Samizdat

"Samizdat: Publishing forbidden literature."

Month: July, 2014

The Lost Word.

“Is it possible to discern any traces of kabbalah in the Hiramic legend? A cursory survey leads to a negative answer to the question: there are no obvious references to kabbalah such as, for instance, any speculations concerning the emanations of God (the theory of the Sephiroth deriving from the Sepher Yetzirah); no references to the feminine aspect of the Divine, the Shekinah; no speculations concerning numbers, gematria, inter alia.

Nevertheless, the chief aspect of the legend, the search for a lost word, offers an intriguing parallel with zoharic speculations concerning the loss of the proper way to pronounce the name of the Lord, the Tetragrammaton (YHVH). According to kabbalistic tradition, the proper mode of vocalization, or of pronouncing the Divine Name was a guarded secret that was reserved for the Holy of Holies within the temple of Jerusalem.

The second siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC that resulted in the destruction of Solomon’s temple and the beginning of the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the Jews that was to last until 538 BC, had the consequence that the High Priest no longer had the opportunity to pronounce the name of God. This subsequently led to the tragic consequence that the true way of pronouncing the holy name passed into oblivion.

Thus, we find in the zoharic tradition a search for the lost name, or rather the true way of pronouncing a known name. A. E. Waite (1857–1942), one of the most influential masonic and esoteric amateur scholars of the first half of the twentieth century, has written extensively on the parallel between the zoharic and the masonic search for something lost. Even though Waite lacked a proper academic training, accounting for his writing being “diffuse, often verbose, and peppered with archaisms,” his firm belief that the originators of masonry were versed in kabbalistic doctrine is worth considering:

“For myself I believe that the mystic hands which transformed Freemasonry were the hands of a Kabalistic section of Wardens of the Secret Tradition; that their work is especially traceable in the Craft Legend; and that although in its present form this Legend is much later and a work of the eighteenth century, it represents some part or reflection of those Zoharic preoccupations which began in England with Robert Fludd, Thomas Vaughan, were continued through Henry More, and were in evidence both in France and Britain before and about the period of the French Revolution.”

[…]

“For Waite the loss of the Master’s Word, which occurred at the moment of the murder of Hiram within the uncompleted Temple, and the subsequent masonic search for this lost word, has its parallel in the zoharic tradition. According to Waite, the early Christian kabbalists of the Renaissance held that the search for a lost name within the zoharic tradition, in reality was about finding Christ.

The originators of the masonic tradition, who had knowledge of the zoharic search, incorporated the theme of a search for something lost (in this case the Master’s Word) to represent the search for Christ. To Waite, Verbum Christus Est, the lost Master’s Word is Christ.

This claim would be unintelligible if not understood against a Kabbalistic background. The old Master’s Word was the name of the Lord, YHVH. According to Christian Kabbalistic tradition, the name of God conceals the name of Jesus, and thus it is “Kabbalistically” proved that Christ is the Savior. By including the Hebrew letter Shin, (which by its shape was considered by Renaissance kabbalists to allude to the trinity) in the name of the Lord, Yod He Vau He, the name of Jesus emerges YHSVH, Yeheshuah or Jeheshua.

This Kabbalistic proof has been held in high esteem among Christian kabbalists such as Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) and Johannes Reuchlin (1455–1522).”

[…] 

“According to the legend of Hiram, the old Master’s Word was lost at the occasion of Hiram’s murder, and a new Master’s Word was adopted, viz. Makbenak— believed to mean “the flesh falls from the bones.”

The old Master’s Word was the name of God in Hebrew, Tetragrammaton, pronounced as Jehovah, which is the same name that figures in the zoharic tradition. The notion that the old Master’s Word was lost at the time of Hiram’s death, is indeed perplexing, to say the least, since it is clearly stated in the legend itself that the old Word was YHVH.

Snoek has unraveled this knot by clearly showing that in the early English versions of the legend there was never a question of losing the Word, but that which was lost was rather the way of pronouncing the Word. According to the early versions of the legend the Master’s Word could only be pronounced by the three Masters together, viz. King Solomon, King Hiram, and Hiram Abiff.

This is the reason why Hiram could not, as opposed to would not, reveal the word. Since Hiram had not passed on his knowledge before being killed, the proper way of pronouncing the Master’s Word was lost.

We have thus two traditions, the zoharic and the masonic, where a central theme is the loss of the proper way of pronouncing the name of the Lord, YHVH. To me, it seems highly unlikely that the choice of the old masonic Master’s Word would have been made without the influence from Kabbalistic speculations on the name of God. Especially since the speculations concerning YHVH are not limited to the zoharic tradition, but are an important aspect of the Christian Kabbalah as well.”

–Henrik Bogdan, Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, 2007, pg. 90-2.

The Legend of Ra and Isis

This version of the Legend of Ra and Isis is from the classic by E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Papyrus of Ani, 1895. pg. xc-xci.

I have edited the version with paragraph breaks to ease readability, and inserted sparing editorial notes. Care has been taken to preserve Budge’s precise translation, using capital G’s for the word “God” and lowercase g’s for the words “gods” and “goddesses.”

Source text can be found at the following URL:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

“Now Isis was a woman who possessed words of power; her heart was wearied with the millions of men, and she chose the millions of the gods, but she esteemed more highly the millions of the khu’s. And she meditated in her heart, saying “Cannot I by means of the sacred name of God make myself mistress of the earth and become a goddess like unto “Ra in heaven and upon earth?”

The Legend continues,

“Now, behold, each day Ra entered at the head of his holy mariners and established himself upon the throne of the two horizons. The holy one had grown old, he dribbled at the mouth, his spittle fell upon the dirt, and his slobbering dropped upon the ground.”

“And Isis kneaded it with earth in her hand, and formed thereof a sacred serpent in the form of a spear; she set it not upright before her face, but let it lie upon the ground in the path whereby the great god went forth, according to his heart’s desire, into his double kingdom.

(So Isis set him up to be ambushed by her serpent, which included the spittle of Ra.)

“Now the holy god arose, and the gods who followed him as though he were Pharaoh went with him; and he came forth according to his daily wont; and the sacred serpent bit him.”

