Category: Paramedia

Dajjāl and the Antichrist

Dajjāl and the Antichrist
© 2014 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

antiThe Dajjāl and Antichrist represent, a sickness in human form, a cosmic possibility which occurs throughout history, gathering momentum as Prophetic restorations are forgotten, until, for a time during the last days.  This malefic figure centers around deceit, religious corruption, and pestilence, Dajjāl and Antichrist are archetypal characters, prophesized to appear when human corruption and moral depravity reach a peak.  The term antichrist denotes an antithesis, an Adversary to the mythical figure of the Christ, the Logos.  The Christian antichrist in Biblical scripture represents moral depravity, a corruption, and fulfillment, of Jesus Christ’s Gospel.  The apocalyptic days of the antichrist are the time of a loss of perspective.  The character is the physical personification of the Adversary, the devil, dressing up virtue as vice, and morality as cruelty and depravity.  Archetype of the antichrist is a psychological mirror for the human condition.

The miscreant at the end of time is, therefore, the exact inversion of the Christian and Islamic ideal of good-natured men and women. The evil of the Dajjāl and Antichrist is worse than the traditional evil, for the character causes a schizophrenic division in human morality.  Depravity becomes celebrated, cruelty sensationalized and encouraged in human behavior.  In a manner of speaking, Antichrist and Christ is representative of a psychological-metaphysical-mystical dualism within the darkest depths of the human psyche.  Antichrist as a human phenomenon forms an interdependent whole with the Self in the subconscious.  All of human mythology, folklore, and religious history have the character of the personification of evil who deceives and subjugates various cultures for a predetermined time.

The conception of imago dei includes the totality of the various aspects of the soul; the gross, animal, and empyrean.  Throughout the religious history of the human race, evil is a phenomenon often attached to a personification in sacred scriptures, yet evil transcends religious perspective and theological speculation.  The phenomenon of evil’s existence as a malevolent deity alongside religion dominates our perception into human consciousness and the human condition.  Evil exists not as the opposite of good, nor as noumenon, avoided through dualism, rather as an aspect of the microcosm, a timeless stain on soul, a reminder of moral and psychological degeneracy to transcend.  If the archetype of antichrist is segregated from the psyche, evil is personified in myth and religion, externalized in the process of enantiodromia, or emergence of unconscious schism that began during the Renaissance, culminating in post-modern American society where anti-religious sentiment prevails in a self-fulfilling prophecy of apocalyptic judgment.

The human condition has not yet fulfilled or defined any sort of limit.  It is an ongoing regeneration and evolution and toward enlightenment into human and technological spirituality, or what mystics testify to as the Mystery.  What are the perceptible limits of Evil?  Evil is a perpetually evolving deficiency of the human condition.  Archetype of the Antichrist, as all personifications of evil, mirrors a materialistic world, and influences the forms of religion growing within it.  The character Dajjāl and Antichrist personify a sickness, a deceit of moral relativism, political oppression, and religious apostasy (Greek apostasia).

As agents of anarchy and misanthropy machinate to make religious traditions corrupt and obsolete relics of human spiritual history, human behavior de-evolves in moral decline with each passing generation.  A world order of apathy and materialism is beginning to glamourize personifications of evil; celebrating diabolical figures and activities.  The last pangs of delusional hatred against religion and the imperfect institutions acting as pillars of religious culture are manifesting in human society with the worship of wealth, and bondage to disparity.

Evil in infinite varieties of diverse models is a projection of fear and insurrection of the soul, the psyche, within the human condition.  Evil is an independent principle, privation in religion, the product of misanthropic Mind seeking to destroy all sanctity of life.  Popular consensus in post-modern society maintains that antichrist, as designated by Daniel and St. Paul, is not a human agent, but possibly an institution or organized power.  The roots of popular culture antichrist obsession originate in apocalyptic and messianic expectations of Second Temple Judaism.  Apocalyptic origins of the antichrist pathos are inseparable from Judaic speculations on the culmination of history and its proximity to persecution.

Judaic culture of the last centuries of the Second Temple Period did not share in Christian fantasies of a human adversary to the expected Messiah.  Nonetheless, it was a common conviction, although ambiguous, that a solitary malevolent angelic power led the human forces of evil throughout history.  The persecution and blasphemies of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Seleucid Emperor from BCE 175 – 164 (Before Common Era) served as historical impetus of such anti-messianic designs.  Noticeable religious literature pertaining to fears of ultimate “evil” manifested as a human agent were the apocalypses produced by the Jews circa BC 250.

This literature is agreed upon by theologians as the catalyst for a paranoid schema of history called apocalyptic eschatology.  Important to notice is that the language of apocalyptic texts is not denotative or descriptive, rather is it elegiacally expressive.  Art and imagery of apocalyptic literature convey a mystical sense and experience about the nature of human spiritual history.  The Qum’ran community of ascetics residing near the Dead Sea circa BCE 150-70 CE collected eschatological literature and held firm convictions that were reflected in later creeds of the Christian Catholic canon.

Popular culture obsession with identifying Antichrist has polluted history with perpetual paranoia and attempts to immanentize the eschaton.  The dogmatic and fundamentalist paranoia of the masses with the identity of antichrist and dajjāl is an increasing metaphysical loathing of religion and the state of the human condition.  Humanity acts out religious obsession with identifying the antichrist in history by projecting onto a daemonic adversary the undesirable traits of the psyche.  The masses recognize this in their temporal identities, in the Jewish nefesh.  Pop culture villains take on the role of fictional antichrists, and more obsessively, the title is often attached to a troupe of “dictators” at the center of international conflicts.

Antichrist, and dajjāl in the Judaic, and Christin adversarial role parallel miscreants of evil and diabolatry personified in ancient religious traditions: Azi Dahaka in Zoroastrian eschatology, Balor the king of giant demons in Celtic folklore who is thought to return during the collapse of civilization and terrorize Ireland (Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 61, No. 240 (Apr. – Jun., 1948), Samyaza of the Apocrypha who will be defeated by Priest Melchizedek, and Armilus of Jewish eschatology mentioned in the Midrash Vayosha and Sefer Zerubbabel, in which he defeats the Messiah ben Joseph.

To commit to serious study of Judaic and Christian apocalyptic literature propels the reader into sensational imagery, cryptic characterizations, misanthropic fantasies, and confounding allegories.  In Judaic eschatology, metaphysical struggle throughout the human epoch of religion is presented as a schism between this “eon” (ha’olam hazzeh), and the “eon to come” (ha’olam habba) The angelic agent of evil presented as antichrist or ‘adversary’ appear in the Old Testament as Shaytan (ShTN), the Hebrew verb meaning to oppose; which, in the form of a noun is applied in the Bible to human and angelic agents.

Another common interaction in apocalyptic literature is the role of angelic prosecutor or trickster, or deceiver, who appears at the end of human history when morality and civilization are in depraved decline, to conduct and carry out divine dirty work and prosecution of creation.  In accounts of religious antiquity, one example of the proto-combat mythos is the Akkadian enuma elish, a tale of struggle between Marduk and Tiamat, female dragon of the waters of Chaos.  Humanity in Akkadian lore is birthed from the corpse of Tiamat and of the blood of her consort, Kingu.  Similar myths of primordial combat are presented in the Canaanite lore from the ancient city of Ugarit between Baal and Yamm (again, the seas of Chaos).

Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Seleucid Emperor, is arguably one of the first and foremost candidates whom contributed to the apocalyptic fetishes of later Christ-cult apostates.  Antiochus IV captured Jerusalem and plundered the Temple in BCE 169; banning Jewish religious practices altogether, and defiled the Temple by erecting a pagan shrine to Zeus.  The Biblical author Daniel’s portrayal of Antiochus IV as an eschatological adversary to Jehovah surpasses other end time conceptions in Jewish literature, fueling the fires to fantasies of Christian apocalyptic mania.

The first encounter of the term Antichrist is in the New Testament First and Second Epistles of John:  “Children, it is the last hour (Greek, eschaté hóra).  As you have heard that antichrist is to come: so now, many antichrists have made their appearance, and this makes us certain that it is the last hour.  It was from our ranks that they have set forth – not that they truly belonged to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained…who, then, is the Liar?  None other than the man whom denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Such a man is the antichrist (Greek, ho antichristos):  the man whom denies the Father and the Son.”  (I John 2; 18-19, 22).

The term antichristos and its ambivalent preposition anti denotes “in place of Christ,” ”false Christ,” and “opposed to Christ.”  The striking reference in the latter verse of the Epistle of John to the antichrist in the plural designates all dissenting and heretical members of Christian communalism as antichrists.  The ambiguous author of I John likely did not refer to a historical persona, more so it appears the concern related to the early Church.  The identifying of the Antichrist fuels apocalyptic expectations of the early Christian church.  The Epistles of John condemn the spirituality espoused by a fringe community of Christ devotees whom had segregated from the overall nascent faith.

Scholarly exegesis indicates II, III John, and I were writ by at least three primary authors sufficient in the practice of adopting the pseudonym of “John.”  These authors exhibit their early commitment to the interpretation of the message of “Christ” cherished in the Gospel of John.  This devotional sect garnered sympathy for their writings in what is referred to as the Johannine doctrinal tradition.  The authors of the Johannine tradition refer to antichrist as an opponent of Jesus Christ rather than the opponent, using the term in the plural sense.

The Johannine Epistles indicate a schism over proper interpretation of the Christ’s alleged philosophy.  Such dissenting members of the early Johannine community likely segregated themselves from the community around the first century of the vulgar era; perhaps against a movement of proto-Gnostics the Epistles were writ.  The principal concern for antichrist in the Epistle of John is for a collective opponent undermining Johannine theology rather than a final single agent of “evil.”  What is dreaded is not the unleashing of an apocalyptic phase in history, but the fomenting of apostasy.  The identifying of antichrist in the Johannine philosophy completely degenerated during the medieval era of the Christian into apocalyptic fervor.  The denial of Jesus Christ as a denial of the redemption from the Lie of original Sin (the greatest falsehood of the Christian slave religion) is associated with heresy by the early Roman Catholic Ecclesia.  The two ostensible Letters of John indicate dread over theological deception in the persona of the Christ as redeemer and saviour.

The ideal of evil as political and spiritual deception made it possible for medieval clergy to believe in many antichrists as well as in a final personal opponent prophesized in the Books of Daniel and Revelations.  Scholars identify personas of antichrist in the Old and New Testaments, as well as in Medieval Church history.  Therefore, Abimelech, Nebuchadnezzar, and Antiochus IV Epiphanes are antichrist models of the Old Testament; and Herod, Barabbas, the mythic Simon Magus of the New Testament, and Nero Caesar, Diocletian, and Caligula are the most suitable candidates for antichrist in the early Christian history.  In the first centuries of the Christ-cult; diverse designations of antichrist coalesced into a widespread mythical narration where the identities of the “Devil” and antichrist were fearfully intertwined.

The Book of Revelation in the New Testament further incites dread and mystery concerning the archetype of antichrist.  The Greek apokalypsis translates as “unveiling,” an uncovering of what is normally hidden.  The nefarious symbolism of antichrist receives its obsession from what theologians refer to as eschatological or millenarian beliefs.  The Book of Revelations concerns us with metaphysical eschatology, or the expectation of historical “end times” and culmination.  Eschatology is a product of the Greek tongue, a derivative of the term eschaton, which means an “end.”

This apocalyptic style of sensationalism is alien to post-modern religious science.  Apocalyptic literature implies a “revelation,” mediated to the author by the Genius, or praeter-human intelligence.  All events in the material correlate to a cosmic drama orchestrated by beings existing (or non-existing) in pre-eminent time.  Apocalyptic literature challenges the religious scientist to penetrate the mysteries of antichrist and its mark in the world’s religious traditions.

Scholars and theologians debate the context of the apocalypse, assigning the identity of the Antichrist to the Beast of Revelations, then to innumerable historical personages in Christianity.  It is absurd to postulate the literal ending of human history in a Biblical context.  The mystery Christ embodied in the allegory of the Crucifixion indicates an ongoing phenomenon with the presence and distant influence from the date of the reception of the apocalyptic texts.  Revelations divulges the opposition of this political and spiritual influence, whether as mortal archetypes of evil or embodied principles.  Historical evidence has led scholars and theologians in the post-modern age to conclude that the scribe of Revelations as likely not the apostle John, rather a priest of the Johannine sect in early Christian history.

The mythological war waged by the two ‘Beasts’ of the apocalypse likely also correspond to a metaphysical struggle between the church of the Christ-cult of slaves and collective ideals of evil often personified as human intermediaries.  Irenaeus (c. 160-230), the first great theologian of the Orthodox Church in Rome, included an exegesis on the archetype of antichrist, revealing new depths in eschatological manias.  Irenaeus appealed to evidence of the manuscripts, to reason (logos) itself to display a pattern of an insidious renewal of the apostate that occurred incessantly throughout the history of Christian dominion.  Irenaeus knew that “antichrist” must recapitulate (Latin, recapitulatio, Greek, anakephalaiosis) evil in the form of antithesis to Christian philosophy and morality.

Irenaeus repeatedly returns to the immanence of antichrist; the Man of Sin, Son of Perdition whom renews apostasy in himself.  Bishop Irenaeus, the leading patristic author of his time, used apocalyptic mentality to justify the persecution of those heretics such as pagans, gypsies, apostates, idolaters, and prostitutes whom existed outside the orthopraxy of the Church.  Later scholars such as St. Augustine were critical of literal interpretations of the Book of Revelations, not wholly abandoning eschatological hopes of Christendom.  St. Augustine pointed erroneously to heretics, pagans, and Jews as antichrists. Despite St. Augustine’s critique of interpreting Revelation as literal, identifying Antichrist gained popularity with the onset of Islam.

Jesus of Nazareth focused his Revelation on the present immanence rather than a coming immanence of Apocalypse and the divine Kingdom thereafter.  After the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, Judaism and the Christ-cult underwent dramatic theological change; changes that had a profound effect on the divergent roads both religions would take in the institutionalization of their doctrines.  The Beast 616 of the Apocalypse allegedly is identified with Roman Emperor T. Claudius Nero whose name and imperial title transcribed into Hebrew (NRVN KSR) amounts to 616, the infamous number of the name of “Beast.”  Nero Caesar is the zeal for new ideas concerning the antichrist legend, as the persecutor of Christians was a paradigm of megalomania and cruelty according to Roman historians as well as Christians.  Nero committed matricide, and elevated himself to divinity in the Roman Pantheon as only fractured elements of the Roman Empire supported his reign.  Later Roman legends of Nero foretold of an Emperor whom fled yet would return from the unknown lands of the east to conquer Rome.  Such legendary tales of Nero Caesar fostered apocalyptic antichrist eschatology.

The legends of Nero Caesar are also in an apocalyptic context attributed to Book III of the Sibylline Oracles.  Book III of the Sibylline texts is dated to be the eldest, with literature dating an estimated mid-Second Century BCE according to scholars.  In verse 63 to 74, Nero is attributed to Beliar (Belial): “Then Beliar will come up from the Sebastenoi (either, “from the Sebasti“, the line of Augustus or “from Sebaste”, a city in Samaria) and he will raise up the height of the mountains, he will raise up the sea, the great fiery sun and shining moon, and he will raise up the dead, and perform many signs for men.  But they will not be effective in him.  But he will, indeed, also lead men astray, and he will lead astray many faithful, chosen Hebrews, and also other lawless men who have not yet listened to the word of god.  But wherever the threat of the great God draws nigh and a burning power comes through the sea to the land it will also burn Beliar and all overbearing men, as many as have put faith in him.  In Revelations, the “Beast” is a polyvalent emblem, representing a final opponent to Christ and the Church in the form of a human agent of evil – the Pagan Roman Empire.

Essentially NRVN KSR is the Beast arising from the Abyss (Greek, to thérion to anabainon ek tés abyssou), occurring in the first sequence of the Apocalypse.  Revelations Chapter XVII offers a cryptic explanation of the antichrist regime:  “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss, and go to perdition; and dwellers upon the earth whose names have not been writ in the book of life from the foundation of the world will be amazed when they see the Beast who was, and is not, and is to come.”  (Revelation XVIII; 8).  The scribes of the Apocalypse potentially intended to unveil significant information in the text to convey their fears of the Beast 616.  If the scribes of the Apocalypse had desired the name of antichrist to be known in the context of eschatology, cryptic verses would be clearer on identifying his persona and reign.  The end of the world fantasies of Revelations indicate metaphysical struggles between the failures of the Christ-cult slave-morals and evil fought in a meta-historical context.  This metaphysical struggle occurs within the human sphere, in the ambiguous shadows of history, while transcending history in a mythological motif.

Origen of Alexandria (C.E. 185-245) argued the metaphysical necessity of antichrist as the complement of extremities in the human soul.  Origen saw the extremity of goodness in the Christ and the extremity of evil in antichrist.  The exegesis of Origen in his “Commentary on John builds apocalyptic zeal by referring to the final antagonist of Christendom in terms of false wisdom (Greek, to pseudos), indwelt in every soul before reckoning with its Creator.  Since the Middle Ages of the Roman Catholic Church, preconceptions of “antichrist” are sensationalized to persecute rival religious institutions (such as Islam, and the Gnostics), and political opponents.  Such apocalypticism stemmed from obsessive exegetical construal of obscure language and culture.  Nevertheless, apocalyptic fetish is a plague central to the human condition.

Christian apostasy and opposition to modernity produce grand paranoia pertaining to the antichrist.  Religious specters of obsession provide for a theological home for tepid apocalyptic, doomsday worldviews of identifying antichrist.  This religious mentality projects and mythologizes the struggle of good vs. evil.  Middle Age commentators such as Matthew of Janov (1355 – 1393) and Joachim of Fiore (1132 -1202) contributed to radical interpretations of eschatology.  Abbot Joachim contributes noteworthy theses on the seven-headed Dragon found in Revelations XII:  The seven heads of the Dragon signify seven tyrants who began pestilent persecutions of the Church.

Abbot Joachim of Fiore numbers these metaphysical antichrists as Herod and the persecutions of the Jews, Nero and the Roman calamities, Constantius and the oppression of the heretics (so-called) to orthopraxy, Muhammad and the insurgence of Islam into Christianized Europe, Mesemoth and the genocide of the sons of Babylon, Saladin, and the final “seventh head;” who is spoken of by Joachim as magnus antichristus, maximus antichristus, the great antichrist.  Antichrist obsession reached a climax during the Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic Papacy became the political inception of “corpus antichristus mysticus,” the mystical body of the final Adversary.  The Papacy itself often was attributed to the essence of the mystical body of antichrist and the Pope arraigned as a human agent of evil by theologians Martin Luther (1483-1546), William Tyndale (1494-1536), and John Calvin (1509-1564).  The three high profile Reformists collectively saw antichrist as an imminent danger and none other than the veil of the Catholic Papacy.  Luther’s condemnation of the Catholic Lie issued C.E. October 1520 accuses:  “The papacy is indeed nothing but the kingdom of Babylon and of the true Antichrist.”

Many characters represent evil in the Islamic tradition.  Iblïs, Täghüt, Pharaoh, and ad-Dajjäl invert and overturn us, confusing, and deceiving humanity.  The dajjäl is a physical materialization of Iblïs: the Great Deceiver insofar as he dresses virtue up as vices, and vice as virtue and power. The only character in this cast of miscreants with an eschatological significance is ad-Dajjäl. His full name al-Masïh ad-Dajjäl, the pseudo-messiah, or the opposite of al-Masïh ïsa (Jesus the Messiah or the true Messiah).  The term ad-Dajjäl originates from the Syriac language.  The dajjäl occupies an important place in the body of Hadith and manuals of Islamic theology.

Is the ad-Dajjäl truly a historic character set to appear during apocalyptic events foretold by scriptures of the world’s religions, or a more allegorical representation of an institution, a decline in the moral fabric of the Islamic community, or a cabal of secret societies referred to in popular culture as the “illuminati?”  Much of the Islamic Ummah (community) nostalgically longs for a Caliphate, while post-modern lifestyles center on the worship of wealth, and the lower, agitated desires of the human condition.

Every word of every media digital or print now breathes the message of the nafs, the facets of self, and psyche: accumulate more goods.  The result of being deceived by dajjäl and a dictatorship of moral relativism is a society which pursues happiness with great technical brilliance but which confounds the Ummah over spiraling rates of suicide, drug abuse, failed relationships, and ever more aberrant forms of self-destruction.  It is a society in denial, a society deceived by the sickened “dajjäl”.  Younger generations increasingly see the modern world as a naive victim of the oldest of all illusions, which is the belief that balance occurs when the needs of the nafs, the physical human condition, are met, and that inward spirituality is nothing but the vague each of intangible and ‘oppressive religion.’  By rejecting dajjäl, a Muslim rejects imbalance.

The post-modern world therefore presents to old and young generations, in mad abundance, the dajjäl’s aberrations, and deceptions.  There is preoccupation with form, and there are in increasing varieties, a preoccupation with occult spiritualities that require no moral code.  On moral deprivation and the ideology of dajjäl, Sheikh Imran Hosein states:  “Those who see with one eye (the external eye) can never be patient enough to learn from those like Khidr, who see with two eyes, i.e., the external and the internal. Dajjäl’s epistemological attack on mankind renders them internally blind and, hence, easily deceived by ‘external appearance’ while remaining incapable of penetrating ‘internal reality’ in all that pertains to his mysterious mission.  They sometimes lose faith in Allah Most High and become profoundly misguided without being even conscious of such.  Nearly always, however, they lack the capacity to understand either the movement of history or the role that Jerusalem and the Holy Land play in the End of History. The Qur’an declares of such people that they have a status akin to cattle.” [“Surah Kahf And The Modern Age” Sheikh Imran Hosein]

Theologian Bernard McGinn writes, “some Quranic exegetes refer to Chapter 108 in the Quran, which is called Kauthar and claimed that the verse contains the hallmarks of the Antichrist.  The chapter reads: ‘Lo! We have given thee (Muhammad) the abundance; so pray unto your Lord and sacrifice, surely the one who hates you, he is the one who is cut off’ (108.1-3).”McGinn indicates that Muslim scholars understand the term abtar mean “the one who is cut off,” as a reference to the Antichrist.  Islamic scholars typically agree that ad-Dajjäl as a person.  In some, he is even said to resemble a specific person whose name was ’Abd al-Uzza bin Qatan.  ad-Dajjäl is known as ugly, disfigured, having one eye (al-A’war).  Anas, a companion of the Prophet narrates that the Prophet said, “No prophet was sent but he warned his community against the one-eyed (al-A’war) liar – ’Beware, he is A’war, and your Lord is not A’war.  And there will be written between his eyes the word Kafir (disbeliever).’”

Islamic eschatology about the dajjäl falls into three positions; scholars who view the dajjäl as literal – appearing literally in apocalyptic settings performing miracles.  Another position is that the appearance of dajjäl is allegorical, interpreting dajjäl as the rise in corruption and evil on the earth.  The last position questions the authenticity of Hadith on dajjäl, believes that the portrayal of the Antichrist-Dajjäl in Hadith is irreconcilable with Qur’anic teachings because the Qur’an states that the coming of the day of judgment will be unexpected and sudden (6.31-44; 21.40; 22.25; 43.66).  The miracles attributed to the Antichrist in Hadith are stronger than the miracles given to the prophets to prove their cause of spreading the word of Allah (s.w.t.).  Allah will not, according to this position, give the Antichrist-Dajjäl the power of these miracles to deceive the Ummah.  Essentially, the appearance and power of the Antichrist-Dajjäl contradict the teachings of the Qur’an, which states the laws of nature enacted by Allah (s.w.t.) are unchanging (33:62).

Islamic theologian Abu Hanifa believed in the literal interpretation of the signs of al-Qiyāmah (Day of Judgment) indicating that the emergence of the Antichrist-Dajjäl is a reality.  Sunnites, Shi’ites, Kharijites, and Mu’tazilites accept the emergence of the Antichrist-Dajjäl on al-Qiyāmah.  In the Sufi tradition, we find more allegorical interpretations of dajjäl and al-Qiyāmah.  Sufi poet Rumi talks about the metaphorical blindness of dajjäl.  He believes the prophetic traditions on al-A’war (moral blindness) and Antichrist-Dajjäl are metaphorical.  The point of this discussion is whether the Antichrist-Dajjäl is real, a product of superstition, or an allegorical paradigm shift in the human condition.

Some of scholars go further, identifying Western civilization, America, or Israel and its Zionist oppression, with Antichrist-Dajjäl.  This identification in context stems by virtue of the Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian occupation.  Muhammad al-Ghazzali discusses a Jewish prodigy who will claim occult and divine attributes, garnering thousands of other Antichrists will follow.  Al-Ghazzali highlights the struggle between pious Muslims and Jewish dajjäls as a sign of al-Qiyāmah.  According to al-Ghazzali, within this period of spiritual materialism and anarchy, the Christ will descend from heaven, acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet, and slay the Antichrist-Dajjäl (Hadith by An-Nawwas bin Sam’an) defeating the armies of Gog and Magog by virtue of birr (piety).

Dajjäl does not appear in the Qur’an, despite the fact that the scriptures contain extensive commentary about eschatology.  However, there are some references in the Qur’an that contemporary Islamic and even medieval scholars believe refer to Antichrist-Dajjäl.  In the body of Hadith, ad-Dajjäl is extensively mentioned and has an ontological presence.  There are both religious and socio-political aspects of the portrayal of the Antichrist-Dajjäl in Arabic folklore.  The emergence of the Antichrist-Dajjäl symbolizes corruption and anarchy as well as materialism.

 

References

Bernard McGinn, Anti-Christ Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil New York Columbia University Press, 2000

Al-Bukharï, Fitan, no. 26

Dr. Mustafa Mahmud, al-Masih al-Dajjäl (The Anti-Christ) (Cairo, 1980), 18-25.


Freemasonry, and Neo-Gnosticism

Freemasonry, and Neo-Gnosticism
© 2014 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

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An increasing number of scholars are studying ancient religions.  Why is that?  The extensive scientific study of texts and artifacts is a quest for personal understanding, enlightenment or to gain knowledge of the past and present, which influences the knowledge of the future.  I believe modern scholars are on quests to find “truth,” similar to the age-old quests for the Holy Grail and the Philosopher’s Stone.  Both of these symbols exist as permeating symbolic iconography in our culture to represent the quest for “the hidden truth,” where gaining understanding is synonymous with obtaining the object.

The accomplishment felt when one believes they have discovered previously hidden or unknown meanings of ancient artifacts is individually fulfilling, and described as “enlightenment” or “illumination.”  These discoveries have long been the goal in mystery traditions.  The realization of textual truth is similar to the realization and synthesis of elements seen, heard, smelt, felt and tasted; or, in the case of religion, sensed by some supernatural contact with religious representations such as icons, idols, temples, food, images, and community.

In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Emile Durkheim said:  “…all that is religious is the notion of the supernatural.  By that is meant any order of things that goes beyond our understanding; the supernatural is the world of mystery, the unknowable, or the incomprehensible.” 1 He goes on to explain that religion is a “feeling of mystery.” 2 Particular feelings of mystery can be influenced by structure and artifacts, including symbols in iconography.  The censorship, subjugation, and implication of roles of certain individuals in society may have a powerful effect on their actual location in the society.

The purpose of this thesis is to show you how symbolism can evolve; and, how recently {in the past 200 years} the use of symbols by Freemasons, Rosicrucians and neo-Gnostic sects, have subverted or excluded women and people of color within their broader social framework.  My focus is the use of iconographic symbolism and its meaning by Freemasonic and Rosicrucian groups to negotiate their belief systems.  My use of the term “iconography” is broad and may transcend more scientific definitions of Art History.  The American Heritage Dictionary includes within the definition of iconography:

·        The collected representations illustrating a subject;

·        A set of specified or traditional symbolic forms associated with the subject or theme of a stylized work of art;

·        And, the conventions defining them and governing their interrelationship. 3

Both Freemasonic and Rosicrucian histories are easily shown by textual evidence to have existed for approximately the past 500 years, and predominantly in the past 200.  Neo-Gnosticism, on the other hand, can be described as both permeating Freemasonic and Rosicrucian traditions, as well as existing independently.

For this thesis, I have included the term “neo-Gnostic” only to differentiate it from the Gnosticism of ancient traditions.  Although some ancient Gnostic documents or heresiologist accounts have influenced the groups I will describe, they are not their primary religious focus.  The term “neo-Gnostic” is used specifically to describe the elements of Gnosticism that exist within the other two groups, not to describe modern independent groups that have cropped up in recent years due to public accessibility of the Nag Hammadi Library and other non-traditional Christian texts.  I am choosing to discuss particular groups because they currently and historically they have maintained political power, economic control, and greater access to resources than other groups.  These groups emanated from Europe and currently exist within the United States.  Also emanating from Freemasonic, Rosicrucian and neo-Gnostic traditions were a wide variety of New Religious Movements out of Britain and France.  Secret societies based in Freemasonry and historic Rosicrucianism developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as stated by J. Gordon Melton:

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn remains the preeminent occult secret society.  The Golden Dawn was founded in London around 1887 as a Masonic organization.  Many of its founding members belonged to the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, a fringe-Masonic group established in 1866.The fragmentation of the Golden Dawn helped produce organizations such as the A.·.A.·., Ordo Templi Orientis {O.T.O.}, various Rosicrucian groups including The Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis {A.M.O.R.C.}, and other forms of neo-Gnostic or Christian mystical based systems.5 I will be discussing the history of the symbolic iconography underlying the mysteries professed by these organizations.

