. What mattered for Plato was that the myth was served his real purpose, to support his ideas about the immortality of the soul and the proper governance of humankind through the administration of the Philosopher Kings.
From a careful consideration of Plato’s description of Atlantis it is evident that the story should not be regarded as wholly literal or historical but rather as both symbolic of Plato’s Utopian ideal with possible roots in actual history. Theologians and philosophers in late antiquity such as Origen, Porphyry, Proclus, Iamblichus, and Syrianus realized that the story concealed a profound philosophical mystery, but they disagreed as to the actual interpretation. Classical Alexandria was a hotbed of allegorization as the Alexandrine Jewish philosopher Philo and the early Church Fathers also rejoiced in ascribing symbolic meanings to their sacred writings as well.
There are, of course, many parallels with Plato’s mysterious Atlantis with Noah’s Deluge. The famous passage of Genesis 6:4 presents the idea that the flood was sent by God to punish the crimes committed by the giant children of the Angels or Watchers who committed intercourse with human women, being the Nephilim. Of course, in Gnostic literature, intercourse between supernatural powers and human women are continuous since the beginning of creation itself, starting with Cain and Abel as the spawn between Eve and the lion-faced demonic ruler, Ialdabaoth as featured in Apocryphon of John. Both Enochic and Gnostic literature go out of their way to claim that these same Angels taught humankind various occult secrets and teachings, being astronomy, magic and the usage of natural elements. This was not the only view concerning the origins of astrology as the earliest Hellenistic Jewish Historian Eupolemus claimed that astrology was actually discovered by Enoch (identified with Atlas) and then handed on by him to the Babylonians.
Flavius Josepheus in Antiquities 1.154-168, also referred to Abraham (although not mentioning his name explicitly) as a great and righteous man, “versed in the heavens” as did many other writers throughout history. Eupolemus also claimed that Abraham was a Chaldean. Seth, being Adam’s son, is also singled out as the originator of astrology by Flavius Josephus as well as being the founder of the Gnostic religion in the Three Steles of Seth.
Josephus in Antiquities 1 68-71 also claimed that the progeny or “seed” of Seth were just, peace-loving men, who understood the secrets of the stars, and had knowledge of the Flood and other disasters, inscribing her doctrine on two steles. Other texts such as On the Origin of the World, claimed that the Angels or Archons taught women idolatry, which would naturally fit with the idea of the “god of this world” being a blinding idol or icon as per 2 Corinthians 4:4. Justin Martyr in the Second Apology, Chapter V, would say something very similar to Orig. World:
But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness.
That is not to say that the science of astrology and magical workings were rejected by the Gnostics—quite the opposite, as they had a deep respect for the knowledge revealed by the angels. The Valentinian Theodutus claimed that Christ came into the world to free all people who believe in him from astral fate. Astrology is not a wholly fictional science or an error as it can tell the truth concerning the destiny of those who are not in Christ. But once one is baptized, the astrologists “no longer tell the truth” concerning the person’s destiny. Jewish texts such as Sepher ha Razim, glorify the science of the stars and the cosmos revealed by the Watchers:
And seven thrones are prepared there, and upon them are seated overseers, and around them on all sides encampments of angels are stationed and are obedient to men at the time when they practice magic; to everyone who has learned to stand and pour libations to their names and cite them by their signs at the period when prayer is heard so as to make a magical rite succeed. Over all these encampments of angels, these seven overseers rule, to dispatch them for every sort of business, so that they will hasten and bring success.
Both 1 Enoch and and the books of Daniel and the book of Jubilees either condemn Babylonian astrology as a diabolical science, or stress its inferiority to wisdom directly revealed by God. The Jewish form of astrology tends to distinguish itself from the astrology of the Babylonian Chaldeans. The Gnostics continued on the same path of Jewish astrology, who posits Seth, Jesus and Mary to reveal the truth about the planetary fate, the stars and the deities who rule them. It is of course, the Savior that “disturbs” the other stars as he descends into the world of matter.
Still, the problem of the Giants were no laughing matter. The offspring of the Watchers (including the angels Shemyaza, Azazel and all the rest of the angels listed in 1 Enoch) and human women resulted in gigantic beings being the Nephilim, also referred to as “GiBoR” which is Hebrew for “hero” or a great man, strangely enough. They are also known as the “giants born of, or descendants of the Aion”. There are certain magical gems of the famous Chnoubis (lion-headed snake) that contain the inscription of being a conqueror of giants! This seems to indicate that the lion-headed serpent wasn’t always held in a negative light by Gnostics. The myth of the giants and their destruction by God through the flood is preserved in many different writings that flourished in the late Hellenistic-Judiac apocryphal literature as well as Gnostic mythology featured in different texts such as the Apocryphon of John, On the Origin of the World, the Valentinian Exposition and of course, in many Manichaean writings, including the Book of Giants.
Even these Giants of the Jewish apocrypha and Gnostic literature can be seen as synonymous with the immortal giant Titans per Greek myth, with Kronos, Zeus’ “Forgotten Father” or “Hidden One” being the Atlantean king of these Titans. Kronos would eventually become imprisoned within the underworld, as a “Dark Lord”, much like how Ialdabaoth in On the Origin of the World is imprisoned in Tartarus by Pistis Sophia, the deep abyss or the “Foundations of the Great Deep” per Genesis 7:11, underneath hell, where the Titans are thrown and placed there by the Olympian gods. The Middle Platonist and Greek Historian, Plutarch in On the Cessation of Oracles, would claim that Kronos or Saturn’s imprison was imposed by a death-like sleep, where his dreams and illusions acted like shackles, symbolic of the nature of material reality:
In that region also, they said, Saturn was confined in one of the islands by Briareus, and lay asleep; for that his slumber had been artfully produced in order to chain him, and round about him were many dæmons for his guards and servants.
Hippolytus in Refutatio, Book V, chapter 11 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V, wrote of the beliefs of a member of the Gnostic Peratae (meaning “traversers”) sect:
But water, he says, is destruction; nor did the world, he says, perish by any other thing quicker than by water. Water, however . . . they assert (it to be) Cronus.
Even more relevant, the ancient Chaldaeans warned that a universal flood would come down from above: “Kronos announced to Sisithros that a flood would pour from above.” Tacitus in Histories V.4 alleged that the Jews were worshipers of Saturn, indirectly claiming Jehovah was Kronos. It is safe to assume that Kronos was considered a synonymous figure with the Demiurge as maintained by the Peratics. According to the Orthodox Syrian Bishop, Theodoretus of Cyrrhus, the heretics, especially the Marcionites, detested water because it was produced by the creator. The Bible frequently mentions Yahweh’s rule over the waters, particularly the Red Sea and the Nile. The notion that water was an element of the Demiurge, who was equated with Kronos as the “lord of generation” and positioned in the center of the universe by the Peratic-Ophites per Hippolytus in Refutation 5.15.4, was characteristic of the Gnostic contempt for the creator’s work and the creator himself.
Accordingly, many Gnostics would deliberately disobey the Creator’s precepts and praise vilified Biblical characters like the serpent in Eden or other times, Cain and even the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah! Theodoretus of Cyrrhus has this to say about the Marcionites:
They dare to say that the serpent is better than the Creator. in fact the Creator forbade men to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, while the serpent exhorted them to eat it. But these sinners do not know that the serpent’s advice generated death. And so some of them worship the serpent. And I myself found that they had a bronze serpent, kept in a box together with their nefarious mysteries.
Theodoretus also claimed that the Marcionites not only insulted the Creator god, but also the biblical patriarchs and prophets because they were the Creator’s agents, while they believed that the Old Testament villains such as Cain and the Sodomites had followed Jesus out of Tartarus when he descended into Hell. The doctrine of the Ophites were also attributed to the Marcionites by Theodoretus. Whenever Jehovah would unconditionally condemn magic and divination as worship of foreign gods in Deuteronomy 18.9-11, 27, 35, Exodus 22, 17 and Leviticus 20,27, the Gnostics would value the knowledge of astrology because it was expressly forbidden by the creator god much like the knowledge fruit forbidden in Eden. This is explicitly mentioned by the Latin Church Father, Tertullian who would say, “the Marcionites very frequently are astrologers, and are not ashamed to live by the Creator’s stars” (Contra Marcion, I 18 1). Naturally, astrology was associated with heresy (or false teachings) according to the Orthodox Heresiologists. For example, Irenaeus in Against Heresies 1.15.6, says of a certain Marcus the Valentinian:
Marcus, you former of idol, inspector of portents, skill’d in consulting the stars, and deep in the black arts of magic, ever by tricks such as these confirming the doctrines of error, furnishing signs unto those involved by you in deception, wonders of power that is utterly severed from God and apostate, which Satan, your true father, enables you still to accomplish, by means of Azazel, that fallen and yet mighty angel—thus making you the precursor of his own impious actions.
Irenaeus’ pupil Hippolytus also asserted that:
…the teachings of the heretics have their source in the wisdom of the Greeks, the opinions of those who engage in philosophy, those who undertake mysteries and roaming astrologers.
Hippolytus devoted the whole of Book IV of his Refutatio to the Chaldeans, magi and astrologers, as one of the sources of inspiration to the Gnostics. Chapter V was mostly concerned with the Peratics, who may have considered themselves the “true Hebrews” considering that Hebrew means “passerbyer”. The confidence of the Peratae or the Peratics, that they were able to find salvation from the oppression of the astral powers of fate through gnosis:
For if any one, he says, of those (beings) which are here will have strength to perceive that he is a paternal mark transferred hither from above, (and that he is) incarnate— just as by the conception resulting from the rod a something white is produced—he is of the same substance altogether with the Father in heaven, and returns there. If, however, he may not happen upon this doctrine, neither will he understand the necessity of generation, just as an abortion born at night will perish at night.
This attitude towards magic wasn’t shared by all Gnostic groups as sects such as the Manichaeans considered witchcraft as inspired by the primeval Darkness and Satan, despite the fact that their practices such as exorcisms and prayers to the four guardian angels (Michael, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael) were also considered “magical”.
Returning to the Flood story, the Gnostics would interpret this episode in Genesis as proof that the creator god was indeed fallible because the Lord repented of his own creation (Genesis 6:6) and was willing to save only a few chosen ones (being Noah, his family and various animals) and start creation anew. The Apocryphon of John makes full use of this idea by stating:
And he (the chief archon) repented for everything which had come into being through him. This time he planned to bring a flood upon the work of man.
Ialdaboath initiates this destructive plan because the chief ruler fails to enslave the human race through the creation of “fate” and “destiny”. This destiny, while successful in fostering “sins” and “forgetfulness” of the ultimate deity and constraining choices, was insufficient to “arrest” human “pondering” entirely. As it follows, a new plan of wiping out life on earth completely is started and not just as an attack on Gnostic humanity.
In any event, for the Gnostics, the cause of the flood was by the maliciousness of Ialdabaoth and his angels but ultimately fails to completely destroy mankind, including the Gnostic race, revealing the ultimate ineptitude of the authorities. To remedy this situation, the Archons decide to produce a “counterfeit spirit” in the image of the divine “spirit of life”, which enables them to change their shapes and further seduce humanity with wealth, and many other vices which goes a long way to their achieving their desired union with human women, according to the Apoc. John. The result is ignorance of spiritual reality plaguing humanity even “down through the present time” and also attempts to explain the origins of evil in the human species.
The reason for Ialdaboath causing the flood should be obvious. Humanity’s growing insight and superiority over spiritual matters concerns the creator god and his angels, rather than moral depravity. Hypostasis of the Archons would say that humankind “began to multiply and improve”. Irenaeus would say that humankind would “not honor” Ialdabaoth as “parent and god” in Haer. 1.30.10. This is, of course, a wholesale rejection of the God of Israel’s divine status, in part of the Gnostics. However, in some cases the God of Israel is identified with the repentant archon, Sabaoth which is depicted in Gnostic writings in an often positive light, with his intimate association with Sophia. They also point to his amorous fallen angels, who were originally “ministers of flaming fire” (Psalms 104:4) being a part of a archontic conspiracy to further confuse the human race in vice and blood-shed.
Much later, Epiphanius would tell us a different account of the Sethian version of the flood. In the Panarion 39.3.1, Wisdom caused the flood because “the frequent intercourse and confused impulse on the part of the angels and the human beings, so the two tended toward mixture…” It is clear that Sophia is depicted in struggling against the Archangels, Archons and Watchers. So, for the Gnostics, it is clear that the Flood and the intercourse between Angels and human women were attempts to disrupt human progress because of their strengthening link to the spiritual world outside of material creation.
When it comes to the issue of Noah, the Gnostic evaluation of the character shows no unanimity in any of Gnostic writings, and one can find examples of both positive and negative attitudes toward him. The Apocryphon of John tells us that Noah was a chosen patron of the spiritual race:
And he repented for all that had happened through him. He plotted to produce a flood [κατακλυσμός] over all the offspring of man. But the greatness of Providence [πρόνοια], which is the reflection [ἐπίνοια] of the light, instructed Noah and he preached to men. But they did not believe him. It is not as Moses said, “He hid himself in an ark [κιβωτός],” but she sheltered him in a place, not Noah alone but men from the immovable race. They went into a place and sheltered themselves with a luminous cloud. And he (Noah) recognized his lordship and those who were with him in the light which shone upon them, because darkness was falling over everything upon earth.
The reference to the waters seems to be a metaphor for the “darkness”, as the understanding of the biblical flood was understood as more a of a spiritual event, much like the first fall, which was the descend of spirit into the abyss and inferno of matter. The “Abyss” or the “void”, which also relates to the Kabbalistic Qliphoth (Tree of Death), was also symbolic of the vacant place that was left when God retracted his presence from that area. The process of emptying left a vacant place for what was to become the natural universe we know. In Gnostic writings, the cognate word, Kenoma, signifying “emptiness”, describes the illusive, phenomenal world of space and time in which all sentient life lives in. In essence, God obscured himself by creating the place of the Deficiency, but he is not that place.