After Ra was bit:

“The flame of life departed from him, and he who dwelt among the cedars (Budge inserts a ? here) was overcome.

Budge continues:

“The holy god opened his mouth, and the cry of his majesty reached unto heaven. His company of gods said, “What hath happened?” and his gods exclaimed, “What is it?”

But Ra could not answer, for his jaws trembled and all his members quaked; the poison spread quickly through his flesh just as the Nile invadeth all his land.”

“When the great god had stablished his heart, he cried unto those who were in his train, saying, “Come unto me, O ye who have come into being from my body, ye gods who have come forth from me, make ye known unto Khepera that a dire calamity had fallen upon me.”

Ra continues,

“My heart perceiveth it, but my eyes see it not; my hand hath not caused it, nor do I know who had done this unto me. Never have I felt such pain, neither can sickness cause more woe than this.”

“I am a prince, the son of a prince, a sacred essence which hath proceeded from God. (Note: Budge has a capital G God, not god).

“I am a great one, the son of a great one, and my father planned my name; I have multitudes of names and multitudes of forms, and my existence is in every god.”

“I have been proclaimed by the heralds Tmu (Atum) and Horus, and my father and my mother uttered my name; but it hath been hidden within me by him that begat me, who would not that the words of power of any seer should have dominion over me.”

“I came forth to look upon that which I had made, I was passing through the world that I created, when lo! something stung me, but what I know not.”

“Is it fire? Is it water? My heart is on fire, my flesh quaketh, and trembling hath seized all my limbs.”

“Let there be brought unto me the children of the gods with healing words and with lips that know, and with power which reacheth unto heaven.”

“The children of every god came unto him in tears, Isis came with her healing words and with her mouth full of the breath of life, with her enchantments which destroy sickness, and with her words of power which make the dead to live.”

“And she spake, saying, “What hath come to pass, O holy father? What hath happened? A serpent hath bitten thee, and a thing which though hast created hath lifted up his head against thee.”

“Verily it shall be cast forth by my healing words of power, and I will drive it away from before the sight of thy sunbeams.”

Ra replied,

“The holy god opened his mouth and said, “I was passing along my path, and I was going through the two regions of my lands according to my heart’s desire, to see that which I had created, when lo! I was bitten by a serpent which I saw not. Is it fire? Is it water? I am colder than water, I am hotter than fire. All my flesh sweateth, I quake, my eye hath no strength, I cannot see the sky, and the sweat rusheth to my face even as in the time of summer.”

“Then said Isis unto Ra, “O tell me thy name, holy father, for whosoever shall be delivered by thy name shall live.”

[And Ra said], “I have made the heavens and the earth, I have ordered the mountains, I have created all that is above them, I have made the water, I have made to come into being the great and wide sea, I have made the “Bull of his mother,” from who spring the delights of love.”

Ra continues:

“I have made the heavens, I have stretched out the two horizons like a curtain, and I have placed the soul of the gods within them.”

“I am he who, if he openeth his eyes, doth make the light, and, if he closeth them, darkness cometh into being. At his command the Nile riseth, and the gods know not his name.”

“I have made the hours, I have created the days, I bring forward the festivals of the year, I create the Nile-flood. I make the fire of life, and I provide food in the houses. I am Khepera in the morning. I am Ra at noon, and I am Tmu (Atum) at evening.”

“Meanwhile the poison was not taken away from his body, but it pierced deeper, and the great god could no longer walk.

“Then said Isis unto Ra, “What thou has said is not thy name. O tell it unto me, and the poison shall depart; for he shall live whose name shall be revealed.”

Now the poison burned like fire, and it was fiercer than the flame and the furnace, and the majesty of god said, “I consent that Isis shall search into me, and that my name shall pass from me into her.”

“Then the god hid himself from the gods, and his place in the boat of millions of years was empty.

“And when the time arrived for the heart of Ra to come forth, Isis spake unto her son Horus, saying, “The god hath bound himself by an oath to deliver up his two eyes” (i.e., the sun and the moon).

“Thus was the name of the great god taken from him, and Isis, the lady of enchantments, said, “Depart, poison, go forth from Ra. O eye of Horus, go forth from the god, and shine outside his mouth. It is I who work, it is I who make to fall down upon the earth the vanquished poison; for the name of the great god hath been taken away from him.”

“May Ra live!”

“These are the words of Isis, the great goddess, the queen of the gods, who knew Ra by his own name.”

Budge concludes: “Thus we see that even to the great god Ra were attributed all the weakness and frailty of mortal man; and that “gods” and “goddesses” were classed with beasts and reptiles, which could die and perish.”

“As a result, it seems that the word “God” should be reserved to express the name of the Creator of the Universe, and that neteru, usually rendered “gods,” should be translated by some other word, but what that word should be is almost impossible to say.”

Legend of Ra and Isis from E.A. Wallis Budge, Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Papyrus of Ani, 1895. pg. xc-xci.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/

“The Praises of Isis, Mistress of the Universe and Creator of Civilization.”

Demetrios, the son of Artemidoros, who is also called Thraseas, a Magnesian from Magnesia on the Meander, an offering in fulfillment of a vow to Isis. He transcribed the following from the stele in Memphis which stands by the temple of Hephaistos:

“I am Isis, the tyrant of every land; and I was educated by Hermes, and together with Hermes I invented letters, both the hieroglyphic and the demotic, in order that the same script should not be used to write everything.

I imposed laws on men, and the laws which I laid down no one may change. I am the eldest daughter of Kronos. I am the wife and sister of King Osiris. I am she who discovered the cultivation of grain for men. I am the mother of King Horos (Horus).

I am she who rises in the Dog Star. I am she who is called goddess by women. By me the city of Bubastis was built. I separated earth from sky. I designated the paths of the stars. The sun and the moon’s course I laid out. I invented navigation. I caused the just to be strong.

Woman and man I brought together. For woman I determined that in the tenth month she shall deliver a baby into the light. I ordained that parents be cherished by their children. For parents who are cruelly treated I imposed retribution.