Freemasons

Freemasonry is a loose term that contains a broad history and tradition and incorporates various individual groups that now exist worldwide.  There are some forms of Freemasonry that allow women members and there are very few women who have been initiated into male-only groups.  One example is Vinnie Ream, who was sculpting a bust of Abraham Lincoln at the time when he was assassinated.  She was the first woman to gain a large federal commission.  Albert Pike, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite Freemasons, who was also in love with her, gave her “the degrees of the Ancient French Rite of Adoption.6 However, Pike was also an apologist for slavery.  He thought the states had the right to decide on the slavery issue and that it was “not the ‘great outrage on humanity’ that some portrayed it to be.7 Pike also thought Native American territory should be annexed and given to the Confederacy.  According to William L. Fox, he “may have hoped for the military command of the territory (but) he was quite satisfied that Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch, a Texas Ranger, was selected.  His actions towards civilizing Native tribes were celebrated.8

Freemasons claim they can exclude women from membership because they are a private organization that should be allowed to determine who joins.  They also claim that they do not exclude men of color; however, photos of their leadership appear to be only of white men.  This suggests that the exclusion by both race and gender persists.  Since Freemasonic membership has included prominent political leaders, the exclusion of women and people of color continues to contribute to the inequality of access to resources in our society, which favors white men.

To illustrate how arbitrary the exclusion of women is in modern Freemasonic groups, Robert Freke Gould discusses a document entitled A Letter from the Grand Mistress of the Freemasons, first published in the Dublin edition of Dean Swift’s Complete Works {1760-69}, which states:  “The famous old Scottish Lodge of Kilwinnin, of which all the Kings in Scotland have been from Time to Time, Grand Masters without interruption, down from the days of Fergus, who reigned there more than 1000 years ago, long before the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or the Knights of Malta, to which two Lodges I must, nevertheless, allow the Honour, of having adorned the ancient Jewish and Pagan Masonry with many Religious and Christian Rules.“9

Apparent belief of the inadequacy of women Freemasons prevailed and women were blamed for breach of secrecy.  In 1679, John Fulltoun allowed non-commissioned members to enter the Lodge “…freely ratified by ‘Mother Kilwinning.’”  These accusations persisted into the mid-18th century where “one of her daughter Lodges” permitted non-members to enter.10 Because of this, the lodges were considered unofficial.

Rosicrucians

Existing alongside Freemasonry but with a different mythic history are the Rosicrucians.  Albert Mackey provides a description of the Rosicrucians in An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1913), where he says that Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism are derived from entirely different histories.  He further says that although they use similar symbols they have unique meanings for each group.11  Currently, many Rosicrucian groups exist as extensions of Freemasonry since the interest in Rosicrucian mysteries by Freemasons has caused a collaborative effort between the two.

Historical Rosicrucian fellowships initially developed in the 13th and 14th centuries {with the likes of John Reuchlin, John Picus di Mirandola, Cornelius Henry Agrippa, John Baptist Von Helmont, and Robert Fludd}, before Freemasonic lodges had been organized.  The 16th century brought about increased interest in Rosicrucian myths and advanced Freemasonic degrees began to include Rosicrucian concepts.12

Rosicrucian ideology can be best described as Christian mysticism, influenced by Hermeticism, Alchemy, Kabbalism, and Gnosticism.  However, at the crux of the mystery was the idea of the preservation of their founding father, the mythic Christian Rosenkreuz, and the regeneration of the Rosicrucian temple.  After the mythical Rosenkreuz died, the legend is that their order existed only in secret for 100 years.  About 100 years after his death, Rosicrucian brethren discovered the tomb and opened it, finding:

a heptagonal vault, each of its seven sides being five feet wide, and in height eight feet.  The light was received from an artificial sun in the roof, and in the middle of the floor there stood, instead of a tomb, a circular altar, on which was an inscription, importing that this apartment, as a compendium of the universe, had been erected by Christian Rosenkreuz.  Other later inscriptions about the apartment, such as ‘Jesus is my all; the yoke of the law; the liberty of the Gospel’ indicated the Christian character of the builder.  In each of the sides was a door opening into a closet, and in these closets they found many rare and valuable articles, such as the life of the founder, the vocabulary of Paracelsus, and the secrets of the order…The body of Rosenkreuz was also found in a perfect state of preservation.13

In the mid-18th century, the novelty of Freemasonry flooded France.14  Antoine Joseph Pernety, a Benedictine monk, and later a librarian of Frederick the Great, established a new Masonic rite called the Academy of True Masons.  This rite introduced theosophic mysticism analogous to Hermetic Rosicrucianism into Freemasonry.15  Currently, the most influential symbolism of Rosicrucianism in high degree Freemasonry is the Rose Croix.16  This is a degree known by various names in different Freemasonry groups, such as the prince or knight of the Rose Cross.  The symbol includes the cross, the rose, the pelican and the eagle.17  Although, according to Mackey, the current Rose Croix degree in Freemasonry has no association with Hermetic Rosicrucianism,18 this may be the product of a Freemasonic polemic.

Historically, although the groups operated separately, they were also associated with each other.  Robert Freke Gould quotes Steel’s essays in the Tatler {1709} which discusses animosity directed at “a set of People who assume the Name of Pretty Fellows, get new Names, have their Signs and Tokens like Freemasons (and) rail at Womankind…”19 He further quotes the preface to The Secret History of the Freemasons {1724} where “‘the Rosy-Crucians and {Freemasonic} Adepts are stated to be ‘Brothers of the same Fraternity or Order.’” 20  The Daily Journal of September 5th, 1730 says English Freemasons have copied Rosicrucian rituals.21 He lists many other associations between the two.22

In the last century, many religious sects incorporating aspects of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism or both have developed in increasing numbers.  Another contributing factor of many sects, addressed by both Freemasons and Rosicrucians, but more specifically though the ideas of ancient Christian sects called Gnostics, is the individualized initiation into the Christ mind.  In his chapter on Freemasonry and the Gnostics {XXVIII}, Mackey describes the mythic hypothesis of Freemasonry to “trace a connection” between itself and Gnosticism.23 It is specifically here where scholars may heavily criticize Freemasons for their ahistorical and mythological connections.  Freemasonry reduces the mystery traditions of history into one homogenous group with an unbroken lineage.  The Basilidians are thought to be the most important sect contributing to Freemasonry24, but are only preserved in fragments by heresiologists.25

Epiphanius, in the Panarion, says Basilides preached that “the Unbegotten was one, who alone is the father of all.  From it proceeds, he says, Mind, from Mind Logos, from Logos Prudence, from Prudence Power and Wisdom and from Power and Wisdom principalities, authorities and angels.”  He goes on to describe a hierarchy of heavens, 365 in all, “from the highest one down to our heaven.” (24.1.1).26  The specific form of Gnosticism chosen to represent Freemasonry, in light of the wide variety of choices, illustrates a clever admission to the belief in a hierarchical power structure of religion.

Symbolism of Solomon’s Temple and the Rose Cross

Martin S. Day, in The Many Meanings of Myth, distinguishes emblem from symbol. Freemasonic and Rosicrucian culture contain many emblems, which may or may not have retained their original symbolic meaning.  Symbols do not represent an external reality but “a psychic and spiritual reality” so that “the participant in a sacred drama or sacred dance is actually living the sacral experience.  Hence the statue of a god truthfully has the god within it.27 Temples represent a form of religious iconography through their expressed symbolic meanings by temple officials.  Dwellers can be influenced culturally by these expressed meanings.  The exclusion of certain histories and the focus on others creates the context, knowledge and understanding, therefore symbolic meaning for the individuals who inhabit the temple.

Of primary symbolic importance in Freemasonic legend and in its current temple design is the construction of the Temple of Solomon, described in I Kings in the Hebrew Bible. Freemasonic mythologies expand upon Biblical texts by focusing on Hiram, King of Tyre, as Solomon’s initiator into Freemasonry28.  In I Kings, he provides Solomon with massive amounts of lumber, taken from the forests of Lebanon, through the use some 30,000 slaves, to build the temple.  As a coppersmith, Hiram constructs huge copper pillars to place in front of it.  Solomon in turn provides Hiram with cities.

The sheer grandeur of the construction of the Temple of Solomon, along with the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant, is the primary focus of Freemasonry:  “The whole system of Masonic Symbolism is not only founded on the Temple of Jerusalem, but the Temple idea so thoroughly permeates it that an inseparable connection is firmly established, so that if the Temple symbol were obliterated and eliminated from the system of freemasonry…we should have nothing remaining by which to recognize and identify it…“29

This temple, used in Freemasonic initiatory rites, is supposedly what Freemasonic halls represent.  Daniel Béresniak in Symbols of Freemasonry (2000) describes the modern Freemasonic Temple of Solomon:  “The first temple … is the setting for the degree of Master, or that of Secret Master… The legend…tells of how the three architects discovered the traces of an ancient temple attributed to Enoch wile digging the foundations for the temple, and in these ruins found a brilliantly shining Triangle. “30  More interesting, though, within the context of this account is what the myth excludes from Biblical textual accounts of Solomon’s reign, coinciding with his actual temple construction:  Solomon’s elder brother, Adonijah, was supposed to be king {I Kings 2:15}.  He asked Solomon for Abishag (2:17), a woman who was sent as a virgin to help King David on his deathbed {1:1}.

Instead of giving her to him, Solomon killed him {2:24}. In order to achieve appropriated Kingship, Solomon engaged in a typical bridal exchange with the Pharaoh of Egypt so that the Pharaoh’s daughter was sent to Solomon to become his wife {3:1}.  Solomon loved many foreign women {11:1} and had around 1000 wives, concubines, and princesses {11:3}.  However, because he had followed other gods, his kingdom was to fail, according to Yahweh.  He began to follow other gods specifically due to his “foreign wives’” influence {11:8}.

Reflecting the iconoclasm of removing the Asherah from the temple {described extensively in scholarship which claims Asherah or Athirat was a consort of El and probably Yahweh}31:  “Solomon began going after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the disgusting thing of the Ammonites” {11:5}.  “It was then that Solomon proceeded to build a high place to Chemosh the disgusting thing of Moab on the mountain that was in front of Jerusalem, and to Molech the disgusting thing of the sons of Ammon.  And that was the way he did for all his foreign wives who were making sacrificial smoke and sacrificing to the Gods.” {11:5-7}.“The reason why the kingdom would be ripped away from Solomon is that they have left me and begun to bow down to Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, to Chemosh the god of Moab and to Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon.” {11:33}.

The reason this temple construction {which I’m excluding the details of, but is described more specifically in I Kings chapters 5-8} constituted the origins of Freemasonry is its immense employment, construction and therefore the legend of architectural development.  This was a project of huge proportion.  Massive amounts of lumber were taken from Lebanon {orchestrated by Adoniram, and reflected in the Rite of Adonhiram, where he is confused with Hiram}.  I Kings 7:2-8 states, “”And he proceeded to build the House of the Forest of Lebanon,” giving specific details of its construction.

Mackey says that the Legend of the Craft of Freemasonry is “merely a narrative of the rise and progress of architecture in its connection with a peculiar architectural association.”32  Richard A. Rogers and Julie Kalil Schutten wrote The Gender of Water and the Pleasure of Alienation:  A Critical Analysis of Visiting Hoover Dam, where, after visiting the Hoover Dam, they described it as an enormous construction which requires “…the domination of one spirit – the ‘human spirit’ — over an other-than human and apparently feminine spirit.  There is a conquering at work here, in which triumph comes at the cost of another’s subordination, and that cost is almost completely ignored in the entire presentation.33  This reflects the cost to Solomon’s brother, his property bride from Egypt who was the daughter of a pharaoh, the destruction of the forests of Lebanon and ultimately to Solomon himself, merely for following the gods of “foreign women.”

Also paralleling this feat of architecture, “Visitors {to Hoover Dam} walking or driving by are confronted with two very large, thirty-foot tall bronze statues of humanoid figures with parallel wings stretched straight upward, each sitting on a ten-foot-high block of smooth black rock34  I Kings says:

“Hiram cast two pillars of copper, eighteen cubits being the height of each pillar, and a string of twelve cubits would measure around each of the two pillars.  And two capitals he made to put upon the tops of the pillars, cast in copper…And he proceeded to set up the pillars belonging to the porch of the temple.  So he set up the right-hand pillar and called its name Jachin, and then set up the left-hand pillar and called its name Boaz” (I Kings 7:15-21).

Rogers and Shutten describe in detail how the mammoth structure called the Hoover Dam continues to perpetuate a historical, imperialist ideologies where the colonization of Native Americans (complete with their apparently non-resistant cooperation) and the subjugation and control of the feminine-labeled  “chaos” of the Colorado River must be subjugated and controlled by the progressive “white man.”

Mammoth architectural projects continue in the vein of the “House of the Forest of Lebanon,” where the earth is plunged for its finite resources to continue building the proverbial Tower of Babel, and perhaps, finally achieving the 365th level of heaven.  Interestingly, a more ancient Freemasonic legend {expressed in the Halliwell poem ‘1390,’ the most ancient Freemasonic manuscript extant} recounts the building of the tower of Babylon as the origin of Freemasonry:  “Assur, the son of Shem, is also represented as a great Mason, the builder of the city of Nineveh, and to whom Nimrod sent workmen to assist him.  From Babylon, Masonry was carried next to Egypt.” 35

However, by the end of the 19th Century, this legendary account of the origin of Freemasonry was obscured, and, contradicting the old manuscripts the Temple of Solomon was substituted.  “Masonry was no longer believed to have originated at the Tower of Babel now the Temple of Jerusalem was considered as the place of its birth; and Solomon instead of Nimrod was called the ‘first Grand Master.36  This ironically coincides with Britain’s initial attempts at creating Israel in Palestine, beginning in the late 1800s.

Symbolism of the Rose Cross

Another example of officials confusing and obscuring symbolic meaning is expressed in definitions of the Rose Cross.  They illustrate more clearly the level of misogyny associated with attempts to firm up its modern symbolism by excluding or subverting feminine qualities.  Alongside the apparent profound opposition Mackey has to the possibility that Freemasons were actually associated with Rosicrucians, he states, “It is true, that about the middle of the eighteenth century, a period fertile in the invention of high degrees, a Masonic Rite was established which assumed the name of Rose Croix Masonry, and adopted the symbol of the Rose and Cross.37

He then goes on to describe  a Rosicrucian symbol that seems peculiarly like the Rose Cross emblem:  “A philosopher is measuring with a pair of compasses a circle which surmounts a triangle.  The triangle encloses a square, within which is another circle, and inside the circle a nude man and woman, representing, it may be supposed, the first step of the experiment.  Over all is the epigraph: Make of man and woman a circle; thence a square; thence a triangle; form a circle, and you will have the Philosopher’s Stone.38

Mackey then goes on to refute this symbol:  “But it must be remembered…that the labors of the real Hermetic philosophers outside of the charlatans were rather of a spiritual than a material character; and that their “great work” symbolized not the acquisition of inexhaustible wealth and the infinite prolongation of life, but the regeneration of man and the immortality of the soul.39  The woman, represented by material, is effectively eliminated from the equation of symbolic meaning.  If that isn’t explicit enough, Mackey then goes on to describe Peter Gassendi and Mosheim’s interpretation of the rose and cross etymology and symbolism:  They deduce it from the two words ros {meaning} dew and crux {meaning} a cross, and thus define it:  Dew, according to the Alchemists, was the most powerful of all substances to dissolve gold; and the cross, in the language of the same philosophers, was identical with light, or LVX, because the figure of a cross exhibits the three letters of that word.  The word lux was referred to the seed or menstruum of the Red Dragon, which was that crude and material light which, being properly concocted and digested, produces gold.  Hence, says Mosheim, a Rosicrucian is a philosopher, who by means of dew seeks for light, that is, therefore the substance of the philosopher’s stone.40

This Alchemical Red Dragon theory seems like a less polemic recount of Epiphanius’ description of the Borborian Gnostics:  “…the pitiful pair made love…then proceed to hold up their blasphemy to heaven, the woman and the man taking the secretion from the male into their own hands and standing looking up to heaven.  They hold in their hands the impurity and pray…”We offer you this gift, the body of Christ.  And then they consume it, partaking of their shamefulness, and they say, ‘This is the body of Christ and this is the Pasch for which our bodies suffer and are forced to confess to the passion of Christ.’  They do the same with what is of the woman, and she has the flow of blood:  collecting the monthly blood of impurity from her, they take it and consume it together in the same way.  They say, ‘This is the blood of Christ.’41

Mackey, however, refutes that this is the correct interpretation of the Rose Cross, stating:  “Another and more reasonable derivation … in accordance with the notions of Andreä, who was the founder of the Order, and gave it its name, for in his writings he constantly calls it the “Fraternitas Roseae Crucis,” or  ‘The Fraternity of the Rosy Cross’.  If the idea of dew had been in the mind of Andreä in giving a name to the society, he would have called it the ‘Fraternity of the Dewy Cross.’ …  This ought to settle the question.  The man who invents a thing has the best right to give it a name.42

The attitude underlying the revilement at the possibility of its meaning as ‘dew’ appears misogynistic when paralleling it with the idea that man’s regeneration rather than materiality supersedes the first Rosicrucian symbol, containing a nude man and woman.  Mackey goes on to describe various other possible interpretations of the symbol, including the idea that is a derivative of St. Andrew’s Cross and a symbol of secrecy and light.43  My question is, if the founder meant it mean ‘secrecy and light,’ why wouldn’t he name the order the ‘Fraternity of Secrecy and Light?’

Max Heindel, in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception {1937} further obscures and subverts female symbolism, taking a more mystical approach: “Viewed in its fullness, this wonderful symbol contains the key to man’s past evolution, his present constitution and future development, together with the method of attainment …44  This symbol has been considered phallic, an emblem showing the licentiousness of the people who worshiped it.  Truly it is a symbol of generation… 45  And, continuing to reflect Mackey’s description of generation, Heindel states:

for the moment the spirit pierced the veil of flesh and Adam knew his wife.  He had ceased to know himself – thus his consciousness become more and more centered outside himself in the outside world and he lost his inner perception.  That cannot be fully regained until he passed to the stage where it is no longer necessary to have a partner in generation, and he has reached the development where he can utilize his whole creative force at will.”46  Apparently, the goal in these mystery traditions is the subordination of woman who is blamed for causing man to lose his consciousness, and any feminine symbol inherent in the mystery becomes obscured or destroyed.  Ultimately, the elimination of women altogether is the key, so that it is no longer necessary for man to have a partner, so man can utilize his whole creative/regenerative force at will, free of woman.

This ideology reflects the subordination of women by officiators of Christianity.  Women who study Catholicism and other Christian religious organizations have described similar circumstance for women.  It is no surprise to feminism that the theology of subordination and elimination of the female from spirituality exists here.  These are just another example of patriarchal organizations persisting in society that continue to harbor anti-women and racial hierarchies and exclusion.

Women have been subverted, alienated, excluded, and the mysteries and process of the female experience has been made taboo or been sublimated into religious iconography so that it is no longer discernible.  This presentation has hopefully extracted literary evidence of the intentional elimination of women as a social group not only from being officiators in the bodies of these secret orders, but also even from the possibility of spiritual unity.

Bibliography

The American Heritage Dictionary:  Second College Edition (1985).  Houghton Mifflin Company.  Boston.

Béresniak, Daniel (2000).  Symbols of Freemasonry illustrated by Laziz Hamani.  Assouline Publishing.  New York.

Day, Martin S. (1984).  The Many Meanings of Myth.  University Press of America.  Lantham, MD.

Durkheim, Emile (1995).  The Elementary Forms of Religious Life.  The Free Press, New York.

St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis (1990).  The Panarion translated by Philip R. Amidon, S. J.  Oxford University Press.

Fox, William L. (1997).  Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle:  Two Centuries of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in America’s Southern Jurisdiction.  The University of Arkansas Press.

Gould, Robert Freke (1904).  A Concise History of Freemasonry.  Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply C., (Inc.), New York.

Heindel, Max (1937).  The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception or Mystic Christianity, an Elementary Treatise upon Man’s Past Evolution, Present Constitution and Future Development.  L. N. Fowler & Co. London.

Leadbeater, C.W. (1926, 1986).  Freemasonry and its Ancient Mystic Rites.  Gramercy Books.  New York.

Mackey M.D., 33º, Albert G. (1898).  The History of Freemasonry:  Its Legends and Traditions, Its Chronological History with The History of the Symbolism of Freemasonry the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the Royal Order of Scotland by William R. Singleton , 33º.  Volumes II and I.  The Masonic History Company,  New York, and London.

Mackey M.D., 33º, Albert G. (1913).  An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences Comprising the Whole Range of Arts, Sciences and Literature as Connected with the Institution.  (A New and Revised Edition) Volumes II and I.  The Masonic History Company.  New York and London.

Melton, J. Gordon (1992).  The Esoteric Scene, Cultic Milieu, and Occult Tarot.  Garland Pulblishing, Inc. New York and London.

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Revised 1985.  Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.  New York.  Note:  I used this Bible translation in light of Jason BeDuhn’s Truth in Translation:  Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament (2003) where he claims that the New World Translation is the Bible he feels is statistically the most bias free in its interpretation of the original languages.

Rogers, Richard A. and Julie Kalil Schutten. (Aug 2004). “The Gender of Water and the Pleasure of Alienation: A Critical Analysis of Visiting Hoover Dam.” The Communication Review, 7.3, 259-283.

————————————————————————

[1] Durkheim.  1995.  22.

[2] 23.

[3] The American Heritage Dictionary:  Second College Edition.  1985.  638.

[4] Melton. 1992. 44-45.

[5] 45.

[6] Fox.  1997.  92-93.

[7] 62-63.

[8] 70-71.

[9] Gould.  1904.  349.

[10] 339.

[11] Mackey.  1913.  640.  Encyclopedia vol.  II.

[12] Mackey.  1898.  352.  History of Freemasonry vol. II

[13] Mackey.  1913.  640.  Encyclopedia vol II

[14] Mackey.  1898.  352.  History of Freemasonry vol. II

[15] 353.

[16] 355.

[17] The 18th Degree of the Knight of the Pelican and Eagle Sovereign Prince Rose Croix includes:

1.       The jewel worn in this degree is a pair of compasses with a rose on either side and surmounted by a celestial crown. The points of the compasses are extended on the segment of a circle with a cross between them.  Beneath the cross is the heraldic emblem known as a ‘pelican in its piety’; and on the reverse a white eagle with its wings extended as if rising in the air.

2.       The pelican is a symbol of Christ our Redeemer; for, as it was reputed to feed its young with its own blood to save them from death, so our Saviour shed His blood to save us from death eternal.

3.       The eagle reminds us that the Saviour is God himself, as He said to the Israelites of old: I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself

4.       The rose is an emblem of secrecy and silence. In the Song of Solomon, we find reference to the Saviour under the mystical title of the Rose of Sharon.

5.      The cross represents the Cross of Calvary, red with the precious Blood.

[18] 355.

[19] Gould.  1904.  110-111.

[20] 113.

[21] 113.

[22] The purpose of this presentation is not to unravel the truth of whether Freemasons and Rosicrucians were associated, or the more contentious argument, that Freemasons were actually derived from Rosicrucians, it is important to illustrate not only the similarity between the two but also the co-membership among them and historical accusations of “railing at womenkind.”

[23] Mackey.  1898.  371.  History of Freemasonry vol. II

[24] 372.

[25] The Gnostic Bible edited by Willis Barnstone and Marvin Meyer.  2003.  112.

[26] Epiphanius.  1990.  68.

[27] Day.  1984.  11.

[28] Mackey.  1898.  78.  History of Freemasonry vol.I

[29] 74-75.

[30] Béresniak.  2000.  26.

[31] See Judith M. Hadley’s The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah:  Evidence for a Hebrew Goddess.  2000.  Cambridge University Press.

[32] Mackey.  1898.  74.  History of Freemasonry vol.I

[33] Rogers and Shutten.  2004.  274.

[34] 275.

[35] Mackey.  1898.  59.  History of Freemasonry vol.I

[36] 60.

[37] Mackey.  1913.  640.  Encyclopedia vol.  II.

[38] 641.

[39] 641.

[40] 641.

[41] Epiphanius.  1990.  76-77 (26.4.4-8).

[42] 641.

[43] 641.

[44] Heindel.  1937.  534.

[45] 535.

[46] 535.


Hinduism: Fertility and Ancient Goddess Worship

Hinduism: Fertility and Ancient Goddess Worship
© 2014 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All Rights Reserved.

kaliAn increasing number of scholars are studying the sacred feminine in ancient religions.  This sacral study is a trend in contemporary theology and academia.  Why is that?  The extensive study of ritual, texts, and artifacts in ancient religions reflects a re-enchantment of the feminine from patriarchal phallo-centrism.  Western religious traditions are rife with solar-phallic worship as Hindu culture and religion is pregnant with goddess iconography and devotion.  The purpose of this essay is to explore, albeit in an abbreviated manner, possible iconic threads of fertility ritual and worship in ancient Vedic-Aryan culture and religion.

The religions of early Indus valley civilizations focused upon pastoral rites, address of regional warfare, and agrarian fertility.  Early cultivators of the Indus Valley civilization shared a universal commonality with societies that also developed along rivers such as the Nile and Euphrates.  Civilizations that mature and settle along rivers ascribe myth to the development of their societies along these rivers, with the rivers often taking a feminized maternal quality, providing sustenance for agrarian culture, harvest, and ‘destroying’ the known world with flooding.

Scholars suggest the existence of a centralized religious and political authority at ceremonial centers such as Kalibangan, Harappa, and Mohenjo-Daro.¹ Pastoral rites were necessary to induce fertility to ensure clan continuity, agrarian harmony with lunar cycles, progeny, and success of the tribe in warfare.  A large number of terracotta figurines found along the ancient Indus suggest a traceable presence of the sacred feminine in ancient Hinduism, providing a cultural thread of the “proto-Siva-Sakti.”  Archaeological findings indicated an urban Indus Valley Culture centered on commerce, trading with the Sumer city-state.  Artifacts with feminine motifs relating to fertility rites in the well-preserved Mohenjo-Daro suggest iconic powers of the sacred feminine in goddess worship.  Knipe theorizes such nude figurines were “frequently linked with symbols of vegetation or of animals, including real animals and composite or mythic creatures.”

This iconographic symbolism includes pregnant figurines often seated upon tigers, lions, or other mythic beasts.  Animals were depicted as mounts of yaksis in Jainism, Hinduism, and later Buddhism.  These mythic creatures also were motifs pertaining to fertility in Mesopotamia and Canaan.  Knipe associates horned masked animal figures with the culture of Elam, seated in yogic posture.  Such a figure scholars mistakenly identified with a proto-Siva, a deity associated with the Phallus in the Vedas.  The arrival of Vedic culture is believed to have replaced an earlier matrilineal culture with a patriarchal one.

The sacrificial rites of the Rg-Veda serve as a mid-point between pastoral fertility worship of the Indus Valley, and Vedic asceticism of patron Brahmins.  Fertility rites and feminine motifs discovered point to a coalescent archetype in cultures, a mother-goddess who grants fertility of women, animals, and successful agriculture.  Unlike Biblical canon, and its officiators, which obscure and subordinate the role of the sacred feminine, the complexity of Vedic rites and literature includes the sacred feminine as potent consort Devas.  The pantheon of the sacred feminine connects with mythic powers controlling fate and destiny, similar to Zoroastrian deities such as Zurvan in the Avesta scriptures.  Many sacred rivers in India are referred to as being goddesses, or the primordial blood of a supreme Devi.  In the film, “The Long Search” {330 Million Gods}, the Ganges is referred to as a Maha Devi, a great goddess that heals and “purifies aught she touches.”

Although suggestive of Upanishad traditional practices such as ascetic Yoga, the lingam, or mahalinga, is a symbol latent in ancient patriarchal religions evolving from solar-phallic worship, and the myth of the dying “god,” i.e. that myths of the Christ, Mithra, and Osiris.  This writer believes theologians have perhaps overlooked, oversimplified even, the concept of sacrifice in petition for fertility in procreation and agrarian harvest.  Sarasvati is associated with an ancient river of the same, and is a manifestation of a primordial maternal-sexual deity.  Such fertility goddesses, reflected the primordial Devi, polyvalent and often tri-functioning, similar to the Vedic patriarchal pantheon.

