“The misguided fail to recognize the five elements, the five kinds of trees, the five kinds of animals”
–The book of Giants (Fragment E)
I hear the ocean beat upon the shore outside my room.
Calling me up from sleep to listen to her graceful tune.
She makes me feel alive, her power more than words can say.
Send shivers through my person, clears my head to face the day.
…The tides will rise and fall again.
I see the sun rise up into a cloudless sky of blue.
Coaxing the shadows back to let the sun’s light shine on through.
I feel it touch my skin, its warmth glows through right to my bones.
Drifts softly through my body, heats my flesh then stirs my soul.
…The sun will surely rise today.
…And I will not take for granted
That what is there for me.
“Know that before there was any emanation and before any creatures were created a simple higher light filled everything. There was no empty space in the form of a vacuum but all was filled with that simple infinite light. This infinite light had nothing in it of beginning or end but was all one simple, equally distributed light. This is known as ‘the light of En Sof.’
There arose in His simple will the will to create worlds and produce emanations in order to realize His perfect acts, His names and His attributes. This was the purpose for which the worlds were created.
En Sof then concentrated His being in the middle point, which was at the very centre, and He withdrew that light, removing it in very direction away from that centre point.
There then remained around the very centre point an empty space, a vacuum. This withdrawal was equidistant around that central empty point so that the space left empty was completely circular. It was not in the form of a square with right angles. For En Sof withdrew Himself in circular fashion, equidistant in all directions.
The reason for this was that since the light of En Sof is equally spaced out it follows by necessity that His withdrawal should be equidistant in all directions and that He could not have withdrawn Himself in one direction to a greater extent than in any other. It is well known in the science of mathematics that there is no more equal figure than the circle. It is otherwise with the figure of a square, which has protruding right angles, or with a triangle or with any other figure. Consequently, the withdrawal of En Sof had to be in the form of a circle.
Now after this withdrawal of En Sof (which left an empty space or vacuum in the very centre of the light of En Sof, as we have said) there remained a place in which there could emerge the things to be emanated, to be created, to be formed and to be made. There then emerged a single straight line of light from His circular light and this came in a downward direction, winding down into that empty space.
The top end of this line derived from En Sof Himself and touched Him, but the bottom end of this line down below does not touch the light of En Sof.
By means of this line the light of En Sof is drawn down to extend itself down below.
Into that empty space He caused to emanate, He created, He formed and He made all the worlds.
Before the emergence of these four worlds En Sof was One and His name One in a wonderful, mystical unity of a kind beyond the comprehension even of those angels nearest to Him. For the mind of no creature can comprehend Him since He has neither place nor limit nor name.”
– Chaim Vital (Etz Chayim – treatise 1, part 2)
Mani’s revelation embraces many aspects of the universe, divine, natural and human. It is impossible to draw within it the kind of distinctions later drawn by Western Christianity between natural knowledge and revealed truth, or more crudely between faith and knowledge. That does not necessarily mean that Mani mixes things up: rather we might reflect that our separation of domains in their official representation which in living practice constantly overlap has led in part to the spiritual alienation of the West. For Mani, knowledge is charged with moral and religious significance. In his vision, we can never be ‘detached’ because our coming to knowledge is itself a manifestation of the on-going world-process, the struggle between Light and Darkness.
We concentrate first upon his vision of human nature. The reference books generally claim that Manichaeans were taught to hate the body, since they considered it merely an evil from which they should escape. In reality, Mani shows a considerable interest in the body, its inner workings and its active role in perceiving, knowing and remembering. We should recall that he was also a healer. In Manichaeism the created world is the instrument of the gods to defeat the Darkness, to bring meaning out of contingency, and on the human level the body is the domain in which we experience the conflicting tendencies directly. We are there in the position of a god in our own ‘little world’ or microcosm. Our primary need is not to reject but to understand the body’s relationship to the spiritual ‘fivefold man.’
That conception is perhaps a novelty to us: it is with the basic patterns of Mani’s thought that we need to begin.
—Andrew Welburn (Mani, the Angel and the Column of Glory)
“Blessed is he who came into being
before he came into being.
If you become my disciples
and listen to my words,
these stones will minister to you.
For there are five trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall.
Whoever becomes acquainted with them
will not experience death.”
–Gospel of Thomas (commentary http://magdelene.net/thomas19.html below)
“he had not told them in which places
the five trees are spread”
The Works of Philo, Yonge, 1993
from Allegorical Interpretation
“the trees of virtue…he plants in the soul”
“the tree of life is that most general virtue
which some people call goodness; from which
the particular virtues are derived, and of
which they are composed.”
from On Husbandry
“I will implant in those souls which are of
a childlike age, young shoots, whose fruits
shall nourish them…I will implant…
the tree of prudence,
the tree of courage,
the tree of temperance,
the tree of justice,
the tree of every respective virtue.”
Eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil
produced “the fall”, because it brought about
the myth that duality is reality.
The truth is, good and evil are One,
therefore that tree is not
one of these five trees.
from Philo’s Allegorical Interpretation:
“the tree of life…Moses expressly says, that it is placed in the middle of the paradise; but as to the other tree, that namely of the knowledge of good and evil, he has not specified whether it is within or outside of the Paradise.”
I believe the five trees are the five Gnostic rites and may have been associated with actual plants as were the Greek gods and goddesses.
1.) BAPTISM = LILY (WATER) = JUNO
[goddess of childbirth- “born again”]
2.) EUCHARIST = VINE (WINE) = BACCHUS
[another dying and resurrecting god-man]
& WHEAT=DEMETER/MOTHER EARTH
[Goddess nourishing wheat from below]
3.) CHRISM = OLIVE (OIL) = MINERVA
[goddess of Wisdom/Sophia, “Spirit”]
4.)REDEMPTION = OAK = JUPITER
[god of the sky]
[meeting archons in ascent through heavens]
5.)BRIDAL CHAMBER = LINDEN
= PHILEMON & BAUCIS
[the eternal couple representing mutual love]
In the Pistis Sophia, Jesus augments all twelve of the standard-issue souls in his twelve chosen ones with special supercharged “powers”.
Pistis Sophia: Chapter 7
“when I entered the world I brought twelve powers with me, …which I took from the Twelve saviors of the Treasury of Light, …These now I cast into the wombs of your mothers when I came into the world,
and it is these which are in your bodies today.
For these powers have been given to you above the whole world, for you are those who are able to save the whole world, so that you should be able to withstand the threat of the archons of the world, …
and all their persecutions which the archons of the height will bring upon you.”
“the power which is within you I have brought from the twelve saviors…For this reason …you are not from the world; I also am not from it. For all men who are in the world have received souls from (the power) of the archon of the aeons. The power, however, which is in you, is from me but you souls belong to the height.”
Simon Peter answered him,
“Lord, to whom shall we go?”
“Have I not chosen the twelve of you?
Jesus’ choosing of the twelve disciples takes place after being baptized in the Jordan and going into
the desert for forty days and forty nights. This is analogous to Joshua’s choosing of the twelve men to represent the twelve tribes after coming out of the desert for forty years and then crossing the Jordan on dry land.
“Choose twelve men from the people, one from each tribe, and order them to take up twelve stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan, …They are to carry the stones across and place them in the camp …
These stones are to stand as a memorial among you.”
I can’t help but picture Jesus standing among these twelve stones, arranged like a zodiac wheel, when he says:
If you become my disciples
and listen to my words,
these stones will minister to you.
The stones represent the power of the 12 tribes,
present within the 12 disciples,
now transformed into 12 saviors
capable of saving “the whole world”.