Together with my brother Osiris I stopped cannibalism. I revealed initiations to men. I taught men to honor the images of the gods. I established precincts for the gods. The governments of tyrants I suppressed.

I stopped murders. I compelled women to be loved by men. I caused the just to be stronger than gold and silver. I ordained that the true be considered beautiful. I invented marriage contracts. Languages I assigned to Greeks and barbarians.

I caused the honorable and the shameful to be distinguished by Nature. I caused nothing to be more fearful than an oath. He who unjustly plotted against others I gave into the hands of his victim. On those who commit unjust acts I imposed retribution.

I ordained that suppliants be pitied. I honor those who justly defend themselves. With me the just prevails. Of rivers and winds and the sea I am mistress. No one becomes famous without my knowledge. I am the mistress of war. Of the thunderbolt am I mistress. I calm and stir up the sea. I am the rays of the sun. I sit beside the course of the sun. Whatever I decide, this also is accomplished. For me everything is right.

I free those who are in bonds. I am the mistress of sailing. The navigable I make unnavigable when I choose. I established the boundaries of cities. I am she who is called Lawgiver. The island from the depths I brought up into the light. I conquer Fate. Fate heeds me. Hail Egypt who reared me.”

—From Stanley M. Burstein, The Reign of Cleopatra (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004), p. 154.

–From Stanley M. Burnstein, The Hellenistic Age from the Battle of Ipsos to the Death of Kleopatra VII (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pg. 147.

 

Ivan Elagin (1725-93), Doctrine of Ancient Philosophy and Divine Knowledge.

Here is another book which exists, but has never been published. The Russian Doctrine of Ancient Philosophy and Divine Knowledge, or Knowledge of Free Masons, written in the 1780’s by Ivan Elagin (1725-93). To wit:

“Freemasonry … existed from time immemorial under a veil of dark hieroglyphs, allegories and symbols. It will never be forgotten, changed or demolished…It is that wisdom which [Jewish] patriarchs had at the beginning of the world and from them it was transmitted and kept as a great secret in the holy temples of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Persians, Phoenicians, Jews, Greeks and Romans … in the lodges or schools of Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, and the wise men of India, China, Druids, etc.” (Elagin, Doctrine of Ancient Philosophy, pg. 232.)

“Thus the source of the Kabbalah is here an immediate divine revelation granted to Moses and through him to the people of Israel (and afterwards to the whole of humankind).”

–From Konstantin Burmistrov, “The Kabbalah as Primordial Tradition in Russian Secret Societies,” in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 326.

Book of Raziel the Angel, Sefer Raziel ha-Malakh

“…when Adam was still in Paradise, Raziel the angel brought him a book filled with divine wisdom from heaven. This Book of Raziel the Angel, or Sefer Raziel (a Chaldean word which means “secret of God”), flew away from him at the moment of the Fall. However, since he cried bitterly about this [loss] and repented, God gave it back to him through Rafael the angel (the name means “salvation of God”). Adam handed it over to Seth, Seth to Enoch….” (Credited to DMS RSL 14, N 992, f. 1v-2, A Short Notion on Kabbalah, early 19th century.)

Therefore the primordial Kabbalah is considered a certain “book” passed by Raziel the angel to the first man.”

[Ah. The Book of Raziel was purported to be the Sefer Raziel ha-Malakh, but it is clear that the Sefer Raziel is not the Adamic Book of Raziel.]

“After a time the “book” was lost again, whereupon “patriarch Abraham extracted it from the dust and restored it with the help of God, and this [restoration] is evidenced by the Book Yetzirah…..”

(In the footnotes, the book “Rosieyl, the Divine Secret of Practical Kabbalah” is mentioned, as a “curious Masonic register of Kabbalistic texts composed in the 1780’s.” See DMS RSL, F. 14, N 1655, 550. Cf. Burmistrov, Endel, “Kabbalah in Russian Masonry,” 28-9.)

–From Konstantin Burmistrov, “The Kabbalah as Primordial Tradition in Russian Secret Societies,” in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 328-9.

Kabbalah as Revealed Wisdom vs. Gnostic or Neoplatonic Invention

“They rated the Kabbalah highly, not (or not only) as an original Jewish doctrine but as a supposed basis of every religious or esoteric tradition.” […] Thus the Kabbalah was considered by Masonic authors to be ancient wisdom, received by the Jews directly from God and retained in some ancient esoteric schools but primarily in the secret doctrine of the Jews. … Moreover, the very idea of a secret wisdom transmitted from time immemorial through many generations of an elect would be expected to have an effect on the Masonic notion of tradition. It seems that the Russian brothers basically shared the conception of the Kabbalah commonly accepted by the Jews as ancient knowledge granted to the chosen people through revelation. Of course, they were acquainted with the opinion of European scholars, including some Hebraists of the eighteenth century, that the Kabbalah is either an invention emerging in the late Middle Ages or an adaptation of some Gnostic and/or Neoplatonic ideas within Jewish theology.”

–From Konstantin Burmistrov, “The Kabbalah as Primordial Tradition in Russian Secret Societies,” in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 330.

The Breastplate of Judgement, Breastplate of Aaron, choshen ha-moshpat

“In his lectures, Johann Schwarz also repeatedly mentioned a miraculous light or “energy” which transforms an initiate into a “vessel” for the reception of sacred wisdom.

“This light shone in the precious stones of the breastplate [of judgement] of Aaron. This light teaches us every holy thing, such as knowing the future, the will of god and the Messiah. It is by means of this light that we can comprehend the writings of Solomon. This light is a supernatural heaven, paradise, a divine emanation. The influx of this light governs the pious people who live a spiritual life. This light is an influx and an action of the Holy Spirit, its ray. Whomever has this light [inside him], he is in God and God is within him. He feels His presence. He is possessed of the supernatural light. He talks to God as to his friend. He is a true theologian.”

The Breastplate of Judgment, the Breastplate of Aaron, the choshen ha-moshpat (Exodus 28:15-30), contained precious stones and functioned as a special device for receiving divine revelations.”

–From Konstantin Burmistrov, “The Kabbalah as Primordial Tradition in Russian Secret Societies,” in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 332-3.