Ritual bathing and purity were associated with purity necessary to conduct Vedic sacrifices.  In the agrarian traditions, nude feminine figurines display a prominent association with ritual bathing in sacred rivers, anthropomorphized as the mahadevi.  Purity reflected the fertility of the soil and female womb.  Contemporary explorations and re-enchantment with the sacred feminine in ancient religions indicates a common thread of goddess iconography.  Flood supports this thesis by suggesting “the innumerable goddesses of local traditions are generally regarded by Hindus as manifestations or aspects of a single Great Goddess or Maha Devi (emphasis mine), whose worship may go back to pre-historic times if sixth- or fifth- millennia terracotta figurines are taken to be Goddess images.”

Later Vedic traditions of Vaisnavisn and Saivism coagulated the sacred feminine into puranic and tantric practices.  Orthoprax Vedic practice indicates early fertility worship to expiate fecundity of soil and sexual procreation.  The Goddess guaranteed generation of all material form, agricultural fertility, and ritual purity during sacrificial offerings to Soma and Agni.  Local fertility-domestic goddesses at times became regionalized, approached, and worshiped in idealized forms of the sacred feminine.  Female baked clay motifs, according to Flood, were located at Mergarh, Sheri Khan Tarakai, and Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus river valley.

Though several devi are mentioned in Rg Veda texts, scholars are speculative on the importance of devi in sacrificial rites.  Flood lists Prthivi, Aditi, Usas, Nirrti, and Vac, each with unique significance and function in early Vedic theology.  Again, overlooking the significance and abundant findings in ancient Indus Valley culture of feminine figurines, personification of rivers, petitionary fertility rites, and scholars can only speculate on the worship of a primordial Maha Devi.  Textual evidence suggests this trend began in the medieval period of Hinduism, though to rely solely upon scripture would be a polemic against the influence of the sacred feminine in ancient religion.

Evidence should be researched to thread the evolution of Indus valley and Dravidian goddess worship centered upon fertility, and Brahmanic goddess worship focused primarily upon Vedic sacrifices.  While the Devi clearly takes on a subordinate, ambivalent position in early Vedic literature, certain goddesses such Sarasvati survive into later Hindu literature.  Evidence of fertility worship and rites from the Veda and archaeological findings indicate a non-Vedic devotion to the sacred feminine that survived and evolved into Medieval Hindu literature.

The iconography of the goddess and the sacred feminine in Hindu texts are “notorious for their erotic and antinomian” context in a collection of scriptures termed Tantras.  Such texts were regarded as heterodox by the orthodox Vedic ecclesia.  The virtue of Tantra and the sacred feminine to the dignity of Hindu culture and religion is prevalent.  The motive is that all men and women perceive to a certain degree, the everlasting wail of the ‘First Noble Truth,’ that everything is sorrow and religion consoles them by either an authoritative denial or perpetuation of this truth.

There is more misperception spoken of and written about Tantra than nearly all religions of the world.  A good sum of this outside approach to esotericism is fostered by the idea that there is something of a foreboding mystique about Tantra, even perhaps a sense of aversion to its transgressive elements.  Tantra is the method, the ritual, and the act of the divine manifestation exclusive to the sacred feminine.  Sexuality is employed in diverse elements of Tantra, yet Tantra further is concerned of integrating antinomian divine applications.

Tantric practice is arguably the most advanced form of Hinduism, adjacent to the arts of yoga.  Collectively, Tantra and the theological understanding of Kali and Durga almost has been unequivocally misperceived and condemned by scholars foreign to the practice.  Only a limited portion of the vast compilations of Tantric literature has the public had access to.  The fraction of these exclusive and obscure texts is now more available to the curious scholar with the assistance of information technology.

The sacred feminine energy of the manifest universe is referred to as Sakti, and its devotees, Saktas.  The Great Goddess in the feminine schema is called by the generic, Devi, and Durga is one of the most noticeable iconic representations of the Goddess.  Durga is a violent warrior-goddess known for her legendary slaying of the buffalo demon, Mahisa.  Early Tantric texts such as the Todala Tantra recognize the cult of Durga as a representation of Devi.  Gender symbolism in the Tantras, as Knipe offers, is often contradictory with a feminized material world ensnaring the masculinized world of the spirit.  Knipe states the male deity usually self-sacrifices to the female deity Durga {or Kali}.  The unmanifest Brahman is polarized when the “deity may often declare both genders and also genderlessness.”  {Knipe 1991; 113}

The buffalo demon, Mahisaura, or Mahisa, received divine boon from Brahma of invincibility amongst mortals.  Mahisa arising from Ego brings war to the Gods led by Indra in Heaven.  Potent energies manifest from the slain and angered gods in the form of Durga who is proposed matrimony by Mahisa.  Durga refutes the buffalo demon’s approach, summarily slays, and decapitates the deity, proclaiming her protection to the gods whenever invoked.  Flood offers that the myth confronts “Brahmanic models of womanhood…”  The fierce and aggressive Goddess as Durga exhibits the qualities of eroticism and traditional asceticism found in the Tantras.

Flood continues to theorize that the generic designation Devi is interchangeable with other epithets of the Goddess, such as Kali and Durga.  Later Vedic traditions of Vaisnavisn and Saivism coagulated the sacred feminine into puranic and tantric practices.  The mahadevi manifested as Durga or Kali is worshipped in the guises of natural phenomena such as drought, earthquakes, tsunamis, or in the human modes of female roles such as sister, courtesan, wife, or mother.  Flood lists the main responsibilities of the Devi as, “Durga,” slayer of the buffalo-demon, seated on or attended by a lion or tiger {when she is called Ambika}.

Durga, the ‘difficult to access,’ has ten arms and weapons, kicks and pierces Mahisa with her trident and beheads him, while yet maintaining a calm and detached demeanor….as Kali and other terrible manifestations, like Caumunda.  They are emaciated, blood- drinking, and violent forms who haunt the cremation grounds.  Kali is black or blue, garlanded with severed heads, girdled with severed arms, with rolling, intoxicated eyes and a lolling tongue.  She dances on the corpse of her husband Siva.

Tantric scholars such as David Gordon White point out the prevalence of Tantric adoration to Kali and Durga primarily in the region of Bengal in northeast India.  Such iconography of eroticism and death, invocations of terror and violence are seen as transcendent means to the paradise of the Goddess.  White states, “with the focus on death rituals, it is appropriate that the Tantric aides to transcendence are ghosts, who become helpers and protectors on the paths to Kali’s heaven.”  {White 200; 80}  The skeleton of Tantric ritual is the task of the Aspirant to identify with the deity worshipped along with its presiding macrocosm.

Transcendental experiences in worshipping both Kali and Durga force the atman out of hiding, and reveal the “spiritual materialism of the ego, how it will try to co-opt spiritual experience for its own ends.”  Such antinomian practices tend to close the gap between the scholar-practitioner and the Hindu devotee to either Durga or Kali.  Most Tantric devotees of Kali and Durga say their texts and teachings are not meant for those without highly specialized qualifications {adhikara}, and initiations…their claim are that they are the exoteric canon’s higher, esoteric extension meant only for the few.

Reductionism of esoteric and select Tantric systems distorts the religious applications of it so much that initiates often fail to recognize their own religious heritage.  In the area between religion and secularism, between scholar and practitioner, a shade emerges as a sort of Trojan Horse, pitting the speculative debate of confessional vs. secular-academic against cyclic ambiguity.  Usual understanding of Tantra and other occult arts is filtered through the discriminating government of the temporal self, in the illusion of the ego.  As one Tantrika offers, samsara is just a ‘cover’ for nirvana, allowing for the liberation of the atman amidst the terrifying nature of Durga and Kali.

Works Cited

Parpola, Asko and Hansen, Bent S. “South Asian religion and society” Curzon Press; Riverdale, MD: Riverdale, 1986.

Knipe, David M. “Hinduism” HarperCollins; New York, NY: 1991

Flood, Gavin.  “An Introduction to Hinduism” Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK: 1996

330 Million Gods” New York: Time Life Video; Ambrose Video [distributor], © 1989 Narrated by Ronald Eyre.

White, David Gordon “Tantra In Practice” Princeton University Press Princeton, NJ 2000

Chakravarty , Chintaharan “The Tantras – Studies on their Religion and Literature” published by Sankar Bhattacharya for Punthi Pustak Calcutta, India 1963

Knipe, David M. “Hinduism” HarperCollins; New York, NY: 1991

Flood, Gavin.  “An Introduction to Hinduism” Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, UK: 1996


Myth, Symbol, and Initiation

Myth, Symbol, and Initiation
© 2013 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

lillith909Myth indicates an unremitting thread of how we interpret interaction between the Holy and the human condition.  Mythology engaging the faithful with heroes, heroes, and deities often metaphysically.  The faithful in the cultures that disseminate myths often believe some elements of truth exist in myths that narrate metaphysical interplay before or beyond historical time. Myths are narratives that break the boundaries between the human and the holy.   Myths sustain syncretism in religion, highlighting relationships between the human condition and the holy.

Generally more experiential than analytical, myths seek to penetrate the depths of human imagination with revelatory narratives that relay {as in the Old Testament, Hopi Kachina myths, the moral certitude of the Holy Qu’ran} moral convictions in culture.  Myth fractures the borders of linear time and coalesce historical conceptions of religion.  Nearly the founding of all predominant religious traditions derives from mythological inception regardless of history and language.

Myth should not be used in a pejorative or dismissive manner for diverse cultures embed their faith in these sacred stories whether or not history unveils their veracity.  The revelatory nature behind all myths insists to the investigator in Religious Studies that the sacred story is neither false nor true.

Myths classify into origin, eschatological, ritual, and prestige.  Origin myths {Book of Genesis} are sacred stories of primordial origins of human culture, often supplanted in diverse metaphysical realms in this world by divine characters.  Cultural etiology, language dissemination, and human alienation from primal grace, segregation from the Holy are qualities of origin myths.  Prestige myths are epic tales {Homer’s Iliad} of human and divine characters often containing qualities of tragedy, love and agape, sacrifice, retribution, heroics, and war.  Myths that center upon ritual {Christian “last supper,” Buddhist accounts of the Buddha meditating in Benares} explain often with metaphysical themes the performance and transmission of ritual within religious traditions.  Jewish religious practices and celebrations often center upon ritual steeped in Biblical myth such as Abraham’s Covenant with God and Passover.

Eschatological myths concern revelations of human destiny under the lens of meta-history.  Eschatological myths often include apocalypticism and messianic expectations and belief in time that transcends linear time.  Mircea Eliade states that a common quality of eschatological myths is a quality of eternalism steeped in a return of the Holy to “correct” and/or “judge” the acts of humans individual and collective.

Forms of segregation and alienation from the divine are restored and human destiny enters of period of everlasting grace and boon proceeding apocalyptic changes in history with dire consequences for the human condition.  Millenarianism, the fascination with millennial fulfillment and change in various eras, and cyclical myths, the fascination with cyclical destructions of human history are two categories of eschatological myth.

Myths contain the use of archetypes, and the consensus of modern psychology is that myth is more an expression of the human psyche, rather than an explanation of faith.  Myths are primarily ontological; they are concerned with an understanding of the human condition and the human place in the cosmos. While it is evident ontology is the central theme behind all myth, the segregation of the human from the Holy and the intimate interplay with the Holy and human destiny overall supersedes the veracity of myth.

Myth authenticates cultural, tribal, religious custom by connecting the sacred story to faith in metaphysical truths e.g. concepts of Buddhist nirvana, and Catholic penance.  Therefore, myths often generation culture innate desires to perpetuate and authenticate experiential and not dogmatic religion.  On the negative side, myths can generate cultural schism over territory {Palestine, and Tibet} connected metaphysical tales to justify a culture’s occupation of a certain parcel of sacred land.

Myths often lay at the far end of the spiritual continuum in human destiny transitioning from legendary occurrence in history to mythical tale in and out of time.  Myth then breaches the end of the religious spectrum by assuming a supernatural quality that supersedes the importance of the quasi-historical events.  Myth unveils history in a metaphysical manner that highlights human destiny rather than history emphasizes the accounts of mythology.  The meta-narratives of myth breaches barriers of historical accounts and archetypal legends that are neither true nor false yet hold preeminent effect on human destiny as the center of its self-conceited universe.

Myth also functions as a religious meme where boundaries of the human and holy are perpetually breached.  Such mythic themes about the primordial state of human existence, human alienation from the Holy indicates a ‘cognitive validity’ that is no more verifiable than fairy tales of youth are.  A demythologizing does not eliminate the innate religiosity of myth but possibly devalues the importance of faith with hermeneutics.  Thus, meta-narratives illustrate a religious language best left in the confines of belief within the human psyche. Myth is always invoked by history and the innate human need for religious experience.

Religious symbolism always is multifaceted; it is a meaning-giving progression that opens direct modes of experience with the Holy.  Symbolism is embedded in Mankind’s sacraments, art, sciences, mathematics, sexuality, politics, even currency.  The term symbol applies to a variety of context, words and money included, pointing to the sacred and a deeper understanding of Mankind’s innate religiosity.

Money is considered a symbol for human economic agreement, for trade of goods and services, supply and demand.  Thus, the reality behind symbols, behind religious hieroglyphs, the meaning of monetary symbolism is mental and underscores the dynamic interaction between the Holy and language.

Religious symbolism must be defined and integrated properly, understanding of how symbols are structured and their multifaceted ways of functioning.  The manipulation of symbols to obscure the Holy from the human condition with spiritual materialism and religious fundamentalism is a bane to the faithful and the investigators of Religious Studies.  Symbol is a term weighty in its meaning.  Religious sigils and hieroglyphs often break down the limits of language and philosophy.  Symbols that highlight the referents are called representational symbols, while symbols that manifest or participate in the referent are called presentational symbols.  Religious symbolism denotes meanings beyond language, inducing the referent to experience a mysterious reality.

The perceptibility of any religious symbol relies on its intrinsic meaning to the reference and the faithful.  The satirical use of the Prophet Muhammad in Danish journals indicates a deep sensitivity of Mankind toward sacred symbols.  Islam forbids any portrayal of Prophet Muhammad, and this satire in Danish periodicals produced a tide of religious fervor and violence.  Thus, we are psychologically attracted to religious icons and revile their misperception and misuse.  Desecration of religious symbols induces mass revulsion and condemnation as if the symbols possessed the praeter-human qualities of the referent.

To desecrate the Crucifix, the Star of David, a statue of Buddha or at the least the American flag invokes attitudes of a profanation toward the Holy.  Religious symbolism and archetypes are interdependent.  Multivalent religious symbolism indicates a churning, an activation of archetypal forces immersed deep in the human psyche.

The preeminence of studying religious symbols in context has widened approaches to the investigation of comparative theology.  Categorized and studying religious symbolism in their content, context of culture and sociology, intention of presentation underscore the human approach to the Holy.

Symbols and religious hieroglyphs function also to systemize and synchronize religious traditions and the breeches of faith and language.  Masonic symbolism synchronizes religious symbolism that interlaces with many traditions such as ancient Egyptian religion, Judaism, Christianity, and Greco-Roman pagan religions.  The theological curriculum for the study of the initial degrees of Freemasonry derives from Judaic and Biblical mysticism.

Religious symbolism often has analogous references to iconic meanings and metaphoric meanings. Signs and symbols of the Holy are not confined to language; rather they present syncretic undertones of faith, prophecy, and ritual.  The letter G, the square and compass are symbolism exclusively associated with Freemasonry, whilst the crucifix and representations of the cross are confined to Christianity, albeit with a more secular fashion.  An increasing number of scholars are investigating religious symbolism endeavoring to synchronize religious faith and underpin humanity’s instinctive desire for religions.

The extensive search to understand religious symbolism is a quest to unravel the context of faith and personal spirituality in the confines of Sufism, Rabbinic Judaism, or Roman Catholicism.  Religious symbolism permeates our culture to represent an underlying societal and religious ‘quest’ to uncover the realm of faith and of the Holy.  Thus, the gaining of understanding a symbol is synonymous with multifaceted meaning of the symbol.

The accomplishment achieve when one communes with the prevalent meaning that underlies a religious symbol is individually fulfilling.  One identifies oneself as a Christian by wearing Christian sigils, hence a personal fulfillment in identifying with the referent of the religious sigil.  Emile Durkheim explains that religion invokes a “feeling of mystery” {Durkheim 1995: pg. 22}.  Particular feelings that break down barriers of faith, language, and science are influenced thusly by religious iconography.  Feelings of the mystery, the Holy in the individual, function to synchronize religious symbolism and at once proselytize the faithful.

Ritual and initiation are the greatest forces in religion, and in the human condition.  Initiation, be it into a religious tradition or institution, or into a ‘private religious fraternity, breaches the boundaries of religious mystery and faith.  Rituals that are obscured in secrecy and mystic epiphany propel one into a new physiological, and psychological dawning.  Initiation rites evoke a new panorama of religious faith, approachable in this thesis under the auspices of psychology, sociology, and theology.  Through ritual initiation the mystic journey of the soul, a reenactment of the romantic history of the soul, and a recapitulation of a divine heritage of the immortality of the soul are often portrayed in a stage of pageantry and solemnity.

Through initiation into the obscure and secretive mystery schools of religion, aptly hidden in the shadows of history, the seeker arrives at a knowledge and conversation with the Holy, the ‘Other’ that satiates the intolerable ache of the soul to know itself and its creator.  Instinct and a primal condition of religion latent in the human genealogy are awakened in ritual initiation.  Initiation is meant to instill an indwelling, an epiphany, which activates in the human brain matrix, an innate sense of religion and the mystery of God.  Initiation overcomes a spiritual poverty of the soul, beginning a primal condition that annexes the differences between Mankind and the mystery of God.

The virtue of mysticism and spirituality to the human condition is prevalent. The motive of world religious traditions is that all men and women perceive to a certain degree, the everlasting wail of the Buddhist ‘First Noble Truth,’ that everything is sorrow and religion consoles them by either an authoritative denial or perpetuation of this truth. This psychological ply is done via transgression of the situation itself, or by promising amends in other states of existence.  A fundamental problem is that religions, without exception, can produce extreme fringe ideologies growing violent at the first tests of history and culture.

The claim of religion is to excel, and incidentally, make obsolete the judgments of reason by reconciling mysticism and science. In this formula, a direct experience and more importantly expression of intelligences superior in kind to any incarnate human occur. Preconceptions of religion and the arts and sciences of the occult by the initiated scholar breed spiritual materialism and secular demonization.

Esoteric religion presupposes ideals of a discarnate intelligence or an experience of ultimate reality, regardless of whatever linguistic intrusion humanity places upon it. This is exactly where religion falters scientifically, trapping the human condition in its finitude and trance of sorrow.  This is the great melancholy of Mankind, in which men such as Marcus Aurelius, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche have forfeited my definition of religion.

Professor William James cites this melancholy as the abode of the “sick soul” where flesh and spirit lust contrary to one another in a state of all-encompassing schizophrenia.  This spiritual schizophrenia is an unhealthy one that induces men, and women, to initiate into secret societies, religious fraternities, since ancient times acted as enigmatic camarillas, and depositories of ordained knowledge.  Ceremonial initiations express a latent intolerable ache of the soul in Mankind to ameliorate this unbearable “sickness” by seeking a direct contact with the holy mysteries of God and religion.

The solemn and overwhelming initiation rites of the Masonic lodges are symbolic pageantries suited to induce in the frightened and seduced soul a veneration of the divine mysteries, and admiration for the powers of nature and God.  Candidates into Masonic initiations are prepared after thorough character examination and appropriate consecration and purification.  Initiates of ancient philosophic societies were regarded as possessing secret knowledge, an illuminated intelligence, extraordinary faculties, and powers.

Other mystic sects like the Sufi Muslims were truly enlightened human beings that have guided the manifest destiny of humanity by inspiring developments in the humanities, arts, advances in medicines and the liberal sciences, and great philosophic contributions to Islamic sciences.  The esoteric schools of the mystery traditions remain across history as a powerful force in the regeneration of human dignity, religious, and cultural institutions.

There is an epiphany felt when one initiates into previously hidden or unknown religious formulas or uncovers esoteric meanings of symbols and sacraments.  Ritual, ceremony, and initiation are a carnal act not achieved by conventional religious institutions or by the officiator whom performs it, or on behalf of the postulant.  The experiences of the postulant in such initiation ceremonies as Roman Catholic ordination, the Native American Ghost Dance, and initiation into Sufi tariqas are fulfilling and described by candidates as “enlightenment” or “illumination.”

Theologian Emile Durkheim explains, “religion is a feeling of mystery.”  Durkheim states “..all that is religious is the notion of the supernatural.  By that is meant any order of things that goes beyond our understanding; the supernatural is the world of mystery, the unknowable, or the incomprehensible.” The mystic transmission of knowledge between teacher and student in Sufi Mevlevi and Naqshbandi lineages penetrates this veil of antiquity.

Experiences of ritual initiation into the mysteries of Freemasonry are impressed upon the candidate by a pageantry of symbols, idols, and esoteric iconography.  Masonic 33º Grand Master Albert Pike likens Masonic initiation, as “is the aspiration of the soul toward the Absolute and Infinite Intelligence, which is the One Supreme Deity, most feebly characterized as an “Architect.”  What do we mean by initiation? The root of the word itself stems the Latin noun initium, which literally means ‘beginning,’ ‘a commencement anew’.

The Greek word used is telein, which means ‘to accomplish’ or ‘to make perfect’. Initiation means the beginning of a new perception and attitude toward life, death, and rebirth.  Moreover, it is the entry into entirely new archetypes of existence.  Initiation means, above all, spiritual maturity and reformation, a definite mark in the epoch of human spiritual history.  Initiation is veritable not by claims, but by Works.  It is the work of the new initiation to make his, or her, life anew and to at last, “know thyself.

miche06cReligious scholars have discerned three basic categories of initiation. The first being such social rituals as puberty rites which mark the transition of childhood to adulthood.  The second category includes those rites, which admit one into a secret society. The major characteristics of these societies are that they are usually limited to one sex and purport to impart secrets usually of a spiritual nature.

The third category of initiatory rites encompasses what we could call mystical vocations such as shamans, medicine men, or witchdoctors. These rites are very common to the second category {very confidential} but are more intensely personal in the sense that they culminate in ecstasies and visions. These experiences seal the vocation of the shaman and provide him with further instructions to help him in his craft.   Mircea Eliade notes the shamanism experiences of initiatory rites as “equivalent to a basic change in existential condition.”

Eliade highlights initiation as a repetitive symbolism, retrogression to the chaotic primordial events that shaped the proto-history of the species, thus a common theme in initiation is a reenactment of the interaction between the divine hierarchy and the ancient world.   All initiatory rites induce a  psychological and psychological rebirth, a resurrection by iconographic symbols embedded into the psyche of the postulant.

Eliade classifies initiations into two categories: puberty rites and specialized initiations.  Puberty rites are ceremonies by virtue of which adolescent members of the community gain access to sexuality and knowledge, often accompanied by dramatic pageants, not excluding corporal and genital mutilations.  Specialized initiations are secret ceremonies where individuals undergo psychological transformation and become emissaries, or protégés, of the divine hierarchy invoked during initiations.

Ritual initiation into religious societies is commemorative, petitionary and instinctual.  Eliade fails to approach ritual initiation from the panorama of a scholar-practitioner.  There must be a concern with the insider-outsider approach to Religious studies, for the mantle between scholar and practitioner often is blurred in subjectivity.  Various scholars masquerading as practitioners have charged at times religious preceptors with misconduct of ethics, sexuality, and unenlightened behavior to say the least. These charges upon the psychology and style of initiation often are due to preexisting aversion to secret societies and arcane sciences with its often-erotic mysteries. Arguably, spiritual egotism injects itself here into the vague impression between scholar and practitioner.  Eliade often brings a banal, yet informed prospect of rites and symbols of initiation. 

In the area between religion and secularism, between scholar and practitioner, a shade emerges as a sort of ‘Trojan Horse,’ pitting the speculative debate of confessional vs. secular-academic against cyclic inconclusiveness.  How does an academic insider of a prescribed religion promulgates experience and expression objectively?  Is it conceivable for one to be thrust inside an initiatory religious tradition while remaining an objective scholar?  Alternatively, is it permissible in principle for a practitioner to engage academia?  Initiation is the reconciler here. The scholar-practitioner must look impartially upon this issue.

The scholar-practitioner who has failed in initiation, or simply not undertaken the ordeals of initiation, perpetuates a homespun movement whose teachers have not received the teachings and the accompanying spiritual transmission with a recognized lineage.  Initiation allows the seeker new assessments of life and death compounded with a new thirst for knowledge and illuminated study.  To allow initiation unto the unfit is not only severely damaging to all aspects of the aspirants psyche, it also is disastrous for the teacher and student.

Naturally, the question arises, what is myth and initiation?  Myth is the story, the pageant stage of metaphysical events and stories occurring in a ‘mystical’ time-stream outside of human history.  The initiation is the uploading of the archetypal symbolism and religious programming to the brain, inherently reprogramming the psyche conditioned at birth by social structures it was issued; e.g. parents, schools, fraternities.

In a zeal to appreciate and make the best of my connection with a life of mysticism and illuminated study, scholar-practitioners experience difficulty in defining and placing myth and mysticism. Are they the foundations of religion, spiritual philosophies, a system of morals, or what? An illustrative example of a spirituality containing both “mythic” elements and religious initiation is Sufism, and the theory that Sufism is not a religion, though it contains marked religious elements and many religious references.  A Brother may legitimately say, if he wishes, and many do say, “Sufism is my religion” but he is not justified in classifying and holding it out to other people as a Religion.

A Sufi is religious, but should not profess Sufism as a religion.  References and my research into many Sufi scholars and clerics is abundantly clear that the system is one meant to exist outside and independently of religion; nonetheless, Sufism is a nameless faith.  Sufism requires of its devotees belief in the Shahadah; “there is no god but Allah (the Creator of the universe) and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah,” and personal conformation of the guidance of the holy Qur’an.

The philosophy of Freemasonry is also an example of initiation replete with mythic foundations; albeit behind it lays a large philosophical background not appearing in its surface-rituals and doctrine, but left for discovery to the research and effort of Masonic scholars. That philosophical background is a Gnosis or an ordained knowledge, a teaching as old as the world, one which has been shared alike by the Vedics and Tantrics of the Orient, the Egyptian, Chaldean and Orphic Initiation systems, the Pythagorean and Platonist schools, and all the Mystery Temples of both the past and the present, Christian or otherwise.

Notice the increasing sensationalism of the mystery schools and secret societies with their inclusions in popular culture and literature, such as Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Da Vinci Code, The Solomon Key, and popular films like “National Treasure.”  Esotericism is swiftly gaining a resurgence of romanticism and popularity.

Religious initiations include emic and etic language.  Emic language; those terms used by the believers or the observed group, and etic language; distinctions and descriptions made by outside observers, at once break down and erect barriers between the profane and the initiated.  Initiation experiences supersede language, often creating a meta-language of codes, iconology that become embedded in the Initiate’s psyche.

All initiations, including consecrations in commonly have at least three phases, though these phases can be repeated within the same ritual.  The first, or pre-liminal phase prepares the candidate for initiation.  This is done in many ways but the goal of all of them is to develop in the candidate a sense of separation from his or her former life.

Those first phase preparations that are directed towards the candidate, as opposed to those that are directed towards the ritual conductors or ritual space, generally fall into two groups, physical/psychological, and magical, though many groups do not always show a clear delimitation between physical/psychological, and magical levels of awareness.  Almost all groups use forms of sensory deprivation in their initiatory rites. The most common forms of this are the blindfold or hoodwink and the binding of the body in one or more places with cord or rope.

The second phase is the ‘initiation proper.’ In this phase, the candidate goes through a process that will eventually bring him or her into the group or tradition. In magical orders or religions, this phase is often magical in nature and is said to have specific effects on the candidate that he or she may not be aware of but will bring about the necessary connection to that groups magical current.

Integration into a spiritual or religious society is the final phase. It can be difficult to pinpoint where this phase starts in the ritual. In some instances it occurs only after the candidate is declared to be a member of the group or tradition in question and the secrets pertaining to the new initiate’s grade or rank within the group are given. In some magical groups, this phase begins before the magical current of that group is placed within the candidate.

This phase may continue through to the end of the ritual itself or may end earlier.  Integration techniques are often quite simple. For instance, almost all initiating groups within the Western Mysteries read to the new initiate a series of instructions pertaining to the teachings of their new grade. In indoor lodge or temple settings, the new initiate is often seated in a particular quarter of the ritual space reserved for members of the same grade.  This is seen in the initiations of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as well as in the second and third Masonic degrees of the Blue Lodge.

The three phases of initiation are markedly similar to the phases of a ‘rite de passage,’ consisting of preliminal, liminal, and post-liminal phases, so much so that we may, as an etic delineation, identify initiations as a form of rites de passage, as numerous others have already done.  As rites de passage, initiations are a subclass of ritual. Therefore, we can say that initiations are ritual processes directed towards a subject, being one or more candidates, and having some effect on those men and women.  At the end of a successful initiation ritual, the new initiate has a new status within the group.