The Apocryphon of John also goes on in a lengthy dialogue concerned with the ultimate destiny of the two kinds of spirits: “the spirit of life” from the Pleroma and the “counterfeit spirit” generated by the rulers and authorities of fate. The flood story and biblical imagery are used to convey this dialogue in the text. The late 3rd century Simonian text The Concept of Our Great Power tells us something very similar, by saying that the water, which represents the Demiurge, coexists with spirit eternally, i.e., radical dualism.
Discern what size the water is, that it is immeasurable (and) incomprehensible, both its beginning and its end. It supports the earth; it blows in the air where the gods and the angels are. But in him who is exalted above all these there is the fear and the light, and in him are my writings revealed.
The same text also goes into similar details regarding the fall of the angels, the flood myth, Noah, etc. Another text in the Nag Hammadi Library, the Hermetic tractate, Asclepius also discusses the Flood myth. In this treatise, the Demiurge is presented as a benevolent figure and his actions in a very Stoic context, with themes of recurring cosmic catastrophes and restoration:
And when these things had happened, O Asclepius, then the Lord, the Father and god from the only first (God), god the creator [δημιουργόϛ], when he looked upon the things that happened, established his design, which is good, against the disorder. He took away error and cut off evil. Sometimes he submerged it in a great flood, at other times he burned it in a searing fire.
Speaking of fire, the Gnostic prophetess, Norea is also featured in a few writings including Hypostasis of the Archons, Thought of Norea, and by the Church Father Epiphanius. Her role is that of a Gnostic heroine, and that is somewhat of a rare feat in any religious writing but is boldly featured in a Gnostic holy writ. The Hypostasis of the Archons tells us that Norea is essentially the revealer and spiritual mother of the Gnostic race, through Eve:
Again Eve became pregnant, and she bore Norea. And she said, “He has begotten on me a virgin as an assistance for many generations of mankind.” She is the virgin whom the forces did not defile.
It is through Norea’s intervention on human kind that they progress and improve, which spurs the authorities to come together and wipe out all life on earth:
The rulers took counsel with one another and said, “Come, let us cause a deluge with our hands and obliterate all flesh, from man to beast.”
Norea reveals herself to be one of a spit-fire type when she blows Noah’s Ark down! Perhaps this is symbolic of emphasizing true salvation being “spiritual” rather than trusting the works of the flesh.
Then Orea came to him wanting to board the ark. And when he would not let her, she blew upon the ark and caused it to be consumed by fire. Again he made the ark, for a second time.
Later, Ialdaboath and his angels confront Norea with the intend to bully her, saying: “You must render service to us, as did also your mother Eve…” Norea tells them off by saying:
“It is you who are the rulers of the darkness; you are accursed. And you did not know my mother; instead it was your female counterpart that you knew. For I am not your descendant; rather it is from the world above that I am come.”
She later appeals to the ultimate God for help and a holy angel, Eleleth, thus saves her from the authorities’ clutches and reveals the divine mysteries of Pistis Sophia. Norea is ultimately revealed to be the female parent of all Gnostics, as Seth is the male parent:
“You, together with your offspring, are from the primeval father; from above, out of the imperishable light, their souls are come. Thus the authorities cannot approach them, because of the spirit of truth present within them; and all who have become acquainted with this way exist deathless in the midst of dying mankind. Still, that sown element will not become known now. Instead, after three generations it will come to be known, and it has freed them from the bondage of the authorities’ error.”
As it is usually the case, the Gnostic interpretation of scripture was far from literal in favor for unearthing spiritual and allegorical meanings and this approach is highlighted in Apelle’s (a disciple of Marcion) critical take on Noah’s Flood story:
In no way could it have been accomplished that in so short a time so many kinds of animals and their foods, which were to last for a whole year, should be taken abroad. For when two by two the unclean animals, that is, two male and two female of each—this is what the repeated word means—led into the ark, how could the space described be made big enough to take even four elephants alone? It is clear that the story is false; but if this is so, it is clear that this writing is not from God.
Through the Flood story, the Gnostic writers were able reflect on the types of human beings that exist in the world and on the question of how ignorance is able to persist throughout history. Noah’s Ark would become a symbol for the gracious divine care to rescue the “immovable race” of the Gnostics. The Manichaeans would also interpret Noah’s Ark to be a symbol for their church as a “Ship of Light” in their Coptic Manichaean Psalms:
Lo, the ship has put in for you, Noah is aboard, he steers.
The ship is the commandment [ἐντολή], Noah is the Mind [νοῦς] of Light.
Embark your merchandise, sail with the dew of the wind.
The] Commandment [ἐντολή] was knowledge, the Commandment was a Church. …
It was a tree, it was a ship, it [was] …
It was a tree in the desert, it was an ark [? κιβωτός] in the flood [κατακλυσμός].
Hippolytus, Callistus of Rome and Cyprian of Carthage used the survivors of the flood as ciphers for the purity and discipline of the church as did the Gnostics who saw these primeval characters as symbolic of themselves and their situation among the growing influence of Orthodoxy.
The Two Trees Revisited (A Small Note)
According to the Babylonian Prophet Mani, there exists two irreconcilable roots (Do Bun in Persian): Light and Darkness. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Death. The Pre-Socratic philosopher Empedocles also taught that the universe is composed of the forces of Neikos: Strife/Discord and Philia: Love/Friendship. Besides Zoroastrian dualism, Empedocles could very well be another source for the Manichean Two Roots.
The Monophysite patriarch Severus of Antioch informs us that he is quoting from an unknown Manichaean scripture within a sixth-century Cathedral Homilies. In these citations, the expression “Tree of Life” functions as an alternate designation for the summum bonum of Manichaean cosmology: the Realm of Light. A symmetrical parallel to this usage is the expression “Tree of Death,” which Mani or one of his disciples employed to designate the evil Realm of Darkness. Therein we read:
They say: That which is Good, also named Light and the Tree of Life, possesses those regions which lie to the east, west, and north; for those (regions) which lie to the south and to the meridian belong to the Tree of Death …’,”Likewise does the Tree of Life exist, which is there adorned with every sort of pleasing and lovely, beautiful thing. It is filled and covered with all sorts of good things… its fruits cover it, and majesty belongs to it.”‘
In the Realm of Light there is no burning fire which could be discharged against that which is evil. There is neither an iron (weapon) for cutting, nor overwhelming waters, nor any other evil substance like those. Instead, all is Light and (every) place is noble.’, The Tree of Death is divided into many (parts); war and bitterness characterize them … good fruits are never upon them … all of them form rottenness for the corruption of their place.’, [The members of the Realm of Darkness provoked and stirred each other up until they came unto the boundaries marvelous and surpassingly beautiful sight, they gathered together … and plotted against the Light regarding how they could mix themselves with it. Due to (their) frenzy, they were unaware that the powerful and mighty God dwelt in it …
The description of the realm of Darkness does not sound too far from that of the Kabbalistic Qliphoth. The Tree of Death is also said to contain the inverted or reversed “serifots” of the Tree of Life. What this means is basically that the ten “serifots” on the Tree of Life, that represents different aspects of the Godhead are reversed. For example, Kether (Crown) is said to be highest point on the Tree, which represents the purest emanation, the first movement towards manifestation from the Infinite. It’s opposite is called Thaumiel, which to some might refer to “contending forces” (e.g. division or radical dualism), which stands opposed to the idea that everything is unified in Kether as divided and cleaved at Thaumiel’s essence. The rest of the serifots also have reversed, mirrored opposites in the Tree of Death.
The physical world, say the Gnostics, lies on the edge of nether regions, and since we live in the environs of hell, we are in a state of perilously bordering on eternal perdition. Hell or Hyle (matter), for the Manichaeans was separate, uncreated, active principle or nature, complete with its own realm of division, warfare and pure chaos and not as simply an absence or deficiency of the Good or Light as the Neoplatonists like Plotinus maintained. Evil was conceived as Non-Being for the Neoplatonists and the Orthodox. This specific argument was used by the ex-Manichaean turned Roman Catholic theologian, St. Augustine in his anti-heretical works against his former associates.
Stranger still, the Darkness or hell was not only considered a macrocosmic reality but also reflected in the microcosm, i.e. the human body (the lower part) as all the secrets of the universe, as the Manichaeans, the Ophites, the Peratics and the Simonians, all maintained were hidden in every cell of human flesh, skin, hair blood, tissue and bone, despite it being a tomb for the spiritual man. In Theodore bar Konai’s Liber Scholiorum, he goes on to speak ill against Mani and say all kinds of slanderous accusations and explain the various cosmological Manichaean doctrines. He ends it with the idea that Adam was roused from his sleep by Jesus, the Splendor in serpent form and make him aware of his sticky predicament:
Then Adam examined himself and recognized who he was, and (Jesus) showed him the Fathers on high, and (revealed to him) regarding his own self (i.e., Jesus’s) all that into which he (i.e., Jesus) had been cast—into the teeth of leopard(s) and the teeth of elephant(s), swallowed by voracious ones and absorbed by gulping ones, consumed by dogs, mixed and imprisoned in all that exists, and bound in the stench of Darkness. He (Mani) says that he (Jesus) raised him (Adam) up and made him taste of the Tree of Life. Then Adam saw and wept, and raised his voice loudly like a lion that roars and tears (prey). He cast (himself down), beat (his breast), and said: ‘Woe, woe to the one who formed my body, and to the one who bound my soul, and to the rebels who have enslaved me.’
In Part 5, we’ll continue in the dark, dangerous territory of Tree of Life and its opposite being the Qliphothic Tree of Death, an in-depth examination of the Gnostic science of the body, the origins of the doctrines of Original Sin and Total Depravity, and some concluding thoughts on the series.
In Part 1, we explored a few shared traits between Simon Magus and the Johannite Jesus. We also explored Simon’s cosmology and how it is rooted in a divine Fire similar to the Orphic Phanes and the cosmological doctrines of Heraclitus and the Stoics. Simonian cosmology also has a deep connection with the doctrines of the Sethians and Valentinians, considering the many similarities between Helena with the fallen Wisdom Mother figure, Sophia Achamoth and even Mary Magdalene. Yet, Helena seems to be more of an embodiment for Sophia for theatrical teaching purposes since the Sophia archetype precedes Helena and can be traced back to the Eros myth of Plato, the Egyptian Sia and Isis as well as the Babylonian Innana.
However, the parallels do not end there. As we are about to see, not only are there parallels and connections between Simon and the Johannite Jesus, but also with other Biblical figures such as Paul the Apostle, Peter, Nathaniel and of course, John the Baptist. The demonized Simon Magus by the Orthodox Church also bare striking resemblances with the figure of Satan as does Jesus in Matthew and Mark, strangely enough. Outside of the Bible, in other mystery religions, the connections with Orpheus, Dionysus, Asclepius, Apollinius of Tyana, Apollo, Hercules and even Zeus also exist, which will be explored in greater detail in Part 3.
Simon, the first Magician or the first Adversary?
One thing I do want to point out before I delve into into the last half of the commentary is that of Simon’s status as a “magician”. In Simon’s time, he was not known as “Simon Magus”, which the word Magus is a Latin word for Magi. The term Magi was originally used by the Greek historian, Herodotus in reference to one of the five social classes of the Medes, an ancient Iranian people who at one time were medicine men or shamans who eventually became Zoroastrian priests. This term would become associated with the Greek term for sorcery, “goēteia”, where the Medieval Latin term “Goetia” comes from.
Many Magi were present in or about Roman courts as they accompanied high ranking officials and governors. Therefore, they were socially accepted in Roman society. However, their credibility was questioned by some throughout history such as Philo of Alexandria (Jewish philosopher, 20 BC – 50 AD), for example, who said the Magi perverted the magical arts. This would echo in the accusations of being a “magician”, which eventually came to be meant as a slanderous allegation appended to anyone, especially to Simon in order to scandalize him as the opposite of Peter. He was probably just Simon of Gitta. Or Simon the Samaritan.
The Samaritans were an offshoot sect of Judaism and considered themselves the true inheritors of the Mosaic law. So Simon could have considered himself a Jew as a Samaritan, but obviously non-Samaritan Jews would disagree since they were seen as largely schismatics, and other times heretics of the worst kind, much like their Simonian predecessors. This is attested in Matthew 10:1-10 (likely redacted from the Gospel of the Hebrews), where the pro-Judiac/anti-Gentile Jesus advises his disciples to avoid “any town of the Samaritans”.
In the Babylonian Talmud, it explains that Jesus was accused of being a sorcerer by the Talmudic Rabbis. In the eyes of them, the practice of sorcery and false prophecy constituted capital crimes worthy of execution, specifically mentioned in Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 and 13: 2-6. Sanhedrin 43a tells us:
On the eve of Passover Jesus was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favor let him come forward and plead on his behalf.” But since nothing was brought forward in his favor, he was hanged on the eve of Passover. Ulla retorted: Do you suppose he was one for whom a defense could be made? Was he not a mesith (enticer), concerning whom Scripture says, “Neither shall thou spare nor shall thou conceal him?” With Jesus, however, it was different, for he was connected with the government.
Likewise in Mark 3:22 and Matthew 9:34; 12:24, the Scribes and Pharisees accuse Jesus of exorcising demons because he is in league with the prince of demons also known as the “Lord of flies”, Beelzebub, and even go so far as to claim that Jesus is himself Beelzebub (Matthew 10:25)! Even Jesus’ own family accused him of being out of his mind (Mark 3:21). In replying (v. 24) “How can Satan drive out Satan?” Jesus shows that he knew perfectly well who his adversaries took him for: he was possessed by Beelzebub; he was even Satan personified. Jesus was also accused of being Jesus Magus.