What Kabbalah Is

“The Kabbalah was understood both as the knowledge granted through a revelation in the very beginning and as the means of its transmission. Furthermore, exactly this knowledge gives the initiate an opportunity to reach a state of spiritual perfection and to establish a connection with the divine world, that is, to attain personal revelation.”

–From Konstantin Burmistrov, “The Kabbalah as Primordial Tradition in Russian Secret Societies,” in Andreas Kilcher, Constructing Tradition, Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism, 2010, pg. 339.

The Noble Virgin of Sophia in Boehme

“Boehme extended his theosophy with the figure of the Noble Virgin of Sophia, a figure based on the allegory in the Book of Wisdom and Proverbs. She animates the second world of “eternal nature” as a serene and reflective aspect of God. Both the terms “abyss” and “Sophia” recall mythic aspects in the Gnostic aeonology of Valentinus (second century), a remarkable example of Protestant esotericism naively invoking Hellenistic heterodoxy.”

–Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Western Esoteric Traditions: An Historical Introduction, 2008. Pg. 96.

On Fear, Anxiety, Angst, and Mythology

“Fear is to be met and managed by the hero on his path to manhood, and an encounter with fear plays a major part in initiation ceremonies.”

[…]

Simply, there are two faces to panic: lived out in relation to a stimulus and called fear; held in with no known stimulus and called anxiety. Fear has an object; anxiety has none.  There can be panicky fear, a stampede, say; there can be panicky anxiety in a dream. In either condition, death can result. Psychoanalytic and psychosomatic case reports, as well as dream research and anthropological studies (for instance, on Voodoo death) provide instances of the fatal consequences of anxiety.

The anxiety dream can be distinguished from the nightmare in the classical sense. The classical nightmare is a dreadful visitation by a demon who forcibly oppresses the dreamer into paralysis, cuts off his breath, and release comes through movement. The anxiety dream is less precise, in that there is no demon, no dyspnea, but there is the same inhibition of movement. (A collection of these dreams is given by M. Weidhorn, “The Anxiety Dream in Literature from Homer to Milton,” Studies in Philology 64, pp. 65-82, Univ. of NC., 1967). A literary prototype of the anxiety dream, emphasizing an inhibited peculiarity of movement, occurs in the Iliad xxii, 199-201 (Achilles in pursuit of Hector):

“As in a dream a man is not able to follow one
who runs from him, nor can the runner escape,
nor the other pursue him, so he could not run
him down in his speed, nor the other get clear.”

[…]

Contemporary existential philosophy gives to anxiety, dread or Angst a more intentional, a more fulsome interpretation. Angst reveals man’s fundamental ontological situation, his connections with not-being, so that all fear is not just dread of death, but of the nothing on which all being is based. Fear thus becomes the reflection in consciousness of a universal reality.

Buddhism goes yet further: fear is more than a subjective, human phenomenon. All the world is in fear: trees, stones, everything. And the Buddha is the redeemer of the world from fear. Hence the significance of the mudra (hand gesture) of fear-not, which is not merely a sign of comfort but of total redemption of the world from its “fear and trembling,” its thralldom to Angst. Buddha’s perfect love, in the words of the Gospels, “driveth out fear.”

“…to further mix the contexts: let us say that the world of nature, Pan’s world, is in a continual state of subliminal panic just as it is in a continual state of subliminal sexual excitation. As the world is made by Eros, held together by that cosmogonic force and charged with the libidinal desire that is Pan, an archetypal vision most recently presented by Wilhelm Reich–so its other side, panic, recognized by the Buddha belongs to the same constellation. Again, we come back to Pan and the two extremes of instinct.

Brinkman has already pointed to the bankruptcy of all theories of panic that attempt to deal with it sociologically, psychologically or historically and not on its own terms. The right terms, Brinkman says, are mythological. We must follow the path cleared by Nietzsche whose investigation of kinds of consciousness and behavior through Apollo and Dionysos can be extended to Pan. Then panic will no longer be regarded as a physiological defense mechanism or an inadequate reaction or an abaissment du niveau mental, but will be seen as the right response to the numinous.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. xxvi-xxviii. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Animism, Pantheism, Pagan Sexuality

“The imaginal is never more vivid than when we are connected with it instinctually. The world alive is of course animism; that this living world is divine and imaged by different Gods with attributes and characteristics is polytheistic pantheism. That fear, dread, horror are natural is wisdom. In Whitehead’s term “nature alive” means Pan, and panic flings open a door into this reality.

Roscher’s article on Pan in the Lexicon states that Pan invented masturbation. Roscher refers to Ovid’s Amores 1, 3, 1 and 26 and to Catullus 32, 3; 61, 114. But the principal source is Dio Chrysostomus (ca. 40-112 AD), who in his sixth oration refers to Diogenes for witness. (Diogenes was the Greek Cynic philosopher who supposedly masturbated in public).”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. xxxi-xxxii. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Sacred Sexuality

“In this case, masturbation is governed by the goat-God of nature, who “invented” it, and is an expression of him. This mythological statement says that masturbation is an instinctual, natural activity invented by the goat for the shepherd. It says further that masturbation is significant and divinely sanctioned. Because it belongs to a God, the activity is mimetic to the God, conjuring him and summoning him in the concrete body. Masturbation is a way of enacting Pan.

[…]

In our culture, let us remember, masturbation is attributed to Onan whom God struck dead, and not to Pan who was himself a god.

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. xxxiv. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Sacred and Ritual Copulation

“We would take the copulation of goats with women in an Egyptian temple (reported by Herodotus) on a sacred, ritual level.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. xxxviii. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

The Schism Between Fantasy and Behavior

“Clearly the issue remains insoluble as long as we insist that behavior and fantasy are two different realms. This schism produces all the others: between secular and sacred, between “in here” and “out there,” between mythology and pathology. Therefore the first step toward resolving the particular problem of rape is to recognize the larger mistake behind it. This mistake can be rectified by remembering that behavior is also fantasy and fantasy is also behavior, and always.