A mystical change of status is expressed within the ritual and is produced by the ritual.  Exactly how this occurs will vary. The effect may simply be declarative in nature; the ritual Preceptor, using his {or her} authority as such, declares the candidate a member and therefore he or she is. It may also include psychological factors, based on the identification of the candidate with all others who have undergone the ritual before. It may include mystic factors.

Etically, we can say that initiations, as rites of passage, must have as their object a transforming effect upon their subjects. This transformation can be observed as a change of status for the subject.  This change of status may be understood by the practitioners in a number of different ways – mundane, magical, or spiritual.  From both and emic and etic perspective, initiations are always first-time rituals that cannot be repeated for the same candidate. This is especially true for non-magical rituals. I am aware of people who have been given an initiation twice, after an extended period, before being given the next initiation in the initiatory process.

It is arguable that because this repeated initiation does not change the status of the candidate within the group, it is not actually an initiation but simply an act of ritual with a magical and not an initiatory purpose. This is fully in line with the literal definition of initiation as well as agreeing with the common usage of the term. It is for this reason that second marriages or the birth of a second child are excluded from a general definition of initiation even though they are considered rites de passage.

Rituals of initiation are limited in scope of time from both an emic and etic standpoint. The rituals themselves are not ongoing and must end distinctly before the death of the candidate. In addition, rituals are marked by distinct beginnings and endings.  All initiation rituals in Christian, Judaic, and Islamic societies, from both the emic and etic views, are seen as having a mythological element to them.  Generally, they are said to take place in a magical space outside of time and space, in the center of time and space or at some mythological location, such as the halls of Osiris from the Egyptian Book of Going Forth by Day, the construction site of King Solomon’s Temple or at the Rosicrucian’s mountain Abiegnus.

Ritual initiation is a carnal act.  The sanctum sanctorum of religious faith ornamented with the shining jewels of forgotten ages; its rituals, consecrations, and initiations, ring with the divinely inspired words of sages and seers.  Initiation invokes a sacred timeless theatre where the human drama of the romantic history of the soul is imitated in a pageant of initiation that is complete with tragedy, secret teachings, ordained knowledge, entry into Light, and the Mystery.

Bibliography

Schrödinger, Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander What is life Macmillan 1946

Blood, Benjamin Paul The Anaesthetic Revelation and the Gist of Philosophy Amsterdam, N. Y., 1874

Mme. Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna The Keys to Theosophy Theosophical University Press Pasadena, CA 1889.

Vivekananda, Raja Yoga trans. by Vihari Lala Mitra: Yoga Vasishta Maha Ramayana, 4 vols., Calcutta.  1891-99.

Pliny’s Epistles to Trajan

MacDonald, D.B. The Life of Al-Ghazzali Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1899, vol. xx p. 71.

Waite, Arthur Edward The Pictorial Key to the Tarot Dover 1910

James, William Varieties of Religious Experience Modern Library 1999 pg. 52

Durkheim, Emile The Elementary Forms of Religious Life Free Press 1995

Eliade, Mircea Rites and Symbols of Initiation Harper Torchbooks 1958

Mackey, M.D. Albert G. 33° An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Vols.  I & II The Masonic History Company 1913

Idries Shah The Sufis Anchor 1971

Attar, Farid al-Din {A.J. Arberry, trans.} Muslim Saints and Mystics New York: Arkana, 1990.


Ancient Egypt and the Light of Sirius

Ancient Egypt and the Light of Sirius
© 2014 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

Any venture into the subject of ancient Egypt and ancient Egyptian religion is too broad to cover in a single volume, containing the history of several other mystic fraternities.   Modern mystic fraternities such as the Golden Dawn and Freemasonry speculate their occult teachings derive from ancient Egyptian mythology.  Specifically, occult teachings in various schools of the Invisible College originate in mythology concerning the star Sirius {Sothis}.  The heavens above were the living abode of the gods who ancient Egyptians believed were proactive in human destinies.

sopdetSothis is the Greek name for the Egyptian goddess, Sopdet (or Sepdet), personifying the ‘dog star,’ Sirius.  The heliacal rising of Sirius occurred during the inundation of the Nile River that signified the New Year in the ancient Egyptian calendar based on the zodiacal procession.  Sopdet was the goddess assigned to inundation, also as Sopdet the goddess of fertility since the inundation of the Nile was linked with agricultural growth.  Sopdet was represented as a woman with a star upon her brow and at times a seated Cow with a headdress crowned by either a flower or a star.  The plant is symbolic of the annual rising of Sirius and calendric New Year.  In Ptolemaic Egypt, Sopdet was depicted as a dog, as Isis-Sopdet.  Sirius was the principal decan in ancient Egyptian astronomy into which the night sky was divided; each group appearing for ten days.  Sirius was seen just before dawn in July, marking the celebratory New Year known as the “Coming of Sopdet.”

The period was called Sothic Cycle and is used by archaeologists to create a chronologic history of Egyptian dynasties.  The use of the Sothic system dates back to the Early Dynastic Period when Pharaoh Narmer united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt 3200B.C..  The aspect of Sopdet being a fertility goddess in the Middle Kingdom Era changed from a star and agricultural goddess to a maternal nursing, fertility deity.  This change in iconography was due to her close association with water and with Isis (Isar, Iset) where the waters of the Nile ritually purified each Pharaoh and his Pharaonic lineage.

The embalming of the deceased took seventy days, the exact period when Sirius was not seen in the heavens with the naked eye before its helical rising.  Sothis prepared sustenance for the pharaoh living and dead, and was believed to be living on the horizon encircled by the Duat.  In the Pyramid texts, paralleling the story of Osiris and Isis, pharaoh was believed to have sired a child with Sopdet: “Pyramid texts, paralleling the story of Osiris and Isis, the pharaoh was believed to have had a child with Sopdet:  “your sister Isis comes to you rejoicing for love of you.  You have placed her on your phallus and your seed issues into her, she being ready as Sopdet, and Horus-Soped has come forth from you as Horus who is in Sopdet.”

In the Lamentations of Isis, Isis refers to herself as “Sopdet,” saying she will follow Osiris in heaven.  Sirius travels the night sky ahead of the larger constellation Orion, at the belt of Orion as a pointer a signpost.  Orion was identified with the dying Osiris; his sister-wife Isis reanimated his slain and dismembered remains.  Sopdet was also identified with Sopdet-Horus during the Middle Kingdom Period; in addition, her iconography was also linked to the god Anubis as Sopdet-Anpu.  Sopdet was venerated across Lower Egypt primarily, yet throughout ancient Egyptian dynastic periods we find evidence of her adoration in various temples.

The mysteries of Sirian worship in ancient Egypt give birth to mythology, mortuary rites, and magic that would become the foundation of pre-Christian mystic fraternities and Pagan mystery cults in Rome, Greece, and Persia.  In the Pyramid Texts 11:23B utterance 509, “His sister is Sothis, his guide is the morning star.”  Esoterically I equate Sothis and the morning star with what many initiates call the Holy Guardian Angel, and its various synonyms.  Sothis and Sutekh (Set) are identified as Sirius and the Morning Star, at times Set is personified as the Morning Star, or the black Sun/Son, the Sun (Son) behind the Sun, the Midnight Sun, and star at midnight.

KinglistThe Medsu-Bedset, the Blackheads, indicate the dim beginnings in ancient Egyptian stellar mythology.  Those who ascended from the nether-world were of the solar race that came into existence with the sun as it is represented in the legendary lore, that is, when the solar mythos was established.  The tradition of the dog-star people found in various countries is that they were born when no sun or moon yet had come into existence.  That is, they were pre-solar and pre-lunar in their reckoning of time.  These are they, as was said by the Egyptians, who issued from the eye of Sut, or Darkness, the earliest type of which we reckon to have been Sothis, whether as the pole-star in the southern or the northern heaven.

The Elder Gods and Goddesses of the first races developed their praeter-human powers from the Chthonian magic that originated with and from the earth, not from hybrid ancestral human “spirits” and totemic animal magic.  The adorants of the dog-star, the ‘blackheads” associated with Sutekh at Hyksos, worshipped the demon-serpent of the Tuat said to measure seventy cubits long, gaining in strength from devouring the souls of the dead.  To locate the star which the blackheads adored in their Chthonian magic, opposed to the solar magic of the Serapis school of mysteries, find the constellation Orion, then locate the three stars in ‘Orion’s belt,’ following them down to the horizon, to the Dog Star.  The ancient Egyptians were masters of death; they unlocked the secrets of death and the transmigration of the soul; in doing so, they held the keys to immortality.

These secrets were transmitted to Adepts independent of their memories, over the centuries as cultures ascended and fell.  Sirius is listed by Cornelius Agrippa as predating ancient Egypt, in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh that mentions Gilgamesh drawn irresistibly “heavy star” in a dream of Gilgamesh that cannot be lifted despite his great efforts.  The star descends to him having brilliant effulgence, and illuminates the hero of the epic.  Gilgamesh had for his companions fifty oarsmen of the mythic ship, ‘Argo,’ a constellation in Canis Major heavenly host to Sirius.  In Greek mythology, Orion’s dog became Sirius, and Greek initiates associated Sirius with the heat of the summer, calling it Therios, the “scorcher,” or “burner.”

The West African tribe, Dogon, adored Sirius for an estimated five thousand years according to archaeologists.  The Dogon worshipped Sirius B as the celestial home of their amphibian gods (a source of David Icke’s theories?) whom magically transported to the earth in three-pronged heavenly vehicles.  The believed Sirius was the axis of the universe, producing all worlds and souls in a great spiral motion.  In the Holy Qur’an, Surah 53:49 An’Najm (Arabic, ‘The Star’), Sirius receives honorable mention; “that He is the Lord of Sirius.”  In Arabic, Sirius is Shir’a, the brightest star in the heavens, which is also known by the names of Mirzam al’Jawza’, al’Kalb al’Akbar, al’Kalb al’Jabbar, and Ash’Shi ‘ra al’Abur.

Sirius is 23 times as luminous as the Sun, but as it shines over eight light-years away from the earth, it appears to be smaller and less luminous than the Sun.  The Bani Khuza’ah, a neighbouring tribe of the Quraish, was particularly known for being adorants of Sirius.  The Quranic verse means, according to translator Yusuf Ali “Your destinies are not made and controlled by Shi is but by the Lord of Shi’ra.”  Sirius was the astronomical foundation of the entire ancient Egyptian religious system.  Since Sirius shewn for the entire summer season, ancient Egyptians believed it responsible for increase in heat, scientifically false of course, yet interesting mythologically.  The phrase “dog days of summer’ stemmed from this belief.  Like the Dogon of West Africa, the ancient Egyptians believed Sothis to be the axis of the entire universe, from which all worlds and souls manifested.

With the Leonic appearance of Sirius in June-July over the Nile River Valley, the inundations brought significant harvest and crop to the agrarian communities in the desert valley stricken by oppressive summer heat.  Ancient Egyptian priesthoods, inheriting the gifts of the Phoenician, and Chaldean mystics were magi who practiced solar rites and incantations.  Heliopolitan magic explains creation in terms of the emanation of the Ennead, the first nine Gods, from whom the rest of Creations arise.  Heliopolitan priests were concerned with the procession of the heavens, from which evolved a concise theology and pantheon.

sothis1In its helical ascendant, Sirius was called the “Star of Annunciation,’ marking the birth of solar Horus (Heru).  According to Rosicrucian scholar Frater Francis Yates, the Star of Annunciation is a sign marking the transformation of the world, as the omen would be viewed at dusk by the naked eye.  “After a time,” writes Yates, “there will be a general reformation both of divine and human things according to our design and expectation of desire.  For it is fitting that before the rising of the sun there should appear aurora, or divine light breaking forth in the sky.”  During the reign of Augustus Octavian {27B.C. -14A.D.} around when the Emperor named Vespasian as his heir, commoners and magi witnessed the Star of Annunciation in the eastern quarter of the sky.  Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky associates the omen as a signpost marking the birth of the Gnostic Christ.

Passages from the Pyramid Texts consider Hor-em-akhet (Harmachis) Horus-of-the-Horizon as the incarnation of the morning star, and the Son of Suns.  The Egyptian pantheon truly was a multivalent imperial religion, not solely polytheistic or henotheistic.  The ancient Egyptian pantheon was an Imperial Religion of life, death, and rebirth through the adoration of the stars and secretive funerary magic.  The development of monotheism and henotheistic thought stems from solar-phallic cult worship of Aten, a solar deity popularized by Pharaoh Akhenaten.  Semitic communities emulated solar henotheistic developments by assigning supremacy to Yahweh, a local deity to the Semite tribes.  Amenhotep IV {Akhenaten} is commonly reported as the Pharaoh responsible for the implementation of henotheistic solar-worship scholars refer to as “Atenism.”

Pharaoh Akhenaten lived at Thebes with Nefertiti and his six daughters, permitting initially worship of Egypt’s traditional solar deities to continue but near the Temple of Karnak, which was Amun-Ra’s cult center, when he erected several massive buildings including temples to the Aten, the solar disk of Egyptian creation.  Eventually the already fragile relationship between Amenhotep IV and the priests of Amun-Re deteriorated.  In Year 5 of his reign, Amenhotep IV took decisive steps to establish the Aten as the exclusive god of Egypt; disbanding the priesthoods of all the other gods and diverting the income from other cults to support the adoration of Aten.  To emphasize his complete allegiance to the Aten, the pharaoh officially changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten or ‘Servant of the Aten.’  Akhenaten’s fifth year of reign marked the beginning of construction on his new capital, Akhetaten or ‘Horizon of Aten’, at the site known to us as Amarna.

Freud argues that Moses had been an Atenist priest forced to leave Egypt with his followers after Akhenaten’s death.  {Freud, Sigmund 1939.  Moses and Monotheism: Three Essays.}  Freud and mainstream Egyptologists {Curtis, Samuel 2005, and Primitive Semitic Religion Today Kessinger Publications} agree that there are direct correlations between the development of Judaism and other Semitic religious traditions with Atenism.  {Osman, Ahmed 1987.  Stranger in the Valley of the Kings: solving the mystery of an ancient Egyptian mummy.  San Francisco: Harper & Row.  pp.29-30}  The beginnings of Egyptian Imperial Religion lay in the cult-worship of the Mother-Son, surviving in iconography spanning thousands of years of culture, including depictions of the Virgin Mary with the Christ child in Christian art.

Sopdet was considered as the “Opener of the Year’ by the Nile Valley communities, while Heru (Horus) was seen as the “Opener of the Day,” a mythological child and subordinate to Sothis, circumventing the solar cult of Atenism.  The mythology of the Mater-Puer aeternus is a common mystery found in ancient Rome, Greece, Persia, and Sumer transmitting later into Biblical traditions and their mystic fraternities many of the same perpetuating the secret iconography in contemporary occult initiations.  The mythology is not a “mystery” in the sense of an unknown or concealed occult blueprint or cipher for initiation, nor is it a philosophic revelation; we also discount the Mater-Puer aeternus as a religious Arcanum.  This mythos reflects the depths of collective human consciousness, lying beneath the surface of Christian liturgy, Gnostic ritual, Masonic degrees, Sumerian and Jewish traditions.

The earliest known hieroglyphic conception of the Mater-goddess was in the form of a Hippopotamus, the primeval devourer of the watery abyss.  This conception of the water-devouring Mother Goddess transfigures in Greek mythology as Typhon the Great Dragon of the Seas.  According to the Shabaka Stone, Geb the Egyptian creation-deity divided Egypt into two halves, giving Upper Egypt the southern desert to Set and Lower Egypt, the northern region of the Nile delta, to Horus, in order to end their feud.  According to the stone, in a later judgment Geb united all Egypt awarding the Kingdoms to Horus.  Interpreting this myth as a historical record indicates that Lower Egypt {Horus’ land} conquered Upper Egypt {Set’s land}; yet, in fact Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt.

Queens of the first Dynasty were enthroned under the title “She Who Sees Horus and Set.”  The Pyramid Texts present the pharaoh as a fusion of the Set-Horus.  Pharaohs believed that they balanced and reconciled competing cosmic principles.  The concept of a dual-god twin-child Set-Horus appeared combining features of both, common in Egyptian theology.  Set-Horus transfigured to Sut-Har, Gods of the Two Horizons.  The term Pharaoh derives from Har-Iu, meaning the Coming Twin, the “Son of the Two Houses (Iu).”  This was Shus-en-Har of the Hyksos; the rulers of the Shus were called Heks.

The Medsu-Bedset was a political faction contriving an initial disparaging of Set’s name and mythos.  His priesthood resisted a unification of the Upper and Lower kingdoms of Egypt by the followers of Horus {with the followers of Osiris and Isis}.  This political split was echoed in the Osiris and Isis mysteries, and in subsequent battles with Horus.  The followers of Horus thus denigrated Set as chaotic and warlike.  By the 22nd Dynasty, Set was equated with his archenemy, Apep, and his images on temples were replaced with images of Thoth.  Scholars date the vilification of Set to after Egypt’s conquest by the Persian ruler Cambyses II.  Set, traditionally the god of foreigners also became associated with foreign oppression, including the Achaemenid Persians, Ptolemaic dynasty, and Roman Empire.  {Lesko, Leonard H. 1987.  Seth: In The Encyclopedia of Religion, edited by Mircea Eliade, 2nd edition (2005) edited by Lindsay Jones.  Farmington Hills, Michigan: Thomson-Gale.  ISBN 0-02-865733-0}

As dynasties and Atenism progressed, the worship of the Goddess of the Night Sky, Nut (referred to as “She Who Covers the Sky”) and her son Sutekh (Set) fell into disrepute.  A Pater-God was needed to account for the generation of cascading light upon the soil.  The concept of Tum was gradually incorporated as the Setting Sun establishing the Four Suns (Sons), the Equinoctial points, and Solstices.  Tum evolved theologically into Atum, as Egyptian deities often transfigured, and the Solar Fatherhood was established under Atum-Ra, or Amen-Ra.

Disrepute and political rivalry developed between the esoteric priesthoods of Osiris and Atum-Ra against the priesthoods of Set-Horus, the Ever-coming Son.  The taunt bantered about by the Society of Aten against the Set-Heru priests was, Orphan, without father, as the priests of Set and Horus worshipped only the Twin-Gods and Nut, “She Who Covers the Night Sky.”  I mentioned the linguistic root, Iu, from which pharaoh comes from Har-Iu.  We also have Iu as the root of “jew,” Iu’sif responsible for Yusuf (Arabic) or Joseph; and Iu’Pater or Jupiter, Father of the Greek Pantheon.

Amenhotep IV introduced Atenism in Year 5 of his reign (1348B.C.), raising the Aten to the status of consummate god after originally permitting the ritual adorations of the traditional gods.  To stress his new religious conversion Aten’s name was inscribed in cartouche form normally reserved for Pharaohs, a distinction of Atenism.  This religious reformation appears to coincide with the proclamation of the Sed festival, a pharaonic jubilee intended to reinforce the Pharaoh’s divine powers of kingship.  Traditionally held in the thirtieth year of a Pharaoh’s reign, Sed was a festival in honour of Amenhotep III, whom Egyptologists {Aldred, Cyril, Akhenaten, King of Egypt, Redford; Donald B., Akhenaten: The Heretic King; Reeves, Nicholas, Akhenaton: Egypt’s False Prophet} believe had a coregency with Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton) lasting two to twelve years.  {Rosalie David, Handbook to Life in Ancient Egypt, Facts on File Inc., 1998. p.124}

Year 5 in his reign marked the construction of a new capital, Akhetaten (Horizon of the Aten), at the site presently known as Amarna.  Evidence of this comes from three of the boundary stelae used to mark the boundaries of this new capital.  During this time, Amenhotep IV officially changed his name to Akhenaten as a testament of a new Covenant with Aten.  The date given for the new name likely falls around January 2 of that year.  In Year 7 of his reign (1346/1344 B.C.), the imperial capital relocated from Thebes to Akhetaten.  The relocation from the traditional ceremonial centres to Akhetaten signaled a dramatic transition in the focus of religious and political power.

In Year 9 of his reign (1344/1342 B.C.), Akhenaten strengthened the Atenist conversion echoing Emperor Constantine’s mystic conversion and imperial adoption of Christianity, declaring the Aten to be the only principle god of the Egyptian pantheon.  Aten became a universal deity, and all worship of traditional gods was forbidden, including the veneration of idols, even privately in citizen’s homes; an arena the Egyptian state had previously not mingled with in religious provisions.

In Hymn to the Aten, the deity is exalted as a supreme being and not an equal in the pantheon:

How manifold it is, what thou hast made!

They are hidden from the face (of man).

O sole god, like whom there is no other!

Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,

Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,

Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,

And what is on high, flying with its wings.

The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,

Thou settest every man in his place,

Thou suppliest their necessities:

Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.

Their tongues are separate in speech,

And their natures as well;

Their skins are distinguished,

As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.

Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,

Thou bringest forth as thou desirest

To maintain the people (of Egypt)

According as thou madest them for thyself,

The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,

The lord of every land, rising for them,

The Aton of the day, great of majesty.

Akhenaten staged the ritual regicide of the traditional god Amun, and ordered the defacing of Amun’s temples throughout the empire, including all of the traditional pantheon gods.  The term for ‘gods’ (plural) was proscribed, and hieroglyphic inscriptions of the words for ‘mother’ were excised and re-written phonetically.  The imperial conversion to Atenism was  a measure of Pharaoh’s influence and power, in addition to the dynamic political circumstances of the period, allowing for such a revolutionary conversion, if only for twenty years.

The discoveries of the Amarna Letters provide crucial evidence about the twilight states of Akhenaten’s reign and Atenism.  Theorized Atenic priests discarded the letters after being transferred to papyrus, the findings comprise a priceless cache of clay message tablets sent from imperial prefectures and foreign allies.  The letters suggest that Akhenaten was obsessed with his new religion, and that his neglect of internal regional affairs was causing disorder across the massive Egyptian empire.

The Regents of subject prefectures wrote to beg for gold,  complaining to Akhenaten of being slighted.  Also discovered were reports of a major plague spreading across the eastern imperial prefectures.  The pestilence appears to have claimed the life of Akhenaten’s main wife, Nefertiti and several of his six daughters, contributing to Akhenaten’s declining personal interest on the part of in governing effectively, and his increasing fanaticism with Atenic conversions.

The Atenic conversion of Year 9 resulted from Akhenaten’s determination to enforce a misconstruction among the common people that Aten was really a type of sun god like Atum-Ra.  Instead, the theology of Atenism was enforced that such representations were above all of principles, of Aten’s transcendental presence in Egyptian society.  The Atenic conversion is a henotheistic module, suggestive of even proto-monotheism.  In the Year 9 of his reign, Akhenaten also reconstituted the Atenic priesthood into an exclusive initiatory and secret society called the Society of Aten.

The Society of Aten received priests exclusively in ritual initiations conducted in Atenic Temples at Karnak (later deliberately dismantled by the Priesthood of Atum-Ra) and Thebes.  Their initiations and solar phallic ceremonies reflected the Aten as a transcendent being, from which all the traditional gods of the pantheon were merely the Aten manifesting divine effulgence in a different scope of visions.

The Society of Aten was responsible for the construction of Atenic Temples that were later dismantled and razed after the death of Akhenaten.  It was a secretive Brotherhood directly obedient to Akhenaten, who composed the Hymn to the Aten with the Society priests, representing the human awakening from sleep to the light.  Akhenaten referred to his Society of Aten, as the “illuminated ones.”  We now have one of our first speculative encounters with the Illuminati.  Aten traditionally derives from a synthesis of Ra-Horus, in ancient Egyptian called Ra-Herakhty; Ra, who is Horus of the two horizons.


Culture of the Vampyri

Culture of the Vampyri
© 2013 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

VARNEY THE VAMPIRE Audio Volume at LibriVox

VARNEY THE VAMPIRE: FEAST OF BLOOD Volumes I – III University of Virginia Library online

BLOODFIX RARE VAMPIRE FILMS ONLINE

Now and again, one hearkens to a hissing whisper, silent and sibilant as the slithering of the serpent.  Vampyr.  Amidst the shadowy shards of magic and the occult, there is no figure so malignant so dreaded and noxious, yet glamorized with fetishes of fear, neither god nor devil yet partakes of both, than the apocryphal Vampyr.  Foul and exotic, erotic are the ravages and folklore of Vampyri.  The tradition of the Vampyri is of dateless antiquity, approached often with perplexing and fantasized scholarship.

To defog the lore of Vampyri, the investigator and recorder must dight an aura of cautious criticism and skepticism in unearthing the paranormal phenomena of this tradition.  Theologians and investigators often are reluctant in assigning the intervention of a supernatural agency to inexplicable events that eroticize the human imagination.  In the obscure grimoires of witchcraft, diabolatry, and incantations of necromancy, one is assailed homogeneously with the same supernatural happenings ascribed to a common thread of shadowy character.

Foremost amongst such occult phenomena are lycanthropy and vampirism.  In the old countries, there is whispered a close connection between the lycanthrope and vampyr.  Religion marched on with civilization, persisting across history losing and regaining its monstrous shades of superstitious heresy, yet it is the horror of diablerie, and necromancy that retains the truth of fear exemplified in the Vampyr.

The end of the seventeenth century, and more particular the beginning of the eighteenth century appeared a veritable epidemic of alleged vampyric activity.  The superstitious faith of early Christians seems to posit an idea that spirits of the dead retained a corporeity, reflected in the treatise “De Anima” {circa A.D. 208-211} by Bishop Tertullian of Carthage.  For the good Christian, the Vampyr is the most dreaded of ghouls, for the undead have no world at all, such toxic beings possess no hierarchic office, be it devil or angel.  The edicts of the Fourth Lateran Council under Pope Innocent III, A.D. 1215, lay down “Diabolus enim et alii daemons a Deo quidem natura create sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali.”

The origins of Vampyri traditions are versed in melancholic romanticism and wild sensationalism, offering the investigator a look into the primal relationship between soul and body.  Archetypal conventions of the “Vampyri” and “Vampirism” have existed since the First Dynasty of Ur in the XXVIIth Century of Sumerian culture.  From the echoing voids of hidden history, the earliest inhabitants of Ur, Kush, and Babylon always held a belief in dark and malignant powers of diabolatry.  Inhabitants of early antiquity in Babylonia recognized a triad of malignant specters ready to invade the minds and flesh of clods that expose themselves to such antediluvian phenomena through negligence or accident.

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A class of Babylonian spirits specters thought to perambulate aimlessly upon the face of the earth from their graves.  A second caste of specters in Assyrian and the ancient countries were said to be a monstrous hybrid of human and demonic entities; a third caste of specters is referred to in their various incantations as “lilîtu, {Sumerian „night monster‟}” “âhhazu, {Sumerian, „seizers‟}” “îlu limnu, {„evil god‟ in Sumerian}” In the English language, these entities associated in Babylonian antiquity with plagues and pestilence, are the evil ones, or liars-in-wait.  The antediluvian thread to such legendary and mythic entities begins with the Sumerian lî-la, Akkadian lîlu.  The demons of the lîlu grade are the îdlu lîli, the ardat lîlu, and the lilîtu all were summoned in barren areas such as deserts.

Such castes of entities were said to instill terror by haunting desolate places and seducing young men at night as apparitions and spawning them ghostly children, even strangling the brood of women deemed “impure” by cultural-social construct.  Diverse subdivisions also existed from the Assyrian pantheons, including the well-known pestilent spirit, utukku that according to scholar Dr. R. Campbell Thompson {London, 1903} differs from the allegedly malevolent.

The êdimmu spirit of the unburied dead according to Campbell finds no rest and was condoned to prowl across the earth so long as the corpse remains unburied.  A description of this ghoul is given by the ghost of Ea-bani to Gilgamesh in the “Epic of Gilgamesh” {Tablet xii}: “The man whose corpse lieth in the desert Thou and I have often seen such an one His spirit resteth not in the earth; The man whose spirit hath none to care for it Thou and I have often seen such an one, The dregs of the vessel–the leavings of the feast, And that which is cast out into the street are his food.”