According to the gospels, then, the devil apparently exercised great influence over Jesus! When the Beloved Disciple asked Jesus “Who is it” who would betray him (John 13:25), Jesus replied, “It is he to whom I shall give a morsel when I have dipped it.” Then, dipping a morsel, he gave it to Judas, who is specifically mentioned as the son of “Simon Iscariot”. Immediately after Judas received the morsel, Satan entered him. So in effect, the devil entered Judas through the bread that Jesus provided! Around the era that Jesus supposedly lived, the belief that the devil took hold of people in various ways, such as by food (especially those consecrated to idols) was a common one. Considering this little detail comes from a text that is entirely canonical, this is rather alarming.
What’s interesting about this is that the account of the Last Supper where Jesus presides with a meal with people of questionable character and values (the pagans), “at the table of demons” (1 Corinthians 10:21), this would also coincide and at the same time, contradict Paul’s allegation regarding meat sacrificed to idols (cf. 1 Cor. 8:8–11; 10:25) because the unholy fate of Judas is actually the fault of his master, Jesus! Poor Judas! Peter in Galatians 2:12 would disassociate himself with the same group of people, and also deny Christ three times, and would not be with him during his master’s last hours. The most Jewish of all the Gospels, being Matthew 16:23, clearly associates Satan with Peter:
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
This sort of reflects the idea that Jesus was also an exorcist, despite the strange associations of Jesus with Satan. We see this in the Greek Magical Papyri:
Hail God of Abraham Hail God of Isaac Hail God of Jacob; Jesus Chrestos the Holy Spirit the Son of the Father who is above the Seven who is within the Seven. Bring Iao Sabaoth may your power issue forth from him until you drive away this unclean daimon Satan who is in him.
A pattern thus begins to emerge in the interconnection between the promotion of Christ’s power over demonic local gods, dramatic exorcist ritual, and widespread thaumaturgical reputation as seen in the Gospel of Mark, which reflects a peculiar emphasis on exorcism and demonology. Jesus was seen as both an exorcist and a demon, simultaneously, by different groups. Interestingly enough, the earliest inscription to Christ is of one who evokes demons. A “goistais” or a necromancer/nigromancer implies someone who calls up infernal spirits rather than an ordinary magician.
Following in Jesus’ footsteps (as per Mark, Matthew and John) a similar pattern can also be seen in the Church Fathers, where Simon was conceived as being synonymous with the Devil himself. Irenaeus in Against Heresies (3.3:4) would write about Marcion as being “the first-born of Satan” (Satan being Simon):
And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.”
Furthermore, Irenaeus regarded all heresies as instigated by Satan (Adv. Haer. 1.21.1):
There are as many ceremonies of redemption as there are mystagogues. This kind of person has been infiltrated by Satan with a view to the denial of the baptism of rebirth to God, indeed the renunciation of the whole faith.
So in Irenaeus’ eyes, Satan was the first Gnostic! Indeed, Simon Magus was Satan incarnate, as being a concrete example of being “the devil, who leads astray the world” (Revelations 12:9). In Ambrose’ Epstulam ad Romanos, he spoke of the flight where he compared Simon Magus to Satan. This is likely an allusion where Jesus in Luke’s Gospel said, “Behold, I see Satan falling from heaven”, as his disciples went about casting out demons. Ambrose also likened Simon Magus’ magic to that of Jamnes and Mambres’ abilities, who were the court magicians of the Pharaoh.
Augustine also boasted about Peter’s victory at Rome over Simon in De haeresibus, a symbolic statement of the triumph of the Catholic Church over the heretics. In Letter 36, Augustine recalls how Peter, the leader of the apostles, brought Simon down from heaven and defeated him. Augustine also claimed that Simon Magus was indeed, the “devil” and representative of the Evil One. This consistent demonization of Simon is reinforced through Simon’s own magical incantations as being a trait of deception as Irenaeus reports (Adv. Haer. 1.23.1) :
He, then, not putting faith in God a whit the more, set himself eagerly to contend against the apostles, in order that he himself might seem to be a wonderful being, and applied himself with still greater zeal to the study of the whole magic art, that he might the better bewilder and overpower multitudes of men.
The Clementine Homilies 2:26 reflects this by telling us that Simon Magus produced a homunculus or an artificial human, out of air!
“For he even began to commit murder as himself disclosed to us, as a friend to friends, that, having separated the soul of a child from its own body by horrid incantations, as his assistant for the exhibition of anything that he pleased, and having drawn the likeness of the boy, he has it set up in the inner room where he sleeps, saying that he once formed the boy of air, by divine arts, and having painted his likeness, he gave him back again to the air.
“And he explains that he did the deed thus. He says that the first soul of man, being turned into the nature of heat, drew to itself, and sucked in the surrounding air, after the fashion of a gourd; and then that he changed it into water, when it was within the form of the spirit; and he said that he changed into the nature of blood the air that was in it, which could not be poured out on account of the consistency of the spirit, and that he made the blood solidified into flesh; then, the flesh being thus consolidated, that he exhibited a man not made from earth, but from air.
“And thus, having persuaded himself that he was able to make a new sort of man, he said that he reversed the changes, and again restored him to the air. And when he told this to others, he was believed; but by us who were present at his ceremonies he was religiously disbelieved. Wherefore we denounced his impieties, and withdrew from him.”
That was a common accusation also raised against Simon Magus by the various accounts of the Church Fathers, supposedly that he performed miracles by the aid of demons as first mentioned in Justin Martyr’s account. The charge of “magic” was part of a rhetorical strategy employed by many groups, like the Romans, Orthodox Christians, Hellenes and Jews alike. Sometimes this was done against one another and sometimes against rival factions or schools within their own religious traditions.
Another example can be seen with the Stoic Celsus as well as the Roman authorities in the first and second centuries who regarded Christians as magicians engaged in secret diabolical rites. It is a well known fact that early Christians refused to participate in the pagan cults of the early Roman empire, thus reinforcing their status to the Empire as fringe or alien. Moreover, the claims of the Christians themselves to heal the sick and exorcise daimons were thought of as evidence of sorcery and diabolism, according to Celsus as recorded by Origen in Contra Celsus 1.68:
Since these men do these wonders, ought we to think them sons of God? Or ought we to say that they are the practices of wicked men possessed by an evil daimon?
This is also explicitly raised in John 8:48-51 as an indictment against Jesus, which he rebuttals:
Then the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges.’
The Samaritan that they’re referencing is of course, Simon Magus. Jesus doesn’t deny being a Samaritan (Simon), only having a demon. Also, the account of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 may be a revised version of Simon Magus and Helena. It is probable to suspect that the Gospel of John was originally a Simonian gospel about Simon Magus that was heavily redacted and Christianized into an orthodox text. Here is the Catholic Church Father, Irenaeus’ account of Simon’s doctrine in Against Heresies 1.23.3:
For since the angels ruled the world ill because each one of them coveted the principal power for himself, he [Simon] had come to amend matters, and had descended, transfigured and assimilated to powers and principalities and angels, so that he might appear among men to be a man, while yet he was not a man; and that thus he was thought to have suffered in Judaea, when he had not suffered. Moreover, the prophets uttered their predictions under the inspiration of those angels who formed the world; for which reason those who place their trust in him and Helena no longer regarded them, but, as being free, live as they please; for men are saved through his grace, and not on account of their own righteous actions. For such deeds are not righteous in the nature of things, but by mere accident, just as those angels who made the world, have thought fit to constitute them, seeking, by means of such precepts, to bring men into bondage. On this account, he pledged himself that the world should be dissolved, and that those who are his should be freed from the rule of them who made the world.
If you substitute Simon with Jesus, what you’re essentially left with is Paul’s gospel. Men are saved by the grace of Simon (Jesus), and not by righteous works. Those who put their faith in him will be saved from the dissolution of the world. He appeared in the likeness of men, although wasn’t a man, and was crucified in Judea, although he did not suffer physical pain. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Simon’s doctrine is synonymous to Paul’s, aside from Simon being substituted for Jesus. It’s fairly obvious to say that what we have here in Irenaeus is a conflation of Paul’s unperverted Gnostic-like gospel with his original identity, Simon. So Simon is none other than Paul, and the Church fathers confused Paul’s theology of Christ for Paul himself, who is known to them as Simon. In other words, Simon, who is also Paul, was mistakenly divided into two separate people, Simon of Samaria and Paul the Apostle. Once one sifts through all the contradictions and muddled accounts of Simon Magus, it becomes apparent what’s really going on here, or who was who all those years ago. Simon as a Samaritan would also explain all the ambiguity about Paul’s Jewishness. And from there stems the doubt whether Paul was actually a Jew or not because of his repeated association with Simon as a pseudonym for Paul or vice versa.
“Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 4:13-15)
In the Pseudo-Clementine literature much like the Acts of Apostles, which pits Simon Peter against Simon Magus, Simon Magus represents the Pauline camp while Simon Peter (or Cephas) represents the Jewish Christian camp. Simon Magus was Simon Peter’s arch-rival, much like Jesus claimed Peter was “Satan” his adversary in Matthew. Simon Magus was indeed a real historical figure and the original inspiration for the Paul persona since Simon associated himself as being megas, which is Greek for “great” while Paulos comes from the Latin parvalus, which basically means pathetic, small or insignificant. This is not coincidental as others have noted. And Peter is actually a surname rather an actual name, as it is even probable that Peter is also a satirical caricature based on of Simon through a play on words, the “Great Power” or the “Standing One” since Peter is a latinized form of the Syriac Cephas meaning “rock”. So the “rock” that Christ supposedly built the Roman Catholic Church on is perhaps a fictitious creation based on a Catholic interpolation or addendum of Matthew 16:18 in support for the authoritative spiritual, political and social primacy of “Orthodoxy”. This stands in direct opposition of Paul when he declares in Romans 1:11:
“I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established.”
Considering the vast amounts of forgeries, plagiarisms, interpolations and false attributions written by competing proto-Orthodox groups to not only to delegitimize Gnostic and esoteric writings but to also erase them with their own, none of this would come as a surprise. This can be seen as sort of a systematic Buffalo Bill “wearing the skins of his victims” type of scenario.
In Acts of the Apostles 8, Simon Magus answers Peter in a humble manner and requesting the latter to pray for him. However, in patristic writings seen in works in what is purported to be by Clement of Rome, he is represented as boastful, a megalomaniac, calling himself the omnipotent, challenging the apostles of Rome, before Nero. The latter event is mentioned by several of the Fathers of the Church as well as the Acts of Peter. Simon ascends into the air like Superman, in imitation of the physical ascension of Elias and of Christ, but whilst he was doing so the apostles counteracted his activity through the intercession of prayer and he fell to the ground, seriously injuring his legs. As the story goes, the death of Simon was brought about by Peter and the Christians in Rome shortly before 64 AD. Yet, this story given in the Acts of Peter looks so ludicrous that many biblical scholars have dismissed it as sheer invention by an orthodox scribe from much later. The Acts of Peter also portrays Peter performing very important miracles such as resurrecting smoked fish, and making dogs talk…True story!
Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies (5:15) tells us another story, where Simon performs a yogic miracle of being buried alive. Simon would tell his followers he would rise on the third day, which again looks like an attempt to imitate Christ, in all too literal fashion:
This man, ultimately repairing to … (and) sitting under a plane tree, continued to give instruction (in his doctrines). And in truth at last, when conviction was imminent, in case he delayed longer, be stated that, if he were buried alive, he would rise the third day. And accordingly, having ordered a trench to be dug by his disciples, he directed himself to be interred there. They, then, executed the injunction given; whereas he remained (in that grave) until this day, for he was not the Christ (R6.15).
In both Hippolytus’ account and in the Acts of Peter, they give us fabricated reasons to make Simon not like Christ. They are basically satirical and polemic in nature, in attempt to discredit Simon’s position as the “Standing One” or the Chrestos by also using the belief in the carnal resurrection as a satirical device, strangely enough, considering it is one of the earliest apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.
Simon was also said to be baptized by John the Baptist much like Jesus was in Matthew 3:13-16, however, and then seeing the apostles administering the sacrament of chrism, he asked them to give him the power to do this, offering them money. Peter rebuked him for attempting to purchase sacramental powers, and ever after the offering of money with the aim of obtaining sacerdotal powers has been known as *simony*. Yet, is it any coincidence that the Simon of Acts tries to buy the holy spirit from the apostles, just as Paul attempted to win the favor of the Jerusalem Christians by donating to them a large some of money collected from his congregations in 2 Corinthians 8? Or that Marcion, too, supposedly did the exact same thing with the church of Rome?
Simon of Samaria is usually reputed to be the father of Gnosticism, but that only means he was the first well-known leader of a Gnostic movement. Now it certainly would be true to say that Gnosticism emerged from the milieu of Greek philosophy, but it would be good to understand a specific origin to which we can say: that is where Gnosticism came from. Now some think that there were Apostate Jew Gnostics (the so-called “Sethians”) existing in the first and second centuries B.C.E. The Sethians were probably originally a Jewish mystery cult that venerated the patriarch Seth and eventually became Gnosticized after the advent of Christianity, through the influence of Dositheos (a disciple of John the Baptist and spiritual competitor with Simon) since the Three Steles of Seth specifically mentions him as the “father of the living and unshakable race”.
So there is no complete doubt in the possibility that Sethianism itself was pre-Christian, just that Gnosticized Sethianism was pre-Christian. That is, if Sethianism predates Christianity, then it most likely wasn’t Gnostic (belief in a Demiurge, fall of Sophia, descent of an immaterial Savior, etc) prior to being Christianized. Not to mention the strong influence of Merkabah or Throne mysticism introduced by the prophet Ezekiel who first saw a fiery anthropos figure which he saw as God. From this strange and frightening vision emerged the tradition of chariot mysticism—the chariot representing movement or transport between the divine and the world of flesh. Merkabah mystics saw Ezekiel’s chariot as a prototype for ascending into the world above and for glimpsing the Heavenly Jerusalem. We will revisit Ezekiel later…
So why believe that this bad-boy magician began Gnosticism or at least was one of the earliest of these naughty, troublesome heretics? Irenaeus writing in his Against All Heresies 1.23.4 in the late second century in regards to Simonians, those who follow Simon, wrote among other things about Simon and his followers:
“They have also an image of Simon made in the likeness of Jupiter, and of Helen in that of Minerva; and they worship the (statues); and they have a designation from their most impiously minded founder, being called Simonians, from whom the Gnosis, falsely so-called, derives its origins, as one can learn from their own assertions.”
We see here, one who investigated heresy carefully for the purpose of arguing well against it claims that Simon Magus began Gnosticism and he even says that the Simonians say this of Simon too. He bases this notion primarily from Justin Martyr’s account which many scholars seem to agree that seems the most trustworthy as it is the earliest and happens to come from a fellow Samaritan (being Justin Martyr). But this is not all for his enemies have preserved a significant amount of his teachings and in them we can find striking parallels to Gnosticism as I have already explained in great detail in Part 1.
Another small reminder that I want to make is that as we can read in the Simonian Great Declaration, which we have preserved by Hippolytus:
“This is He who has stood, stands and will stand, a male-female power like the preëxisting Boundless Power, which has neither beginning nor end, existing in oneness. For it is from this that the Thought in the oneness proceeded and became two.”
Does this not sound like a aeonic syzygy that we see so prominently in Gnostic Aeonic systems? Even strongly esoteric texts like the Books of Jeu (Iao), Paraphrase of Shem and the Gospel of the Egyptians share many strong Simonian ideas. While, I will not conclusively say that Simon the sorcerer began Gnosticism and perhaps even Christianity itself, he certainly is a convincing candidate.
Let us return to some more commentary on the Great Declaration. From this moment forward, however, I will only be commenting on passages that do not necessarily repeat the same information since the Great Declaration is very repetitious in nature. Also, I will only comment on one part of the writing since I have already devoted a great deal of exegesis to Simon.
In general, one may say concerning all things, the visible and the intelligible, that is the concealed and manifest, that are contained in the fire which overpasses the very heavens, even as the great tree like unto that glimpsed in a vision by Nebuchadnezzar which nourishes all flesh. Of this, the manifested side corresponds to the trunk, limbs, leaves, and encasing bark. All these members of the tree are set ablaze from the all-consuming flame of the fire and destroyed. But as for the fruit of the tree, if it’s for is perfect and it assumes the true shape, it is gathered into the storehouse, not thrown into the fire. For the fruit is produced in order to be stored away, but the bark of the tree, having served its purpose is destined for the fire, as it was produced for no purpose in its own right but only to protect the fruit.
In the Biblical book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar is a Babylonian King who, “has a dream he can’t remember but keeps searching for an answer.” Daniel 4: 4-27 details Nebuchadnezzer’s dream where it presents a tree with the head of a statue. The metaphor of the tree alludes also the king’s presumptuous character, comparing Nebuchadnezzar to Adam in his function as manager of the universe (Gen. 1:28). It also hints at the tree of life (or the tree of knowledge) in its position in the middle of the earth (Gen. 2:9; 3:3). The tree stretches unto the heavens as it clearly is no ordinary tree (Dan. 4:11, 20). Nebuchadnezzer interprets the tree to be himself and as a haughty King of Babylon, prefers to reply on the astrologers’ explanation.
Therefore, when Daniel, acting like a true court magician, enters the scene, Nebuchadnezzer trembles and his first words are full of tact and wishing: “My lord, if only the dream applied to our enemies…!” (Dan. 4:19). But the interpretation that follows slashes like a knife: “You, O king, are that tree!” (verse 22). What is the significance of this, exactly? Perhaps, Nebuchadnezzer’s dream body represents the mortal flesh that will eventually be dissolved in the conflagration just as the “members of the tree are set ablaze from the all-consuming flame of the fire and destroyed.”
This King of Babylon (Isaiah 14) and the prince of Tyre (Ezekiel 29) are both said to have declared themselves “god” and to have been punished for their impudence. It would not have been strange or unusual for Jews to have applied the same exegesis where the sin of arrogant claims of divinity was suspected. Certainly similar claims were made by Nebuchadnezzar in Judith (3:8; 6:12); Entiochus Epiphanes in Daniel (11:36f.); Caligula in Philo (Gaium 22, 74-80), 93-97; 118; 162); Nero in the Sibylline Oracles (5:33-35) and the Ascension of Isaiah (4:6-8). In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the man of lawlessness i.e., the “AntiChrist” is said to proclaim himself to be God as stated in Revelations 13:1, 5-6.
Isaiah 14 was also used in the Orthodox polemic against Simon Magus and in the Jewish polemic against, you guessed it…Jesus! In the Gospel of John (5:18, 10:33), the crime of Jesus in the eyes of Judaism is not just that he considers himself the messiah but that he seeks to make himself equal with God:
For this reason, the Jews sought all the more to kill him – not only was he breaking the sabbath; worse still he was speaking of God as his own father, thus making himself God’s equal.
We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself a god.
The creator god of Genesis is cast in the role of the arrogant ruler who vainly claims that he is the ultimate God featured in Hypostasis of the Archons: “It is I who am God; there is none apart from me. When he said this, he sinned against the Entirety.” This seems to be centered in the polemic of the Gnostics against the Jewish God in the first instance, but, in the second instance, against those who value the scripture of the Old Testament too highly—namely, the Orthodox Christians. This idea is reflected in the Gospel of John, when Jesus says in John 18:8 that “all who have come before me are thieves and robbers.” Wouldn’t “all” in that context imply the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets? If Johannine Jesus is favorably Judaic, then wouldn’t he want to clarify that he doesn’t include Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. in his criticism? We see another variant of this criticism leveled against the prophets and Old Testament patriarchs in the Basilidean Second Treatise of the Great Seth, as “laughingstocks” including the Old Testament deity also known as the “Archon”:
The 12 prophets were laughingstocks, since they have come forth as imitations of the true prophets. They came into being as counterfeits through the Hebdomad, as if he had become stronger than I and my brothers. But we are innocent with respect to him, since we have not sinned. Moses, a faithful servant, was a laughingstock, having been named “the Friend,” since they perversely bore witness concerning him who never knew me. Neither he nor those before him, from Adam to Moses and John the Baptist, none of them knew me nor my brothers.
The Clementine Recognitions (2:47) also preserve a similar argument by Simon made against Peter, throwing a Matthew 11:27 quote to his face:
…yet your Jesus, who appeared long after the patriarchs, says: “No one knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows anyone the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son has been pleased to reveal him. ‘ Thus, therefore, even your Jesus confesses that there is another God, incomprehensible and unknown to all.
The Apostle Paul also has a very negative assessment of traditional biblical theology, revealed in the Old Testament in Galatians 3:19, where he reduces the Law and by extension, the Lawgiver as the work by angels:
Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator.
Again, in Philippians 3:5-9, Paul considers the Jewish Law as worthless and ultimately “garbage”:
I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.
Later, Marcion would use Luke 6:43-49, to justify his radical dualism:
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Marcion said the two trees represented the two gods and the two covenants. Also, the part in Luke (5:36-39) where Jesus says you can’t put new wine into old wine-skins—Marcion interpreted that as saying that you can’t mix Christianity with Judaism. Therefore, Gnostic interpretation was built on Pauline and Marcionite exegesis, and also took over the claims of uniqueness for Israel’s God, but applied them to Plato’s Demiurge of Timaeus. This Gnostic exegesis split the tradition we find opposed by the rabbis in two parts: the traditions about a second figure were transmuted into the Gnostic Savior, while the scripture characteristic of the rabbinic polemic against “two powers” associated with the Demiurge who is still the God of Israel but not the “Most High”. Saturnilus of Antioch, a student of Simon Magus through Menander would later clearly reduce the “God of the Jews” as one of the angels, as testified by Irenaeus in Against Heresies (1,24).
In Part 3, we will continue on this dark and dangerous voyage into the magical depths of Simonian theology, some more details regarding the heresy of the “two powers”, a possible connection with Philo of Alexandria, more commentary on the Great Declaration and its subsequent influence on not only Gnosis but the foundations of Christianity itself. And yes, the Hermetic Super-friends will also make a grand appearance.
Stuart Littlejohn is a British painter and esotericist that I came across on Facebook not too long ago. His magical paintings are mostly portraits but they’re incredibly rich with fantastical detail and esoteric mystique—all supported by his amazingly unique artistic talent. This is what prompted me to interview this amazingly talented artist and writer. You can find his work along with his wife, Josephine McCarthy, at The Inner Library. On to the interview!
When did your interest in painting and sculpting esoteric, magical and occult concepts begin?
For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by art, magic and mythology, I wanted to paint from a very early age and my father used to regularly take me around the art galleries and museums in London, the British Museum almost became a second home! It was a wonderful education for me to see these treasures! My family was also non-religious, so I was free to explore my spirituality without an imposed dogma… as my interest and awareness grew it seemed very natural to bring these strands together.
On your website, you claim to be the Co-founder of the Order of Minverva Occidentalis in the United Kingdom. Could you describe more about your organization?
O.M.O (Ordo Minervae Occidentalis) was formed in 2001, by myself and two other close friends, to explore the continuing manifestation of the Classical Mysteries. All three of us had long experience of magical and ritual practice of one form or another and we had all been members of an Egyptian magical group that had become moribund. The impulse to trace the thread of the Perennial Wisdom Tradition seemed to arise between us spontaneously. We drew our inspiration from the Ancient world through the Renaissance and onward to the present day, exploring Neo-Platonism, Hermeticism and Gnosticism. OMO is still functioning, although I have withdrawn from active participation.
Are there any specific practices (ceremonial or otherwise) you engage in? How would you describe your own personal religion (if you have one)?
At present there are no specific ceremonial practices that I follow at all. One reason that I withdrew from OMO was that I felt that I needed to get back to basics with my practice, for close on two decades I had followed what was effectively an exoteric reconstructualist path and it became obvious that I needed to revisit and relearn a more esoteric and visionary way of doing things. Meeting and marrying Josephine has given me that insight that I was missing previously. My inner vision expressed itself through my artwork but there was an element missing, a sense of direction if you will, Josephine’s long and distinguished experience in visionary magic was the key that I needed to turn to unlock even deeper levels of insight.. As for my personal religion, I would classify myself as something of a Neo-Platonic Neo-Pagan, but that that is a very loose label!
Are there any specific occult texts that have influenced your work as an artist? Do you have any particular favorite texts from the Bible and the Nag Hammadi Codices?
It’s very difficult trying to think what has influenced me over the years! They all seem to merge into one after a time!! But in no particular order: Nag Hammadi is well up there, the Greek Myths, the musings of Plotinus, Sallustus, Proclus, Symmachus and the Emperor Julian, the Egyptian Pyramid texts, the writings of Rumi, Shakespeare, John Dee, the School of Night, William Blake, Byron, Shelley, Bram Stoker, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, Gore Vidal and The Wind in the Willows to name a few off the top of my head…
Not only are you a professional painter but you’re also a novelist. Could you tell us more about your fiction life and even your creative process involved in fiction writing?
Not sure of what you are thinking about here, Josephine is the writer of both fiction and non-fiction, the only things I’ve written that have been published, are a couple of ‘How-to’ books on art techniques!
You and your wife are something of a power couple when it comes to bringing gnosis to the public at large. Do you think there are differences between how you process creativity, mysticism, psychology, etc with your wife (Josephine McCarthy) who is also involved in esotericism?
I think we are two sides of the same coin, to begin with I was very much into the exoteric and outward forms of ritual and magic, I spent many years as a hardened reconstructualist, recreating the forms and practices of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, as I mentioned in response to your earlier question, the inner visionary side of this work manifested through my art. Josephine’s experience is the inverse of mine, she is highly experienced and adept in the visionary arts and has opened my eyes to the underlying patterns of all exoteric religious and mystical systems. We compliment each other very well! She is also a kick-ass magician generally, who can eat several grimoire-toting wannabes at a single sitting!
What is your opinion on the idea or concept of the Platonic daimon? Do you think it’s somehow involved in your artwork and fiction writing?
This is a very interesting question. Looking back, it has seemed as if there was a certain pattern that I have always been ‘fated’ to follow, situations that have arisen which have pushed me in a particular direction, people I’ve met who have been incredibly influential on my art or my esoteric understanding. These patterns were often indiscernible at the time but with hindsight the way these experiences mesh together becomes more apparent. It would certainly seem that there has been some kind of guiding influence, and lessons given, which, if not taken on board, come around again and again! On the purely artistic side of things, particular works have had an incredible inner push to be done, something needed to manifest and be out in the world. I find in these cases that there is a very dynamic conversation between the inner and the outer as to how a work should appear, what details to include etc, often when complete, a painting will sit around, sometimes for years, but eventually will find its true home.
Do you have any specific painters, artists, and writers (etc.) that have influenced your work?
This could be a very long list! Again, in no particular order… van Eyck, van der Veyden, the Limbourg Brothers, Hans Holbein, Albrect Durer, Giotto, Ghirlandao, Caravaggio, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Boucher, David, Ingres, Rossetti, Waterhouse, Burne-Jones, Sargent, Klimt, von Stuck, de Lempika, Kahlo… this is a mere smattering!
Are there any future projects and events to keep on the lookout?
We have several things in the pipeline, at the moment Josephine and I are concentrating on getting the Goblyn Market up and running, a place for the magical, beautiful and downright strange, so for the moment we are finding that there are not enough hours in the day!
Hello! It’s been a month since I last wrote my last article. I am in the midst of getting my first semester in my MPA/MNM Dual Degree this fall so I am very busy. However, I still have many developments and plans slated for this space before this year’s end. Recently, my Eros, Orpheus and On the Origin of the World paper that I’ve been mentioning all summer long, was published at JWMT, courtesy of the great Jeffery S Kupperman, and it’s also on my Academia profile, so that is pretty dang sweet. That should satiate your reading curiosities and desires for now.
As for what to expect shortly, I have a couple of interviews down the pipeline, as well as another Biblical Exegesis entry, Part 4 of the Forbidden Fruit In the Midst of the Garden series and last but not least Part 2 of the Great Declaration: A Commentary. As for my interests in fiction, expect a couple of short stories to find their way to my Smashwords account, this coming October. I might even release a collection of my own short stories (many of them are horror related, some are science fiction) in the vein of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. But that won’t until way into 2014.
I’m also in the midst of writing my science fiction/cyberpunk novel but I’m beginning to realize that the market that seems to be the most promising and growing is New Adult, which appeals to 18-25 year old demographic. It’s going to be tough trying to maintain my literary integrity while catering to the Y Generation but I think it can be done and I have an idea in my head that I’m toying around with and I think it could be successful. I won’t say what it is exactly since I haven’t even written a word of it but there you go.
All of this will take some time to accomplish but it can be done. One more thing: in case you didn’t notice, I have a Facebook Page dedicated for this blog so if you have a Facebook account, be sure to “like” it.
And if you’d be so kind, feel free to donate as I really want to make an upgrade for this blog and save my readers from advertisement hell but my limited sources of income cannot cover this. If I can manage to get at least $100, that money will go directly to the upkeep of this blog and for your reading pleasure. It should be enough to cover the upgrade package. It will be The Aeon Eye Blog 2.0!
LVX and ICXC,
The Great Declaration i.e. Apophasis Megale is ascribed by Hippolytus of Rome to Simon Magus. This is, however, doubtful because its allusions to the New Testament indicate a 2nd-century authorship at the earliest. Many scholars date the text to the 3rd century. It also reads like esoteric Pauline exegesis of the Pentateuch. Simon Magus or Simon the Magician is the founder of the religion known as Simonianism (and possibly Gnosticism) with most of its devotees from Rome and from Samaria who saw him as a Savior and the Son of God, much like Jesus. He was also said to be a key disciple of both John the Baptist and Dositheos, both figures which were highly revered by many Gnostic and Christian sects throughout the ancient world, again, also much like how Jesus was said to belong to a sect of Baptizers.
Simon Magus is said to be born in the village of Gitta of Samaria and of the Samaritan sect of unknown birth date (once again, much like how the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a Samaritan in John 4). The earliest I can say he died was 41CE with terminus being 68CE. These dates I have conjectured from the fact that accounts of the death of Simon Magus place his demise in the reigns of both Claudius and Nero (though under Claudius seems more in evidence which would mean the terminus would be 54CE as opposed to 68CE). Simon’s self promotion in Rome took place during the reign of Claudius was thus between 41CE and 54CE. Rome held its Imperial Cult, its Emperor worship, and all activities of man-worship other than the cult of the Emperor had to be legalized by the government, that Justin Martyr claimed this to have happened is made explicitly clear in 1 Apol. 56 in speaking of Simon Magus as having:
so greatly astonished the Sacred Senate and your people and the Roman people, that he was thought to be a god and was honoured, like the others whom you honour as gods, with a statue.
It is also noteworthy that Justin appeals in the First Apology to “destroy the statue” (cf. 1 Apol. 56) evidently believing that the statue was still standing, thus having stood for about 100 years. This statue is described by Justin Martyr in again, 1 Apol. 26:
…in the reign of Claudius Caesar, through the art of the demons who worked in him, did mighty works of magic in your imperial city of Rome and was thought to be a god; he has been honoured among you as a god with a statue, which statue was erected on the River Tiber, between the two bridges, having this inscription in Roman language: SIMONI DEO SANCTO.
However, some scholars debate this point, claiming that Justin confused a statue dedicated to the Sabine divinity Semo Sancus with that of the historical Simon the Magician. Semo Sancus is an ancient Sabine deity for oaths, contracts, law, matrimony, and legal fidelity. In 1574, an altar dedicated to Semo Sancus was discovered on the island of the Tiber River with the following inscription Semoni Sanco Deo, which translates as “to Semon the Holy God.” This discovery led to the belief that Justin had made an observational mistake concerning what he thought was the idol of “Simon the Holy God” on the Tiber River.
There is a problem with this theory in that it assumes that the deity’s name is Semo. In Latin, semo or the plural semones derives from semi-homines or semi-humans. These are the dii medioxumi who were lower-level deities. The semones are the demigods of the Roman pagan pantheon. According to Marcus Porcius Cato, a Sanco is a spirit (daimon) and not a god (theos).
From the point of view of Roman paganism, it does not make sense to use a generic noun of semo for a demigod and then also the noun deos for a god. It would be like saying, “to the demigod holy god.” What is far more likely is that the Simon Magus, as a magician and adapter of local paganism, co-opted the Roman tradition of a semi-human god of law and covenant and identified himself as the semi-human god. This would conform to the description of Simon Magus in Acts 8:10 as being “this man who is the power of God.” So then, it was probably not Justin Martyr who was confused, but rather Simon Magus who confused his identity with the semi-human god of Rome.Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies 6.20 writes that the Simonians:
“have a statue of Simon in the form of Zeus, and one of Helen in the form of Athena, which they worship, calling the former Lord and the latter Lady.
The Catholic Church Fathers of the second, third and fourth centuries were almost totally united in calling him (and the philosophy that he established) as the first and primary heresy and set out to combat his error that plagued Christianity for the first four centuries. The second century Bishop, Irenaeus, said that the Samaritan Simon was the very person “from whom all the heresies took their origin” (Against Heresies, 1.23.2). From then on to the time of the Roman historian and Orthodox polemicist Eusebius (and including the testimony of Eusebius himself), Simon is singled out as the originator of all the principal heresies that polluted the living tree of the early church in its first four centuries of existence. That is why he is given a prominent position in the Book of Acts (8:14-25).
This Simon claimed to be the Great Power (cf. Acts 8:10). According to Hippolytus, Simon bought a temple prostitute in a Phoenican city of Tyre, by the name of Helen, recognizing her as a reincarnation of Helen of Troy (cf. Justin Martyr 1, Apol 26), and he made her part of his teachings as he taught that she and him are in fact one dyad or syzygy. Simon would call her the “lost sheep”, much like how the sheep in John 10 were seen as the unconscious souls of lost sinners and Jesus as the Good Sheppard. Jesus in Luke 16:9 and Mark 16:9 also saves a prostitute from “seven demons”, by the name of Mary Magdalene. And in the Gospel of Philip, Mary Magdalene is depicted as the disciple of Jesus in which he “loved her more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth.”
The 3rd century NHC text, The Concept of Our Great Power also uses this same nomenclature of Simon and features Paul’s eschatology verbatim. It is also one of the more radically dualist texts in the NHC. Considering this is a Simonian work, this is no surprise. The text has a number of features that the church fathers attribute to Simonian Gnosticism, like the divine title of “great power,” and the involvement of fire in creation as used in the Great Announcement. Also, the text doesn’t actually specify the savior by name (the [Jesus?] in the translation is just the translator’s conjecture), which is why I say that if it’s Simonian, Simon Magus may be implied. And if that’s the case, then Power may have originally been composed, at least in its earliest form, when the characters of Jesus, Simon Magus, and Paul were blurred together into one personage.
Simon also taught that Jesus took on disguises to evade the attention of the powers, archangels and principalities (since they were viewed as the rulers of the world) as he descended into matter and flesh as discussed in the Second Treatise of the Great Seth and the Ascension of Isaiah. This touches on doceticism, which is the idea that while he entered matter he never became matter, with his original nature being purely divine. Yet, it is still an incarnation doctrine, but not in the same manner in the (Catholic) Orthodox doctrine on the nature of Jesus, which is basically a conflated fusion between two diametrically opposed traditions, one being the docetic Christology of Paul and Simon Magus and the the Jewish Messianic cult leader Rabbi by the name of Yeshua. More on this will be discussed in Part 2 of this commentary.
Origen in Contra Celsus i.57, notably conflates the title of “Son of God” with “the Power of God”. R.M. Grant suggests that the “Great Power” was a deity invoked by Simon in his magical spells and rituals, and that in the style of many incantations found in the Greco-Egyptian magical papyri, Simon identified himself as a manifestation of this spiritual power using the “I am” formula.
The following is part of the text of the Great Pronouncement as preserved by Hippolytus in Refutation of All Heresies 6.18 after which the exposition will be given. This is specifically taken from Robert Price’s translation of the Simonian work.
This is the writing down of the declaration of voice and name from thought, which is the Great Power, the Boundless. Thus it shall be sealed up, hidden, concealed, placed in the dwelling which rests upon the Universal Root. To you, then, I say what I have to say, and I write what I to write. And this is the writing thereof.
From the universal aeons spring two shoots, which are without beginning or ending, stemming forth from a single root, which is the invisible Power, unknowable silence. Of the two shoots, one appears from above. This is the Great Power, the Universal Mind that sets all thing in order, being males. The other appears from below. It is the Great Thought, which is female and brings forth all things.
From this state they pair off with each other, uniting and appearing in the middle distance, the incomprehensible air, without beginning or end. Here is to be found the Father by whom all things sustained, and by whom are nourished those things which do partake of beginning and ending.
Such as He Who Has Stood, Stands and Will Stand, a male/female power like unto the Boundless Power which is a stranger equally to beginning and ending, existing in oneness. For it was from this that the thought within the oneness proceeded and became two.
Thus was the One, for as he had her in himself, he was yet alone. He had not been so at first because, though pre-existent, by revealing himself to himself he became a second. Nor could he be called Father till Thought named him so.
Thus, producing himself by himself, he revealed to himself his own thought. In the same way, the thought was revealed did not make the Father known but rather concealed him by contemplating him, that is, the power, in herself, the result being male-female, power and thought.
Thus do they pair of with each other, yet being one, there being no difference, between power an thought. Power is revealed from the things above, while thought is revealed by the things below.
The universal Aeons, refer to in fact as the first principles basic to reality (the first God), which is called Arche in Greek. The term “Aeon” can be understood as “eternity” and this commonly denotes a spirit of great power, in the case of Valentinian theology for example a god in the universal chain of being. In this case the universal Aeons produced by emanation are also intended to be understood as divine. The two shoots refer to the male and female aspects of Simon “which although being one are yet found as two”. Whether the terms “Power invisible” and “inapprehensible Silence” refer to Simon as one or separately with one name to the male and another to the female aspects I do not know, in any case if the terms are separately assigned then “Power invisible” must apply to the male and “inapprehensible Silence” must apply to the female (Helen the prostitute).
This also sounds very close to many descriptions assigned to the Mother figure of Barbelo. Barbelo was also known as a spiritual realm, whose etymology (originally in Aramaic) can be translated as the “realm of the Son of God”, where Jesus in the Gospel of Judas is said to have originated from. So great was her popularity and worship that that one of the names given to the Gnostics was the Barbeloites. She is the first reflex of divinity, called the Great Invisible Spirit. As the Invisible Spirit is pure potentiality, so Barbelo is pure activity, the two forming the first and most fundamental of all dualities. One can see the similarities between Barbelo and the Egyptian Nut or Nuit and the Enochian goddess described by Aleister Crowley (Simon Magus 2.0), Babalon i.e. the Scarlet Woman (Helena 2.0) in many of his writings.
Hippolytus gives a report of what Simon taught about the one Root which was said to be the Universal Principle and the Boundless Power:
“Simon in his paraphrasing of the Law of Moses speaks with artful misunderstanding. For when Moses says “God is a fire burning and destroying,” taking in an incorrect sense what Moses said, he declares that Fire is the Universal Principle, not understanding what was said, viz., not that “God is fire,” but “a fire burning and destroying.” And thus he tears to pieces the Law of Moses, but also plunders from Heracleitus the obscure. And Simon states that the Universal Principle is Boundless Power”
Of these shoots one is manifested from above, which is the Great Power, the Universal Mind ordering all things, male, and the other, (is manifested) from below, the Great Thought, female, producing all things.
“The Great Power” is indeed the epithet applied to Simon Magus by the people of Samaria as recorded in the book of Acts. This title as well as “Universal Mind” are used exclusively of the male aspect of Simon, the Power is also the more transcendent aspect of Simon, indeed the Mind is said to be “above”. “The Great Thought, female” is Helen who is the First Thought of the Universal Mind, which must be understood in reference to the Simonian mythos as is laid out in works of the Church Fathers. It is said that this “First thought” descended into the lower regions and generated the angels and powers, which created the world, these angels then detained her, and she was reincarnated (Simon also taught a doctrine akin to metempsychosis or the transmigration of the souls i.e. reincarnation, according to both Irenaeus and Hippolytus) in bodies of flesh over and over again (see: Exegesis of the Soul for details on this) until the Great Power found her, his First Thought. These are of course the same “authorities of the universe and the spirits of wickedness” of St. Paul’s Ephesians 6:12, which directly corresponded with the Archons of Gnosticism. Paul’s Christ was said to be above these powers, authorities and all might. Paul calls us to be, “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10)
According to both Irenaues and Hippolytus, Simon’s followers were said to worship the Gnostic couple of Simon Magus and Helena in the images of Zeus and Athena (who, according to Greek myth, sprang from the head of Zeus). Stephen Haar in his work, Simon Magus: The First Gnostic? notes that the Phoenician (notice the that connection again as associated with the city of Tyre where Simon found Helen in a brothel) sun-god Herakles (Hercules), like Simon was also conferred with the title of the “Standing One”. Even the name Simon could be traced to the oriental stem of Sem-Herakles, a deity also worshiped in Samaria. Thus the connection between Greek paganism and Simonianism is closely intertwined.
In any case, Hippolytus in refuting Simonian teachings also explicates of these shoots that the Mind is heaven and the Thought is earth. Whether this is because Simon read Genesis in an allegorical way or stated that Mind is in fact synonymous with heaven and Thought synonymous with earth, one can only guess. To understand the two shoots the Root must not be forgotten, the Root is fire, and just as Heraclitus taught that all is fire, so to does this male witch. And Fire, says Simon, has a twofold nature one concealed the other manifested, the concealed produces the manifested and is hidden in the manifested. This corresponds to Plato’s belief in the sensible which is physical and visible (Eidon/Kosmos) being based on the intelligible and the forms (Eidos) where true knowledge lay and which was incorporeal. Thus for Simon the concealed is the intelligible while the manifested is the sensible. Power is concealed, thought is manifested.
While Plato would understand fire as being an element and with hardly -if any- more divine than air, water, or earth Simon claims it as the central player of existence. And of course, the Stoics used Heraclitus’ Fire (Logos) and considered it to be a primordial kind of being (God), with all things are composed of fire. The human soul is likewise born from this Godly fire, which permeates and penetrates the entire body, much like how the Stoics viewed the material universe being permeated by this same fiery essence. This is all reflected in Simon’s teaching of the divine fire involved in creation. That Simon Magus consciously corresponded the heavens to the incorporeal and earth to the corporeal is not a unique innovation but was also done by the contemporaneous Philo of Alexandria (cf. On the Creation).
Hence pairing with each other, they unite and manifest the Middle Distance, incomprehensible Air, without beginning or end. In this is the Father who sustains all things, and nourishes those things which have a beginning and end.
The Middle Distance may describe the apparent point of discontinuity between the the earth and the -less physical- heavens or perhaps the Middle Distance is the heavens itself as being “incomprehensible” and “without beginning or end” suits the intelligible realm which as has been pointed out could be applied to the heavens. Perhaps this Middle Distance is to be understood as being a great fire, as it is in Valentinian theology (as well as Sethian) which bares some striking similarities to Simonianism, and as some say may indeed have its root in Simonianism as claimed by Irenaeus. The reason that the uniting of Mind and Thought in the Middle Distance has the Father is because the Father was not called Father until Thought called him Father and with the Thought proceeding from the Mind the name “Father” became applicable and is only made known in the presence of both of them “which although being one are yet found as two”.
Simon in this case referred to as “the Father” has been said to be “without beginning or end” and sustains things which do have a beginning and end. This fits very well with the report of Hippolytus that Simon studied the philosopher Heraclitus. Heraclitus claimed that everything was in flux, everything that is except the Logos which was the eternal and unchangeable principle of reason that sustained the temporal world. Simon placing the temporal in dependence on the eternal reason is in line with Heraclitean theory.
In the Gospel of Philip, the “Middle” has a much more negative connotation, and the author even says that “God forbid that I be found in there!” Perhaps this is the “Gnostic” version of the much dreaded astral realm or purgatory.
This is He who has stood, stands and will stand, a male-female power like the preëxisting Boundless Power, which has neither beginning nor end, existing in oneness. For it is from this that the Thought in the oneness proceeded and became two.
The Standing One is an appellation given to Simon as is clearly indicated by Hippolytus, by Clement of Alexandria and the writer of the pseudographical Clementine Recognitions. This having stood, standing, and will be standing of Simon is representative of the idea that there are three that stand and without these Aeons, there would be no order. These three are also two and also one, for the three are the Boundless Power and the Mind and Thought that emanate from it, the Mind and Thought are the manifesting and actualizing of the potential and concealed Boundless Power, and remember that Mind and Thought are merely the male and female aspects of each other. For Hippolytus elucidates that Simon preached that the Standing One who has stood, stands and will stand
is the one Power, separated into the above and below, generating itself, increasing itself, seeking itself, finding itself, its own mother, its own father, its sister, its spouse; the daughter, son, mother and father of itself; One, the Universal Root.
This explanation of the Standing One should make the whole of this passage obvious on a basic level. Even the epithet of Standing One sounds very similar to the title of “living, unshakable race” that the Sethian Gnostics would use to describe themselves as seen in the Three Steles of Seth.
So he was one; for having her in himself, he was alone, not however first, although preëxisting, but being manifested from himself to himself, he became second. Nor was he called Father before (Thought) called him Father.
Thus was the One, for as he had her in himself, he was yet alone. He had not been so at first because, though pre-existent, by revealing himself to himself he became a second. Nor could he be called Father till Thought named him so.
Thus, producing himself by himself, he revealed to himself his own thought. In the same way, the thought was revealed did not make the Father known but rather concealed him by contemplating him, that is, the power, in herself, the result being male-female, power and thought.
Having emanated the female aspect namely Thought. Thought as being that of below, earth, of the sensible is the manifested aspect of fire which is the Boundless Power, remember that Hippolytus wrote that Simon taught that the manifest is produced by the concealed and the concealed is hidden by the manifest. Thus the manifested Thought hid the Concealed Father, the Power, the Mind, the male aspect and they are both of the Boundless Power.
Thus do they pair of with each other, yet being one, there being no difference, between power an thought. Power is revealed from the things above, while thought is revealed by the things below.
The Power and Thought are simply the natures of the twofold nature of Fire which is the Boundless Power, with Power one understands the incorporeal intelligible and with Thought the corporeal sensible.
In the same manner also that which was manifested from them although being one is yet found as two, the male-female having the female in itself. Thus Mind is in Thought—things inseparable from one another—which although being one are yet found as two.
That which was manifested from them is the universe with the intelligible having the sensible within itself, for this to be so one would expect Thought/female to be in Mind/male and not to be given the conclusion “Thus Mind is in Thought” as logically inexplicable as it seems perhaps it is simply said in the opposite way to give extra weight that they are “things inseparable from one another”.
In the same way, too, that which was revealed from them, thigh, it was one, is however as two, the male-female having the female in itself. Thus is mind contained within thought, things inseparable one from the other, which though in reality one are seen as two.
Man, here below, born from blood, is the dwelling, and the Boundless Power dwells in him, and it is the Universal Root. Nor is the Boundless Power that is, fire, one. The fire in being two fold, one said being manifest, the other concealed. And the concealed things of fire are with the Manifest Ones, while those revealed are produced by Those Hidden. The manifest side the fire contains all things within itself that are visible and that one may perceive, as well as those which one neither suspects nor perceives. But in the concealed side of fire may be found all that is conceived and that is intelligible, even if it surpasses the senses, or that which one is unable to conceive.
Man, according to the Simonian teaching, contains a certain divinity, a spark of life, and above all, a boundless power, indicating that within himself exists an eternal and powerful substance that is even superior to the gods and the archangels! Within mankind resides an indefinite power, which Simon affirms to be the root of the universe, being divine fire. Here, Heraclitus’ influence really shines, since he views the soul as fiery in nature. But it also has a limitless dimension.
If you went in search of it, you would not find the boundaries of the soul, though you traveled every road-so deep is its measure [logos]. (DK22B45)
The Greek adage, “entheos” meaning “within is a god” was also used as a term to describe someone that is divinely possessed. This is state of ecstasy (ekstasis) when the boundaries between the egoic self, others and the god is dissolved into an experience of rapture and unity. The word enthusiasm can also be traced to this word, “entheos”.
From the Orphic mysteries and the cult of Dionysus as I note in my upcoming essay on the god Eros, the Bacchic possession of “divine madness” very much influences the ideas of not only Simon Magus, but also Paul and his Christology in Corinthians. The ecstasy of god’s presence was said to be induced by music (Orpheus), dance and wine (Dionysus), and the eating of raw flesh (omophagia, or a sacrifice to the god of raw flesh), which also happens to influence the Eucharistic Discourse of Jesus when he claims in John 6:53-56:
Then Jesus said to them, “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.”
The statement of Man being “born from blood” seems to echo this statement. There are many other striking similarities between the Fourth Gospel of John and the Dionysian, Bacchic and the Eleusinian mysteries, which I note in the essay on Eros. The concept of “entheos” is also similar to Simon’s argument that there are many Gods in the Clementine Homilies, just as Jesus argued, “ye are gods” (John 10:34) in imitation of King David in the Psalms 82: 6.
This idea of mankind being born from blood is also comparable to how the author of On the Origin of the World claims Eros as being the originator of all life on earth including the two sexes of humanity, being born:
Out of that first blood Eros appeared, being androgynous. His masculinity is Himireris, being fire from the light. His femininity that is with him – a soul of blood – is from the stuff of Pronoia. He is very lovely in his beauty, having a charm beyond all the creatures of chaos. Then all the gods and their angels, when they beheld Eros, became enamored of him.
To many ancient people, the power of God was shared amongst a pantheon of many gods and deities (and even angels). Furthermore, Gods were men who could come to earth in mortal form. Conversely, people could attain special powers and become divinized. The acquisition of divine power demonstrated the divinity of the individual – who was either born divine or was granted a level of divine status by the gods. In other words, men could become gods. And so Heraclitus was right when he said, “Men are gods, and gods are men.” The Gospel of Philip would flip this dichotomy on its head:
That is the way it is in the world – men make gods and worship their creation. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men!
In other words, if a mortal man could do something “extraordinary”, it was because he had been blessed by a god with that special power. In essence, he was partly divine, and if divine, then worthy of worship. In fact, many ancient emperors of Egypt, Greece and Rome as well as prophets and shamans were deified and worshiped, a practice that continues even today through canonized sainthood of the Roman Catholic Church.
The ancients understood that miraculous things were done by magic, and magic came from God. If one was deified, one had to prove this fact through magical feats (See: Exodus 7:8-11 as a Biblical example) and this is also used for the the requirements for canonized sainthood require the performance and documentation of at least 3 miracles – proof that you are divine precisely because you can perform magic. So in essence, magic was evidence of divinity! However, through the course of history, magic and the title of magician (which was originally conceived as a misnomer for the enemies of the Church fathers, including Simon) become associated with working against society and mainstream religion and thus to be strictly utilized as a hidden craft i.e. the occult.
In Part 2, I will continue my analysis and commentary of the Great Declaration and get into more striking parallels between our favorite bad boy magician with Jesus Christ, Apollonius of Tyana, the Greek god Apollo, Orpheus, Hercules and the great Greek revealer of healing, Asclepius. The magical and alchemical roots of Christianity will be further explored.
It’s going to be a Hermetic Super-friend reunion of Magick!
[...], so that in their world it might pass the thousand years in Paradise – a soul-endowed living creature called “phoenix”. It kills itself and brings itself to life as a witness to the judgment against them, for they did wrong to Adam and his generation, unto the consummation of the age. There are [...] three men, and also his posterities, unto the consummation of the world: the spirit-endowed of eternity, and the soul-endowed, and the earthly. Likewise, the three phoenixes <in> Paradise – the first is immortal; the second lives 1,000 years; as for the third, it is written in the Sacred Book that it is consumed. So, too, there are three baptisms – the first is the spiritual, the second is by fire, the third is by water. Just as the phoenix appears as a witness concerning the angels, so the case of the water hydri in Egypt, which has been a witness to those going down into the baptism of a true man. The two bulls in Egypt possess a mystery, the sun and the moon, being a witness to Sabaoth: namely, that over them Sophia received the universe; from the day that she made the sun and the moon, she put a seal upon her heaven, unto eternity. — On the Origin of the World.
While I touch on the concept of the Phoenix very briefly in an upcoming, academically-minded essay that explores the nature of the Greek god Eros (as mentioned in the same text of Orig. World), I didn’t get a chance to go in-depth so without further ado, I will do just that in this edition of Biblical Exegesis. On the Origin of the World is one of the more innovative texts found in the Nag Hammadi Library that just does its own thing without any real connection to any other text, except for Eugnostos the Blessed and Hypostasis of the Archons. As noted by other scholars, the On Origin of the World is almost certainly composed in Alexandria, Egypt: this is suggested not only by the mention of some typically Egyptian matters (phoenix, irrigation, bulls) and the remark that only Egypt resembles the paradise of God, but also by various ideas that can only have their background in Alexandria, the ground which sprung up other well-known arch-heretics like Valentinus, Basilides, and many esoteric Hermetic cults.
In the above passage, animal metaphors (in a positive context) are abound. Here the phoenix is mentioned as well as the two bulls of Egypt, which are connected with the sun and the moon. Most likely, these bulls are the Mnevis ox, associated with Atem-Ra/sun, and the Apis ox, associated with the Osiris/moon. These creatures are used as baptismal symbols. The Phoenix was indeed an emblematic image for some Gnostic groups and their baptismal concepts as hinted in the above excerpt. The Phoenix is also associated with the three natures or the three types of man, specifically in context of the excerpt.
Likewise, the three phoenixes <in> Paradise – the first is immortal; the second lives 1,000 years; as for the third, it is written in the Sacred Book that it is consumed. So, too, there are three baptisms – the first is the spiritual, the second is by fire, the third is by water.
The immortal Phoenix represents the spiritual man that is destined to return to the Eternal realm of the three-fold anthropology we see repeat in not only in the Nag Hammadi Codices but extrapolated from the Parable of the Sower in Matthew, Thomas, Mark, and in the Apostle Paul’s Romans and 1 Corinthians. The second refers to the “psychic man” (half-way in between the spiritual and material realms) and the third being the “choic” or hylic (material) man, holding no spiritual ground and is “consumed” as if he never existed because matter was conceived as ultimately transitory and non-eternal. Western alchemy makes use of the Hellenic elements, being Water, Fire, Earth and Air, which can ultimately be traced to the Stoics. The author distinctly uses two of these elements in reference to the three baptisms.
The Phoenix itself is a well-known alchemical symbol for transmutation and resurrection from the death of the old self and into the new. In about 300 AD, the Hermetic and Gnostic adept, Zosimos of Panoplis provided one of the first definitions of alchemy as the study of:
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.
It was also a well-known symbol for the sun. According to Achilles Tatius, who wrote Leucippe et Clitophon in the 2nd century, he described the head array of the phoenix in terms of being connection with the sun in the form of a rayed nimbus—much like the solar crown of the Statue of Liberty. According to his report, the phoenix prides itself that the sun is its Lord.
In Greece, the sun god Helios was represented with the attribute of the rayed nimbus from end of the fifth century B.C. on. Before, he was depicted with a solar disk above his head.
Other writers such as Hesiod, Hecataeus, Antiphanes, Ezekiel the Dramatist, Manilius and others have written extensively on this mythological bird. According to Manillus, the phoenix dies on a fragrant nest after having lived 540-years, and from its bones and marrow a worm arises which rapidly becomes a young and then an adult bird. In other versions, the worm would rise from the ashes of the cremated phoenix but people like Epiphanius (in his work Ancoratus) found this conception to be illogical and had the worm develop to a mature phoenix in three days (to make the myth more suitable as a symbol of Christ) from the partially destroyed remains of the bird. The first act of the new phoenix is to carry the entire nest with its contents to the city of the sun near Panchaia, where it places its burden on the altar.
Further in the patristic tradition, the Phoenix was symbolic of the Resurrection of Jesus as mentioned by Clement of Rome, Tertullian and Lactantius. The Christian Church Father, Clement of Rome specifically repeats this story in Chapter 25 in The First Epistle, connecting it to the Resurrection of Christ and his believers.
Of course, the Phoenix has its origins in ancient Egypt as there are striking Egyptian colors used throughout this incredible treatise as the Egyptian bird Benu. In the vignettes of the Book of the Dead and on many monuments, the benu is shown as a heron-like bird with long legs and a pair of long feathers projecting horizontally from the back of its head. The benu with the solar disk is also found in Egyptian papyri. In fact, the solar disk was a more common solar attribute given to other various animals connected with the sun, like Hathor, the cow goddess, for instance along with the Ram god Chnum, the Apis bull, and the crocodile. The only solar disk giving off rays that occurs in Egyptian art is the one used as a symbol of the sun. It was in this way, the heretical King Ekhnaton had his god Aton represented in Amarna.
On many magical amulets in the Greco-Roman period used against stomach diseases, the multi-rayed crown or nimbus was found, usually in connection with the lion or leontocephaline figures like Mithra or Chnoubis, who is almost always depicted has being a man, a man covered by a snake, a serpent, or a dragon with a lion’s head. The Jewish god Yahweh is also often depicted as being a lion-faced anthropormorphic being, who was the lord of lightening, thunder and wind. From ancient times, the lion too was associated with the sun: in Heliopolis, it was said that a pair of lions were worshiped as animals of the sun as mentioned in Aelian, XII, 7. In the Book of the Dead, the dead man who identified himself with the sun god could say:
“I am he who crosses the heaven, I am the Lion Re”.
On an amulet featuring the god of silence, Harpocrates, he is depicted as riding on a lion with a large nimbus around its head which six or seven double rays spread out.
Other bird-like figures such as Horus with a falcon’s head is shown with a solar disk. One can easily see how the solar disk iconography of Egypt influenced the Catholic imagery of the halo around Jesus’ head.
In a more spiritualized form these themes acquired great importance to the Chaldean theology of Julian the Apostate, Proclus, and others. The noetic (metaphysical) sun god draws the souls upward and in this function he is called “the one adorned with seven rays”. The number seven was considered to be a sacred number, representing perfection of the life after death awaiting the purified souls in the sphere of the planets and of the sun. Through this context, such ideas were associated with the seven rays of the phoenix, symbolic for life after death or immortality. The seven rays associated with Chnoubis could also represent the seven heavens of chaos along with the “Seven Angels that Made the World” per the Gnostic teacher, Saturnilus of Antioch. Ialdaboath, the first archon and world-creator, has the body of a dragon and the face of a lion—an image identified with not only the sun, but also the planet Saturn-Cronos = Chronos, all-generating Time.
According to the famous 33rd Freemasonic author, Manly P. Hall, he writes in the Secret Teachings of All Ages about the two-headed Phoenix:
The symbol of the self-born, who is the androgynous phoenix in the esoteric symbol. The double-headed phoenix is the prototype of an androgynous man, for according to the secret teachings there will.
Plato used the androgynous Primeval Man to explain heterosexual love, just as the undivded male and female primeval people serve to clarify homosexual and lesbian relations. For Plato, the earliest Kabbalists, the Manicheans (with their First Man) Philo of Alexandria, and the author of Poimandres, the first human being was exclusively androgynous, who also mirrored the Kabbalistic Adam Kadmon who was also conceived as androgynous. While the Primeval Man may have its origins in Plato (Symposium), there is no question that his formulation of the idea that love and sexuality are expressions of the split character of man for which man himself is solely responsible, had a far-reaching influence. This myth implies that the original, undivided, and perfect individual did not know sexuality. But Plato does not go as far as the author of Poimandres, who states that sexual desire is responsible for man’s mortality and death. Similar sentiments are expressed in On the Origin of the World and the Gospel of Philip.
The bisexual phoenix is mainly a symbol of eschatological man arisen from the dead, for whom male and female coincide, and who has had returned to him his original, perfect unity. In Paul’s statement that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Galations 3.28), one could easily interpret this to mean that Paul taught a doctrine akin to the bisexual origins of humanity. These concepts of the Primeval Man does much to clarify the ideas attached to the bisexuality of the phoenix. In the Old Testament, Psalm 102 (LXX) was connected with rejuvenation and resurrection in the myth of the phoenix, and in Exegesis of the Soul the quotation concludes with the words, “Your youth will be renewed like an eagle’s.”
“Praise the lord, O my soul, and, all that is within me, (praise) his holy name. My soul, praise God, who forgave all your sins, who healed all your sicknesses, who ransomed your life from death, who crowned you with mercy, who satisfies your longing with good things. Your youth will be renewed like an eagle’s.”
The Slavic Book of Enoch (15:1) also mentions the Phoenix (and in other places in the same text) in very strong-endearing terms, much like Orig. World:
Then the elements of the sun, called Phoenixes and Chalkydri break into song, therefore every bird flutters with its wings, rejoicing at the giver of light, and they broke into song at the command of the Lord.
Towards the end in the quoted excerpt of On the Origin of the World, it also mentions how the sun and the moon were witnesses to the repentant archon Sabaoth. “Heaven” in context of the excerpt, can also refer to the physical heavenly bodies and astrology. The author of this text seems to have a much more positive (or at least ambiguous) outlook on material life because the text often refers to many physical attributes in creation (the heavenly bodies, the animals, the Garden of Eden, even the material body of Adam) in endearing, even romantic terms because of their association with the feminine Wisdom figure of Sophia. On the Origin of the World seems to be alone in this regard.
Animals and “animality” are still, however, mainly used as negative designations and that comments on real animals are only disgressions from the real issue of the majority Nag Hammadi texts, which is spiritual salvation. In the struggle of salvation, animals are doubly losers, both because they will not be saved and because they are used to describe nature, materiality, desire and sexuality. In other words, the whole inherent fabric of the material world is deeply negative. It is not that animals in themselves are evil, but are merely used as adjectives to describe the most basest of human traits.
Internal passions were described as animalistic while external powers – planetary rulers or demons – were conceived of in the shape of animals or animal hybrids. Many texts like the Apocryphon of John and patristic sources like Origen (Against Celsus) mention and preserve the notion that cosmic powers were animal-headed beings – the obvious example being the lion-headed serpent, Ialdaboath. The Nag Hammadi texts preserve the notion of a desperate struggle to leave the world of the beasts and bestial aspects of physical reality behind in favor of a spiritual one.
Not only is the use of animals given shapes and bodies to evil powers but to also brand other people and their gods as beasts. In the Second Treatise of the Great Seth, opponents were characterized as “unreasoning beasts” and “dumb animals” which were obvious references to the persecution done by the Orthodox (Catholic) Christians of the time, whom the Gnostic author mocks with disdain much like the author of the Gospel of Judas.
The path of Phoenix isn’t ever an easy one and it is the last stage of becoming divinized, in which the initiate attains immortality as symbolized by the Philosopher’s Stone or the “Pearl of the Great Price”, the spiritual core of his being. It can often be an arduous path full of hardship and struggle but is is also one of healing and transformation. And the author of On the Origin of the World manages to condense different concepts and ideas in a harmonic chain that one could write a several-volume exegesis on this one text alone!
Stay tuned for more installments of Biblical Exegesis.
Robert Sullivan IV is a historian, antiquarian, theologian, researcher and attorney who also dedicates himself to researching all the intricacies of the occult and the esoteric in Freemasonic influence on modern society, politics and popular culture. What spurred my interest in his work was his interview with Miguel Conner on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, especially with his take on The Ninth Gate, a film I plan on analyzing in a future post. You can find his work here. On to the interview!
1. For those, who aren’t aware of your work, what is the premise of your current book, “The Royal Arch of Enoch?”
A: “The Royal Arch of Enoch” presents a historical anomaly never before analyzed by any historians or Masonic researchers. My book documents that a high degree Masonic Ritual as developed in France in the mid-1700’s was incorporating elements of the Book of Enoch (I Enoch) which was unknown to the West until 1821 when it was finally translated into English. It is this high degree ritual – known as “The Royal Arch of Enoch” – and its related philosophies and symbology that has helped define the United States of America.
2. How does the Book of Enoch and other Jewish apocrypha influence Freemasonry philosophy and ritual?
A: With regard to I Enoch, it has to do with both the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton and the restoration of wisdom inscribed on the Pillars of Enoch. Within Masonic Lore, only through the correct pronunciation of the name of God is the seven liberal arts and mathematics restored. This knowledge is gleaned by Enoch via his interactions with Arch-Angels and Demons as described in I Enoch. In the Testament of Solomon the wise King interacts with “Enochian” demons as described in Ars Goetia; naturally it is the construction of Solomon’s Temple that is the focal point of the third degree Masonic ritual.
3. You claim that the Bible itself is more of a coded compendium of books that detail astrological or astro-theological ideas and symbolism for the initiate to recognize and I would agree with this. There are other authors, like Neville Goddard or purpose a more holistic/psychological approach to reading the biblical cannon. What are your thoughts on this?
A: Yes, in “The Royal Arch of Enoch” I present evidence that the Bible – both Old and New Testament – is an astrological metaphor; it is clear to this Masonic author that the Bible is an astrological manual. The Bible documents four ages based on the Precession of the Equinoxes: the Age of Taurus, the Age of Aries which in the Old Testament is Judaism – Moses is often depicted with ram horns symbolizing Aries. The New Testament is Christianity which is the worship of Pisces the Fishes – Christ as the “Sun of God” the fisherman – and the new age of Aquarius. Although I have heard of him, I am not familiar enough with the works of Neville Goddard enough to offer comment.
4. Is it possible to trace any specific Gnostic influence on Freemasonry and Freemasonic ideas? And can the Architect of Freemasonry be compared to the Platonic/Gnostic idea of the Demiurge or the World-Craftsman?
The concept of the “Great Architect” parallels the demiurge EXCEPT that within Masonry the Supreme Being would be a positive, not negative influence. Like Gnosticism, Masonry has its own dying yet resurrected sun man which is Hiram Abif. In Gnostic-Christianity (and Christianity in general) it is of course Jesus (cf. Horus, Mithras, Attis, etc) the dying yet resurrected solar messiah.
5. What are your personal favorite texts from the Bible and the Nag Hammadi Library?
A: My favorite line from the Bible is when God admonishes Job for not understanding astrology nor being aware of its influence. Job 38:31 God says: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?”
6. There are a few other researchers out there that propose modern money to be akin to alchemy and magic. What are some peculiar elements of symbolism tied with our money/cash system? And does this have anything to do with the popular notion or idea of the Law of Attraction?
A: The United States monetary system was designed – in part – by the Federalists Party namely Alexander Hamilton based on occult notions regarding credit and debt. There are elements of alchemy in the Federalist philosophy because, in sum, one is creating wealth out of seemingly nothingness. To the alchemist this would be the transmutation of base metal into gold or ignorance into wisdom. To the conspiracist this is best emblematized by the placing of the Great Seal of United States on the back of the one dollar bill as a Masonic control mechanism. However, the backing of paper green money with gold – our current system – is more occult than alchemical as the United States gold supply is “hidden” in Ft. Knox. Whether it is really there I leave to the reader to decide.
7. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subliminal symbolism going on in the film The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp. There is also the theory that Johnny Depp’s character, Dean Corso, represents a Gnostic aspirant or initiate or possibly Lucifer himself, who is simply has forgotten his identity as the Light-Bringer in the course of the film but achieves self-knowledge when he enters into the portal of the Cathar Church. What are your thoughts on all of this?
A: There is a lot going on in that film and I present an analysis of it in “The Royal Arch of Enoch”. I discuss more of its symbolism in my forthcoming book titled “Cinema Symbolism”. Clearly one will see elements of the Gnosticism with the character of Liana St. Martin-Telfer; her first name reflects the goddess Lilith as “Liana” Hermes Trismegistus incarnates as the Ceneza twin: Hermes is of course Mercury which rules the sign of Gemini the Twins as such the “Twins” are the restorers of lost wisdom. Boris Balken loosely reflects English magician Aleister Crowley while the composer of “The Ninth Gate” Aristide Torchia parallels Giordano Bruno who was likewise burned at the stake.
8. Do you think Freemasonry along with the Illuminati have been unfairly maligned by Christian Fundamentalists, the populace in general and the media?
A: Yes and No. Christian Fundamentalist, while trying to damage Freemasonry, have actually helped. More and more men joining the Masonic Temple are doing so out of a desire to understand the occult and esoterica. These are themes that Freemasonry – for so many years – tried to distance itself from. I am glad to report that Freemasonry is once again embracing the esoterica and the occult.
9. This also ties into the previous question. Why do you think many heretical and occult groups throughout the ages, starting with the Gnostics, Manicheans, Mandeans, Hypatia of Alexandria through the Cathars, the Albigensians, the witch burnings in Europe etc to people like Giordano Bruno, Joan of Arc, etc, have all suffered persecution from the bloodied hands of the Roman Catholic Church and to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodoxy?
A: Because they possessed occult wisdom and knowledge that was a threat to the orthodoxy. I suggest in my book that this is the entire purpose of secret societies and modern day Freemasonry is the preservation of the Ancient Mysteries handed down through the Gnostics, the Cathers, the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, the Jesuits, to what one would call Freemasonry.
10. What influence does Maximilien de Robespierre (the French lawyer and politician during the French Revolution) command on your work and the mythicist movement in general?
A: Robespierre (not a Mason) is important to me because he was willing to lay his beliefs on the line irregardless of the consequences. He was a true martyr of the French Revolution who died rather than wavering from his principles and belief system. Robespierre fostered the “Cult of the Supreme Being” and the “Worship of Reason” which can clearly be seen in both Blue Lodge and High Degree Masonry.
11. How does King David and his son, the great wise and wealthy King Solomon figure into your research? Are they actual historical figures or symbolic ones?
A: Yes – it is from the construction of Solomon’s Temple that Masonic Ritual is based. As I present in “The Royal Arch of Enoch” there are astro-theological ties to the name Solomon”. To bifurcate the name is “Sol” and “omon” or “Sol” and “moon” – the sun and moon as the lesser lights of the craft. Alternatively “Sol” and “omon” can be “Sol” and “mono” or the “One Sun” as the sun is the most important symbol within Freemasonry.
12. How does being an attorney influence your work on Freemasonry, occult symbolism and spirituality in general? Or maybe it’s the other way around?
A: It’s both and it’s a great question. When writing about Masonry I like to present a hypothesis and then lay out the arguments supporting it while dispelling the arguments against it. This comes straight out of my legal training. Alternatively, the legal profession in the United States is overloaded with Freemasonry and occultism. If one has been to law school in the United States one eventually took a course called “Evidence” which lays out the evidentiary system in America. The rules of “evidence” are based upon the works and analysis of Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) who was a Freemason and occultist. Greenleaf was the founder of Harvard Law School who compared the American lawyer or attorney to a “New World” Druidic Arch-Priest in numerous treatises. The American legal system reflects occult and Masonic sorcery: 12 jurors in the box are the 12 houses of the Zodiac, the judge wears the black robes of Saturn (as a Father-God presiding figure), the “court” is an astrological “Star Chamber”, etc.
My upcoming novel, Delta Heavy, that I’m currently fleshing out has been in the works since early 2011 and I am 53,000 plus words in. As it follows, I decided to post a special preview for the story. Here’s the long blurb:
The year is 2079 in New Chicago, Illinois. When Darren Ramirez, a former Marine receives a call from a representative working for a biotech firm along with interests of the U.S. Government, his life is changed forever as he and a special forces unit are sent to a remote archipelago called Cirrus off the coast of Spain. They are sent for an investigation of a corporate-controlled installation after a cessation of communication. There, they make a startling discovery regarding its classified projects involved in reviving an ancient, lost civilization and earth’s secret history. It’s up to Ramirez and his squad to find the truth behind the mysterious cluster of islands, the experiments and the man responsible for the projects’ existence.
The story builds on this premise to something even more trippy and far out, but enough talk and more story. Thanks for reading!
The streets of New Chicago smelled of smoke and gunmetal. Morning rain and fog engulfed and blanketed the lights of the cityscape. In this city, colors cut through gray, carving out space, and standing in contrast. From the pale blue spotlights in the sky, to the golden walls of corporate cubes and ziggurats, there was no confusion between gray and color. To the inhabitants, the people—it was nearly impossible to tell a cyborg, an augmented person and a purely organic apart. Flesh and blood, plastic and wires—the difference between human flesh and machine man become less and less defined as time continued to flow.
Upper New Chicago was considered bright, clean, and advanced—the pinnacle of cutting-edge technology and the dreams of countless futurists for decades. Holstered, fast-moving trains hovered back and forth along ascending tracks over the streets and highways—for both automated and manual drivers. Flocks of birds could be seen migrating in the same air of space small helicopters would travel in. Other parts, in especially Old Chicago were the antithesis of Upper New Chicago. Run down, rust colored, dark, and rubble-covered by years of turmoil and civil unrest.
Darren rapidly hurtled down the busy highway, swerving back and forth between the road-lanes in his sleek, two-door silver sedan Lexus 2080 edition. He eyed the spinning blimp, flying past the red and white neon sign which read, Enjoy Coca-Cola. The Real Thing while listening to rhythmic, pulsating beats and baselines. After twenty minutes or so of driving through traffic, he eventually arrived at his destination, to the streets and parking spaces surrounding the mountain ahead which looked innocuous. In actual fact 5 to 10 feet of reinforced ferroconcrete were underneath its granite exterior. In addition the latest high-tech weapons were deployed in carefully concealed weapon ports. It was of course the New Chicago Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters.
His boots thudded rhythmically against the cracked concrete and steel of the sidewalk surrounding the skyscraper that was the 11th precinct. Clad in his leather jacket, faded jeans and black boots, he trotted up the concrete stairs and eyed the quick flash of the eye-scanner set above the glass doors. Inside, the cathedral-sized lobby with its vast and vaulted ceilings and long-stretching windows, was bustling with activity. He eventually made it to the secretary’s desk and made a flirtatious smile and greeted him. “Name is Ramirez. I have an appointment with a Mr. Middleton at eleven this morning.”
The fair-skinned and curly blonde secretary clad in a burlesque red flirtatiously smiled back, licked her lips with her tongue and checked the flat, touch screen monitor, making a few manual adjustments by hand and saw the appointment.
“Ah, yes. He’ll be with you shortly.” She said.
Another voice caught his attention, belonging to Arden Middleton, dressed in a pair of kakis, a dress-shirt and tie along with snake-skin shoes. He appeared calm and friendly in his demeanor, his face angular and middle aged. He opened his palm for a hand-shake and greeted. “Darren Ramirez. Brooke told me all about you. We both go a ways back—she was a student of mine back at the academy—back when I was still teaching. Here, follow me into my office.”
Eventually, the two men sat on opposite leather chairs in an office overlooking the ground floor of the immense lobby of the even more immense complex. The office was more like a lounge in its effect. There was no furniture save for the two other couches and a small coffee table on which was a telephone. The rug was intricately designed. It must have been constructed in India, or some other eastern country in which people were perfectly content to sit still in a hut and weave all day long. The window was to the left of the entrance, where the wall had been taken out and replaced with a sheet of glass. It served its purpose well, allowing those in the office a clear view of everything happening beneath on the floor, but offering no view of the office to those on the floor. Protruding from the floor was a great statue of an outstretched hand holding in its palm the entirety of the globe.
Darren shook his leg nervously while listening and facing the angular counters of the middle-aged man’s face and dry tone. “I’m going to be frank. Most of our recruits we get are from the U.S. Special Forces, and are full cyborgs. I, myself, have quite a few augmentations—although I’m not about to get a completely prosthetic body. I still have attachments to this one. I’m the real thing,”
Arden made a small sneer, paused and continued. “You’re thirty-three years old, without many augmentations which could potentially make you vulnerable to encroaching advanced enemy technology. You, however have a few discreetly placed ones in your arms and legs. I have to be honest here—by the time one goes through the initial training and assuming you pass the qualification test—then completes the team training, then learns the ropes from the rest of us, you’ll only be giving us eight, maybe ten good years before you’ll be forced to resign, assuming you would make it that long. We look to get twelve to fifteen years out of a new recruit at a minimum. On the other hand, it says here you were first in your military academy while earning seven commendations in your five years in the service. Special Intelligence Unit operative for the past four years, fluent in four languages, proficient in the use of over thirty firearms and hacking skills. It says here you did quite a number of reconnaissance missions during the cyber-recession wars with the battle droids on two tours—one in Oslo and one in Saudi Arabia with your outfit, the 1144th. I know you were discharged from your unit due to medical reasons which looks like they’ve been remedied with the right augmentations. You’re a veteran with good standing. Brooke tells me you’re working as a bartender, now?” Arden eyed him with a curious glare while turning the pages of stapled resume.
Darren hesitated to answer but gathered enough gumption to make a slick counter. “I needed a break from the military life, but I’m ready to get back into the mix.”
“Right. Well, I’ll get right to the point. They just so happen to have a position open, but it’s not exactly a jurisdictionally-binding one.”
Darren raised a curious eyebrow. Arden smiled and continued. “It’s part of a specialized detachment, connected with NATO, only known by its employees and the United States Government—well most of the time. They were originally called “Delta Force” an elite, SWAT-like task force unit but have recently expanded to be more of a covert operation police counter-terrorist task force set to handle everything from serial killers, organized crime syndicates like the Four Triads, to terrorist cells—you name it. And as you know, New Chicago is a big city with an even bigger crime problem, despite our entire tech to find the guilty and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. They’ve become an autonomous entity, independent of any one nation—despite the fact that their operations are spearheaded in the United States and under its auspices. Sensitive military operations are another specialty they specialize in. This is where you come in, Mr. Ramirez.”
“I heard about the rumors but I didn’t think they existed.” Darren said.
“Well, they don’t officially exist but I can tell you with all certainty they do and have been operating since early into the ‘technological revolution’ with nano-tech—back when there weren’t sharply divided classes of the augmented—mechanical, nano or otherwise, purely organics or those who choose not to be enhanced by any means—be it genetic or synthetic. Of course, even in this day in age of humanity 2.0—one faction believed that genetics, and only genetics is the way forward citing how AI are unreliable, and the other prefers machines to genetics, citing resources problem that arises if you try to alter the gene before birth. We only have one genetically advanced person on our team—the rest have been upgraded by augmentation. This police station isn’t exactly our headquarters but we have our arm here for the sake of potential, new recruits.” Arden smiled.
“If I agree to this what are the stipulated terms of contract? And when does it take effect?”
“It’s only temporary, mind you, until you complete the initial training and pass an admittance test, but knowing you, that should only be a formality. The kind of individuals required to operate successfully in these circumstances are not found in abundance. At the heart of Public Security Task Force are physically and mentally resilient men and women who can operate individually and in small teams, often in isolation and hostile environments. While most of their bodies have been augmented, the minds from their bodies are still in-tact, preserving their consciousness. I’m a firm believer in cybernetic enhancements and even the full digitalization of the police force in order to increase their capabilities and streamline communication. Those who are privy to our operations nicked named us-Oculus—which is the Latin term for eye. It also denotes a circular opening in the centre of a dome or in a wall. So, do you have any other specific augmentations that I should know about?”
Darren arched a brow questioningly and answered followed by a question. “A few advanced minor military E-brain enhancements, eyes, respiratory system as well as enhancements in my arms and legs. Apart from that I’m all human. But, how long do I have to decide? I’d like to get into some kind of police work soon but this all sounds like something the military would be involved in.”
“Well, that’s because there is a joint military junction here but we don’t necessarily advertise it for security reasons. You’ll come to see that our squad has quite the diverse origins—men and women gathered from national armies, police forces, former mercenaries and even criminal organizations—all of them drawn in by steady pay and a promising future from the most private unit in the world. And when I say private, I don’t mean corporate owned either. There is an assignment that the squad is being specifically trained for, but it nothing to do with street patrol or anything like that. Take as much time as you need.”
“What is then? Oversees reconnaissance?” Darren asked.
“I can’t go into specifics at this time unless you agree to what’s stipulated in the contract.” Arden pulled out a plastic folder containing multiple sheets of paper which was presumably the contract out of his desk and passed it to Darren.
“Think it over, talk it over with Brooke. I’m sure you’ll find our terms of agreement appropriate.” He smiled as he rose from his chair to make a firm shake of Darren’s hand. Darren replied, “It’ll be an honor to work under your command.”
Clouds of thick steam seeping from the shower hit Darren’s face as soon as he walked inside the pearlescent bathroom to brush and floss his teeth with nothing on but his underwear. He wiped the fog pressed against the mirror and called to Brooke. “How was work?”
Brooke shouted over the noise of the shower-head: “What? Oh, my client didn’t show up for court this morning, making me look like an asshole in front of Judge Murphy. No wonder all the small-claims courts are automated. I hired a new clerk from the UC law school today—he pays attention at least and is on time. Did you see Arden, today?”
Darren muttered dryly as he faced a soaked and naked Brooke. “I got the job.”
The heavily soaked Brooke shoved the glass door open and smiled in jubilation, “You did? That’s great! What happened and what did Arden say what your position will be.”
“I don’t know yet.” Darren grumbled in a monotone voice, continuing to floss.
Brooke’s expression lowered a watt or two as she asked. “What? You don’t know—what do you mean?”
“Once I sign the papers and give them all the proper documentation, I’ll be the employee of the month. I have to do some preliminary tests as they do a back-ground check before I can get in and get the full scoop.” Darren quipped in under-handed sarcasm.
“Whatever it is, do it.” Brooke sternly replied.
Darren finished flossing and cracked a leering and expectant grin as he made way to the steamy shower, stripping his shorts off. His body was perfection embodied—his muscles were peaks and valleys that well-defined up his form. Seductively, he sleuthed into the shower and snaked his hands and arms around her body, grasping her apple-shaped buttocks.
A shudder shot through her body as all other thoughts were out of her reach at this point, and it was punctuated when she felt the warmth envelope the both of them. The shower water caressed them both in a chamber of wet and heat. Open lips leaned into each other with tongues darting to meet in an open, French kiss.