This means, first, that fantasy is also physical; it is a mode of being in the world. We cannot be in the physical world without at the same time and all the time demonstrating an archetypal structure. We cannot move or feel without enacting a fantasy. Our fantasies are not only in the mind; we are behaving them.

Second, the union of fantasy and behavior means that there is no pure, no objective behavior as such. Behavior may never be taken on its own level, literally. It is always guided by imaginal processes and expresses them. Behavior is always metaphorical and requires a hermeneutic approach as much as does the most fantastic reverie of mystical vision.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. xxxix. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

The Restoration of Great God Pan

“Even in the street there is always ritual taking place in behavior and something sacred is always going on in everything profane. The transposition we have been searching for is a transposition so that we can see the unity of fantasy and behavior. Then we do not need to construct literal enactments and call them rituals. This essay is just such an attempt at the transposition of our vision. By seeing Pan in behavior in panic, masturbation and rape, we restore both the God to life and life to the God.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. xl. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

The Origin of Witches

“Plutarch placed his story about the death of Pan in a discussion about why the oracles had become defunct in the late antique world so pervaded by Christianity. With the death of Pan, the maidens who spoke out the natural truths were no more either, for the death of Pan means as well the death of the nymphs. And, as Pan turned into a Christian devil, so the nymphs became witches and prophecy, sorcery. Pan’s messages in the body became calls from the devil, and any nymph who evoked such calls could be nothing but a witch.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. li. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

On the Nymphs

“But the nymph continues to operate in our psyches. When we make magic of nature, believe in natural health cures and become nebulously sentimental about pollution and conservation, attach ourselves to special trees, nooks and scenes, listen for meanings in the wind and turn to oracles for comfort–then the nymph is doing her thing.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. lii. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

On Panic

“It was believed that Pan himself was in a panic when the animals ran, and that this vision of Pan’s panic set the world in terror. It is as if Pan was himself a victim of nightmares, epileptoid convulsions, and the horror that he brings. The God is what he does; his appearance is his essence. In one and the same nature is both the power of nature and the fear of that power.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. liii. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

When Time Stands Still

“Pan’s hour was always Noon. At this moment he would appear in the blaze and shimmer of midday, startling man and animal into blind terror. This seems to have little to do with the nightmare.

Perhaps we need to regard high Noon, the zenith of the day, as the highest point of natural strength, which constellates both the life force and its opposite, the necessary fall from this height. It is the uncanny moment when I and my shadow are one.

Noon like midnight is a moment of transition and, like midnight, daybreak and sunset, a radix of primordial orientation for what might be called the symbolic clock. These are the moments when time stands still, when the orderly procession of moments disrupts.

So must certain things be accomplished before the cock’s crow at dawn, or the stroke of midnight, or before night falls. At these moments time is broken through by something extraordinary, something beyond the usual order.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. lvi. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Pan & Synchronicity vs. Causality, Space and Time

“Jung worked both systematically and hermeneutically upon chance events in connection with the problems of synchronicity. This term refers to meaningful coincidences of psychic and physical events for which no satisfactory account can be given through the usual categories of causality, space and time. Jung considered synchronicity to be a principle equal to the other three and, like them, a part of nature. He found that synchronistic events happen mainly when instinctual (emotional, archetypal, symbolic) levels of the psyche are engaged.

[…]

“If the principle of synchronicity is another way of speaking about Pan, then we may also begin to understand why anyone occupied with this field of spontaneity, called parapsychology, becomes a renegade from the civilized order of rational men. As synchronicity is the devilish fourth principle, so Pan is the devilish shadow of our dominant archetypal Trinity. The integration of parapsychology into respectable science and psychology would then require a revaluation of Pan and a view of instinct and nature from his perspective. Until then parapsychology will tend to be cast in his shadow, a field of sentimentalities and natural religion, something at once comic, untrustworthy, obscure and lunatic.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. lviii-lix. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Nightmares as the Experiential Base of Religion

“The nightmare reveals this, par excellence. There the healing reeducation might begin because there the instinctual soul is most real. Jones (p. 71) reminds us that “the vividness of Nightmares far transcends that of ordinary dreams.” Roscher and Laistner both observed this, and Jones (Ibid.) quotes others who have stressed this reality:

“The degree of consciousness during a paroxysm of Nightmare is so much greater than ever happens in a dream….Indeed I know no way in which a man has of convincing himself that the vision which has occurred during a paroxysm of Nightmare is not real…( J.Waller).

“The illusions which occur are perhaps the most extraordinary phenomena of nightmare; and so strongly are they often impressed upon the mind, that, even on waking, we find it impossible not to believe them real….(R. Macnish).

“From this kind of experience Jones draws his main point condensed into the second motto I placed above: the vividness of the nightmare experience has given rise to the belief in the objective reality of personified demons and Gods: the nightmare is the experiential base of religion.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. lxii. (James Hillman, “An Essay on Pan.”)

Zelazny on Infinity

“Can life be counted upon to limit itself? No. It is the mindless striving of two to become infinity.

Can death be counted upon to limit itself? Never. It is the equally mindless effort of zero to encompass infinity.”

–Anubis, God of Death, in Roger Zelazny, Creatures of Light and Darkness. Pg. 10.

The Leap into Infinity

“Each step that it takes, however, crossing from nothing to nothing, carries it twice the distance of the previous step.

Each stride also takes the same amount of time as the prior one.

Suns flash by, fall behind, wink out. It runs through solid matter, passes through infernos, pierces nebulae, faster and faster moving through the starfall blizzard in the forest of the night.

Given a sufficient warm-up run, it is said that it could circumnavigate the universe in a single stride.

What would happen if it kept running after that, no one knows.”

–Roger Zelazny, Creatures of Light and Darkness. Pg. 20.

The Unknown vs. The Unknowable

“It is the difference between the unknown and the unknowable, between science and fantasy, it is a matter of essence.

The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown.

Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three.

I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable.

The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either.”

–The god Yama, speaking in Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light,

Zelazny on Divinity, from Lord of Light

“…Godhood is more than a name. It is a condition of being. One does not achieve it merely by being immortal, for even the lowliest laborer in the fields may achieve continuity of existence.

Is it then the conditioning of an Aspect? No. Any competent hypnotist can play games with the self-image.