Analogous specters of calamitous souls whom know no solace are described as “Whether thou art a ghost unburied, Or a ghost that none careth for, Or a ghost with none to make offerings to it.  Or a ghost that hath none to pour libations to it, Or a ghost that hath no prosperity.”  May neglected specters often were believed by Elamites, and other cultures of antiquity to return from the abodes of the undead to prowl for what the soul has been deprived of while living.  A Babylonian incantation provided by Dr. R.C. Thompson lists a sacerdotal incantation to exorcize against ghoulish copula in which diverse grades of vampyric entities are indicted:

“Whether thou are a ghost that has come from the earth, Or a phantom of night that hath no couch, Or a woman (that hath died) a virgin, Or a man (that hath died) unmarried, Or one that lieth dead in the desert, Or one that lieth dead in the desert, uncovered with earth, Or one that in the desert Or one that hath been torn from a date palm, Or one that cometh through the waters in a boat, Or a ghost unburied, Or a ghost that none careth for, Or a ghost with none to make offerings, Or a ghost with none to pour libations, Or a ghost that hath no posterity, Or a hag-demon, Or a ghoul, Or a robber-sprite, Or a harlot (that hath died) whose body is sick, Or a woman (that hath died) in travail, Or a woman (that hath died) with a babe at her breast, Or a weeping woman (that hath died) with a babe at her breast, Or an evil man (that hath died), Or an (evil) spirit, Or one that haunteth (the neighborhood), Or one that haunteth (the vicinity), Or whether thou be one with whom on a day (I have eaten), Or whether thou be one with whom on a day (I have drunk), Or with whom on a day I have anointed myself, Or with whom on a day I have clothed myself, Or whether thou be one with whom I have entered and eaten, Or with whom I have entered and drunk, Or with whom I have entered and anointed myself, Or with whom I have entered and clothed myself, Or whether thou be one with whom I have eaten food when I was hungry, Or with whom I have drunk water when I was thirsty, Or with whom I have anointed myself with oil when I was sore, Or with whom when I was cold I have clothed his nakedness with a garment, (Whatever thou be) until thou art removed, Until thou departest from the body of the man, the son of his god, Thou shalt have no food to eat, Thou shalt have no water to drink, If thou wouldst fly up to heaven Thou shalt have no wings, If thou wouldst lurk in ambush on earth, Thou shalt secure no resting-place. Unto the man, the son of his god–come not nigh, Get thee hence!  Place not thy head upon his head, Place not thy (hand) upon his hand, Place not thy foot upon his foot, With thy hand touch him not, Turn (not) thy back upon him, Lift not thine eyes (against him), Look not behind thee, Gibber not against him, Into the house enter thou not, Through the fence break thou not, Into the chamber enter thou not, In the midst of the city encircle him not, Near him make no circuit; By the Word of Ea, May the man, the son of his god, Become pure, become clean, become bright!  May his welfare be secured at the kindly hands of the gods.”  {Dr. R. Campbell Thompson “The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia” London, 1903 vol. pg. xxviii}

Here we see the numerous incantations against the unburied corpses, which lay upon the earth, a wandering ghost, referring readily to the gravity the ancient Greek and Egyptians placed upon funerary rites.  Such unburied ghosts‟ predilection for human blood is committed to exorcism in the most unambiguous prayers again translated by Dr. R Campbell Thompson:

“ Spirits that minish heaven and earth, That minish the land, Spirits that minish the land, Of giant strength, Of giant strength and giant tread, Demons (like) raging bulls, great ghosts, Ghosts that break through all houses, Demons that have no shame, Seven are they!  Knowing no care, They grind the land like corn Knowing no mercy.  They rage against humanity: They spill their blood like rain, Devouring their flesh, (and) sucking their veins.  Where the images of the gods are, there they quake In the Temple of Nabû, who fertilizes the shoots of wheat.  They are demons full of violence Ceaselessly devouring blood.  Invoke the ban against them, That they no more return to this neighborhood.  By heaven be ye exorcised!  By Earth be ye exorcised!”

The primacy of these incantations threads the archaic traditions of unburied, parasitical entities that posed terror in ancient lore.  The Legend of Lilith evolves from diverse Religious and cultural sources, appearing in the Alphabet of Ben Sira, the Zohar, and in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  Lilith as a primal vampyric effigy in cultures of antiquity experiences evolutions from archaic goddess to colorless ghost and desert terror.   In the philosophy of the Hebrew Kabbalah, Lilith corresponds to the daemon of Malchut in the Qliphot {the World of Shells, or husks).  Pertaining to Kabbalah every world is a husk of the world above and below.  The Qliphot are shells of the dead, and by conquering the fear of the Mystery of Death does the Initiate attain to the Vision of the Wrathful Maiden.  Lilith is the arcane archetype of sexual dominance and the fear of Death, the archetypal primacy of Lilith annihilates litanies of inhibitions in the human psyche.  Etymological origins of Lilith independent of Jehovian-Semitic templates point to the Sumero-Babylonian Lilû, which Dr. Thompson translates to “a demon equivalent to a male vampire.”  As derived from Sumerian, Lila refers to “wind,” or “storm.”  Opting for an Akkadian translation, Dr. Thompson suggests Lalu, also Lulu as “lecherous,” and “wandering.”

From the Akkadian Lilitû and her Sumero-Babylonian compliments, Ardat-Lili, Idlu-Lili, and Lamaştû, derives the Semitic LYLYT {Lilith}.  The Lilitû primarily feasted upon women and children, referred to by the terrified inhabitants of Ur and Babylon as night-ghosts that roamed the deserts away from populace.  Pictographs from 800 B.C. to 500 B.C. Babylonia depict “Lilith” in the company of snakes and other abominable animals, keeping with themes of her malevolence in Babylonian pottery, Persian and Jewish amulets and in the Qumran scrolls.  The night-ghosts here evolved into the Jehovian mythopoeia seeping into the Christian paradigms of diabolatry.

Isaiah 34; xiv in the Vulgate refers to “he-goats,” “hairy monsters,” again carried over from Judaic paradigm.  The Vulgate thusly reads; “Et occurrent daemonia onocentauris, et pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum; ibi cubauit lamia, et inuenit sibi requiem.”  The Greek Lamia possibly refers to Lamiae, unclean spirits though to feed of blood, a related term in Latin, if not mythic, is strix, the screech owl.  Judaic allusions to spectral ghosts concerned with blood feasting, stem mostly from commandments against consumption of blood found in the Book of Proverbs and Leviticus.  Few cultures and religions of antiquity have shunned the mysterious powers intimated in blood consumption.  The soul of animals and man was ascribed to reside in the blood, hence the implications in ancient Chinese medicinal texts, references in the Zend Avesta, and Roman lore that the feasting of blood provided for the dead and living praetor-human powers such as discerptibility, subtility, obfuscation, domination, auspex and the like.

The archaic practices of propitiation from the dead and extricating blood to serve as sacral fluids were uncompromisingly deplored as heathenish in Mosaic canon.  Hygienic and social prohibitions against blood exchange and consumption denounced with divine prejudice the perpetrators of these heresies as demon leeches spreading black magic.  Divine sanctions against vampirism and blood-drinking stem from the Book of Proverbs with references to demonic entities in Chapter XXX, verse 15 {KJV}; “The horseleach hath two daughters, {crying}, Give, give.  There are three [things that] are never satisfied, {yea}, four {things} say not, {It is} enough:” The vulgate has: “sanguisugae duae sunt filiae dicentes adfer adfer tria sunt insaturabilia et quartum quod numquam dicit sufficit.”  Sanguisugae translates as “horseleech,” and the Greek scriptures provide the word “βδέλλη.”  The term horseleech undoubtedly refers to a vampyric source or taboo associated with extricating blood.

Further divine commands against catheterizing and consuming blood come again from Judaic law in the Old Testament.  In Leviticus XVII: 10-14 the Vulgate translates:

“homo quilibet de domo Israhel et de advenis qui peregrinantur inter eos si comederit sanguinem obfirmabo faciem meam contra animam illius et disperdam eam de populo suo. quia anima carnis in sanguine est et ego dedi illum vobis ut super altare in eo expietis pro animabus vestris et sanguis pro animae piaculo sit. idcirco dixi filiis Israhel omnis anima ex vobis non comedet sanguinem nec ex advenis qui peregrinantur inter vos. homo quicumque de filiis Israhel et de advenis qui peregrinantur apud vos si venatione atque aucupio ceperit feram vel avem quibus vesci licitum est fundat sanguinem eius et operiat illum terra. anima enim omnis carnis in sanguine est unde dixi filiis Israhel sanguinem universae carnis non comedetis quia anima carnis in sanguine est et quicumque comederit illum interibit.”

The Revised Standard Version gives the English:

“If any man of the house of Israel or of the strangers that sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, due to the life.  Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.  Any man also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust.  For the life of every creature is the blood of it; therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.”

Biblical injunctions against consuming blood heralded a proto-Judaic belief, inherited from Babylonian and Sumerian diabolatry, that blood mysteriously contained the primal construct of the soul.  A fruitful explanation of what entices a vampyric entity to vitalize and rejuvenate their own “dead” bodies.  Judaic prohibitions against catheterizing blood extend to making incisions upon the living body and upon the dead, also to shaving parts of the dead.  Although such codes are presumably hygienic, one can discern the fixation against toiling with the essence of blood in such customs banned again in Leviticus:

“non comedetis cum sanguine non augurabimini nec observabitis somnia. neque in rotundum adtondebitis comam nec radatis barbam et super mortuo non incidetis carnem vestram neque figuras aliquas et stigmata facietis vobis ego Dominus.”

The authors of Leviticus seemingly were concerned with preserving Mosaic hygienic codes; yet again the taboo against consuming blood or marking incisions upon the living and the dead clearly disturbed the Levitican forgers.  The word “vampire” in much beastly black magic superstition originally stems from Slavonic origin.  The linguistic origins of the word come from variants in the same Russian, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, and Romany roots.  The English vampire {vampire} is rooted in the Magyar vampr, and nosufur-atu as both terms denote references to “unclean” and “plague-carrier.”

The same linguistic variants occur in the Bulgarian vapir, vepir, the Russian upyr, and Polish upier.  A less probable derivation is the Sanskrit pâ, pî, and pî‟bâmi, the Slavic origins also likely emerging from the Latin bibo, bibere, “to drink.”  Compare vampir with the Lithuanian wempti, “to drink,” and wampiti, “to growl, to mutter,” and we infer characteristics of intoxication via blood drinking. Old folklore in Croatia refers to a blood-drunken ghoul as pijauica, Serbian and Slovakian speak of the same as a vlkodlak.  The conception of the folksy Medieval vampir is peculiar to the Balkan countries, in Russia, Bohemia, Silesia, Hungary, parts of Greece, and Moravia with native Romany still leery of the body foully endued with blood and accursed state of neither living nor dead.

Dark traditions of the Vampyr in literature first began to appear in gothic poetic and literary circles in the seventeenth and later the eighteenth centuries.  Startling themes of the occult and vampirism capture the attention of academic and philosophic treatises in German universities imbued with anti-Catholic sentiment.  Gothic folklore and fetishes of fantasy vis-à-vis vampirism peaked during the Bohemian literary genre of the eighteenth century most notably The Vampyre: a Tale by Lord Byron {writ by Dr. John William Polidori, physician and companion to the poet Lord Byron} published 1 April 1819, and the more infamous Abraham Stoker’s Dracula, A Tale published 1897.   Philosophical and scholarly dissertations on the occult and vampirism in German universities at Cologne {Leone Allacci, De Græcorum hodie quorundam opinationibus} and Leipzig {Phillip Rohr, De Masticatione Mortuorum} provided the stage for John Christian Harenberg‟s Von Vampyren, published 1739.  First use of the term vampire traces to early compositions of British literature, the first incidence of the word is found in The Travels of Three English Gentlemen published around 1734.

Giuseppe Davanzati {Archbishop of Alexandria} published in 1744 his treatise Dissertazione sopra I Vampiri, a copy of which was presented to the Pontiff H.H. Benedict XIV.  Dissertazione sopra I Vampiri was one of the first comprehensive volumes dedicated to “investigating” {why would the Roman Catholic Church be as engrossed in such occult practices as exorcism, diablerie , and vampirism?}  demonic instances of vampire and their “culture” and generation in humanity’s history.  Archbishop Davanzati displays reputable knowledge of folklore surrounding the dark traditions and official reports of vampirism in the old country of eastern Europe and the Orient.  Archbishop Davanzati decides that the vampire cannot be placed in a category of phantoms and apparitions but begged a different unorthodox explanation under the stress of actual reports of vampire cases to his diocese.

Allaci‟s De Græcorum hodie quorundam opinationibus cites the vampire as a vrykolakas “a body of a man of wicked and debauched life, very often of one whom has been excommunicated by his bishop.  Such bodies do not like other corpses suffer decomposition after burial nor fall to dust…”  According to Allaci, the vrykolakas roams about the streets of a village, knocking upon the hearth and summoning members of the household by name, and if the person called unwittingly answers, s/he is doomed to die the following day.  Needless to say, both common folk and Church officiates and ecclesia both believed in the vampire.

The scribes of the Malleus Maleficarum teach in the first volume how there are “Three Necessary concomitants of Witchcraft, which are the Devil, the Dead Body, and the Permission of God.”  Vampyres in the Malleus Maleficarum are thought to be specters of antiquities, fetid ghosts spewed forth from Purgatory.  Roman Catholic ecclesia who learnt from the Malleus Maleficarum believed vrykolakas rested in his grave on Saturday, and could not roam abroad.  Recall during the Inquisition era that witches for their Sabbats particularly avoided Saturday, sacred to the Immaculate Mother of God.  Nevertheless, many witches did indeed summon on their Sabbats, the unclean, the dead trapped in their maddening nightmarish lust for blood.

The necro-sadistic diablerie and bacchanalia of Countess Báthory Erzsébet, also known as Countess Elizabeth Báthory spent her life at Čachtice Castle.  Countess Báthory with four of her handmaidens was said to have murdered dozens, or hundreds {depending on the source} of young girls, consuming their blood, and meticulously recording it in her diaries.  Various legends about her life, including the idea that she bathed in or drank the blood of servant girls, are thought by some to have been the origin of numerous vampire myths, the Dracula story, and the trope of the sexually sadistic vampyress in particular.  Legends rose around the bloody Countess concerning vampirism and necro-sadism earned her the epithet “la comtesse hongroise sanguinaire.”  While she was investigated in absentia of her abominations, Elizabeth was kept under stern house arrest and waged her defense by a furious thread of letters.  The bloody countess was bricked up in her own private chamber of her castle, kept alive only by food poked through a slit in the door, and died there on 21 August 1614.

To speak of the death-dealing spectre of antiquity, the maleficent vampyr theme in literature, one must take into consideration the vast wealth of vampyr-themed material in print, on stage and film.  No theme has trumped such a seduction with the dark arte than the vampyr.  An exhaustive inquiry into vampyric themes in literature is nigh impossible.  Fetishes over vampirism, bloodletting, mutilation, masochism, mortification, and fantasy role-playing by despondent and often morose teenagers and 20-somethings {or older cyber-vampires cloaking their aliases on the Internet}.  We find passing references to the vampyr in archaic poetry such as Goethe’s ballad Die Braut von Korinth {“The Bride of Korinth” 1797.}  Goethe’s Die Baut von Korinth is the originator of the vampyric theme in literature and poetry.  Goethe himself refers to his vampyric poem as a ballad of love from beyond the grave.  Images of blood drinking and the undead are conjured in the lines:
“Eben schlug die dumpfe Geisterstunde, Und nun schien es ihr erst wohl zu sein. Gierig schlürfte sie mit blassem Munde Nun den dunkel blutgefärbten Wein … Aus dem Grabe werd ich ausgetrieben, Noch zu suchen das vermißte Gut, Noch den schon verlornen Mann zu lieben Und zu saugen seines Herzens Blut. Ists um den geschehn, Muß nach andern gehn, Und das junge Volk erliegt der Wut …”

Varney the Vampire” also titled the “Feast of Blood” published in 1845 as another notable predecessor to Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Thomas Preskett Prest, a prolific novelist authored “Varney the Vampire” however there are suggestions of authorship to James Malcolm Rymer, or a variety of hands.  Notable vampyri themes also deserve mention are Edgar Allen Poe’s “Berenic, Montella, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Oval Portrait” all written between 1835 and 1842.  The Marquis D.A.F. de Sade’s Justin: Misfortunes of Virtue {1791}, and Juliette {1798} depict scenes of eros noir, bacchanalia, and sexual vampirism.  King Virkram and the Vampire: Tales of Hindu Devilry by Sir Richard F. Burton {1870} states in the preface that the reanimation of dead bodies as ghouls and vampires “is an old and thoroughly Hindu repertory.”  Burton informs us the term baital refers to Sanskrit Vetāla-pancha-Vinshati, a vampire that animates the dead.

Decadent artists such as Charles P. Baudelaire {Les fleurs du mal}, Arthur Rimbaud {Une Saison en Enfer}, Comte de Lautréamont {Les Chants de Maldoror}, Edvard Munch {Vampire}, included in their literature and paintings themes of the vampyr and the macabre.  The macabre transition between Romanticism and Modernism included themes of decadence and ghoulish depictions of those forgotten of death.

The figure of the vampyr evolved from dark folklore and superstitions.  All the elegant requiems, novenas, and prayers that solace Holy Souls of the dead are nothing but our fears to prevent those forgotten of death to return and partake of their macabre blood feasts.  Vampyri in the old country are more than sheltered shadows.  Past the breaches of a pale Christianity it is the derelict and forgotten whom seek to invoke the vampyri.  These anemic souls fall prey endlessly to the dark necromancy of vampyri.

John William Polidori {1795-1821} is credited by the gothic underworld and most literati as the creator of the vampire genre of fantasy fiction.  Polidori entered the Baron G.G. Byron’s service in 1816 as a personal physician and escort on trips throughout the old country.  After a reading of Tales from the Dead {Leipzig, 1813} a horror anthology, Lord Byron suggested his entourage each write a horror story.

The great Mary Shelley and Polidori himself later scribed their literary masterpieces, Frankenstein and The Vampyr.  The Vampyr first published in the April 1819 issue of New Monthly Magazine.  Polidori based his main vampyric protagonist on Lord Byron, jokingly naming the beast “Lord Ruthven.”  The Vampyr was re-released under a second edition credited to Byron’s authorship, much to the dismay of both men.  Lord Byron published The Giaour in 1813.  The Giaour is a poem considered by the Literati as one of the first pieces of vampyric-themed fiction.  Giaour, is a Turkish word for “infidel” similar to the Arabic “nonbeliever,” kafir.  The poem is one of the first examples of Romantic Orientalism notable for its mention of vampires in the lines:
“But first, on earth as Vampire sent, Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent: Then ghastly haunt thy native place, And suck the blood of all thy race; There from thy daughter, sister, wife, At midnight drain the stream of life; Yet loathe the banquet which perforce Must feed thy livid living corpse: Thy victims ere they yet expire Shall know the demon for their sire, As cursing thee, thou cursing them, Thy flowers are wither’d on the stem.  But one that for thy crime must fall, The youngest, most beloved of all, Shall bless thee with a father’s name – That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!  Yet must thou end thy task, and mark Her cheek’s last tinge, her eye’s last spark, And the last glassy glance must view Which freezes o’er its lifeless blue; Then with unhallow’d hand shalt tear The tresses of her yellow hair, Of which in life a lock when shorn, Affection’s fondest pledge was worn, But now is borne away by thee, Memorial of thine agony !  Wet with thine own best blood shall drip Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip; Then stalking to thy sullen grave, Go – and with ghouls and Afrits rave; Till these in horror shrink away From spectre more accursed than they!”

A stage adoption of The Vampyr was produced in Paris 13 June 1820 at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint Martin.  A successful revival of the drama occurred in 1823 at the same locale, and again in 1851 at the Ambigu-Comique.  The stage play was reproduced successfully throughout the 1820s in Paris theatres ripe with Bohemianism and Romanticism.  Algernon Blackwood’s short tale The Transfer published in 1911 features a type of human psychic-vampire.

I use the term “psychic-vampire” sparingly since such a concept is utter drivel.  Carmilla a novella by Joseph Sheridan le Fanu {pub. 1872} is a young woman’s sordid tale of contact with a lesbian vampire.  I recommend the novel to any dilettante of gothic and antiquated literature, especially featuring lesbianism and vampirism in the same novel.  Carmilla immediately predates perhaps the masterpiece and most imitated and reproduced work of vampyric literature, Abraham Stoker’s Dracula.

Dracula is an epistolary novel published in 1897 by Abraham “Bram” Stoker, an initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  Stoker spent eight years researching vampyric folklore and anthologies for his novel.  The original title for Dracula was The Un-Dead, yet in his research, Stoker encountered the Hungarian word draçûl, which means “dragon.”  The story of Stoker’s Dracula bares historic connections to Vlad III Tepeş Draculae of Wallachia, a fine fellow said to have brutally murdered thousands of criminals, degenerates, political rivals, and invading Muslim Turks by his favorite method of impaling them on sharp shaft.  Vlad III contributed to the folklore built around him during his lifespan by bathing in, and allegedly drinking the blood of his victims.

Historically, the name “Dracula” is derived from a secret fraternal occult order of Christian knights called the Order of the Dragon, founded by King Sigismund of Hungary {elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1410} to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks.  Vlad II Dracul Tepeş, father of our protagonist Vlad III Tepeş, was admitted to the Order around 1431 due to his bravery in fighting the Muslim Turks.

From his initiation into the Order of the Dragon in 1431 onward, Vlad II wore the emblem of the Order that was an imperial dragon.  As sovereign of Wallachia Vlad II Tepeş‟ coinage bore the imperial dragon.  In archaic Roumanian and Hungarian, the suffix –ulae translates as the genitive “son of.”  Thus draculae refers to not only the son of the Tepeş lineage, but also a son invested with the Order of the Dragon, a Hungarian fraternal occult Order.  Could you tell, dear ones, this author is a proud Hungarian?  The heritage is in the blood.

Dracula inevitably was produced on stage at the Wimbledon Theatre in 1925, again in another version at the Little Theatre in 1927.  “Uncle” Béla Lugosi brought the novel to life in the 1927 Broadway adoption, later starring in Tod Browning’s 1931 Universal Pictures film, Dracula that spawned Béla’s career and notoriety along with the immortality of Dracula and vampyri legend.  Vampyri literature possesses vast tracts of sexual xenophobia on stage, film, and in novels.  The sexual xenophobia present in literary fascination with vampyri centers upon the threat of the monstrous Other, the Beast, who not only steals women but also converts them into Serpents of Lust themselves.  The sexuality of female victims in vampyric literature and film is released in the „wrong way,‟ by a foreigner, a Beast neither man nor spectre, a master of black magic who has achieved what the men fear they may be unable to accomplish.

Sexuality and Vampirism coalesce in literature, film, and on stage with vampyric themes.  Contemporary readers and novelists more often see the vampyr’s bestial primacy and sexual ambiguity as seductive.  Specters of antiquity in ancient Græco-Roman culture were dreaded by folk as blood-sucking ghosts or re-animated bodies of the dead.

Re-animated bodies in Greek and Roman lore were endowed with occult powers, thus to ancient folk vampirism was threaded to black magic.  The Laruæ were hideous and deformed hags, most likely plague-stricken women, or lepers.  Mormo and. Lamiæ were thought by ancient writers to be women possessed with the power to remove their eyes and suck up blood.  These would appear in the form of seductive courtesans, beguiling some damoiseau into their bestiality to drink of his bloody death.  Lamiæ were also called Striges in ancient Rome.  Corinthians knew the Ephialtæ, Hyphialtæ, Incubi, and Succubi as night-specters, ghosts of flesh neither dead nor living trapped in their nightmares.  Ancient writers believed that the plague and dementia caused the facade of these beasts.

Some people argue that vampire stories might have been influenced by a rare illness called porphyria.  The disease disrupts the production of heme.  People with extreme cases of this hereditary disease can be so sensitive to sunlight that they can get sunburn through heavy cloud cover, causing them to be nocturnal and avoid all light.  People with porphyria can also have red eyes and teeth, resulting from buildup of red heme intermediates {porphyrins}.  Certain forms of porphyria are also associated with neurological symptoms, which can create psychiatric disorders.  However, the hypotheses that porphyria sufferers “crave” the heme in human blood, or that the consumption of blood might ease the symptoms of porphyria, are based in ignorance.

The antediluvian Vampyr independent of cultural assimilation is one forgotten of death whom contains the shadowed secrets of the Holy Grail, the alchemical elixir, the End of Flesh.  Blood is the nectar and sustenance of life, it courses and spurts throughout veins, arteries, and skin.  Blood contains the genetic blueprints of the Holy Soul, it is the dark well of infernal angels.  The Vampyri are those forgotten of death whom feed from this nectar, be it by their blood feasts or use of blood in diablerie and sorcery.

Vampyri through blood feasts and diablerie breach the boundaries of immortality penetrating the darkest depths of the psyche.  The Vampyri survive beyond the grave and captivate the darkest human fantasies.  Contrary to the fetid convictions of many, such enshrouded Paths of “vampirism,” and “Vampyri” are not profitable.  Nightshaded Paths walked by vampyri are viewed as glamorous by the weak-willed and innocent, and, seductive by the corrupt of Will.

Fatalistic perceptions of ethics, life & death, and religion have no bearing in such Paths of iniquity.  To initiate into the nightmares of the Vampyric crossroads, the individual must shred asunder all psychic, and psychological strains and weaknesses conditioned since birth.  Essentially the individual must harrow the gates of Hades, and assail the Abyss of the psyche, overcoming the sensational and seductive glamour of Dark sorcery.  Light and dark are no more than nomenclature: words that describe how little we understand.  Vampyri is nothing more than raw, uninhibited fantasy and sexual fetish.  In Vampyric culture and sorcery, “Man” is a ghost, caught in the glamour and arousal of the nephesh.  Earth is at once, for such a precarious lot, Perdition and the Void.

Only those whom have descended and risen from the Midnight of the Soul, and drank the waters of death could ever touch the Rose of Iniquity.  Vampyri are souls who drank the poison of life.  Every Vampyri forgotten of death sleeps in a nightmare, a never-ending purgatory that is a catacomb of neither life nor death.  These specters of antiquity from the earliest recorded religions to the darkest wells of Humanity erotic fantasies roam a labyrinthe of nightmares.  Vampyri are the darkest projections of fear and erotic fetish, mocked since the dawn of religion by the all-seeing Endless Eye.  The infernal soul of the Vampyri is a shadow of humanity’s lost soul, reflecting the breach between nothingness and a void of forever.


Ancient Religion and Diablerie

Ancient Religion and Diablerie
© 2016 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

72

The human condition has not yet fulfilled nor unveiled any limit.  It is an ongoing progression toward amity , identity and latent spirituality, or what mystics testify to as the Mystery.  Throughout the spiritual epoch of the human species, evil is self-evident as a state of degenerate consciousness that excels religious premise and theological perspective.  Evil in a monotheistic sense is abstract, mistakenly personified in paranoid privation.  Evil is a conception of conditioned human consciousness.

Evil in the human condition maintains a sense of primacy in consciousness.  Evil exists Not as theological Opposer of the righteous, nor as a phenomenon to be avoided via metaphysical dichotomy; rather, evil is a degenerated state of the human being and psyche that is severed in the absence of spiritual connection to the universe causing the soul to degenerate into a state of existence where the impetus is to cause severe and exponential physical and psychological harm to humans and animals.

Christian regard to the Devil as the personification of the origin and essence of evil is a theological failure.  The masquerade of the Devil has experienced diverse cultural evolution across the vicissitudes of mortal time.  The phenomenon of the Devil is best approached by transcending history of concepts limiting our study of this archetype.  A historical interpretation of the Devil cannot be obtained in reference to concepts of evil that are existential.

Archetypes, in conjunction with this study, are according to Jung, “unconscious structures underlying conscious reality.”  By placing the devil in this format, we concern this study with archetypal content and conceptual form.  Christian personifications of evil fail to validate Theodicy in post-modern empirical societies.  The Devil as an ‘obstructer’ and ‘prosecutor’ illustrates unresolved conflict between monism and dualism in the history of Christian diabolatry.

A historical exegesis of the Devil as phenomenalized evil must be countered with abstractivity and mythology.  Jung’s analysis of the Devil as archetypal schism of the psyche reflect the Rabbinic teaching that two antagonistic essences inhabit the nefesch; one a tendency to preconceived righteousness (yetser ha’tob) and the other a tendency to ‘evil’ (yetser ha’ra).  Thus, the Devil defuses metaphysically into allegory of evil inclinations, Ancient Ægyptian theology is polytheistic, alive with anthropomorphism, animism, and deification.  Osirian religion in ancient Ægypt fashioned notions of evil designed from empyrean conflict seen in the lore of the slaying and resurrection of Ausar.  There is no implicit principle of evil in such monographs as the ‘Pyramid Texts,’ the “Papyrus of Nebseni,’ or vignettes from the ‘Papyrus of Ani.’  In ancient Ægyptian theology, evil is the maleficious disruption of Ma’at.

Antagonism between Sutekh (SUTI) and Heru (HOORI) incarnates the dread of death and ignorance of natural Law in the human condition.  Suti originally was a deity native to institutions in Hyksos, presiding over desert winds and the arts of combat.  The politically antagonistic relationship between Heru and Sutekh retains an erotic venture with reference to Sutekh’s incestuous rape of Heru in the ‘Pyramid Texts.’

Subsequent to Hyksos ‘incursions,’ initiates dwelling along a fertile landscape whose bloodline was the Nile dreaded the withering heat of the Sun in the South, which brought agrarian sterility and ruin.  Suti derives from sût, “red” akin to the coloured hue of the desert, the bodily figure of Suti shapes an image of a mortal with the head of an unidentified mythological animal called the “sut animal,’ akin to an ass or jackal.  As late as the XXIInd Dynasty, Sutekh was besought for reinforcement and sanction in the arts of warfare.

The deity Sutekh (Setekh, Sut) is unrecognizable as any animal at present.  Set was identified also with the hippopotamus, the pig, and ass, often abhorred by Ægyptians along the fertile banks of the Nile river.  Such beasts were sacred to the god of winds, as well as crocodiles, scorpions, turtles, and other contentious beasts thought to devour the phallus of Osiris after Set dismembered Him.  The ‘sût‘ animal was postulated to posses long jackal-like squared ears, a long stooping snout, and a canine-like body.  Such could possibly be a composite beast part aardvark, part canine or even camel.

The cult of Heru (HOORI) likely overtook SUTI following Hyksos insurgency during the Second Intermediate Period, as Sût ceased to symbolize Lower Egypt.  During the Third Intermediate Period Sutekh became associated with foreign insurgency, thus transfiguring his divinity to chaos and warfare.  To the Ægyptians of the lower Nile region, he was the god who ‘ate the moon each month,’ the ‘black boar who swallowed Khonsu.’

In the Hebrew Torah and in the Talmud, inclusive of mainstream Judaic tradition, the Devil is never distinguished as a Chthonic ruler of an ‘evil empire’ of diabolical Hosts.  The Satan appears first in Numbers, Job, and Zechariah as prosecutor for the Heavenly Court, not as a Fallen rebellious with designs against Yahweh or the human species.  Etymology of the ‘satan’ stems from the Hebrew root, śţn, a verb meaning “to obstruct.”  A few Rabbinic theologians, refuted naturally, pose śţn (śāţān) to be derived also from the Hebrew root, šūt, “to rove about.”  Thus, we have also the Greek term, ‘diabolos,’  literally “to obstruct something.”  The Satan of the Torah was thus a roving hierarchical prosecutor, obstructing human infallibility.  The Arabic derivative šaỉţān and the substantive śţnā, also the Arabic root sh’y’ţ, does not appear in the Noble Qu’ran as a designation of evil.  In the Book of Job, the Satan is an inculpator, implicating humanity in false predilections of Yahweh.  In the Book of Zechariah, the Satan is a divine Host of retribution, inciting factional division and warfare within the tribes of Israel.

The mal’āk Yahweh of the Book of Numbers obstructs the Balaam, the human as an adversary.  It is in this appearance, Numbers XXII; v. 22 do we glance upon the ambivalent resistance of the divine to Mankind.  Only in I Chronicles XXI; v.1 and II Samuel XXIV; v.1 the term śāţān is used as a proper noun.  The intimacy of these passages refer to a defined personality, as contrasting indefiniteness would leave theological ambiguity.  Is there a primal Obstructer in multiplicity?  The passages in the Book of Numbers as well as Zechariah pose the concept of the Satan opposing Mankind inimically as an independent personification of evil.  At the time of the Maccabean War, splinter-sectarian movements such as the aesthetic Essences bolstered eschatology as the political and religious thrust of their austere and secretive Brotherhood.  Metaphysical war reflected the Maacabean revolt and desire of the Brethren for a New Israel in the “Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness.”  Had the Satan not existed in the Torah, the Essenes calling themselves the ‘Sons of Light’ would have invented Him.

Bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus (140-202 CE) rejected the Gnostic sectarians in favour of Pauline orthodoxy.  Bishop Irenaeus was foremost preoccupied with defending the Pauline Church against early internal dissent.  The tracts of Irenaeus echo those of his later contemporary, Bishop Tertullian (170-220 CE) of Carthage.  The Satan apostatized in their Justinian philosophy, and was now presented in the Church as an eminent metaphysical potency.  The Christology of Irenaeus and Tertullian professed the crucifixion as a recapitulation, undoing original sin.

The providence of the Satan was granted solely from Mankind’s misuse of Will, as the Willed sacrifice canceled out the rights of the Satan.  The Satan was approved a Luciferian quality as atonement became for Theologians, synonymous with sacrifice.  God and the Devil were redefined by Irenaeus and Tertullian as antimony of ethical opposites.  Saeculum (the cosmos) and saecularia (the material) reflected the ideal of evil as created, not an independent principle.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) abandons a Manichean influence he once early espoused in the question of Theodicy.  Augustine’s literary approach, in such works as the “City of God” and “Confessions” returns Us to the ideal of evil lacking intrinsic substance.  Augustine writes in his Retractionum Libri Duo (421ce):  “Malvm non exortvm nisi ex libero voluntatis arbitrio” (evil does not arise except through free choice of Will).  In his Confessiones (397ce), he writes:  “Nemo igitur qua erat efficientem causam malae volvntatis; non enim est efficiens sed deficiens, quia nec illa effectio sed defectio.”  (‘no man must ask the efficient cause of an evil Will, for the cause is deficient, not efficient; an evil will is a defect‘).

Augustine saw the principle of evil as ontological privation Evil, according to his work “De libero arbitrio” (385-3954ce), is ascribed to sin as an ontological defect, an insurgency of the Will upon Itself as both preordained and fallible.  Saint Augustine attributes evil to a defective movement of Will, by choice, averse to predestination.  Wrote Augustine:  “Mali enim nulla natura est; sed amisso boni mali nomen accepit” (‘evil has no nature; what is named evil is a lack of good‘).  The latter from the “City of God” (421ce) illustrates the heart of evil as privation, contrary to a personified ideal.

The views of Saint Augustine are grounded in traditional Christian theodicy.  Later Christian Theologians such as Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274ce), and Saint Anselm (1033-1109ce) perpetuated the debate of evil as an ontological principle, of an embodiment of sin in Mankind.  Saint Anselm and Thomas Aquinas were the foremost theologians whom initiated an advent of Scholasticism, and its three pillars of Christian  theology.

Scripture, orthopraxy, and analysis of scriptural tradition are the pillars of the Christian scholastic movement.  The role of the Satan in theology declined with the advent of Its metaphysical presence in History.  The immediacy of the Luciferian Devil reduced the archetype to a theological novelty.  Saint Anselm’s ambivalent answer to scholastic theodicy was that evil is nothing, and is privation, or deficiency of a prerequisite quality in creation.  Sin according to Saint Anselm prescribed a rejection of divine grace.

Saint Thomas Aquinas decisively theorized that evil is subjective and the deficiency of Will in failing to attain actuality, or identity, then salvation.  As with fellow scholastics, the thesis of Saint Aquinas on evil is privation.  Nicholas of Cusa (CE 1401-1464) echoed the nominalist rejection of realist belief in universal evil, under the influence of Neo-platonic idealism.  Nicholas’ chief work, “On Informed Ignorance” (CE 1440) imputes the independent principle of evil to god.  All conceptions of god, evil, and the Devil are anthropomorphic, transcending imagination of being.  God permits evil as privation in order for divine glory to manifest in transcendence of It.

The emergence of Zoroastrianism estimated around BCE 1400, ascribes evil not as deity, but as a co-dependent power, dualistic in an exalted context of monotheism.  Surviving sacred scriptures of adherents to the prophet Zarathustra (b. BCE 630) are entitled the Avestas.  A surviving Avesta, actually a fragment of the compendium, is categorized into the Gathas, or odes to Zarathustra, Yasnas, or sacrificial liturgy pertinent to various demi-gods, and finally the Vendidad, dealing with ethics and ritual impurities.  The Gathas are the first and foremost revelatory texts containing a responsive discourse between Zarathustra and his god, Ahura Mazdā.  Zarathustra was a Persian zaofar (Avestan, “one who invokes“, “one who pours“) influenced by a profound sense of ritual activity and religiosity.

Later texts suggest, albeit of a legendary flavour, Zarathustra receiving divine revelation of Ahura Mazdā’s  division into six personified attributes called Amesha Spentas; “bountiful immortals.”  Ahura Mazdā existed as the head of a pantheon in the Indo-Persian divine triad known to theologians as ahuras.  The other two divine entities of the ahuric triad were Mithrah and Varuna.  The Vedic concept of ŗta (r.o.t.a.) ascribes law regulating an ordered multiverse, similar to the ahuras of asha, or ‘righteousness,’ emanating directly from Ahura Mazdā.  Fundamental to the problem and origin of evil in the Avesta is the allusion to the religion of the Avesta as dualistic, monotheistic, or a dynamic combination of both.  Evil was a subject that profoundly exercised Zarathustra.

The starting point for the dichotomy of good and evil in Zoroastrianism proposes a radical ethical dichotomy personified in two opposing entities.  The cause of choice again contributes to a proto-cosmic dualism transfiguring into eschatological monotheism.  The ambivalent context of the Gathas alludes to the immaterial (menog) and material (getig) existences, pointing to an intentiality of creation.  A developed Zoroastrian position on theodicy becomes clear in later Pahlavi writings.  Angra Mainyu (Pahlavi, Ahriman) is the Ahuric embodiment of the principle of evil in the Yasnas, accompanied by subsidiary antagonistic spirits.  Angra Mainyu is an independent substance existing co-eternally with Ahura Mazdā in the Ninth Century Pahlavi text, Budahishn.

The dialectic between good and evil is at once an exterior and interior struggle.  In contrast to adherents of the Ahuric path, possessors of asha, are those stained with druj (lie), assisting Angra Mainyu, and are called drugvant.  Devotional theology in the Avesta augmented belief that Ahura Mazda initiated an æthereal line of continuity by creating such praiseworthy aspects of Itself.  Such personifications of righteousness Zarathustra used proper names thusly; Vohu Manah (“good though”), Asha Vahişta (“best righteousness”), Spenta Armaiti (“good disposition”), and Haurvatat (“integrity”).  In contrast, the holistic spirit Angra Mainyu manifested a subsidiary hierarchy consisting of: Aka Mainyu (“evil spirit”), Aka Manah (“evil thought”), Azi Dahaka (“avarice and avidity”), and Az, or Azi (“lust”).  The maleficient acts of Angra Mainyu were constrained to the getig plane, thus is the material always in greater jeopardy than the merog.

Evil is conceptually existent in the menog yet only approachable in the getig.  It is permissible from a contextual guise to see evil as parasitic, suffocating, and infectious as evil of Itself lacks corporeality.  We are told in the Bundahishn that Angra Mainyu shaped his diabolical hierarchies from the substance of dark unmitigated æthyr.  The Druj is the ideal embodiment of ultimate evil according to the Yasnas and Videvdad.  Personified by Angra Mainyu, Druj in canonical Zoroastrianism is the locus of malignancy and all contention.  Angra Mainyu in the Bundahishn is often depicted analogous to Druj, allegedly committed to obstruct the righteous material firmament, extolled as the world of asha (righteousness).

The Mesopotamian Pazuzu has attributes of a chthonic corruption of theodicy.  Pazuzu is imputed as a pale of evil in Sumerian and Akkadian mythology as patriarch of the spirits of the words.  The son of the Sumerian devil Hanbi, ‘lord of devils,’ was postulated to antagonize the entity Lamaştu in ancient Akkadian vignettes,  Pazuzu commanded the southwestern winds, depicted often with the body of a man, two pairs of wings, having the head of a lion or dog, a tail of a scorpion, and serpentine-like penis.

A further distinct novelty in diabolatry is the insidious corruption of Ba’al as maleficient.  Etymology of the Semitic primitive stock stems from the root, bá’āl, “to possess.”  Therefore, the term implies ownership of real estate, possessor of a household and is so used in diverse applications of Semitic dialect.  When the noun is applied as a prefix to deity, a sense of ownership or dominion is implicit in divinity.  Thus did a variety of Bá’àls elicit special attributions.  Bá’àl Berîth was the ‘possessor of the Covenant,’ Bá’àl Márqǒd was the ‘possessor of ritualistic dance,’ Bá’àl Zebub the owner and lord of the Philistine city of Ekron in connection to the ill health of King Ahaziah.  The corruption of Bá’àl Zebub became a novelty associated with disease-infested flies unto Philistine and Israel.  The Septuagint corruption later vulgarized as Beelzebub is a phonetic dissimilation of Bá’àl Zebul (‘zebel,’ dung) in order to vulgarize the Canaanite deity as ‘God of dung.”  Saint Jerome mistranslated the text as “dominvs muscarvm” (lord of flies).

The term B’El is the earliest form given as a national deity amongst Babylonian culture.  In the Babylonian pantheon, B’El is distinguished as ‘god of the earth’ apart from Ea, ‘god of the underworld,’ and Anu ‘father of the heavens.’  In the Minoan, Phoenician, or Palmyrene urban centers, the sun was distinctive of the Bá’àl worshipped.  Bá’àl Hadad appears the chief incarnation among the Assyrians.  In ancient Canaan, methodology of Bá’àl worship is not obscure.  Bá’àl was the chief proprietor of agrarian fertility, thus the lawful owner of agriculture.  Worship of the Bá’àl diversifies according to place and circumstance.  Noxious methodology of Bá’àl worship were seen by Hebrews as a degradation of Yahweh and elevation of Bá’àl in place of Yahweh.

Hebrews scorned the worship as lecherous religious fantasy.  Subsequent to the division of Solomon’s Kingdom into Judah and Israel, Hebrews led by the Temple Priesthood to distorted petitionary worship of Yahweh, sank further into Canaanite and pagan superstitions.  It is feasible that such degeneration by the Hebrews consigned Yahweh to be addressed as Bá’àl, with the existence of such terms as Baalia in I Paralipomenon (Chronicles) 12; v.5-6.

The proper noun Asmodeus is evident in the Book of Tobit as a contentious spirit whom lusted after the human women Sarai, daughter of Raguel.  According to Tobit III; 8 v.14, seven husbands of Sarai were slain by Asmodeus upon the night of wedlock.  Later Hebrew and Chaldaic expansions have Asmodeus rendered as docile after the marriage of Sarai to Tobias in addition to intervention from the angel Raphael on behalf of the two Lovers.  King Solomon employed the innocuous demon with the assistance of Raphael in erecting the Jerusalem Temple.  Haggadic legend connected the Asmodeus of Tobit with the unbearable bile of Ashmedai, a demon native to Rabbinic literature.

Hebrew Law forbade the use of ironclad tools (Exodus XX; v.26) in constructing the sacred Temple of the Israelites.  The Masons, according to lore, could not fathom how to shape blocks of marble properly as the magi advised Hiram and his Masons to obtain the shamir, a worm capable of cleaving rocks with its touch.  Solomon dispatched his chief, Benaiah ben Jehodah, to ensnare Ashmedai and elicit his knowledge of where to locate the shamir worms.  Ashmedai succumbed to mortal trickery and remained to service the Temple until its completion.

The Testament of Solomon reveals that the Ashmedai mythos corresponds to representation of demons by their characteristics.  Passages in the Talmud shed less light on the characteristics of Ashmedai-Asmodeus.  Rationalist Theologians equivocate Ashmedai-Asmodeus with the Persian arch-demon Aeshma frequently mentioned in the Pahlavi text Bundahishn and the Zend’AvestaAsmodeus-Ashmedai of the Testament of Solomon seduces mortals to debauchery, enmity, and addiction, a striking resemblance to the unchaste deeds of Aeshma in the Bundahishn.

Azazel is the name of a being associated with the ritual of the Day of Atonement in Rabbinic literature.  The High Priests, according to Leviticus XVI, presented to Yahweh sacrificial offerings of a burnt ram and two young goats.  One goat and ram was slain before the Tabernacle as atonement unto Yahweh for the sins of Hebrews.  The last goat was sacrificed in a glamorous and elaborate ritual offered to Azazel.  The Priest laid his hands upon the goat and confessed upon it the sins of the Hebrew nations.  The petitionary goat, now laden with impurities was led astray and set loose into the isolate wilderness.

As the epitome of impurities, Rabbinic literature interprets the etymology of Azazel as Azaz (rugged) and el (strong) in allusion to the rugged terrain where the sacrificial goat was cast forth.  Modern scholasticism concludes, though retaining the orthodox lore of Azazel, that Azaz’el belonged to hairy goat-like demons called the Se’irim.  We have allusions to hairy goat-like demons in Leviticus XVI; v.8, II Chronicles Xi; v. 15, and Isaiah XXXIV; v.14, reaffirming the goat as a sacrificial sin offering carrying the impurities off Israelites into inaccessible terrain inhabited by hairy goat-like demons.

The cultural figure of Azaz’el is an object of fetish ascribed to penitent prayer in Rabbinic sacrificial ritual.  Azaz-el is not a foreign cultural assimilation or the invention of a canonical Prophet.  The Book of Enoch confirms Azaz’el as an antagonist in the classical Fall of the Angelic Hosts.  According to Enoch’s recounting and witness, Azaz’el brought iniquity to Mankind, teaching carnal Man the arts of combat, of constructing swords, spears, poisons, and shields, and the use of coasts of mail.  Azaz’el taught women to impart deceit, ornament the body, cosmetics, and eroticism.  Azaz’el is possibly a degradation of Babylonian deities Mot, ‘Uzza, or ‘Azzael.  In the Mandaean and Phoenician Pantheon, we have the promontory “rǒş’aziz (‘head of the strong’) and the conjecture that the merging of āzāz, and él only would lead Us to far in archaic literature cited for this context.  To fallow Christian diabolatry, ‘Ǎzāz’él is no more than a demonic motif of the desert.

To a primeval Host is acquiesced the Holy Name Lvcífer, a Septuagint dissimulation of lvcís (lvx) and fero (ferre), Latin “to bear light.”  The compound Lvcífer (-fera, fervm) was the substantive “morning star” of Isaiah XIV; v. 12-15 in the Vulgate.  Lvcífvge Rofocale, from Lvcís (lvx) and fvgo (fvgare, fvgvs) is the proper name committed to a Chthonic being, a notable figure in the conjurations of the Grimorivm Vervm (pub. by Alibeck the Egyptian ce 1517).  Lvcífvge, “to shun, flee Light”  commands three subordinate demons in the Grimoire;  Ba’él, Agares, and Marbas.  Accounts of possession and interviews with the alleged daemon are recounted at the Louviers Affairs of ce 1647 at the Louviers convent in Normandy, France.  To Binah is attributed Lvcífvge as archdemon of divine wisdom and chthonic gnosis.

The Septuagint translation of Lvcífer is from the Hebrew ‘helel ben shahar,’ the ‘son of dawn, morning.’  The passage of Isaiah XIV; v.12-15 and a mere enigmatic reference in I Job; v. 16 alludes possibly to the Canaanite lore of Helel, son of the deity ShaharHelel in Phoenicia and Canaan besought the throne of El, a chief deity and was cast down in defeat into inexplicable regions.  An Ugaritic poem speaks of Shahar and Shalim, twin deities called ‘dawn’ and ‘dusk’ respectively, born out of sexual congress between El and mortal women.  The myth of the Host fallen from Empyrean grace is common with the Babylonian mythos of Zu, the Greek Phaethon, the apocryphal Shamyazi (‘heaven seizer’) of the Book of Enoch suspended between earth and heaven rather than cast in She’ol; and the Septuagint Lvcífer, fallen from grace with fierce angelic pride.

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Roshaniyya: Illuminati of Afghanistan

Roshaniyya:  Afghan Illuminati
© 2013 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

roshaniyyaBayazid al’Ansari {1525-1581} was born poverty-stricken into the Arab tribe of Madinah, mentioned in the Holy Qu’ran, which received the Prophet Muhammad after his flight from Makkah {Mecca}.  The name Ansari is an offshoot of the Madinah tribe and derives from the Arabic, al’ansar, meaning “assistants,” or “helpers.”  The al’ansar were the historical saintly individuals of the Madinah tribe whom assisted and gave refuge to the Prophet Muhammad who fled Makkah in self-exile from the Persian Manichaean and Zoroastrian chieftains.  Islamic Scholar Idries Shah Naqshbandi contends that the given birth name of al’Ansari was Fateh Bayazid Khan, the son of a Sufi Mullah from the family of Bayazid, in the Madinah tribe of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

During the life of Bayazid al’Ansari Afghanistan and Pakistan were governed as independent provinces often contested by the Persian Safavid Empire and the Mughal Empire in India, of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries A.D.  Raised in the humble and poor backgrounds of Sufi khanikahs {residential communities}, Bayazid al’Ansari was not born into the Pashtun tribe, yet his maternal lineage linked his family to the Pashtuns, a tribe of modern day Afghanistan.  Shah indicates that al’Ansari possibly grew up a neglected or abused child, likely common in the war torn provinces of Kandahar, Herat, and Kabul before the Mughals brought Islamic renaissance in Art, literature, music, and economics to the region.

Although there is no known historical-magical record of al’Ansari initiating into a Sufi tariqat, {order} he is known to have diligently studied Sufi practices of dhikr {chanting & mystical memory of verses}, qilwat {concentration}, and tawhid {divine unity}.  Al’Ansari eventually claimed some degree of illumination thereby, perhaps attaining ahadiyyat {oneness} or his sirr, divine genius in the practice of tasawwuf, Sufism.  Traveling to north of Peshawar, al’Ansari inaugurated and opened up a modest khanikahs {residential school}.  The Sufi devotee commenced training a small body of Aspirants in the supernatural and mystical sciences he acquired; he taught that the Supreme Being, the First Cause, Allah the Benevolent and Merciful, desired the creation of a new class of Illuminated Men and Women to govern the world.  Aspirants were placed in a carefully supervised vigil of seclusion and meditation {qilwat}.  The now zealous and illuminated neophytes turned their loved ones and patrons onto this new system, soon Ansari was lavishly provided for by wealthy merchants and Pashtun tribal Chieftains.  Al’Ansari began to prosper in wealth.

Through his increasing works and popularity among local aspirants, al’Ansari became known as the Pir’i’ Roshan, or the “Apostle of Light” by his beloved devotees.  The collected writings of al’Ansari, “Khayr al-Bayan,” “Maksud al- Muminin”, “Surat-i Tawhid”, “Fakr”, and “Hal-Nama” formed the basis of a movement referred to as the Roshaniyya by followers and critics of al’Ansari alike.  The fledgling movement rapidly flourished in the region of Kabul, spreading in popularity and sensationalism into areas of Mughal Kashmir.  The Sufi philosophy and writings of al’Ansari’s Roshaniyya sect were vigorously opposed by the Sunni ulama {religious community}.

In the mid-Sixteenth century, Mughal governors increased persecution of his followers and executed many of them in the name of orthopraxy in Islam.  Scholar Idries Shah offers that Isma’ili missionaries had direct association with the Roshaniyya sect.  Nonetheless, Bayazid Ansari seems to have been influenced with the esoteric doctrines of the Nizari Ismailites in Kandhar.  Many a bulk of the Ismailites were also scourged to death in Kashmir during the Mughal operations, forcing the surviving members of the sect to migrate to Punjab, where they emerged under the name of the Shamsi.  The Nizari Ismailites are best known for the radical sect of Hashashiyya, or Assassins founded by Hasan ibn Sabbah in A.D. 1090.

Bayazid al’Ansari instituted the foundations of the Roshaniyya sect in A.D. 1542-1543 the period when the majority of the afore-mentioned writings were collectively published.  His religious teachings spread rapidly amongst the Pashtun.  Eventually, at length, al’Ansari gained the ability to assemble Roshaniyya militias, and oppose the Mughal government. As discussed, al’Ansari was a zealous adherent of Sufi mystical practices.  Idries Shah attributes his discipleship under the notorious Mullah Sulayman {known as Jalandhari Sulayman, from the town of Jalandhar, in Panjab} to increased attention from the Mughal government.

Under Mullah Sulayman, al’Ansari initiated in the tenets of the Raja Yogis, a practice among Hindu sects, and became a fast convert to the creed of the Metempsychosis, a Pythagorean system of the transmigration of souls. On these doctrines, however, he engrafted some of his own personal Sufi mystical practices, the most remarkable of which was, that the most complete manifestations of Al’Lah were attained in the persons of the enlightened, or “illuminated.” The great opponent of Bayazid al’Ansari was Akhund Darwazah, the greatest and most venerated of all the saints of Afghanistan, whom in derision of the title of Pir’i’Roshan, conferred with his initiating Mullah upon al’Ansari the name of Pir’i’Tarik, or “Apostle of Darkness,” by which name he is now chiefly known.

Bayazid al’Ansari strategic association with particular influential Pashtun P{Pathan} tribal chieftains, in addition to ostracizing himself outside of the tribal system, segregating himself independent of a single tribal patronage, al’Ansari was able to meld an identity greater than the tribal level.  He molded the sect of the Roshaniyya in the rustic mountains of Afghanistan, formulating Eight degrees of Initiation similar to the initiatic grades of the Sufi tariqas {religious orders}, thus inaugurating a greater sense of identity; a greater Islamic identity and an identity as a Roshaniyya.

Thus were given the Roshaniyya a keen edge by the anti-Mughal political maneuverings of al’Ansari. However, his opponent Darwaza’s connection to knowledgeable and established elders whom were well steeped not only in the formal sciences of Islam, but also were highly familiar with the mystical traditions of the Sufi tariqas.  Darwazah also was initiated in light exercises that form the foundations of the ascent through the planes to the Sufi Mevlevi Dervish, initiated into the magical language and allusions by which religion is transmitted.  This knowledge unfortunately offset the strategic edge of the Roshaniyya. In fact, it was a teacher of Darwazah, a scholar by the name of Mullah Zangi Pabini, whom actually first mentioned conferring upon al’Ansari the dubious title of Pir’i’ Tarik.

The Roshaniyya sect were fervently opposed by the Sunni ulama and more orthodox Sufis alike, as well as the Mughals government under Shah Akbar {1556-1605}.  With partial sovereignty over regional provinces of Peshawar, Kabul, Heart, and Kandahar in modern Afghanistan and Kashmir, the Mughal government vigorously initiated military and subversive campaigns against the Roshaniyya.  Many Roshaniyya were arrested and executed by the Mughals.

These events became the first broad scale religious and political movement uniting the then divided Afghan, Pashtun speaking, tribes of the region.  The Roshaniyya movement lingered on until the Eighteenth Century when the last Roshaniyya initiate purportedly died in A.D. 1736; nonetheless, the movement profoundly affected Afghan culture.  Modern Isma’ili scholars Farhad Daftary, Bernard Lewis, and Idries Shah theorize that Isma’ili missionaries had known albeit shadowed relations with the Roshaniyya sect, as the esoteric doctrines of Shaykh Bayazid al’Ansari are marked with influences of the esoteric doctrines prevalent of the Nizari Isma’ilis in Kandahar.

A bulk number of Kashmiri Isma’ilis were killed in reprisals from the Mughal army during Mughal campaigns in the region.  Such points to a closer connection between the Nizari Isma’ili sect of the Hashishiyya and Shaykh Bayazid al’Ansari’s Roshaniyya as scholars ambiguously suggest.  Bayazid al’Ansari died in A.D. 1581 from wounds received in the Battle of Dawlatabad.

Franz Kolmer, a Danish merchant had made innumerable trips to Egypt and Persia, living for several years in Alexandria, Egypt.  The elusive Franz Kolmer was a Freemason of good standing in the German Grand Lodge, and as the tale is circulated, heard of the Roshaniyya during his studies in Alexandria and travels to Safavid Persia, as the last Roshaniyya initiate allegedly died in 1736.  In 1770, Kolmer became acquainted with Jesuit Priest and Professor at Ingolstadt, Adam Weishaupt.

On 1 May 1776, Weishaupt and Baron Adolph-François-Frederic Knigge along with Mayer Amschel Rothschild inaugurated the Bavarian Order of Perfectibilists, later known as the Bavarian Order of the Illuminati.  Modern Scholars of the Isma’ili sect of Islam, Idries Shah, Bernard Lewis, and Farhad Daftary speculate that the Sufi doctrines of the Roshaniyya and mystical practices of the Hashashiyya lingered on in the mountains of Afghanistan, finding new fervor in such movements as Islamic revivalism and Islamic anti-colonialism of the Nineteenth Century.


Lost Christianities: The Holy Grail and Mary the Magdalene

Lost Christianities:  The Holy Grail and Mary the Magdalene
© 2014 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

Sexuality and the human proclivity are the greatest forces in nature, and in the human condition.  An impulse acts in sex, which suggests a mystery of Allah, when in the union between man and woman exults in a primal condition that annexes the differences between lust and love.  Sexuality reciprocates an act of divine manifestation, be it creation or destruction.  The reciprocity of sexuality and religion in history brings to the forefront threads of theological allegory between divine providence and the human condition.  The metaphysical hieros gamos is a preeminent ritual extensively practiced in oriental and Græco-Roman antiquity.

The hieros gamos mimics variations of themes of the Christian Fall of Mankind in the gardens of Eden {Kush}.  The Book of Genesis speaks of the hermaphroditic nature of the primordial being, created in the image of Allah.  Sexual love and coitus manifests the change from a loss of being, as illustrated in the expulsions of Mankind from the gardens of Eden and Lucifer from the empyrean abodes, to a reunification of what Hindu scriptures refer to as ātman.  In its most profound facet the hieros gamos embodies the primal impulse to overcome the consequences of this original “Fall,” to restore the state of primordial sexuality, broken and condition by the metaphysical „other.‟ Sexual love embodied by the hieros gamos is a basic form of our obscure search to annex the duality between Lust and Love, the boundaries between psyche and ego.

The motive of pathos must be stripped in all forms of sexual magic with the metaphysical marriage, emulated by the Christ and the Magdalene, must be eliminated.  Such carnal energies of sex and desire could be aroused within emotional and psychic bondage to the orgasm.  An intoxicated state of amor insatiabilis brings naught to satiate the sexual desire of the soul under a tyrannical ache for the elementary forces.  In the metaphysics of sex contained in hieros gamos, obsessive gratification leads to an abyss where tyrannical lust and mania absorb the soul into a violent swoon.  On the annexation between Lust and Love which purifies the metaphysical matrimony, the “Gospel of the Egyptians reads: “When ye have trampled on the garment of shame, and when the two become one and the male with the female is neither male nor female.

The ordained gnosis of the metaphysical matrimony fulfills the human soul as the bride whom receives the divine seed of light through hieros gamos.  Praxis of the ancient rite of mysterium coniunctionis, divine betrothal, in the mystery traditions of Seraphis and Eleusis, inseminated in the human soul a new breed of spiritual being in flesh and psyche.  Concerning the nature of sexual renunciation in the mystical marriage, we have several Gnostic references, the first from the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas: “Jesus says: “Many stand outside at the door, but it is only the solitaries who will enter into the bridal chamber.”  {Thomas v. 75}

Secondly, according to the Acts of Phillip, “the ordained redemption of Mankind rests in executing the sacrament of the bridal chamber: “The Baptism is the holy vestibule, the Atonement is the holy of the holiness, the holy of the holiness’s is the Bridal-Chamber.  The Baptism has the resurrection with the Atonement entering into the Bridal-Chamber.  Yet the Bridal-Chamber is more exalted than those are.  Thou will find nothing that compares with it.  {Phillip 82}  In the bridal chamber, this ordained gnosis occurs through sexual praxis wherein the seeds of light guarantee the eternal fertility of Mankind.  The rites of the bridal chamber metaphorically reciprocated matrimony in the seven planetary powers of the Valentinian system, hence the Hermetic axim, “as above, so it is below.”

All things disseminate from the mysteries of sexuality; redemption, baptism, the black Eucharist all goes forth from the primeval bridal chamber.  The concluding passage of the Gospel of Phillip thusly states the gnostic Eucharist of the bridal chamber:

If someone becomes a Son of the Bridal-Chamber, he shall receive the Light.  If one does not receive it in these places, he will not be able to obtain it in the other place.  He who has received that Light shall not be seen, nor shall they be able to seize him; nor shall anyone be able to disturb this one of this nature, even if he socializes in the world.  And furthermore, when he leaves the world he has already received the truth via the imagery.  The world has become eternity, because the fullness is for him the eternal.  And it is thus revealed to him individually, not hidden in the darkness or the night, but rather hidden in a Perfect Day and a Holy Light.

Religious and sexual yearning between King Solomon and the Shulamite bride in the Song of Songs, and between the Christ and Magdalene in John 20 represents an intolerable ache and incurable wound of the soul.  The Song of Solomon ends with the call to the Beloved: “Flee my love, make yourself like a gazelle, or like a young stag on the mountains of spices!”  {Songs 8; 14}  In John 20, the Christ anointed with spices retracts himself from the touch of the Magdalene with a dynamic of bodily renunciation and intimacy of the resurrection.  The Church identified the Magdalene as the sinful woman whom cleaved to the resurrected Logos, hindering him from the Ascension.  In this way, the proto-orthodoxy creates a persona of a sinful Mary from the Marian figures in Luke 7 and 8, and John 20 that fit into the gender dichotomy of Woman as virgin or harlot.

Though many Jewish hygienic and marital laws vilified sexually sovereign women, the Song of Songs exults eroticism.  New Testament scriptures foresee the Christian Church as the virginal bride of the Christ {II Corinthians 11; 2, Ephesians 5; 23-32} or the New Jerusalem of the apocalypse {Revelations 21} as the virginal bride of the Hebrew Messiah.  A puritan Christianity modeling its religious infidelity to a jealous God exploits the passion of the Magdalene.  The passion of the Magdalene models the Imperial Love that the Johannine Christ bade all of his disciples to testify.

Allah’s destruction of the Whore Babylon in the apocalypse texts {Revelations 17} adverse to the marriage of the Lamb with the New Jerusalem {Rev 19} is reminiscent of the call of the Lover in the Song of Songs.  In Revelations there exists a yearning for the “second” coming of the Christ with the Whore of Babylon “holding her hand in a golden cup full of abominations and impurities of her fornication” {Revelations 19; 5} and before the Lamb will she be made desolate and shamed, “burned with fire” {Revelations 17; 16}.

The puritan Christian acts of theological hatred unto sexuality and eroticism embodies Tertullian’s “foemina janua diabuli” and the commandment in Proverbs 31:3 to “give not power over thy soul unto woman.”  Debauch in the metaphysics of sexual catharsis often is embodied by such goddesses of destruction, lechery, domination, and incitement.  The hieros gamos with the Christ {Osiris slain and risen} initiated by the Magdalene foreshadows a sexual knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel so often invoked in Hermeticism.  For Mankind seeking to emulate this catharsis, the true abode of the soul is in ethereal bridal chamber, the Holy Light.  The mystic death of the hieros gamos abolishes the mad thirst from bottomless ponds of lower lust.

The metaphysical betrothal of the Magdalene to Christ thus represents a polyvalence of sexual imagery.  Erotic metaphors of ancient cultures sustained different meanings at once.  This mystical sacrum as a reaction to sexual Puritanism is spoken of in Agape Liber C vel Liber Azoth: “..  this Wedding is of the Soul with Our Lord Jesus Christ; and thou must be adorned, as it is written, the King’s Daughter is all glorious within; her raiment is of wrought gold.”  The indwelling catharsis intimated at in Agape Liber C vel Azoth again is reminiscent of the bridal chamber mystery veiled in the ascetic glory of Shechinah-Malchut, the “holy of holies” cited in the Gospel of Phillip: “Yet the mysteries of the truth are revealed, composed in symbolic imagery.  But the Bedroom is hidden; it is the holy within the holiness.”  {Phillip 136}.The veil that is torn in Phillip v. 137 represents the veils of the bridal chamber, and the Ark of Salvation {Phillip v.138} is the gnosis birthed in the Magdalene’s womb.

The Magdalene’s gnosis was invoked by her world-encompassing sorrows during the Crucifixion, a prototype of the soul perfected in Love and Lust.  The mysteries of the bridal chamber and Rose Croix represent an archetypal unity replayed now and again in the ancient cultures of the human spiritual epoch.  Theologians leave open much speculation to the religious significance of the hieros gamos and its initiatic thread to the mysteries of the Gnostic bridal chamber.

The virtue of religion to the human condition is prevalent.  The motive is that all men and women perceive to a certain degree, the Buddhist First Noble Truth, which everything is sorrow and religion consoles them by either an authoritative denial or perpetuation of this truth.  The task of religion is to excel, and incidentally, make obsolete the judgments of reason by reconciling mysticism and science.  In this formula, a direct experience and more importantly expression of intelligences superior in kind to any incarnate human occur.  Preconceptions of religion and the arts and sciences of the occult by the initiated scholar breed spiritual materialism and secular demonization.

Mysticism in religion presupposes ideals of a discarnate intelligence or experience of ultimate reality, regardless of whatever linguistic intrusion humanity places upon it.  This is exactly what no religion has proven scientifically, trapping the human condition in its finitude and trance of sorrow.  Through the intercession, dedication, and discipline of the woman referred to as the Magdalene, Christ Jesus reached beyond the limits of faith and prophecy to redeem the human condition from original transgression.  It is Mary Magdalene alone whom laments and mourns beneath the cross after Jesus Christ dies {John 20: 11, 15}.  Christian theology borrowing the dying-resurrection myth from Mithraism, Egyptian, and Eleusian theology emphasizes that Allah’s love was manifest through the bodily incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of the historical Jesus.

The metaphysical marriage depicted in obscure Biblical references and Christian Apocrypha between the historical Jesus Christ and the woman Miriam ha’Migdal reciprocates the mystical marriage between God and Mankind depicted in cultures of antiquityEvocatory reproductions of the mystical matrimony beyond the finitude of time and space are paralleled by the Garden texts of the Holy Bible, the Judaic Covenant with the God of Israel, the Serapis mysteries of Isis wed to Osiris, and the Christ Bridegroom metaphysically wed with the Magdalene.  The metaphysical matrimony between the Christ and the Magdalene epitomizes the Hieros Gamos.

Christian Apocrypha indicates a fascination between Church and individual relationship, and the mystical marriage betwixt signified by the marriage of Christ and the apostolic Church.  The Apocryphal Gospel of Phillip states: “If anyone becomes a son of the bridal chamber, he will receive the light.  If anyone does not receive it while he is in these places, he will not be able to receive it in the other place.  He who will receive the light will not be seen, nor can he be detained...”

This verse refers to a primal projection of human sexuality upon the divine, an apotheosis of human sexuality intimated at in the mystical marriage between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.  Judging from the readings and from the religio-psychological works of Wilhelm Reich, and Carl G. Jung, there exists a metaphysical war between the sexes that perpetuate in theurgist philosophy.  Thus rather than a marriage of religiosity and the human condition, psychologists like Jung, and Dr. Krafft-Ebing, see in all love a patterns of fetishism.  The Magdalene in Christian Apocrypha act as sacred intermediary between the human and divine, and yet the early apostolic Churches espoused the ideal of renunciation, a distinct separation of sexuality and religion.

Boundaries that defined sacral and secular love in ancient cultures are ambivalent, as matrimony reflected marriage between the human and divine as well husband and wife.  Women in cultures such as Akkadian, Sumerian, and Mesopotamian often were the recipients of incantations, and love sonnets that engendered male fantasy and focused on fertility.  Even in patriarchal cultures, much incantation and prayer were committed to woman in hopes of fertility, at least in the latter cultures; the goddess had a place other than consort to solar-phallic deities.  In ancient Israel, this was not the case, as the Song of Solomon reflects eroticism shared between lovers: a rare text in a society that marginalized women and sex.

The Song of Solomon reflects the theme of Woman as fertile garden to “tame and „reap” in ancient cultures.  The psalm affirms eroticism often ignored and even objectified.  Eroticism in the Song of Solomon is elusive, allegorical, yet blatant in display of sexual love, likely misunderstood by our contemporary hedonistic society.  Solomon as seen by his lover in the Psalm is essentially „pure, ‟ anointed with oils and spices; Solomon to his lover is the idealized man and vice versa.  The gardens of love often are tainted in Biblical lore, only renewed by eroticism of the mystic, leading to the pain of division as if a metaphysical war between the sexes.

The sexual references in the canticle refer to the yearning of the mystic, of Yahweh for Israel’s spiritual love and for the Jews to return their loving worship.  The reference to each other by Solomon and his concubine lover in the text as “brother” and “sister” propose an incestuous longing.  Incest was a common practice to secure the bloodline in ancient cultures that included Egypt, Mesopotamia, Sumer, and Akkad.

The proto-orthodox communities and scriptures of early Christianity depicted sexuality as an anti-spiritual force.  Such attitudes certainly were not native to proto-Christian orthodoxy, but imitate early Greek Pythagorean philosophy that encouraged disassociation from sex, Jewish hygiene, and marital laws in the Book of Leviticus, and the Stoic movement with its cultivation of apatheia, disassociate emotion.  Theologian David Carr illustrates the parallels of metaphysical marriage between the Church and Allah’s people by uncovering the context of the Song of Solomon as indicative, reflective of the holy matrimony between Christ and the Magdalene.

Origen of Alexandria {A.D. c.185-254} equated Mary Magdalene figuratively with the royal bride and object of King Solomon’s fancy in the Song of Solomon, also referred to as the Song of Songs.  The iconography explored in the Song of Solomon best is described as a polemic on orthodox Jewish, and Christian, conceptions of erotic behavior in a culture conditioned to inhibition.  Perhaps the subordination of women, obscuration of early traditions deemed as heretic by officiators of early Christendom, has invoked a spirit only glimpsed at in the garden themes of religious texts.

For Origen, the Song concerns a journey where the soul “suffers want and privation.”  Origen places the canticle third in a series of what he calls „wisdom books, ‟ after the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.  Origen’s contemplative interpretation of the Song suggests a divine stimulation of all human senses that would be used to experience the vineyards and spices described.  Origen seemingly only touches the exoteric themes of the Song of Solomon.  The Song clearly invokes the senses; it is sensual and erotic rather than spiritual.  It is a tendency of early patriarchal theologians to divide eroticism from spirituality.

A spiritual love for god is all very well and good, though in a Judeo-Christian schema, Allah usually is referred to in the masculine.  The woman must be the vehicle through which virtuous men discover a greater sense of love.  Myth and symbol create a language understood only by the soul, and the iconography in the Song points to a sensual religiosity rather than a doctrinal one.  At times, the want and yearning experienced in love is the fortunate absence of reason.

The yearning the maiden feels for Solomon transcends the shadows of ego and should be approached from a metaphysical rather than contextual basis.  The lovers in the canticle possess a yearning to transcend the limits of finite individuality, as all lovers do, they experience in one another.  Eroticism outside of Church doctrine is able to overthrow, undermine, and subordinate reason in lieu of a simple interpretation viewing Eros as contemplation upon Allah.

The quietude of heart contemplative mystics seek and experience, such as Bernard, Augustine, Dante just as easily invokes erotic-sexual epiphany for mystics.  Sexual pride, jealousy, and agape as themes in the Song of Solomon reflect the jealous Yahweh exhibits upon the peoples of Israel.  In the spiritual matrimony between Jesus Christ and Mary the Magdalene, in addition to the Song of Solomon, there is no sexual love that fails to invoke an immortal quality, an always as if division would fail to make one appreciate the experiences of unity.

The Song of Solomon exposes the reader to an erotic epithalamium, a passionate nuptial song between lovers.  This Song reflects the mystical marriage-covenant between the House of Israel and Yahweh.  Moreover, it reflects the Christ’s position in the Church as bridegroom, and the Church as the bride, or the wife of the Lamb.  The Song of Songs reflects the spiritual and sexual dimensions of religiosity coupled with married love as reflected between Mary the Magdalene and Jesus Christ in apocryphal Gospel of Phillip and Gospel of Mary.

The Book of Ecclesiastes narrates a man’s search throughout Palestine for something to quell an intolerable ache of his heart.  Ecclesiastes reveals that if a man gains the world, he will lose it as humanity lost paradise.  The Song of Solomon offers the perspective that love is the banner that should rule over marriage, and all forms of sexuality.  Therefore, the Hieros Gamos remains a piece of theological popularity in the Apocrypha.

The birthplace of Mary Magdalene generally is identified as the site of Migdal at the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, north of Tiberius.  This site possibly was the hamlet called Migdal Nunya, or Nunnayah, literally Heb. “Tower of Fish.”  The historic city flourished during the end of the Second Jerusalem Temple era, one of the sites fortified by Yosef Ben Matityahu {Flavius Josephus} during the revolt of Jews against the Roman Imperium.  According to historians, the ancient town had a reputation for opulence and decadence.  So sensationalized is the popular legend of Magdalene, it is feasible “Mary the Magdalene” could be the equivalent of “Mary the Harlot.”

In addition to fishery, Migdal Nunya also was noted for weaving and dyeing.  Matthew 15; 39 mentioned the site as Magadan, and in the older Gospel of Mark, 8; 10, the name of Dalmanutha is used. The impoverished town in contemporary history is known as el’Medjel.  Marian theologians zealously counter the ecclesiastic correlation of the Magdalene with harlotry for what it is, a “piece of theological fiction.”  Yet another etymological theory ascribing harlotry to the Magdalene posits the origin of the town’s name with the Aramaic term for “hairdresser,” megaddela, a possible pun linking the city to the world’s oldest profession.

It was from the Gnostic connection with the Pistis Sophia that proto-orthodox bishops ascribed prostitution to Mary Magdalene and not from the absence of scriptural references in the Holy Bible.  To the Roman curia, decadence was commonly associated with Greek culture, as the Greek philosophers were much maligned.  The derogatory term Romans associated with Greek goddesses was porne, which was a term indicating prostitution and lechery.  The theological distortion of the origins of Mary Magdalene’s association with prostitution and lechery, indeed her portrayal by proto-orthodoxy as the “repentant whore,” amounts to pathology.

This pathology stems from malignant notions of separating sexuality with religiosity.  Sessions and theses on Mary the Magdalene in canonical and apocryphal literature have been presented at the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion for decades.  The Biblical denigration of Mary the Magdalene traces to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 7 which discusses an unnamed woman, a “sinner” whom visited Jesus Christ at Capernaum and anointed him with oil from an Alabaster box {Luke 7; 37-38, 44}.  The references to Mary the Magdalene as a “sinner” replete with evil is found in the following chapter in the Gospel of Luke; “And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils” {KJV Luke 8; 2}.

Sexual iconography in Biblical scripture represents the human search for textual truth, invoking feelings of mystery with sexuality.  Early Christian puritanical and ascetic stances on sexuality and eroticism were merely concessions to marital and hygiene laws.  The search for textual authority in understanding sexuality and religion is similar to the realization of mystical experience with religious icons, i.e. the Virgin Mary, Christ, feminization of the Torah, and Holy Grail.  Christian theologians should look to the spirit of the scriptures rather than the context of them.  Taking the theme of Genesis, women are often blamed for a mythic fall or contamination of religion with sexuality, though as discussed in other essays, the sacred feminine is only petitioned when fertility matters are rife in the land.  Perhaps this relates to a Biblical belief in the inadequacy of women to fully realize and understand the divine through their sexuality.

The sacred feminine, often represented by the base materiality of creation is effectively eliminated from equations of sexuality and spirituality, eroticism and religion.  It is only texts such as the garden text of Isaiah, of Genesis, the Song of Solomon and the apocryphal indications of metaphysical matrimony between Christ and Magdalene that touch upon the celebration of sexual love in religion.  Woman, according to the goal of many contemplative traditions, is subordinated and blamed for Man/Adam’s loss of virtue and consciousness.  The elimination of woman in the sacral role altogether would make it necessary for the male no longer to require a partner, thus utilizing his sexual-creative-regenerative force at will, without a woman.

Sexuality and gender in Christianity should transcend doctrinal belief in lieu of intimate religiosity.  Orthodox faith need not be abandoned, or elegantly reformed, but referred to as a starting point in understanding the sacred feminine.  The process of eroticism and experiences with the sacred feminine in religion has been made taboo, or so sublimated into Judeo-Christian iconography that it is no longer approachable or overshadowed by phallo-centrism and ecclesiastic patriarchy.  Sexuality in a doctrinal stance only invokes social misunderstanding, and arrogation of the female will in matrimony already arranged in century’s old myth.  Rather than marginalize and obscure Woman as the sacred feminine manifest, Mary the Magdalene reached equilibrium between her Womanhood and Allah as her God.

Christian iconography of erotic mysticism intentionally subordinates and obscures the role of women in mysticism and sexuality.  Marital symbolism in Christian context excludes woman as compliment to the Holy in favor of woman as mere consort and bridge to masculine experience of salvation and redemption from sin.  The garden texts in the Song of Solomon, Book of Isaiah, and Book of Genesis are presumptuous in making a necessary condition for the woman to experience the mercy and erotic power of the often-jealous god-husband.  Such is the posture conscripted by proto-orthodoxy in reference to Mary the Magdalene as the true spiritual inheritor of Christ’s apostolic gospels.

Sexuality in apocryphal sources must be admitted in terms of its coalescence with religiosity, and not rejected by doctrinal prejudice and academic contention.  Emancipation in the feminine and feminist literature comes as a recovery of sexual initiative.  In a cultural context, the de-sacralization of sexuality by marriage initiates a subordination of women.  Religiosity must not desacralize and de-eroticize sexuality, condemning eroticism to the confines of marriage in a way contemporary popular religion suggests a worldly marriage between Jesus Christ and Mary the Magdalene.  Prior to Vatican Council II, the central emphasis of morality and sexuality in the Roman Catholic Church was to perceive sexuality as “the procreative goal of the act of sexual intercourse.”  Vatican Council II began an introverted reformation toward the ideal of a more personal dynamic of sexuality in the human condition.

Thomas Aquinas, a later patristic theologian who’s Summa Theologia became the foundation of Roman Catholic doctrine, states about women: “As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten…”  Themes of marginalization were inherited, not native to a patriarchal consolidation of Christian canon.  Such ideals of the Christ’s favoritism toward the disciple Mary proved intolerable to the Roman Curia.  I Timothy 2:12-15 {KJV} reads: “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.  Yet woman will be saved through childbearing, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”  Sympathetic to the disenfranchised and despondent woman, championed by Mary the Magdalene, such a verse is not.

Modesty and chastity are best left to the woman who aligns herself in the graces of God, not with patriarchal doctrine.  It is important in arguments against the feminist nature of this thesis to note that women held pastoral roles before the evangelism of Paul.  Women such as Aquila, and Priscilla were prominent ministers before the arrival of Paul in Corinth.  In his address to the devout at Corinth, Paul supports the role of matrimony in regards to questions of sexual asceticism.

The tradition and obligation of marriage was carried over from Jewish expectations of lineage and childbearing, the lack of which was often deemed as a failure of impure women.  In the Song of Solomon, the conflated royal bride represents the Covenant of Israel, cleaving to her lover as the Israelites cleaved to Yahweh and the Magdalene was chastised for being kissed upon the mouth by the Christ. Mary the Magdalene confirms the redemption and resurrection of Jesus Christ, merging her immaculacy and role with the iconography of Eve in the primordial Gardens.

The church patriarchs Tertullian, Irenæus, Hippolytus, and Origen of Alexandria were the only theologians in the second and third centuries to completely discourse on the role of Mary the Magdalene and sexuality in a nascent Christianity.  In the fourth century there are minimal references to Mary the Magdalene by Saint Ambrose, Saint Jerome, the Cappadocians, John Chrysostom, and Saint Augustine, all direct citations to John 20;16-17 in which Christ tells Mary “noli mi tangere,” literally, do not cleave to me.  In these references, the development of the legend of the Magdalene evolves with Saint Jerome’s criticism of faith and intelligence, and a merging of her theological position with Eve.  Gregory of Nyssa in a homily equates the Magdalene with Eve, not her antithesis:

She is the first witness of the resurrection, that she might set straight again by her faith in the resurrection, what was turned over by her transgression?”  {Against Eunomius 3; 10:16}  Notice the reference to the Magdalene as a “transgressor,” instrumental in the redemption of fallen woman.

Translations of apocryphal texts in the Nag Hamada library into Coptic from original Greek ascribe to Mary the Magdalene the startling title of Apostola Apostolorum.  The apocryphal scriptures that cast the Magdalene in a preeminent role are the Gospel of Thomas, Dialogue of the Savior, First Apocalypse of James, Pistis Sophia, and the Gospel of Phillip.  The apocryphal Gospel of Mary, discovered by happenstance in 1896 in Cairo by a Bavarian connoisseur of manuscripts, Carl Reinhardt.  Unfortunately, for literati, the majority of the Gospel of Mary remains “lost.”

Mary the Magdalene by name is directly addressed by Jesus Christ in the apocryphal scriptures, a contrast to Christ’s repetitive address to women in the Synoptic Gospels, merely as “Woman” {Mat. 15:28, Luke 13:12, Luke 22:57, John 2:4, John 4:21, John 8:10}.  Jesus Christ carrying the Cross spies the Virgin Mary and even refers to his own mother as „Woman‟ {John 19:26}.

Jesus Christ refers to Mary directly by name in the Gospel of Phillip and the Pistis Sophia, thus indicating a revered role as disciple, visionary, mediatory, and intercessor of esoteric revelation by the early Christian Gnostics.  Mary the Magdalene in the Pistis Sophia is the interlocutrix of the Gospel of Christ, the inheritor of the Light absorbed in the Sophia, the ordained wisdom of God.  Mary the Magdalene, referred to sometimes as Mariham, {Aramaic, „net-catcher‟} and Maria in the Pistis Sophia I-III is the only woman named of the seven who followed Jesus Christ the Redeemer into Galilee after his resurrection.  The seven women are gathered with the twelve apostles to hear his gospel before the ascension.  In this scripture, Mary the Magdalene is the only apostle whom asks questions of the Redeemer, other apostles mentioned by name in text are Phillip, Matthew, Thomas, and Bartholomew.

Sophia in the apocrypha is never regarded as transgressor, fallen as Eve, nor as a manifestation of sexual impurity.  Mary in the Pistis Sophia is regarded as the Tower of the Flock, the feminine complement to the figure of Christ the savior.  Pistis Sophia II; 96 speaks of a throne in heaven for Mary, as she is praised as a “woman who understood fully” in the Dialogue of the Savior 139; 12-13.  In the Gospel of Phillip, the metaphysical marriage is a metaphor for the reunion of Christ and the Church, which occurs in the “bridal chamber” {Phillip verse 126 & 127; Ehrman 2003}.

The Gospel of Phillip uses the bridal chamber as a metaphor for the Hieros Gamos, a metaphysical matrimony betwixt the Christ and Magdalene representing a metaphysical marriage in the bonds of perfect love.  The polemic of sexuality and religiosity in Gnostic apocrypha proved malignant to proto-orthodox fathers.  In the Gospel of Phillip, the Magdalene is addressed in the Greek, koinonōs, rendered as consort, or partner, indicating a woman whom shares intimacy be it sexual or otherwise, with a man.

Epiphanius writes indignantly of a libertine Gnostic treatise called “The Great Questions of Mary” where the Christ gave Mary the Magdalene a revelation on a mountain Epiphanius cites as aisxrouriga, {Panarion 26:8, 1-3}meaning “the obscenity.”  Epiphanius write of Christ producing forth a woman from his side, akin to the generation of Eve in the Garden of Genesis.

Christ has sex with the new woman produced from his flesh and blood, and then is alleged (according to Epiphanius‟ resentful accounts) to consume his own semen.  Some apocryphal scriptures relate the consumption of menstrual blood and semen to the Eucharist of Christ {Panarion 26:8:5 and 26:4:1-8}.  It is debatable whether the “Great Questions of Mary” is a description of gnostic ritualism, or a misperception of sexual metaphor.

Subsequent to the Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (325), Laodicea (363-364), Nîmes (394-396), and Orange (441) apostolic continence in the Roman Catholic Church became embedded in the Christian theological lens of the fourth century.  It was against the background of sexual renunciation, and asceticism that the role of Mary the Magdalene as “Apostle to the Apostles” changed to a merely anachronistic significance.  {Haskins 1993; pg. 89}.  Hence, with firm patriarchal dominance in ecclesia, the preeminence of Mary the Magdalene was discontinued by the emergent proto-orthodoxy.

It was inevitable under patriarchy and exclusion from Gnostic scriptures from canon, that the sin of Mary the Magdalene became that of her sexuality, a transgression reciprocated by Eve.  The Gnostics and Manicheans celebrated Mary the Magdalene as mediatory between the Gospel and the Church in their arcane scriptures.  The transgressions, so called, of Mary the Magdalene became interlaced with her role as the second Eve, a perfect ideal of repentance, and with the Virgin Mary, a complete rejection of the Hieros Gamos, of sexuality that Christian orthodoxy zealously to this day abhors.  The Gospel of Mary breeds the metaphysical nuptial between the Magdalene and Jesus Christ by confirming Mary in a position parallel to Christ.

The post-resurrection dialogues between Christ and the Magdalene speak of the Son of Man as the immaculate child of true humanity, the holy light innate within the soul of every man and every woman.  The antagonism beset upon Mary by Andrew and Peter {Mary 10:1-4} mimics the theological debates between the lost Christianities” {Ehrman 2003} during the second century.  Contemporary scholars Karen King and Elaine Pagels’ question the antagonism between the apostle Peter and Mary the Magdalene.  Is this a tangible historical conflict, or a metaphorical adversity besought by Church misperception of the Hieros Gamos, of sexuality and religion?

King more intriguingly posits the theological position of the Gospel of Mary, what is the nature of the Gnostic veneration of the Magdalene in her Gospel?  Challenges to the Magdalene represent proto-orthodox rejection of Gnostic teachings as those in the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Phillip, Gospel of Mary, and Pistis Sophia as privatized religiosity, personal prophecy, and sexuality.

Irenæus charged heretics with attempting to reveal hidden mysteries received by the apostles in private, and preaching theological fiction.  Levi defends Mary’s Gospel by censuring Peter’s disdainful treatment of Mary.  Secondly, Levi reaffirms to the apostles that Christ indeed knew and loved Mary foremost, confirming her preeminent relationship with Christ.  Peter says to Mary, “We know the savior loved you more than the rest of the women.”  {Mary 6:1}.

Desposyni is a term first coined by Father Malachi Martin {d. 1999}, a Vatican theologian who served alongside H.H. Pope John XXIII from A.D. 1958-1964.  The Greek term refers to the Heirs of the Magdalene bloodline through the historical Yeshua of Nazareth.  The second-century chronicler Hegesippus of Palestine writes in his Hypomnenata {Memoirs} of Roman Emperor Vespasian ordered death upon the family of David and Jews of royal stock.  Hegesippus reports in his chronicles Emperor Domitian succeeding Titus, Son of Vespasian in A.D. 81 and ordering mass executions upon the inheritors of the Davidian bloodline.

The epoptic legacies of the Magdalene and desposyni inheritors have been defamed by puritan propaganda and theological fiction.  The historical Christ was segregated from sexuality while the Virgin Mary depreciated into a sexless prodigy.  Immaculate Mary as the matrilineal initiator of the Magdalene legacy has been substantially demeaned by Protestantism as a sexless New Eve.

In 1969, the Holy See canonized Marie the Magdalene, and inaudibly retracted the hypothesis upheld by Pope Saint Gregory the Great’s Homily XXXIII issued in A.D. 591 associating the Magdalene with Mary of Bethany {John 11:2}, the woman “taken in adultery” of John 8:1-11 and Mary of Bethany {Luke 7: 37-49}.  The April 1969 canonization of the Magdalene and revision of the Roman Catholic missal was based on the belief of her penitence.

This retraction proved to be exegetically tenable, bringing the Roman Church into line with the Byzantine Orthodox Church that maintains the separation of Mary of Bethany, Mary Jacoba wife of Cleophas {John 19:25}, and Mary of Magdal.  In the 1988 Apostolic Epistle, Mulieris Dignitatem, H.H. Pope John Paul II refers to the Magdalene as apostola apostolorum, Apostle to the Apostles.  H.H. Pope John Paul states on the sins of woman that behind transgressions of Woman lurks a man equally responsible for the rot of Light, destitute of Love.

We must ask whether the Gospel of Mary and the legacy of the Magdalene is justly Gnostic, for in lost Christianities there were competing theologies and canon was absent during the formation of a nascent proto-orthodoxy.  The Hieros Gamos betwixt the Christ and Magdalene reciprocate metaphysical matrimony in ancient cultures such as Mesopotamia and Sumer, to the erotic Song of Solomon in the New Testament and Song of Inanna in Babylonian religion.  The sanga-lugal was the priest-king in ancient Sumer, from whence comes the French Sangréal, the „blood royal.‟ Thus the legendary Holy Grail, popularly ascribed to be the metaphysical ‘womb’ of the Magdalene, existed contextually long before Jesus Christ.

In context of antiquated rites of mystical marriage, the hierodule {Greek, hierodulous} served as a female acolyte, often in connotation with religious prostitution.  This sacred prostitute referred to as the Scarlet Woman, allegorized as the Whore of Babylon in Revelations, was the holy aspect of ancient bridal rituals of the orient.  Her sacred hieroglyph was the Rosi-Crucis, a cross within a circle found in many ancient religious sites and Roman coins.

The ceremonial robes of the heirodulai, the sacred prostitutes were scarlet red, and in lieu of the Magdalene’s sacerdotal role, many medieval artists such as Luca Signorelli and Caravaggio portray Mary in red garments.  The Song of Inanna reciprocated by the New Testament Song of Solomon indicates an antiquated ritual of mystical marriage.  The Christ and Magdalene epitomize the Hieros Gamos, a mystical marriage that often reconciles and obscures the borders between sexuality and religiosity.  Mary the Magdalene’s metaphysical matrimony to Jesus Christ abides in the power to illuminate spiritual darkness in the “holy light of the bridal chamber” {{Phillip verse 126 & 127; Ehrman 2003} and Rose Cross.


Lost Christianities: Knights Templar and the Vatican

Lost Christianities: Knights Templar and the Vatican
© 2013 John F. Rychlicki III Leilah Publications
All rights reserved.

croixOctober 13, 1307 A.D.  At dawn, Pope Clement V and King Phillip IV of France aligned politically and religiously, making plans to bring about the simultaneous arrest of the Knights Templar.  At dawn, sentinels of King Phillip IV and Pope Clement V opened sealed secret orders, simultaneously to arrest all Knights Templar at once; an operation worthy of the Nazi Schutzstaffel, or Gestapo.  The orders were secret and sealed sent throughout France.  As they orders were opened they read, thus:  “All members of the Knights Templar are to be arrested and seized at once, their Preceptories under royal sequestration, their goods confiscated.”

Although Phillip IV’s objective may appear to have been achieved, the concern was the vast repositories of wealth that eluded him and was never “found.”  What became of this fabulous treasure of the Templars has remained a “mystery.”  We are talking about a military order, trained monastics in the arts and strategies of warfare, armed escorts to poor pilgrims on routes to the holy land, on pilgrimages to holy shrines.  The Poor Knights of Christ had at their disposal the wealth of nationa and allegiance a wide scope of Barons, Dukes, Bishops, Kings, and yet seemingly they were arrested and went down without a fight.  Many of them tried and convicted of heresy and treason against the Kingdom of France and committed to the torch.  Much of their squires, and neophytes fled the country, going into exile and concealing their faith.  Why did they go down without massive resistance they certainly were capable of?

So an even greater piece of the puzzle awaits placement in this incredible scheme of authentic heritage that leads us past paranoid conspiracies, revolutions, occult secrets, treachery, and beautiful women.  The elimination of the Templars met with relative levels of ease and difficulties.  Did they go down without a fight or did they not?  Some of the earliest accounts we have of the Templars place the founding of the Order roughly around 1118 A.D.  Reports are ambiguous as to the actual establishment of any Order charter or constitution.  They began their works as armed escorts to poor pilgrims on long perilous journeys to the holy lands.

A Frankish historian, historian Guillaume de Tyre who wrote between 1175 and 1185, during the crusades, provides the first historic information we have on the Templars.  Guillaume de Tyre was writing of events, however, that he had not witnessed, and his authority is uncertain, as there were no Western writers in Jerusalem between 1127 and 1144, the crucial years of the Crusades.  Guillaume states that the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon were founded in 1118 by Hugues de Payen, a nobleman from Champagne.

Hughes, along with eight companions, reportedly presented at the palace of Baudouin I, king of Jerusalem who received them most cordially, as did the Jerusalem Patriarch.  Guillaume states that the Templars’ objective was to keep the roads safe and to protect the pilgrims.  The king reportedly gave the knights an entire wing of the palace, and the knights moved in.  Legend states that the Templars’ quarters were built on the foundations of the ancient temple of Solomon. When Baudouin later moved to the citadel on the Tower of David, the Temple quarters were left entirely to the Templars.

According to Guillaume, no new knights were admitted for nine years after the founding of the order.  It is implausible, however, that nine men would take on such an immense task of keeping the highways safe and protecting pilgrims.  It is evident that in truth there was much more to the Templars’ purpose.  There is certainly no record of Templars policing the highways.  It was actually the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem who ministered to pilgrims.  It is much more likely that the Templars were the king’s front-line diplomats in the Muslim world.  We have numerous theories that the Templars were founded to be the front men of a secretive order, the Priory of Sion.

The Templars spent at least the first nine years excavating under the Temple Mount.  After the excavation was complete, the Templars swiftly returned to Europe.  In addition to the treasures they allegedly found in Jerusalem, the knights received grants of land from many of the noble families.  Templar holdings soon spread throughout Europe.  The Templars became experts in many enterprises including mining, building, quarrying, and farming, and they became richer than any kingdom in Europe.  They had an impressive fleet of ships, and they ensured the safety of major trade routes, which in turn created security, and a climate of stability for other merchants.

The sensationalism surrounding the mystery of the Templar treasure has led to many theories and accounts of conspiracy easily called into question.  One of the original seals of the Templars displays an image of two Knights riding upon one horse, suggesting ideals of piety, poverty, and fraternity.  The device stems from the first days of the Order, highlighting their supposed devotion to piety and poverty, if they were ever even truly “poor.”  Which they were not.  The Order Poor Knights of Christ and Temple of Solomon was never poverty-stricken they never lived their vows of poverty.  The Knights lived in perpetual luxury with their vast amounts of wealth accumulated from payments and tithe.

An official historian employed by the French Court, Regnault de Chartres comments on the thunderous silence of Templar activity during the first decade of their Order.  Contemporary historians such as Michael Baigent, Lynn Picknett, and Richard Leigh note that the Knights Templar never truly lived their vows of poverty.  One cannot help but wonder how only nine men can hope to complete their self-imposed task of poverty and escorting pilgrims to holy shrines.

Obviously, they began a program of enlistment into their ranks, or associative membership, partnership, or apprenticeship, yet de Tyre states that no new candidates were admitted during the initial nine years from the Order’s founding.  Nonetheless, within a decade, the fame of the Templars broadened throughout Europe.  Ecclesiastical authorities extolled the virtues of the Templar Order as the epitome of Christian life and piety.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a nephew of one of the founding nine Knights of the Order, was an influential advocate of the Templars.  At the Council of Troyes in January 1128, Court of the Count of Champagne, Saint Bernard spoke persuasively on the Knights’ behalf, engineering their official recognition and endorsement by the Church at the Council.  Remember this character Saint Bernard.  The official sanction of the Templars endorsed them as soldier-mystics, warrior-monks, and a French nobleman from the Champagne region, Hugues de Payens, created the office of Grand Master of the Order.

The Templars were obligated to take oaths of chastity, poverty, and piety directed the brethren to keep their beards yet cut their hair short, an odd look in an age where most men were clean-shaven.  Diet, dress, social interaction, and public relations were strictly regulated by monastic and military code.  Their monastic vows included celibacy and prohibition of marriage, and intoxicants.  All members were obliged to wear white habits and white mantles that became the trademark attire for the Templars.  Order precepts stated that no one outside the order was permitted to wear the white mantle with a red cross, other than an initiated Knight of the Temple.

In 1139 a Papal Bull, Pope Innocent II issued Omne Datum Optimum.  Pope Innocent II was a former Cistercian and protégé to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the Templar’s Patron.  Keep these characters in mind.  It permitted to Knights to pass freely across any border, owed no taxes, and were subject to the sole authority of the Pope himself.  Omne Datum Optimum totally and fully granted the Templars independence from all kingdoms, fiefdoms, and prelates, free from all religious and political law.  They effectively became an independent empire throughout Europe, an empire without borders.

Interesting how a religious fraternity with strict prohibitions on marriage, wealth, oaths of poverty and piety received unconditional social and political support from the Roman Catholic Church.  The Order thrived rapidly in the following two decades after the Council of Troyes.  Barons, Princes, young Dames, and numerous officials of European courts all lobbied to enroll themselves into the ranks of the Templar Order and initiate.  Real estate propriety was common practice, as donations were claimed from all over Christendom.  Hugues de Payens donated his own property to the Order, as all new neophytes were obligated to do so.  Given such proprietorships, it is no surprise Templar holdings proliferated, increasing the coffers of their vast wealth.  Within two decades after the Council of Troyes, the Order claimed real estate and chapters in Italia, Spain, Germania, Portual, France, Austria, Scotland, and Jerusalem in the Holy Land.

Omne Datum Optimum granted charity status to the Templars across Europe, obligating families of initiates to donate their monies and valuables.  Pilgrims would visit a Templar chapter in their host country, depositing their deeds and valuables, often jewelry or art.  The Templars would then give them a letter of credit, which provided inventory on their holdings.  Modern Templar scholars have stated that the letters were encrypted with a cipher alphabet based on a Maltese Cross.  The Knights increasingly grew involved in banking, their primary function now safeguarding the valuables of  pilgrims more so than the faithful on pilgrimages.  Yet there were vows of “poverty” probably as relevant to a Templar as the executive bonus to a Fortune 500 executive of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or American Insurance Group.

One need only to observe the financial headlines of the past two years to witness the jealousy, corruption, and mismanagement that tails wealth.  If the sacred trust of the Coin {see the interpretations of the Ten of Coins/Disks in the Tarot} is violated, then the loss of wealth ensues when circulation ceases.  This is what befell the Templars.  Who else would grow envious of their coffers?  Not surprisingly, the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon degenerated into corruption, fraud, and intrigue.  ‘To drink like a Templar’ was the catchphase of the times.  Their success attracted the concern of many other orders, with the two most powerful rivals being the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights.  Various nobles also had concerns about the Templars as well, for both financial reasons, and nervousness about an independent army that was able to move freely through all borders.

The military acumen of the Templars began to lurch in the 1180s.  On July 4, 1187 came the disastrous Battle of the Horns of Hattin, a turning point in the Crusades.  The battle involved the legendary Muslim Saladin, who was soundly defeated by the Templars in 1177 in the legendary Battle of Montgisard near Tiberias. Yet this time, the Battle of the Horns of Hattin yielded different results for Saladin, as he was better prepared.  Further, the current Grand Master of the Templars was involved in the battle, Gerard de Ridefort, who had just claimed the office years earlier.  Gerard de Ridefort was not elected as a military strategist, and committed fatal errors, venturing out with his misconceived force of 80 knights without adequate supplies or water, under the unforgiving desert sun.

The Templars were overcome by the desert heat within a day, and then surrounded and massacred by Saladin’s army.  Ridefort then committed a grave mistake that was destined to demoralize the entire Templar Order; rather than fighting to the death as Templar code demanded, he was captured, and allowed himself to be ransomed by surrendering Gaza to Saladin.  Ridefort tried enacting revenge against Saladin a few months later at the Siege of Acre, but again his ill-fated campaign ended in failure and capture, and he was beheaded publicly.  By 1291, Jerusalem and Palestine had fallen under Saracen control, further demoralizing the Order.

So much for the noble objectives of the Templars, for in 1291 Acre, the last vestiges of Christian territory in Palestine fell to the Islamic Mamluks.  As defeat accumulated for Christian crusaders, such as 1250’s Battle of al’Mansurah and the 1266 Siege of Safad, the Roman Catholic Church had less interest in pursuing the losing battles of the Crusades.  With the Siege of Acre, the Order was forced to relocate its mother chapter to the isle of Cyprus, as the Holy Land was again recaptured under the Sword and Crescent, the Knights Templar lost their Raison d’être.

A century earlier, the Knights Templar presided over the establishment of the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary’s Hospital in Jerusalem {Latin. Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum}.  The Teutonic Knights wore white surcoats with a black cross pattée.  The Teutons also escorted the religious on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and established hospitals all across northern Europe.  In the thirteenth century, the Teutonic Knights focused their strategic campaigns in northeastern Europe.  From their inception, the Templars envied amongst their chapters, the immunity, and sovereignty of fellow monastics such as the Knights Hospitaller and the Teutonic Knights.

According to accounts from Templar historians Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent, and Richard Leigh, the Order settled into a more congenial region, the Languedoc, in southern France historic home of the Gnostic Cathari.  According to sensationalist accounts, at least one of the co-founders of the Templars, the fourth Grand Master Bernard de Tremelay was raised in a Cathari household.  Interestingly enough, during the Albigensian Crusade, the remnants of the Templars remained strictly neutral in the affair, staying the role of religious counsel to numerous Cathari charged with heresy.  The Albigensian Crusade saw a relative influx of Cathari into quietly sympathetic Templar chapters.

In Languedoc, France, native Templars leaned their faith toward Gnostic Catharism rather than Roman Catholicism.  So we now have accounts of Templars taking up the ritual customs of the Cathari, also the Templars assimilated ritual customs observed in their travels during the Crusades.  This cultural and spiritual assimilation proved a source of contention among Roman Catholic patrons, who once officially endorsed the Order, now grew weary of its rumored intrigue and bizarre initiations.  The Hashish Takers, as referred to by Farhad Daftary and Dr. Bernard Lewis, are known commonly as the Order of Assassins, and according to scholars initiated a political and economic connection with the Templar Order.  Templars often employed Arabic secretaries in the eastern chapters, as many Knights were fluent in Arabic.

The Templars were exposed to many ritual customs the Roman Catholic ecclesia were not ordinarily exposed to.  Jacques de Molay, who was to be the last of the Order’s Grand Masters, took office around 1292.  One of his first tasks was to tour across a demoralized Europe, to raise support for the Order and try to organize yet another Crusade.  De Molay met the newly-invested Pope Boniface VIII, who granted the Order the same privileges at Cyprus as they had assumed in the Jerusalem.  Charles II of Naples and Edward I invested their coffers into dwindling Templar chapters in Italia, either continuing to exempt the Templars from taxes, or pledging to finance a new army.

The waning of the Templars grew irreversible, and the final curtain fell on the Templar act over the affair of a loan.  Young Philip IV, King of France {‘Philip the Fair’ remember} needed equity for his war with the English and asked the Templars for financing.  They refused.  Phillip “the Fair” assigned the Holy See the right to tax the French clergy, and requested the Pope to excommunicate the Templars, but Pope Boniface VIII refused, instead issuing a Papal Bull in 1302 to reinforce that the Papacy had absolute supremacy over earthly power, even above a king, and excommunicated King Philip in a reversal of his fortunes.

Phillip IV responded in kind by sending his councilor, Guillaume de Nogaret, in a plot to kidnap the Pope from his castle in Anagni in September 1303, charging him with dozens of trumped-up charges such as sodomy and heresy.  This incident inspired Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy: the new Pilate has imprisoned the Vicar of Christ.  The local militia, led by Templar Knights of Anagni rose up and rescued the aged Boniface VIII, but he perished a month later from shock due to the harsh imprisonment.

Pope Boniface’s successor, Benedict XI, lifted the excommunication of Philip IV yet refused to absolve de Nogaret, excommunicating him and all the other Italian kidnap co-conspirators on June 7, 1304.  Benedict died just eight months later in Perugia, poisoned by an agent of Nogaret.  There followed a year of discord between the French and Italian cardinals over the desired nationality of the next Pontiff, before investing the non-Italian Bertrand de Goth who took the name Clement V, in June 1305.

Clement V was a childhood friend of Philip, and retracted the Papal Bulls of Boniface VIII that had conflicted with Philip IV’s conspiracy, invested nine additional French cardinals, and administered over a failed attempt to merge the Templars and the Hospitallers.  Clement V agreed to Philip IV’s demands for an official inquiry of the Templars.  Pope Clement V also moved the papacy from the Italian Anagni to the more palatable and congenial French Avignon, initiating the era in the Church called the Avignon Papacy.

King Philip had other reasons to mistrust the Templars, as the Order brazenly had declared its desire to form its own sovereign state, similar to how the Teutonic Knights had founded Prussia.  The Templars preferred location for this was in the Languedoc of southeastern France, home to their fraternal monastics, the Cathars. They had also made a case for the island of Cyprus.  In 1306, the Templars had supported a coup on that island, which had forced Cypriot King Henry II to abdicate his throne in favor of his brother, Amalric of Tyre.

King Philip was justifiably apprehensive, as just a few years earlier; he had inherited the region of Champagne that was the Templars’ old headquarters.  The Templars were already a ‘state within a state,’ akin to the Vatican, were institutionally wealthy, owed no taxes, and had a large well-trained and battle-tested army which by papal decree could move freely through all European borders, yet had no presence in Jerusalem, which left the army without a battle or battlefield.  These factors and that Philip inherited an impoverished kingdom from his father, and was deep in debt to the Templars, led to the actions of Friday the 13, 1307.

The events of the morning of Friday the 13th October 1307 rocked the delicate equipoise of Medieval Europe.  Contemporaries and confederates of the Templars were well aware that an arrest order was underway, that the simultaneous arrest of the Templars meant King Phillip IV had challenged Papal authority by arresting a powerful and wealthy religious order directly answering to Pope Clement V himself.  Thus in one royal seizure seen as unexpected, sudden, unheard of, and blasphemous (subito capaintur; Latin for sudden capture) by sir Knights; the Templar brethren who had managed tax collection, the royal treasuries of England and France, and the real estate of French nobility, found themselves sitting in stinking dungeons.

The charges of Phillip the Fair’s “Arrest Order” were shocking to Christendom, yet only the first haze of astonishment in a trial that would last seven years.  The warrant consists of two parts intended for consumption of clergy, theologians, and finally French and English royal academia.  The rhetoric of the opening indictment is impressive:

A bitter thing, a lamentable thing, a thing horrible to think of and terrible to hear, a detestable crime, an execreable evil deed, an abominable work, a detestable disgrace, a thing wholly inhuman, foreign to all humanity, has, thanks to the reports of several persons worthy of faith, reached our ears, not without striking us with great astonishment and causing us to tremble with violent horror, and, as we consider its gravity an immense pain rises in us, all the more cruelly because there is no doubt that the enormity of the crime overlfows to the point of being an offence to the divine majesty, a shame for humanity, a pernicious example of evil and a universal scandal.”

On October 24th and 25th, Grand Master of the Order Jacques de Molay (who for the course of the Papal commissions of 1309-1310 was largely segregated from his fellows) and dozens of prominent high officials of the Order were paraded before an audience composed of academia from the University of Paris.  Downtrodden and mishappen, de Molay confessed in public to crimes and heretical practices of nascent witchcraft none would have believed him capable a fortnight earlier.  It is well known that de Molay, high ranking preceptors like Hugues de Pairaud, and simple-serving Neophytes of the Order confessed under torture and threat of torture.

Essentially the brief days from the mass arrest of Friday 13th October through de Molay’s confession of the 25th October, concluded the downfall of the Order.  On the morning of Saturday, March 14th the full accusations against the Templars were published to the common folk and greater public.  The 127 articles were slowly and dutifully read aloud first in Latin, then in more common French, the core of accused depravity of the Order of the Knights of the Temple.  The 127 articles are divided into nine categories:

•           That during the reception ceremony new brethren was required to deny Christ Jesus, God, the Virgin, and the Saints on command of those receiving them.

•           That the brethren committed various sacrilegious acts either on the cross or upon an image of Christ.

•           That the receptors practiced the Obscene Kiss on new neophytes, on the mouth, upon, the navel or buttocks.

•           That the priests of the Order did not consecrate the host, and the brethren did not believe in the sacraments.

•           That the brethren practiced idol worship, of a cat, or a head.

•           That the brethren encouraged and permitted the practice of  sodomy.

•           That the Grand Master, and other officials, absolved fellow Templars from their sins.

•           That the Templars held their reception ceremonies and chapter-meetings in secret at night.

•           That the Templars abused the duties of charity and hospitality, and used illegal means to acquire property and increase their coffers.

The compendium of charges against the Templars is a summary of exceptional acumen of the sharpest legal scholars of the royal court.  The charges in effect were a consortium of inventions, half-truths, near-truths, fantasies, and suggestive associations.  These accusations as a whole would never be disproven to the satisfaction of the court; such was the legal dilemma of the Templar defence counsels.  But the Templars did not desist and hundreds of brethren banded together in 1310 to defend their honour.

As the trial ran its course through a series of hearings and commissions, 1310 was a date in which King Phillip the Fair had ordered fifty-four recalcitrant Templars imminently burned at a public stake.  The fifty-four condemned were hastily marched through the outskirts of Paris on the road to Meaux, the present rue du faubourg Saint Antoine, and burned as the horses arrived at the stake. They suffered the indignation of not even being tied at the stake.

There were several more isolated burnings of Templars in the weeks that followed, some burned in the number of nine fellows, whilst solitary Templars were marched and burned before as their fellow Knights looked on. By Midsummer, Phillip the Fair had effectively broken and demoralized the Templar defence movement, as a total of sixty-eight Templar brethren were burned at the stake in May alone.  Final interrogations of the Order of the Temple lasted from December 1310 to 26th May 1311.  Pope Clement V called the Council of Vienne to convene in October 16, 1311 by issuing the bulls Faciens misericordiam and Regnans in coelis in August 1308.  The Council of Vienne was to withdraw Vatican support of the Templar Order.  Further papal seizures of Templar real estate were also proposed.

The Pope issued to the commission of Roman Catholic Cardinals for approval the bull to suppress the Templars in Vox in excelso (A voice from on high), 22nd March 1312.  Vox in excelso was approved by the Council on 3rd of April 1312 as the Pope pronounced a future crusade. The bulls, Ad providam of 2 May and Nuper in concilio of 16 May confiscated Templar real estate through England, France, and Iberia. The fate of the Templars themselves was decided by the bull Considerantes of 6 May.

On 12th May the Council closed, as the remaining real estate was disbursed to the Order of the Hospital of Saint John, and the Teutonic Order, several priories and chapters of former Templars were merged with monastic orders living on Templar property or simply disappeared into the rural hamlets and villages of Europe.  All save for the Masters of the Order; Hugues de Pairaud, Geoffroi de Gonneville, Geoffroi de Charney who had all been reserved for Papal judgment, including Grand Master Jacques de Molay.

The former masters of the Temple remained chained to dungeon walls in Paris until March 1314 until summoned to public execution.  There is lacking scholarly evidence that suggests de Molay and the Templar dignitaries we listed above left the dungeons in four years, three of which were harsh treatment that would make Abu Ghraib Prison and Guantanamo Bay Prison look like nurseries.

To be let into the open air must have been exhilarating for de Molay and the other dignitaries.  De Molay was about seventy; his fellow Knights were in the mid and late sixties.  De Molay and his fellows were led out in front of a crowd of Parisians nigh the hour of Vesper, on the Ile-des-Javiaux.  Hugues de Pairaud and Geoffroi de Gonneville were sent back to the dungeons in life imprisonment as unrepentant heretics.

Six chroniclers were alleged to have witnessed the execution of the Templar Masters.  Here then is the last prayers of Frater Jacques de Molay, including the infamous “curse” of Phillip IV and Clement V, reported by Geoffroi de Paris:

Le Mestre, qui vit le feu prest,

S’est despoillié sanz nul arrest.

Seingnors, au mains,

Lessiez moi jondre un po mes mains,

Et vers Dieu fere m’oroison,

Car or en est temps et season.

S’en vendra en brief temps meschié

Sus celz qui nous dampnent a tort:

Diex en vengera nostre mort.

Seignors, dist il, sachiez, sanz tere,

Que touz celz qui nous sont contrere

Por nous en aront a souffrir.

En ceste foy veil je mourir.

Vez ci ma foy; et je vous prie

Que devers la Vierge Marie,

Dont Nostre Seignor Crist fust nez,

Mon visage vous me tornez.

In 2002, Italian scholar Barbara Frale located a copy of the Chinon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives and published it in her book Il papato e il processo ai templari (2004).  Several books and much reference material on the Templar trials refer to the Chinon Parchment.  The document was published by Étienne Baluze in Vitae Paparum Avenionensis (Lives of the Popes of Avignon), Paris, 1693.  The Vatican keeps an authentic copy with reference number Archivum Arcis Armarium D 218, the original having the number D 217 (“The Parchment of Chinon – The absolution of Pope Clement V of the leading members of the Templar Order”. Vatican Secret Archives. Vatican Library. (http://asv.vatican.va/en/doc/1308.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-05)

According to the parchment, Clement V charged Berengar, cardinal priest of SS. Nereus and Achileus, Stephanus, cardinal priest of St. Cyriac in Thermis, and Landolf, cardinal deacon of St. Angel, to perform an inquisition of the accused. The cardinals thus:

“…declare through this official statement directed to all who will read it… the very same lord Pope wishing and intending to know the pure, complete and uncompromised truth from the leaders of the said Order, namely Brother Jacques de Molay, Grandmaster of the Order of Knights Templar, Brother Raymbaud de Caron, Preceptor (of) the commandaries of Templar Knights in Outremer, Brother Hugo de Pérraud, Preceptor of France, Brother Geoffroy de Gonneville, Preceptor of Aquitania and Poitou, and Geoffroy de Charney, Preceptor of Normandy, ordered and commissioned us specifically and by his verbally expressed will in order that we might with diligence examine the truth by questioning the grandmaster and the aforementioned preceptors—one by one and individually, having summoned notaries public and trustworthy witnesses.”

– Robert de Condet, cleric of the diocese of Soissons, an apostolic notary prepared the Chinon parchment for Clement V.

The apostolic notaries public are listed as; Umberto Vercellani, Nicolo Nicolai de Benvenuto, Robert de Condet, and Master Amise d’Orléans le Ratif.  Witnesses of the proceedings are listed as:  Brother Raymond, abbot of the Benedictine monastery of St. Theofred, Annecy diocese, Master Berard (Bernard?) de Boiano, archdeacon of Troia, Raoul de Boset, confessor and canon from Paris, and Pierre de Soire, overseer of Saint-Gaugery in Cambresis.

The Chinon Parchment illustrates the failure of Pope Clement V to preserve the Templars from the political intrigues of Phillip the Fair, by pronouncing that the Templars were not heretical, should be absolved of guilt and allowed to reform under the aegis of the Church.  As the commissions progressed, and the fires were lit in 1310, it became apparent of Phillip the Fair’s determination to abolish the Order, thus Pope Clement V consigned them to their fates.  On October 13, 2007, the Vatican published the Chinon Parchment on the 700th anniversary of the arrest of the Templars.


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