Is it the raising up of an Attribute? Of course not. I can design machines more powerful and more accurate than any faculty a man may cultivate.

Being a god is the quality of being able to be yourself to such an extent that your passions correspond with the forces of the universe, so that those who look upon you know this without hearing your name spoken.

Some ancient poet said that the world is full of echoes and correspondences. Another wrote a long poem of an inferno, wherein each man suffered a torture which coincided in nature with those forces which had ruled his life.

Being a god is being able to recognize within one’s self these things that are important, and then to strike the single note that brings them into alignment with everything else that exists.

Then, beyond morals or logic or esthetics, one is wind or fire, the sea, the mountains, rain, the sun or the stars, the flight of an arrow, the end of a day, the clasp of love. One rules through one’s ruling passions. Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, ‘He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.’

So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them.”

–Yama, Death god, speaking to Sam, the Buddha, in Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light.

The Universe as a Book

The Christians went even further. The thought that the divinity had written a book moved them to imagine that he had written two, and that the other one was the universe.

At the beginning of the Seventeenth century, Francis Bacon declared in his Advancement of Learning that God offered us two books so that we would not fall into error: the first, the volume of the Scriptures, reveals His will; the second, the volume of the creatures, reveals His power and is the key to the former. Bacon intended much more than the making of a metaphor; he believed that the world was reducible to essential forms (temperatures, densities, weights, colors), which formed, in limited number, an abecedarium naturae or series of letters with which the universal text is written.

[…]

Two hundred years passed, and the Scot Carlyle, in various places in his books, particularly in the essay on Cagliostro, went beyond Bacon’s hypothesis; he said that universal history was a Sacred Scripture that we decipher and write uncertainly, and in which we too are written. Later, León Bloy would write:

“There is no human being on earth who is capable of declaring who he is. No one knows what he come to this world to do, to what his acts, feelings, ideas correspond, or what his real name is, his imperishable Name in the registry of Light … History is an immense liturgical text, where the i’s and the periods are not worth less than the versicles or whole chapters, but the importance of both is undeterminable and is profoundly hidden.” (L’Ame de Napoleon, 1912).

The world, according to Mallarmé, exists for a book; according to Bloy, we are the versicles or words or letters of a magic book, and that incessant book is the only thing in the world: more exactly, it is the world.”

Note 3: Galileo’s works abound with the concept of the universe as a book. The second section of Favaro’s anthology (Galileo Galilei: Pensieri, motti e sentenze; Florence, 1949) is entitled “Il libro della Natura.” I quote the following paragraph: Philosophy is written in that very large book that is continually opened before our eyes (I mean the universe), but which is not understood unless first one studies the language and knows the characters in which it is written. The language of that book is mathematical and the characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures.”

–Jorge Luis Borges, “On the Cult of Books.”

http://www.filosofiaesoterica.com/ler.php?id=1459#.U88K61Ydvfo

The Creation of the Universe

“Even more extravagant than the Muslims were the Jews. The first chapter of the Jewish Bible contains the famous sentence: And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light;” the Kabbalists argued that the virtue of that command from the Lord came from the letters of the words.

The Sepher Yetzirah (Book of the Formation), written in Syria or Palestine around the sixth century, reveals that Yehovah of the Armies, God of Israel and God Omnipotent, created the universe by means of the cardinal numbers from one to ten and the twenty-two letters of the alphabet. That numbers may be instruments or elements of the Creation is the dogma of Pythagoras and Iamblichus; that letters also are is a clear indication of the new cult of writing.

The second paragraph of the second chapter reads: “Twenty-two fundamental letters: God drew them, engraved them, combined them, weighed them, permutated them, and with them produced everything that is and everything that will be.” Then the book reveals which letter has power over air, and which over water, and which over fire, and which over wisdom, and which over peace, and which over grace, and which over sleep, and which over anger, and how (for example) the letter kaf, which has power over life, served to form the sun in the world, the day Wednesday in the week, and the left ear on the body.”

–Jorge Luis Borges, “On the Cult of Books.”

The Absolute Book

“Superimposed on the notion of a God who speaks with men in order to command them to do something or to forbid them to do something was that of the Absolute Book, of a Sacred Scripture.

For Muslims, the Koran, (also called “The Book,” al-Kitab) is not merely a work of God, like men’s souls or the universe; it is one of the attributes of God, like His eternity or His rage.

In chapter XIII we read that the original text, the Mother of the Book, is deposited in Heaven.

Muhammed al-Gazali, the Algazel of the scholastics, declared: “The Koran is copied in a book, is pronounced with the tongue, is remembered in the heart and, even so, continues to persist in the center of God and is not altered by its passage through written pages and human understanding.”

George Sale observes that this uncreated Koran is nothing but its idea or Platonic archetype; it is likely that al-Gazali used the idea of archetypes, communicated to Islam by the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity and by Avicenna, to justify the notion of the Mother of the Book.”

–Jorge Luis Borges, “On the Cult of Books.”

The Lost Writing of Jesus

“A teacher selects a pupil, but a book does not select its readers, who may be wicked or stupid; this Platonic mistrust persists in the words of Clement of Alexandria, a man of pagan culture: “The most prudent course is not to write but to learn and teach by word of mouth, because what is written remains” (Stromateis), and in the same treatise: “To write all things in a book is to put a sword in the hands of a child,” which derives from the Gospels: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” That sentence is from Jesus, the greatest of oral teachers, who only once wrote a few words on the ground, and no man read what He had written.”

–Jorge Luis Borges, “On the Cult of Books.”

Aphrodite’s Broken Mirror as the Source of All Religions.

“Each religion, my bretheren, is but a shard of Aphrodite’s broken mirror.”

–Plethon, Founder, Florence’s Platonic Academy.

Quoted in Daniel Béresniak, Symbols of Freemasonry, pg. 16. Footnoted to Daniel Béresniak, Les Premiers Médicis et l’Académie platonicienne de Florence, Détrad, Paris, 1985.

Moshe Idel on Kabbalah.

“The main issue to be learnt from the Kabbalah according to this Kabbalist (Abulafia) is the essence of reality, not the secrets of the Torah. Preeminently a philosophical concern, inspired by Maimonides’ thought, this knowledge is nevertheless achieved by combining letters, an approach to language that differs from the more conventional understanding of it in philosophical ways of thought.”

–Moshe Idel, “Revelation and the ‘Crisis of Tradition’ in Kabbalah,” in Andreas B. Kilcher, Constructing Tradition: Means and Myths of Transmission in Western Esotericism. Pg. 259.

Vincent Van Gogh on Dreams.

“I dream my paintings, then I paint my dreams.”

–Attributed to Vincent Van Gogh.

Sandburg on Poetry.

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”

–Carl Sandburg

On Enoch and the Angel Metatron.

“The disciplines of the Mystical Qabalah are distinct from those practiced by magicians, wizards, and sorcerers who seek to acquire creative and/or destructive power, depending on what paths they traverse on the Tree of Life. The occult disciplines of wizards and magicians are often called the Practical, Hermetic, or Magical Qabalah.

Practical Qabalah has its roots in the “Thirteen Enochian Keys” of Enoch son of Qain, along with a highly admixture of material taken from Egyptian, Mesopotamian and other non-Hebrew sources.

It is important not to confuse Enoch son of Qain with Enoch son of Yared. The former Enoch was the grandson of Adam and the son after whom Qain was said to name a city.

Enoch son of Yared was the great, great, great, great grandson of Adam, and the one who “walked with Elohim” and was transformed into Metatron.”

–Daniel Feldman, Qabalah: The Mystical Heritage of the Children of Abraham, 2001. Pg. 33-4.

Numbers 7, 9 and 40, and the Omphalos.

“Later he became fascinated with more abstract topics: numbers in Greek medicine, the numbers seven, nine and forty, and the concept of an imaginary middle point, the omphalos or world-navel, a recurrent theme in Greek, Roman and Semitic mythology.”

–W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp., pg. v.

The Scientific Study of Myth and Symbol.

 “…and he too was a pioneer investigator and indefatigable assembler of data in the nineteenth-century style. It is only now that we can see his achievements in scholarship as equalling those of his contemporaries in the natural sciences. He more than any other classicist is responsible for having collected into one place the mythical and religious material of the ancient world, providing the ground for the scientific study of myth and symbol.”

 –W.H. Roscher, Pan and the Nightmare: Ephialtes–A Pathological-Mythological Treatise on the Nightmare in Classical Antiquity, & An Essay on Pan by James Hillman, 1972. Pp. iii. 

Boehme, Sophia, and Valentinus.

“Boehme extended his theosophy with the figure of the Noble Virgin of Sophia, a figure based on the allegeory in the Book of Wisdom and Proverbs. She animates the second world of “eternal nature” as a serene and reflective aspect of God. Both the terms “abyss” and “Sophia” recall mythic aspects in the Gnostic aeonology of Valentinus (second century), a remarkable example of Protestant esotericism naively invoking Hellenistic heterodoxy.”

 –Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction, 2008. Pg. 96.  

On the Satanic Indestructibility of Manuscripts.

“In Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita, “the protagonist, a writer, burns a manuscript in a moment of despair only to find out later from the Devil that “manuscripts don’t burn.” […] Nikolai Gogol apparently burned the second volume of Dead Souls, and it has been lost forever.”

–Edward Frenkel, “Is the Universe a Simulation?” The New York Times, February 14, 2014, Sunday Review. (A version appeared on February 16, 2014, on page SR12 of the National edition.)

The Search for the Prisca Theologia.

“These great and good men promulgated the idea of an ongoing, beneficent magic available to certain men of every age for the collective use of mankind. The Latin for this is prisca theologia, secret wisdom. The odd thing is that this belief in a secret wisdom is not the Rosicrucians’ alone. We know in London in the middle of the same century of the existence of a society called the Invisible College. Its members were reputed to be the very carriers of the beneficent magic I speak of.

You of course do not know of the writings of Giordano Bruno, of which here is a specimen page in his own handwriting. My scholars have traced for me, like the best detectives, the existence of this idea and of various mysterious organizations to maintain it, in most of the Renaissance cultures, in medieval societies and in ancient Greece.

I hope you are following this closely. The earliest recorded mention of special people born in each age to ease the sufferings of humankind with their prisca theologia comes to us through the Greek in the translated writings of the Egyptian priest Hermes Trismegistus. It is Hermes who gives the historical name to this occult knowledge. It is called the Hermetica.”

–EL Doctorow, Ragtime, pg. 124.

Proof of the Immortality of the Soul.

“In a different but related vein, John of Morigny argues that the fact that future things are seen in divine visions is proof of the immortality of the soul, presumably because they witness the possibility of a visionary escape from the embodied dimension of time itself:

“Furthermore, the heresy of those who said and say that the soul is mortal is dismissed and condemned through diverse visions, since even in the absence of the body, future things are seen [in visions] as though they were present. But there is no way that this could be if the soul were not immortal.”

—-Claire Fanger, “Sacred and Secular Knowledge Systems in the Ars Notoria and The Flowers of Heavenly Teaching of John of Morigny,” p. 173.

Claire Fanger and Nicholas Watson: >>The Prologue to John of Morigny’s Liber Visionum<< (n. 2), l, 2.

The Divine Transmission of the World’s Pattern Through Angelic Minds.

“Indeed there are many features of neo-Platonic cosmology which would have appeared transparent in the structure of the Ars notoria ritual to its late medieval operators.

In a most basic way, the idea of an intrinsic congruence and similitude between the human mind and divine archetype of the world is a recurrent feature of twelfth-century neo-Platonic thought. Thus, Thierry of Chartres notes that »the soul is proportioned to the nature of the universe«; and in a similar vein, Hugh of St Victor, another prominent twelfth-century writer in the same neo-Platonic tradition, says at the beginning of his Didascalicon that »similars are comprehended by similars; […] in a word, the rational soul could by no means comprehend all things unless it were also composed of all of them[…] the soul grasps the similitude in and of itself, out of a certain native capacity and proper power of its own«.

But this is a similitude which traverses the spiritual cosmos as well as the human mind. Hugh explains in an appendix to the Didascalicon that knowledge emanates from God in such a way that ideas subsist in themselves only after they are created in the minds of the angels:

“What exists in actuality is an image of what exists in the mind of man, and what exists in the mind of man is an image of what exists in the divine Mind […] For the angelic nature first existed in the divine Idea as a plan, and then afterwards it began to subsist in itself through creation. The other creatures however, first existed in the Idea of God; next they were made in the knowledge of the angels; and finally they began to subsist in themselves.”

“In other words, all created things necessarily proceed, from highest to lowest, through the subsistence of creatures who have the capacity for ideas. The divine transmission of the world’s pattern through angelic minds of which Hugh speaks here is rendered visible in the presence of angels mingled with the liberal arts on the Chartres archivolt and rendered functional in the association of the angelic orders and liberal arts in the Ars notoria prayers.”

–Claire Fanger, “Sacred and Secular Knowledge Systems in the Ars Notoria and the Flowers of Heavenly Teaching of John of Morigny.” Pg. 165.

Quoted by Peter Dronke: >>Thierry of Chartres«, in: A History of Twelfth-Century Western Philosophy, ed. by Peter Dronke, Cambridge 1988, p. 372.

Hugh of St Victor: The Didascalicon of Hugh of St Victor, translated with an introduction and notes by Jerome Taylor, New York 1961, l.i, pp. 46-47.

Doctrine of Correspondences.

“Furthermore, there usually is a strong holistic trait in esotericism where the godhead is considered manifest in the natural world—a world interconnected by so-called correspondences. Man is seen as a microcosm of the macrocosm, the divine universe. Through increased knowledge of the individual self, it is often regarded as possible to achieve corresponding knowledge about nature, and thereby about God. However, the interpretation of what gnosis “actually is,” or what the correspondences “actually are,” differs considerably in the history of Western esotericism.”

–Henrik Bogdan, Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, 2007, pg. 5.

Words of Power.

“The pronunciation of yhwh as Yahweh is a scholarly guess. Hebrew biblical mss were principally consonantal in spelling until well into the current era. The pronunciation of words was transmitted in a separate oral tradition. The Tetragrammaton was not pronounced at all, the word adonay, “my Lord,” being pronounced in its place; elohim, “God,” was substituted in cases of combination adonay yhwh (305 times; e.g. Gen 15:2). Though the consonants remained, the original pronunciation was eventually lost.” The Anchor Bible Dictionary (1992) Vol. VI, 1011.

–Henrik Bogdan, Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation, pg. 203

Augustine on Magic.

“In this model, magic appears in the context of the theory of signs as an act of communication with demonic powers (while Christian rituals are also acts of communication, but only with the divine sphere).

Thus, all superstitious practices, including divination and astrology, presuppose an implicit or explicit pact with demons. This is valid even in the case where the operator—deceived by the demons—is not aware of the pact, because this pact is secured by the magical language, signs, and rituals he has applied.

For a reader of Augustine, basically every instance of magic—however innocent it may seem—seems to be ultimately associated with idolatry and demonolatry, and becomes consequently harmful. Augustine was well aware of the common features and elements of the rituals of magic and those of religion (prayers, sacraments, and the cult of relics).

It is true—he wrote—that what magicians do is often similar to what saints do: the difference lies not in the visible realm but in what is secretly implied. While saints communicate with divine powers for the greater good, magicians seek their own, selfish ends.”

Benedek Láng, Unlocked Books: Manuscripts of Learned Magic in the Medieval Libraries of Central Europe, 2008: pg. 20.

Porphyry and the Oracle of Hecate on Christ.

Porphyry (234-305 AD) wrote the Philosophy of Oracles and Against the Christians, both now lost to history. Theodosius II burned all works of Porphyry in 435 and 448 AD, so all that remains are tantalizing fragments quoted by Christian apologists. In other words, what we know about Porphyry comes from his sworn enemies, who rebutted him as they excerpted him.

In Philosophy of Oracles, Porphyry defended the traditional paganism of his day:

“How can these people be thought worthy of forbearance? They have not only turned away from those who from earliest time have been thought of as divine among all Greeks and barbarians… but by emperors, law-givers and philosophers— all of a given mind.

But also, in choosing impieties and atheism, they have preferred their fellow creatures. And to what sort of penalties might they not be subjected who… are fugitives from the things of their Fathers?”

In his fifteen volume Adversus Christianos, Porphyry criticized Christianity for the paucity of its literature, observing that the immature corpus of Christian writings paled in comparison to the oeuvre of paganism. He also distinguished between the original oral traditions of Christianity, straight from the mouth of the Lord, and the subsequent corruption of that doctrine at the hands of the apostles. Keep in mind that Porphyry was writing a mere 300 years after the Crucifixion.

In this fragment, where Porphyry is quoted by St. Augustine (De Civitate Dei, l. xix. cap. 23), the Oracle…

“…The oracle declared Christ to be a most pious man, and his soul, like the soul of other pious men after death, favored with immortality; and that the mistaken Christians worship him.

And when we asked, Why, then, was he condemned? The goddess (Hecate) answered in the oracle: The body indeed is ever liable to debilitating torments; but the soul of the pious dwells in the heavenly mansion.

But that soul has fatally been the occasion to many other souls to be involved in error, to whom it has not been given to acknowledge the immortal Jove.

But himself is pious, and gone to heaven as other pious men do. Him, therefore, thou shalt not blaspheme; but pity the folly of men, because of the danger they are in.”

–From Porphyry, Philosophy of Oracles.

Wilken, R. (1979). “Pagan Criticism of Christianity: Greek Religion and Christian Faith,” in W. Schoedel and R. Wilken, eds., Early Christian Literature and the Classical Intellectual Tradition, pp. 117–134.

Digeser, E. D. (1998). “Lactantius, Porphyry, and the Debate over Religious Toleration,” The Journal of Roman Studies 88, pp. 129–146.

Hijacked from:

http://m.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/person.iv.x.html

and

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porphyry_(philosopher)

%d bloggers like this: