Search Results for 'nous'

Nous: “Mind”, The soul, not the same as ‘pneuma’ or spirit. It is the part of
the anima that gives us consciousness. The anima as a whole gives life (or
literally movement.. “animates”) to our bodies. Tatian declares the soul as a
special kind of spirit. (See; Tatian’s “Letter to the Greeks’)

: The study of numbers, and their use in divination, revelation, or
prediction. The I Ching is based upon the trigrams, or Ba Gua, as divinations
based upon astrology and numerology. Trigrams that represent ”variations,”
instead of divinations can make the Tai Chi, and the Sethian Monadology a
measurement instrument of enlightenment. (See; ”The History of Chinese
,” Vol. 2., by Fun Yu-Lan, Princeton, 1953.)

: Regarded in some texts as the “eighth kingdom above the hebdomas.” It
is the realm of the Demiurgos (or sometimes that is the 7th, with the eighth
being that of Sabaoth), as well as usually being the realm of the zodiac
(dodecon). Sometimes it is also seen as the beginning of freedom from the
Archons, and the beginning of connection to the Aeons. Pythagoris says…
“The ogdoad–8–was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which
form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10
(1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4’s, each 4 is divided into two
2’s, and each 2 is divided into two 1’s, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among
the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience.
Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele,
Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).” (Thomas
Taylor’s Theoretic Arithmetic, Thought by one source to be the rarest and most
important compilation of Pythagorean mathematical fragments extant.)

”… the Ogdoad, which is the eighth, and that we might receive that place of
salvation.” (”The Testimony of Truth.” See also; ”A Valentinian

Ophites: Also called Naassenes. (Sethians) A 2nd century Greek Gnostic sect who
are associated with their reverence toward ‘ohis’ the serpent. They contended
that the serpent represented the introduction of good and evil in the Garden of
Edan. Known to have divided into other sects, like Borborites with diverse
beliefs. Used a symbol of an equilateral cross in the center of a circle, called
the Ophite Cross, and other symbolistic icons using circles, leviathans. (See;
Gaffney, Hippolytus, Ref. of All Her. Bk 5, See also; ”The Brother of Jesus,”
Butz, Inner Traditions, 2005.)

Oracle: A shrine consecrated to the worship and consultation of a prophetic
deity, as that of Apollo at Delphi. A person, such as a priestess, through whom
a deity is held to respond when consulted. The response given through such a
medium, often in the form of an enigmatic statement or allegory. A person
considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic opinions. An
authoritative or wise statement or prediction. A command or revelation from God.
In the Bible, the sanctuary of the Temple. (American Heritage Dictionary.) (See;
”Oracles of Zoroaster.”)

Origen: (185- 254 C.E.) Born in Alexandria. He studied Greek philosophy with Ammonius, and others. He became a Christian under Clement. Some of his surviving work is considered somewhat Gnostic in its nature according to later western Christian leaders. Origen was declared heretical on the basis of his beliefs in the pre-existence of souls and his beliefs about apokatastasis. In 553 A.D the Chalcedonians anathematized him.

Orosius, Paulus: (385-420 c.) Latin writer that opposed Origenists, and
Gnostics, especially the Pricilliannists, who advocated that Jesus was ascetic
in his nature. He sided with Augastine in declaring heretical works, and
identified a book called ”Memoria of the Apostles,” in which he identifies the
parable of the ”sower.” “A sower went forth to sow his seed, the sower was not
good: asserting that had he been good he would not have been careless, nor cast
his seed by the wayside or on stony places or unfilled ground: willing it to be
understood that that this (the ruler of the world?) was the sower, who scattered
the souls he had caught into various bodies as he pleased. In the same book
much is said about moist things, and the principle of fire: he would have it
understood that all good things happen in this world, not by the power of God,
but by contrivance.” ( “The New Testament Apocrypha,” James, Apocryphile
Press, page, 21.)

Ouroboros: This is an image of the serpent biting it’s own tail, and is meant to
imply infinity. Or, possibly, eternally being stuck in the material cycle.




A full moon is the lunar phase that occurs when the Moon is completely illuminated as seen from Earth. This occurs when Earth is located directly between the Sun and the Moon (more exactly, when the ecliptic longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180 degrees). This means that the hemisphere of the Moon that is facing Earth (the near side) is almost fully illuminated by the Sun and appears round (while the far side is almost completely unlit). When the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, a lunar eclipse occurs, and all or part of the Moon’s face may appear reddish due to the Rayleigh scattering of blue light in Earth’s atmosphere

A full moon is often thought of as an event of a full night’s duration. This is somewhat misleading because its phase seen from Earth continuously waxes or wanes (though much too slowly to notice in real time with the naked eye). Its maximum illumination occurs at the moment waxing has stopped. For any given location, about half of these maximum full moons may be visible, while the other half occurs during the day, when the full moon is below the horizon.

Many almanacs list full moons not only by date, but also by their exact time, usually in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Typical monthly calendars that include lunar phases may be offset by one day when used in a different time zone.

Full moon is generally a suboptimal time to conduct astronomical observations because the bright sunlight reflected by the Moon then outshines the apparently dimmer stars.

The Harvest Moon

By Amelia Tucker

Posted and edited to fit MySpace’s format by Magickal Winds

What is the Harvest moon?

The harvest moon is named for the full moon nearest to Mabon, bright enough to allow farmers to work late into the night bringing in the final harvest of the year. This moon is celebrated across many cultures using different names: Barley moon or Chrysanthemum moon or even Fruit moon to name a few.

Why do Wiccans Celebrate the Harvest moon?

For Wiccans, it is an especially powerful time for our spellwork. The full moon itself represents the Goddess at her most fertile, luminous self. It is the perfect time for creating change. After the contemplative holiday of Mabon, you have reached deep into yourself and sorted through your own strengths and weaknesses. You know where you want to see change and now is the time to prepare for that. Creating moon magic is always strongest at midnight. You would want to time your spell to start at this time. No matter how long your plan your ritual for, the starting point is the most important one. You can simply honor your deity(s) with a small ritual or create something more elaborate but for the most effect, start at midnight.



The Man Who Planted Trees

Translation from french by Peter Doyle

In order for the character of a human being to reveal truly exceptional qualities, we must have the good fortune to observe its action over a long period of years. If this action is devoid of all selfishness, if the idea that directs it is one of unqualified generosity, if it is absolutely certain that it has not sought recompense anywhere, and if moreover it has left visible marks on the world, then we are unquestionably dealing with an unforgettable character.

About forty years ago I went on a long hike, through hills absolutely unknown to tourists, in that very old region where the Alps penetrate into Provence.
This region is bounded to the south-east and south by the middle course of the Durance, between Sisteron and Mirabeau; to the north by the upper course of the Drôme, from its source down to Die; to the west by the plains of Comtat Venaissin and the outskirts of Mont Ventoux. It includes all the northern part of the Département of Basses-Alpes, the south of Drôme and a little enclave of Vaucluse.
At the time I undertook my long walk through this deserted region, it consisted of barren and monotonous lands, at about 1200 to 1300 meters above sea level. Nothing grew there except wild lavender.
I was crossing this country at its widest part, and after walking for three days, I found myself in the most complete desolation. I was camped next to the skeleton of an abandoned village. I had used the last of my water the day before and I needed to find more. Even though they were in ruins, these houses all huddled together and looking like an old wasps’ nest made me think that there must at one time have been a spring or a well there. There was indeed a spring, but it was dry. The five or six roofless houses, ravaged by sun and wind, and the small chapel with its tumble-down belfry, were arrayed like the houses and chapels of living villages, but all life had disappeared.

It was a beautiful June day with plenty of sun, but on these shelterless lands, high up in the sky, the wind whistled with an unendurable brutality. Its growling in the carcasses of the houses was like that of a wild beast disturbed during its meal.
I had to move my camp. After five hours of walking, I still hadn’t found water, and nothing gave me hope of finding any. Everywhere there was the same dryness, the same stiff, woody plants. I thought I saw in the distance a small black silhouette. On a chance I headed towards it. It was a shepherd. Thirty lambs or so were resting near him on the scorching ground.
He gave me a drink from his gourd and a little later he led me to his shepherd’s cottage, tucked down in an undulation of the plateau. He drew his water – excellent – from a natural hole, very deep, above which he had installed a rudimentary windlass.

This man spoke little. This is common among those who live alone, but he seemed sure of himself, and confident in this assurance, which seemed remarkable in this land shorn of everything. He lived not in a cabin but in a real house of stone, from the looks of which it was clear that his own labor had restored the ruins he had found on his arrival. His roof was solid and water-tight. The wind struck against the roof tiles with the sound of the sea crashing on the beach.
His household was in order, his dishes washed, his floor swept, his rifle greased; his soup boiled over the fire; I noticed then that he was also freshly shaven, that all his buttons were solidly sewn, and that his clothes were mended with such care as to make the patches invisible.
He shared his soup with me, and when afterwards I offered him my tobacco pouch, he told me that he didn’t smoke. His dog, as silent as he, was friendly without being fawning.

It had been agreed immediately that I would pass the night there, the closest village being still more than a day and a half farther on. Furthermore, I understood perfectly well the character of the rare villages of that region. There are four or five of them dispersed far from one another on the flanks of the hills, in groves of white oaks at the very ends of roads passable by carriage. They are inhabited by woodcutters who make charcoal. They are places where the living is poor. The families, pressed together in close quarters by a climate that is exceedingly harsh, in summer as well as in winter, struggle ever more selfishly against each other. Irrational contention grows beyond all bounds, fueled by a continuous struggle to escape from that place. The men carry their charcoal to the cities in their trucks, and then return. The most solid qualities crack under this perpetual Scottish shower. The women stir up bitterness. There is competition over everything, from the sale of charcoal to the benches at church. The virtues fight amongst themselves, the vices fight amongst themselves, and there is a ceaseless general combat between the vices and the virtues. On top of all that, the equally ceaseless wind irritates the nerves. There are epidemics of suicides and numerous cases of insanity, almost always murderous.

The shepherd, who did not smoke, took out a bag and poured a pile of acorns out onto the table. He began to examine them one after another with a great deal of attention, separating the good ones from the bad. I smoked my pipe. I offered to help him, but he told me it was his own business. Indeed, seeing the care that he devoted to this job, I did not insist. This was our whole conversation. When he had in the good pile a fair number of acorns, he counted them out into packets of ten. In doing this he eliminated some more of the acorns, discarding the smaller ones and those that that showed even the slightest crack, for he examined them very closely. When he had before him one hundred perfect acorns he stopped, and we went to bed.
The company of this man brought me a feeling of peace. I asked him the next morning if I might stay and rest the whole day with him. He found that perfectly natural. Or more exactly, he gave me the impression that nothing could disturb him. This rest was not absolutely necessary to me, but I was intrigued and I wanted to find out more about this man. He let out his flock and took them to the pasture. Before leaving, he soaked in a bucket of water the little sack containing the acorns that he had so carefully chosen and counted.

I noted that he carried as a sort of walking stick an iron rod as thick as his thumb and about one and a half meters long. I set off like someone out for a stroll, following a route parallel to his. His sheep pasture lay at the bottom of a small valley. He left his flock in the charge of his dog and climbed up towards the spot where I was standing. I was afraid that he was coming to reproach me for my indiscretion, but not at all : It was his own route and he invited me to come along with him if I had nothing better to do. He continued on another two hundred meters up the hill.
Having arrived at the place he had been heading for, he begin to pound his iron rod into the ground. This made a hole in which he placed an acorn, whereupon he covered over the hole again. He was planting oak trees. I asked him if the land belonged to him. He answered no. Did he know whose land it was? He did not know. He supposed that it was communal land, or perhaps it belonged to someone who did not care about it. He himself did not care to know who the owners were. In this way he planted his one hundred acorns with great care.

After the noon meal, he began once more to pick over his acorns. I must have put enough insistence into my questions, because he answered them. For three years now he had been planting trees in this solitary way. He had planted one hundred thousand. Of these one hundred thousand, twenty thousand had come up. He counted on losing another half of them to rodents and to everything else that is unpredictable in the designs of Providence. That left ten thousand oaks that would grow in this place where before there was nothing.
It was at this moment that I began to wonder about his age. He was clearly more than fifty. Fifty-five, he told me. His name was Elzéard Bouffier. He had owned a farm in the plains, where he lived most of his life. He had lost his only son, and then his wife. He had retired into this solitude, where he took pleasure in living slowly, with his flock of sheep and his dog. He had concluded that this country was dying for lack of trees. He added that, having nothing more important to do, he had resolved to remedy the situation.
Leading as I did at the time a solitary life, despite my youth, I knew how to treat the souls of solitary people with delicacy. Still, I made a mistake. It was precisely my youth that forced me to imagine the future in my own terms, including a certain search for happiness. I told him that in thirty years these ten thousand trees would be magnificent. He replied very simply that, if God gave him life, in thirty years he would have planted so many other trees that these ten thousand would be like a drop of water in the ocean.
He had also begun to study the propagation of beeches. and he had near his house a nursery filled with seedlings grown from beechnuts. His little wards, which he had protected from his sheep by a screen fence, were growing beautifully. He was also considering birches for the valley bottoms where, he told me, moisture lay slumbering just a few meters beneath the surface of the soil.
We parted the next day.

The next year the war of 14 came, in which I was engaged for five years. An infantryman could hardly think about trees. To tell the truth, the whole business hadn’t made a very deep impression on me; I took it to be a hobby, like a stamp collection, and forgot about it.
With the war behind me, I found myself with a small demobilization bonus and a great desire to breathe a little pure air. Without any preconceived notion beyond that, I struck out again along the trail through that deserted country.
The land had not changed. Nonetheless, beyond that dead village I perceived in the distance a sort of gray fog that covered the hills like a carpet. Ever since the day before I had been thinking about the shepherd who planted trees. « Ten thousand oaks, I had said to myself, must really take up a lot of space. »
I had seen too many people die during those five years not to be able to imagine easily the death of Elzéard Bouffier, especially since when a man is twenty he thinks of a man of fifty as an old codger for whom nothing remains but to die. He was not dead. In fact, he was very spry. He had changed his job. He only had four sheep now, but to make up for this he had about a hundred beehives. He had gotten rid of the sheep because they threatened his crop of trees. He told me (as indeed I could see for myself) that the war had not disturbed him at all. He had continued imperturbably with his planting.
The oaks of 1910 were now ten years old and were taller than me and than him. The spectacle was impressive. I was literally speechless and, as he didn’t speak himself, we passed the whole day in silence, walking through his forest. It was in three sections, eleven kilometers long overall and, at its widest point, three kilometers wide. When I considered that this had all sprung from the hands and from the soul of this one man – without technical aids – , it struck me that men could be as effective as God in domains other than destruction.
He had followed his idea, and the beeches that reached up to my shoulders and extending as far as the eye could see bore witness to it. The oaks were now good and thick, and had passed the age where they were at the mercy of rodents; as for the designs of Providence, to destroy the work that had been created would henceforth require a cyclone. He showed me admirable stands of birches that dated from five years ago, that is to say from 1915, when I had been fighting at Verdun. He had planted them in the valley bottoms where he had suspected, correctly, that there was water close to the surface. They were as tender as young girls, and very determined.
This creation had the air, moreover, of working by a chain reaction. He had not troubled about it; he went on obstinately with his simple task. But, in going back down to the village, I saw water running in streams that, within living memory, had always been dry. It was the most striking revival that he had shown me. These streams had borne water before, in ancient days. Certain of the sad villages that I spoke of at the beginning of my account had been built on the sites of ancient Gallo-Roman villages, of which there still remained traces; archeologists digging there had found fishhooks in places where in more recent times cisterns were required in order to have a little water.
The wind had also been at work, dispersing certain seeds. As the water reappeared, so too did willows, osiers, meadows, gardens, flowers, and a certain reason to live.
But the transformation had taken place so slowly that it had been taken for granted, without provoking surprise. The hunters who climbed the hills in search of hares or wild boars had noticed the spreading of the little trees, but they set it down to the natural spitefulness of the earth. That is why no one had touched the work of this man. If they had suspected him, they would have tried to thwart him. But he never came under suspicion : Who among the villagers or the administrators would ever have suspected that anyone could show such obstinacy in carrying out this magnificent act of generosity?

Beginning in 1920 I never let more than a year go by without paying a visit to Elzéard Bouffier. I never saw him waver or doubt, though God alone can tell when God’s own hand is in a thing! I have said nothing of his disappointments, but you can easily imagine that, for such an accomplishment, it was necessary to conquer adversity; that, to assure the victory of such a passion, it was necessary to fight against despair. One year he had planted ten thousand maples. They all died. The next year,he gave up on maples and went back to beeches, which did even better than the oaks.
To get a true idea of this exceptional character, one must not forget that he worked in total solitude; so total that, toward the end of his life, he lost the habit of talking. Or maybe he just didn’t see the need for it.

In 1933 he received the visit of an astonished forest ranger. This functionary ordered him to cease building fires outdoors, for fear of endangering this natural forest. It was the first time, this naive man told him, that a forest had been observed to grow up entirely on its own. At the time of this incident, he was thinking of planting beeches at a spot twelve kilometers from his house. To avoid the coming and going – because at the time he was seventy-five years old – he planned to build a cabin of stone out where he was doing his planting. This he did the next year.

In 1935, a veritable administrative delegation went to examine this « natural forest ». There was an important personage from Waters and Forests, a deputy, and some technicians. Many useless words were spoken. It was decided to do something, but luckily nothing was done, except for one truly useful thing : placing the forest under the protection of the State and forbidding anyone from coming there to make charcoal. For it was impossible not to be taken with the beauty of these young trees in full health. And the forest exercised its seductive powers even on the deputy himself.
I had a friend among the chief foresters who were with the delegation. I explained the mystery to him. One day the next week, we went off together to look for Elzéard Bouffier, We found him hard at work, twenty kilometers away from the place where the inspection had taken place.
This chief forester was not my friend for nothing. He understood the value of things. He knew how to remain silent. I offered up some eggs I had brought with me as a gift. We split our snack three ways, and then passed several hours in mute contemplation of the landscape.
The hillside whence we had come was covered with trees six or seven meters high. I remembered the look of the place in 1913 : a desert… The peaceful and steady labor, the vibrant highland air, his frugality, and above all, the serenity of his soul had given the old man a kind of solemn good health. He was an athlete of God. I asked myself how many hectares he had yet to cover with trees.
Before leaving, my friend made a simple suggestion concerning certain species of trees to which the terrain seemed to be particularly well suited. He was not insistent. « For the very good reason, » he told me afterwards, « that this fellow knows a lot more about this sort of thing than I do. » After another hour of walking, this thought having travelled along with him, he added : « He knows a lot more about this sort of thing than anybody – and he has found a jolly good way of being happy ! »
It was thanks to the efforts of this chief forester that the forest was protected, and with it, the happiness of this man. He designated three forest rangers for their protection, and terrorized them to such an extent that they remained indifferent to any jugs of wine that the woodcutters might offer as bribes.

The forest did not run any grave risks except during the war of 1939. Then automobiles were being run on wood alcohol, and there was never enough wood. They began to cut some of the stands of the oaks of 1910, but the trees stood so far from any useful road that the enterprise turned out to be bad from a financial point of view, and was soon abandoned. The shepherd never knew anything about it. He was thirty kilometers away, peacefully continuing his task, as untroubled by the war of 39 as he had been of the war of 14.

I saw Elzéard Bouffier for the last time in June of 1945. He was then eighty-seven years old. I had once more set off along my trail through the wilderness, only to find that now, in spite of the shambles in which the war had left the whole country, there was a motor coach running between the valley of the Durance and the mountain. I set down to this relatively rapid means of transportation the fact that I no longer recognized the landmarks I knew from my earlier visits. It also seemed that the route was taking me through entirely new places. I had to ask the name of a village to be sure that I was indeed passing through that same region, once so ruined and desolate. The coach set me down at Vergons. In 1913, this hamlet of ten or twelve houses had had three inhabitants. They were savages, hating each other, and earning their living by trapping : Physically and morally, they resembled prehistoric men . The nettles devoured the abandoned houses that surrounded them. Their lives were without hope, it was only a matter of waiting for death to come : a situation that hardly predisposes one to virtue.
All that had changed, even to the air itself. In place of the dry, brutal gusts that had greeted me long ago, a gentle breeze whispered to me, bearing sweet odors. A sound like that of running water came from the heights above : It was the sound of the wind in the trees. And most astonishing of all, I heard the sound of real water running into a pool. I saw that they had built a fountain, that it was full of water, and what touched me most, that next to it they had planted a lime-tree that must be at least four years old, already grown thick, an incontestable symbol of resurrection.

Furthermore, Vergons showed the signs of labors for which hope is a requirement : Hope must therefore have returned. They had cleared out the ruins, knocked down the broken walls, and rebuilt five houses. The hamlet now counted twenty-eight inhabitants, including four young families. The new houses, freshly plastered, were surrounded by gardens that bore, mixed in with each other but still carefully laid out, vegetables and flowers, cabbages and rosebushes, leeks and gueules-de-loup, celery and anemones. It was now a place where anyone would be glad to live.
From there I continued on foot. The war from which we had just barely emerged had not permitted life to vanish completely, and now Lazarus was out of his tomb. On the lower flanks of the mountain, I saw small fields of barley and rye; in the bottoms of the narrow valleys, meadowlands were just turning green.
It has taken only the eight years that now separate us from that time for the whole country around there to blossom with splendor and ease. On the site of the ruins I had seen in 1913 there are now well-kept farms, the sign of a happy and comfortable life. The old springs, fed by rain and snow now that are now retained by the forests, have once again begun to flow. The brooks have been channelled. Beside each farm, amid groves of maples, the pools of fountains are bordered by carpets of fresh mint. Little by little, the villages have been rebuilt. Yuppies have come from the plains, where land is expensive, bringing with them youth, movement, and a spirit of adventure. Walking along the roads you will meet men and women in full health, and boys and girls who know how to laugh, and who have regained the taste for the traditional rustic festivals. Counting both the previous inhabitants of the area, now unrecognizable from living in plenty, and the new arrivals, more than ten thousand persons owe their happiness to Elzéard Bouffier.

When I consider that a single man, relying only on his own simple physical and moral resources, was able to transform a desert into this land of Canaan, I am convinced that despite everything, the human condition is truly admirable. But when I take into account the constancy, the greatness of soul, and the selfless dedication that was needed to bring about this transformation, I am filled with an immense respect for this old, uncultured peasant who knew how to bring about a work worthy of God.

Elzéard Bouffier died peacefully in 1947 at the hospice in Banon.


You must know that this is in reality one and the same thing – to
know God and to be known by God, to see God and to be seen by
God. In knowing and seeing God we know and see that He makes us
know and see. And j ust as the luminous air is not different from the
fact of illuminating, for it illumines because it is luminous, so do we
know by being known, and because He makes us know. Therefore
Christ said, “Again you will see me” (John 1 6 : 22). That is to say, by
making you see, you know me; and then follows, ” Your heart will
rejoice,” that is in the vision and knowledge of me, and “no one shall
rob you of your joy ” (John 1 6 : 22).

St. John says, ” See how great is the love that the Father has shown
us, that we are called and are the children of God ” ( 1 John 3 : 1 ) . He
says not only ” we are called” but “we are. ” So I say that just as a
man cannot be wise without wisdom, so he cannot be a son without
the filial nature of God’s Son, without having the same being as the
Son of God has – just as being wise cannot be without wisdom. And
so, if you are the Son of God, you can only be so by having the same
being of God that the Son has. But this is ” now hidden from us”; and
after that it is written, ” Beloved, we are the sons of God. ” And what
do we know? – That is what he adds, “and we shall be like him”
( 1 John 3 :2), that is, the same as he is: the same being, experiencing
and understanding-everything that he is, when we see him as God.
So I say God could not make me the son of God if I had not the
nature of God’s Son, any more than God could make me wise if I
had no wisdom. How are we God’s sons ?  We do not know yet: ” It
does not yet appear” to us; all we know is that he says we shall be
like Him. There are certain things that hide this knowledge in our
souls and conceal it from us.

The soul has something in her, a spark of intellect, that never dies;
and in this spark, as at the apex of the mind we place the ‘image’ of
the soul. But there is also in our souls a knowing directed toward externals,
the sensible and rational perception which operates in images
and words to obscure this from us. How then are we God’s sons? By
sharing one nature with Him. But to have any realization of thus
being God’s Son, we need to distinguish between the outward and
the inward understanding. The inward understanding is that which
is based intellectually in the nature of our soul. Yet it is not the soul’s
essence but is, rather, rooted there and is something of the life of the
soul. In saying the understanding is the life of the soul we mean her
intellectual life, and that is the life in which man is born as God’s son
and to eternal life. This understanding is timeless, without place without
Here and Now. In this life all things are one and all things
are common: all things are all in all and all in one.

Meister Eckhart (Sermon 7)






Through these eyes
I deny on all I see
Through these eyes
It looks like I’m home tonight

What you said made a mess of me
What you said, I don’t want

… ..

Thought for the day.  For me deliberate wilful ignorance is something that is largely indefensible.  Be it climate change,  politics,  sociology or any numerous things that homosapiens enjoy as living sentient beings.

When presented with tools to emerge from ignorance,  if we choose to ignore them,  then that is deliberate wilful ignorance.

But then,  thats choices we have,  to remain uninformed and to carry on defending the indefensible, 

today it being the cry of freedom of expression… defend systematic instituionalused hate. Believe me,  that is what is occurring in France,  there is plenty of evidence to support this. I am not nor will I ever support murder.

Often I feel sad to be an American. Today, is one.  However I am “comforted” in knowing the wilful ignorance of the past few days is far from just American.

After the events in France,  and the constant reminder of the rise of neo nazi sentiment overseen  by France’s Le Pen (look up the decades long instution of hate that father and now daughter) and my overall dismay with those that defend free speech allowing institutionalzed hatred to exist and grow,  which is against UU principles…. Imo

I am frankly deeply saddend by my fellow UUs at my church. It appears they really are just a bunch of ignorant privallaged white people. I hope I am wrong. So far, today has only shown me, UUs at my church will defends the freedom of speech, even if its hate, even if it goes against the very 7 principles of UUism.

I repost the words of one of the greatst mystics that ever was.  My thoughts and prayers to all affected and hopes that the continued defense of extreme right wing sentiment is not continously defended by those in the know and those that clearly are ignorant.

…… .

My heart has become capable of all forms.

It is a meadow for gazelles and a monastery for Christian monks,

A temple for idols and pilgrim’s Ka’aba,

          The Tables of the Law and the book of the Koran.

I profess the religion of Love,

        and whatever direction

Its steed may take,

       Love is my religion and my faith.

–Ibn ‘Arabib

Agnoia; Literally “ignorance” or the act of not paying attention.

Agnosia; The state of not having insight or Gnosis.

Addendum my response elsewhere:

Mm lol thev”discussion” is such that, the satirists did wrong but shouldnt have been killed. The original discussion question was, were the satirists to blame, at all… even in a tiny way.

My initial answer was no. However with research, it was pointed out how long and how deep the propoganda/hate toward all major religions the satirists is/was. Which also are fully in line with the extreme right in France.

To me, that then is an answer of yes to the question are they to blame, even a little. The focus on those that said NO was the satirists didnt kill anyone.

My argument is to stay silent is not only aginst the seven principles, but that is what happend in Nazi Germany, chief propogandist Goebbels produced satire…. That help lead to the death of millions. He also did not kill anyone.

I always thought UUs stood for justice and the underdog. Perhaps I was wrong;id=50;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ekheper%2Enet%2Ftopics%2FGnosticism%2Findex%2Ehtml

“Thus, from the Hebdomad, the Light–which had already come down from above from the Ogdoad unto the Son of the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him. This is the meaning of the saying, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’–that is to say, that which came from the Sonship through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, down as far as Mary [the body]–and ‘The Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee’–that is to say, the divine creative power which cometh from the [ætherial] heights (the Pleroma) above through the Demiurge, which power belongeth to the Son.” (The Apostle Basilides; source Mead, “Fragments of a Faith Forgotten,” NHL Archives.)

Understanding the Apostle Basilides
Bishop Tom Saunders, B.A. B.S./Certified Linguist


I have been working over a decade on glossaries aimed at explaining the unique words used in Nag Hammadi Library and related works. These unique words used by the earliest Christians were known and used by the Apostle Basilides, and those that had taught him. This included the Apostle Matthias, and Glaucius who was Peter’s Scribe. Around 60 A.D. Mark returned to Alexandria from Rome with Glaucius,  and with Peter’s notes and started writing his gospel. (Clement)

For this work I have selected a single paragraph written by the Apostle Basilides and I examine what the unique Sethian specific words mean that he uses. This is not easy because Sethian specific words were only known in the secret Christian teachings of Alexandrian Gnostics. It involves the Pythagorean Monad, and Sethian Aeonology. It took me years to decipher them. 

My work, below is mostly referenced with the help of my, “Saunders Gnostic Glossary(s), cited in this work as, (SGG). These works took over a decade to compose, and develop to point where they are now. These works were done with the help of many other people I have contacted over the years, mostly on the internet.

Basilides was a teacher to Valentinus, and rightly earned the title of Apostle to Jesus. His work is part of the reason Valentinus claimed to have been taught the “Secret Teachings” of Jesus. (NHL, see Valentinus) Over the years I have tried to learn enough to explain what Basilides meant by Aeons, Hebdomads, and Ogdoads. This is what I have learned from his writing…


Basilides: (?-138) An Alexandrian Gnostic and Apostle, who formed sects around 120 to 138. Basilides was known to be associated with, Valentinus, Glaucius, the Apostle Matthias, and other early Christian leaders. He may have also had knowledge of Dositheos and others associated with Simon Magus, and Gnosticism in Samaria. He is associated with Sethian-Valentinian works by Theodotus, and Clement. He is thought to have had knowledge of both mystical and Hellenistic philosophy. (See also; ”The Other Bible,” by Barnstone, Harper, 1980; See also; ”Stromata.” Mead’s “Forgotten Faith.”) (SGG)

Contemplate this passage below written by the Apostle Basilides. I try and explain all the unfamiliar terms in the rest of this work as they apply to Sethian and Valentinian Gnostic Christian Philosophy. Hebdomads and Ogdoads mentioned below in Basilides’ work refer to Aeon emanations. (I suggest you read this passage more than once.)

Basilides wrote:

“Thus, from the Hebdomad, the Light–which had already come down from above from the Ogdoad unto the Son of the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him. This is the meaning of the saying, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’–that is to say, that which came from the Sonship through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, down as far as Mary [the body]–and ‘The Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee’–that is to say, the divine creative power which cometh from the [ætherial] heights (the Pleroma) above through the Demiurge, which power belongeth to the Son.” (The Apostle Basilides; source Mead, “Fragments of a Faith Forgotten,” NHL Archives.)

Hebdomads are Aeon emanations while Ogdoads are larger Aeon emanations, but are more like bodies, sometimes called Archons, meaning “Ruler.” All Aeon formations are formed from a sequence that begins from the Monad. The Sethian and Valentinian Aeonology is based upon the Pythagorean concepts of the Monad and Monadic sequence. These are complex mathematical formations governed by geometric boundaries.

Sethians may have been the first people that ever revealed written works with Aeons and Monads together. In Sethian philosophy Jesus is the Aeon of Aeons. Jesus is number One, the Monad.

G.R.S. Mead wrote…

“In his Aeonology, Simon (Magus), like other Gnostic teachers, begins with the Word, the Logos, which springs up from the Depths of the Unknown-Invisible, Incomprehensible Silence…

The Word, then, issuing from Silence is first a Monad, then a Duad, a Triad (Pythagorean Trivium) and a Hebdomad (trivium) – (quadrivium). For no sooner has differentiation commenced in it, and it passes from the state of Oneness, than the Duadic and Triadic state immediately supervene, arising, so to say, simultaneously in the mind, for the mind cannot rest on Duality, but is forced by a law of its nature to rest only on the joint emanation of the Two. Thus the first natural resting point is the Trinity. The next is the Hebdomad.” (G.R.S. Mead, “Simon Magus” SGG, my inserts.)

Word and Logos mean the same thing in the context of Gnosticism:

Logos: The term for Sethians and Valentinians can be synonymous with the Word of God as an emanation of truth, or as a reflection of man’s divine or Aeon form in the Pleroma. In both Sethian and Platonic Christian Gnosticism logos refers to a system of order, reason, and knowledge. Aristotle characterized logos as an examination of a premise using both inductive and deductive logic, i.e. checks and balances. The concept of truth in the Logos in Sethian Christianity is shown with the following algorithm used in Trivium Method logic. This principle is based upon three roads meeting to form one road, and where four roads meet, forms a single point: (1st Premise/Monad {A=C}) (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad {A=B = B=C}) (Synthesis/Triad of {A=B=C}) = 1 or the Logos.” (SGG)

An Aeon can be defined as:

Aeon: The term refers to emanations (spirit or pneuma) from the Pleroma, or the energy of thought entering man’s mind, like from the demiurge as an Aeon-Monad. Aeons are formed from tripartite unions. Aeons as emanations are one-half of a duality, and Aeon sequences are made of other Aeon-Monads which can form a matrix. Aeon names are given mathematical, literal, and gematric tripartite values. Aeon names represent titles for whole fields of study. The emanation process in Sethianism is based upon the early Sethian Father, Mother, and Son, Ogdoad trinity, giving Jesus the power of divinity as the Monad. This method is based upon the concept of three roads meeting to form one road, and when four roads come together, it forms one point. Aeons are constructed from Monads aligned with the algorithm of the Trivium Method. All Aeon emanations like triads, tetrads, hebdomads, and ogdoads work based upon the same algorithm: (1st Premise/Monad A=C) ∩ (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad A=B = B=C) ∩ (Synthesis/Triad of A=B=C) = 1. (Logos) (SGG)

The Ogdoad

The emanation theories of Aeons or the Asian concept of Chi (subtle human energy), work in the real world aligned to the same primary algorithm based upon Trivium logic. Ogdoads it turns out worked the same for Pythagoras as Lao Tzu.

The Pythagorean and ancient Chinese model of the Aeon or Chi emanation of the Ogdoad works on exactly the same mathematical-based formula as all other Aeon emanations do. This includes Triads, Tetrads, Hebdomads, and Ogdoads. (See Fung Yu-Lan, “History of Chinese Philosophy, Princeton, 1953. Yu-Lan shows how the ancient Ba Gua science works like Pythagorean math.)

All Monadic constructions equal one, and all of them are formed from a Monad which is formed from a triad in a tripartite union as described by Plato in his “Republic.” This is where three things combine to form one thing…

“Now then, join them to each other and make them a single one – for they are three – so that they grow together, and all are in a single image outside of the image of the man just like him who is unable to see the things inside him. But what is outside only is what he sees. And it is apparent what creature his image is in and that he was formed in a human image.”(Plato)

The Primary Tripartite Algorithm of Trivium Logic that form Aeons:

(1st premise-Monad) ∩ (2nd supporting premise-Duad) ∩ (synthesis-Triad {a.b.c.}) = 1.  

(Above is the Primary Algorithm, where three things become one thing.) Note: (∩ = is a part of)

1. Triad: (1st premise/ { a. c.}) ∩ (2nd premise {b. a.}) ∩ ( synthesis {a.b.c.}) =1

2. Tetrad: (1st premise/ { a. b.}) ∩ (2nd premise { c. d.} ) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d.}) = 1

3. Hebdomad: (1st premise Triad-Trivium {a.b.c.}) ∩ (2nd premise Tetrad-Quadrivium {d.e.f.g.}) ∩ (synthesis of trivium-quadrivium {a.b.c.d.e.f.g.}) = 1

4. Ogdoad: (1st premise Tetrad/{a.b.c.d.}) ∩ (2nd premise Tetrad/{e.f.g.h.}) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h.}) =1

Aeons or Chi emanate in a mathematical progression starting with the Monad (Tai Chi) and ending at the limits of triads/triviums, tetrads/quadriviums, hebdoads/hebdomads, and ogdoads etc. An Ogdoad is called so, because it has eight parts, as a triad has three. All Aeon emanations equal one.

1. Monad, {a.} =1

2. Duad, {a. ∩ b.} =1
3. Triad, {a.∩b.∩c.} =1
4. Tetrad, {a.∩b.∩c.∩d.} =1

5. Hebdomad, {a.b.c. ∩ d.e.f.g.} =1

6. Ogdoads, {a.b.c.d. ∩ d.e.f.g.h.} =1
7. Decad, {a.b.c.d.e. ∩ f.g.h.i. j.} =1
8. Dodecad, {a.b.c.d.e.f. ∩ g.h.i.j.k.l.} =1

The algorithm which let ancient Gnostics use these forms as heuristic devices works also within the tripartite model of Trivium Logic: (a.1st premise) ∩ (b. 2nd supporting premise) ∩ (c. Synthesis {a.b.c.}) =1

Lao Tzu lists over twenty-four fields of study based upon the concepts of applying Ogdoads as eight units called Ba Gua sequences. The “I Ching” is a matrix made with this same method where sets of eight trigrams are combined to form a matrix. This matrix of Ogdoads is used as a memory palace by Lao Tzu, and Pythagoreans. ( see: “Hua Hu Ching,” by Lao Tzu)

Below is one way the Ogdoad model is applied in the real world using the eight major contact weapons of the body, eight major fighting skills, and eight essential qualities that can be observed in a fight. This is three Ogdoads that become one thing. The model below is from classical Asian martial arts. The model shows how Ogdoads are formed, and how they ling to form a matrix. (Hebdomads link the same way as Ogdoad sequences do to form a matrix.)

An Ogdoad of Man’s Primary Weapon System:

(1st premise-upper body, a. R. Hand, b. L. Hand, c. R. Elbow d. L. Elbow) ∩ (2nd premise-lower body, e. R. Knee, f. L. Knee, g. R. Foot, h. L. Foot) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d. ∩ e.f.g.h.} ) = 1

Apply the Weapons to the offensive and defensive Ogdoad skills. This is what trained fighters do.

(1st premise-boxing skills {a. punching, b. grabbing, c. chokes d. kicking) ∩ (2nd premise-grappling skills, e. throwing, f. joint locks, g. ground fighting h. control}) ∩ (synthesis {a.b.c.d. ∩ e.f.g.h.}) = 1.

Apply the two Ogdoads above to the following essential internal and external eight qualities for using weapons and skills. Internal skills are those that are done with the mind and senses while external skills are demonstrated externally with the praxis of the body. I use Okinawan words in the last Ogdoad, which is very much a part of the whole matrix as one thing.

(1st premise-internal {a. Kamae, b. Maai, c. Ma, d. Kakei}) ∩ (2nd premise – external {e. Muchimi, f. Chinkuchi, g. Fesa, h. Atifa}) ∩ (synthesis, {a.b.c.d.e.f.g.h.}) = 1

1.Kamae, (cam-may) refers to the skill of the fighter to becoming aware, composed and in control of his actions, and reactions. Kamae refers to the composure of the fighter the instant he/she takes conscious control of his skills in a fight.
2. Maai (maw-ee) describes the space that exists between you and your opponent, and how this space is utilized. We often call this space the arena, but basically its the environment around you.
3. Ma (maw) refers to the movement within the distance between opponents to strike. “Ma involves advancing and retreating, meeting and departing.” This refers also to control of the arena.
4. Kakei, (calk-kay) refers to the ability to touch and ‘feel out’ an opponent, for strengths and weakness, using the Ma, and Maai. In Judo and Jiu Jitsu, the quality to feel out an opponent is referred to as ‘kuzushi.’ This is a highly developed skill, meaning to break the opponent’s posture, or balance.
5. Muchimi, (moo-chee-mee) refers to moving in a trained agile way when fighting. It is described as Okinawan trained karate fighters having the attributes of the qualities of a willow tree, or like stalks of bamboo. This same quality is seen in good wrestling arts.
6. Chinkuchi, (ctch-in-koo-chee) refers to the torque of the technique, muscle and joint control. It is through chinkuchi that audible snapping action of punches and kicks is achieved. It is used in offense and defense, and in all karate techniques to one degree or another. ‘’To achieve ‘chinkuchi’ all of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, breathing and mental intentions are in perfect coordination in a single moment of time.”
7. Fesa, (fe-za) refers to the virtual speed of the boxing or grappling technique, applied with chinkuchi and also refers to sighting and delivering techniques to the path of least resistance to the target. In grappling it applies to the speed of delivery of the grappling technique.
8. Atifa, (at-tee-fa) refers to the skill to send the shock wave of a technique all the way through the opponent’s body. This is a skill directed toward attacking the body’s systems of balance; circulatory, skeletal-muscular, and nervous systems.

Notice that all three Ogdoads together form a memory palace that can be used to describe almost every aspect of a fight, like a Cage Match. I use this method and have taught other fighters to use it. The three Ogdoads have formed a Monad, the Fight.

Trained fighters can use it as a heuristic device like a gauge and map. The model can be an ideal heuristic device in almost any field of study.

There are dozens of ways the Ogdoad can be further applied to the fight and many other things. The above example is what Lao Tzu called a simple model to explain. The Pythagorean model and Chinese model of the Ogdoad work the same way, and this is how I eventually figured out the mathematical schema for Aeon emanations.

If you know this “Fighter’s Octagon” schema, chances are you can describe the action of any fight with exact and compatible descriptions as others that recall the conflict and know the formula. This is the true value of learning a memory palace offers.  Some become Masters at using these heuristic devices.

Events relative to the construction of an Ogdoad matrix can be observed and described within the context of using a map or template for the observed events. This way people can see and describe alike. This is what the Apostles meant as Logos. If your friends know the schema on the same level, like it was a map. Everyone can get to the same point. Everyone using this system is for the most part on the same page.

Using the information above a student of Aeons can define the Ogdoad:

Ogdoad; Refers to an eight unit Aeon emanation as a body, composed of two tetrads that form a 1st and 2nd premise in the Trivium Method formula: (1st Tetrad/Premise A=C) (2nd Tetrad/Supporting Premise A=B =B=C) (Synthesis of A=B=C) = 1. Ogdoad. Another way to express the Monadic values of the Ogdoad is: (A. Monad, B. Duad, C. Triad, D. Tetrad) ∩ (E. Pentad, F. Hexad, G. Hebdoad H. Ogdoad) ∩ (Synthesis A=B=C=D=E=F=G=H) =1. A Tetrad works like a four point compass, and an Ogdoad works like an eight point compass.

There are dozens of ways the Ogdoad and Hebdomad can be applied as a heuristic device. Basilides like the martial arts Masters demanded a great deal of focus from students. These types of memory palaces take some study. Basilides is said to have demanded five years of silence from his pupils. As in ancient China the secrets of the Monad and Tai Chi were mostly kept secret. The secret was only shared from Master to Student.

The Hebdomad

All human emotions can be tracked in the mind with the template of the Hebdomad. This includes Wrath, Hate, Lies, Lust, Grief, Envy, and Fear, and their polar opposites. All of these emotions as Hebdomads can be put into a matrix.

“Hebdomad; Refers to a seven unit Aeon emanation composed of a trivium (Monad, Duad, Triad) and quadrivium (Tetrad, Pentad, Hexad, Hebdoad) that follows the Trivium Method algorithm: (1st Premise/Trivium A=C) ∩ (2nd Supporting Premise/Quadrivium A=B = B=C) ∩ (Synthesis of A=B=C) = 1. Hebdomad…

Another way to show the trivium and quadrivium as a model of the Aeon-Hebdomad is: (h.e.b.) (d.o.a.d.) = 1 Hebdomad. One way to describe how a Hebdomad works is by explaining the trivium works as a sign to give information, and the quadrivium works like a signal to represent directed action. These principles are based upon the ancient Trivium Methods “where three roads form one road, and where four roads meet, forms a single point.” (SGG)

In the formation of the Hebdomad, a trivium combines with a tetrad or quadrivium to form one thing. This is the type of trivium logic or “Grammar” that Pythagoreans used, assigning everything a mathematical and gematric value.

Formed from the Monad, the units of an Aeon Hebdomad sequence, due to the position of the units, always do the same job.

The Trivium’s Jobs:
(1. Monads state the form’s first cause, or sequence name.)
(2. Duads state the motive of the whole sequence, for the seven units.)
(3. Triads consolidate the three forms of the triad into one thing.)

The Quadrivium’s Jobs:

(4. Tetrads state a level of ‘excitement’ in the form.)
(5. Pentads state the nature of the ‘structure’ of the form.)
(6. Hexads state the ‘action’ of the form, related to its specific power of the form.)
(7. Hebdoads state the extent of power or ‘control’ (cause and effect) of the type and form.

The last unit of an Aeon emanation sequence is always the ‘control’ unit. It shows what happens within the cause and effect of ‘what does what, to what’ in the praxis of the emanation. At the level of the triad it makes three things, one thing. The Hebdomad is seven things in the form of a triad and tetrad that become one thing. This is due to the primary algorithm used as a basis for all Aeon emanations and why they all equal one.

The Human Quadrivium

The model for the Hebdomad using the Human Quadrivium and the Primary Algorithm is:

(Trivium {a.b.c.}) ∩ (Quadrivium/ {d. Excitement, e. Structure, f. Action, g. Control}) ∩ (Synthesis {a.b.c.}) =1

Human emotions in the form of Aeons are either good or evil, and often in Sethian and Valentinian works these emotions are referred to as Angels or Demons. Chapter Eight of the “Gospel of Mary,” is dedicated to describing the Seven Powers of Wrath. All evil emotions are based upon the trivium concept of (Darkness, Desire, Ignorance) = Evil Trinity. Both Valentinus and Basilides understood and mention the Evil Trinity.

The following model of the Evil Trinity and its polar opposite are crafted from the description of the Seven Powers of Wrath from the “Gospel of Mary.”

* a. Darkness, b. Desire, c. Ignorance) ∩ (d. Excitement, e. Structure, f. Action, g. Control) ∩ (Synthesis) = 1 (The Evil Hebdomad)

The Light trivium below is the polar opposite of Evil:

(a. Light, b. Fulfillment, c. Knowledge) ∩ (d. Excitement, e. Structure, f. Action, g. Control) ∩ (Synthesis) = 1 (The Good Hebdomad)

One model for the Seven Powers or voices of the Demons is Wrath, Envy, Hate, Grief, Lies, Lust, and Fear. These are all Aeon-Monads with opposites that can be placed in an Aeon matrix where good and evil interact. Theodotus called this evil force “Legion.” Trained Gnostics can/could manipulate the evil matrix like playing chess pieces.

Like playing chess on another human or group, the Aeon force can be manipulated according to the degree of influence you can make on the subject in terms excitement within the form and action and control of the good and evil emotions on the psyche(s). The control of the Human Quadrivium includes all emotions, good or evil.

The control with the good and evil Aeon matrix is learned by focusing on the human quadrivium like it is a living diorama which is shortly stopped in time so you can examine it. Then you can play the Human Quadrivium something like an instrument; with yourself and other psyche(s). Good salesmen have the same kind of focus where they read their clients, then, they work the angles for the sale.

A modern Lie Detector measures the control as to a person’s excitement according to actions in his form or body, and this is much like the ancient Human Quadrivium in the praxis of a Lie. This modern science shows ways we can understand how Hebdomads were used by ancients.

Aeons are very real. The study of how Aeons affect the mind and body in the ancient teachings was called Kinetikos. There are some fields of modern study that relate well to the ancient model of the Human Quadrivium. More study is needed.

The Light, the Demiurge:

Light, Word, and Logos mean about the same thing and are all in reference to the Word of God. In Sethian and Valentinian philosophy Jesus is the power of the Son from the unification of the eight powers of the Father, and eight powers of the Mother, with the powers of the Son.

Demiurge refers to a boundary between these entities of the Logos, and Cosmology. This includes the triple Ogdoad boundaries between the Father, Mother, and Son in the unity which Sethian and Valentinian scripture says Jesus gained the powers of divinity. This tripartite unity explains how Jesus becomes the Word, i.e. the Light. This is what Basilides means by “power of the Son” and “from the Hebdomad of Light.

Basilides refers to Mary in his passage as the Body. This may be a reference to the Divine feminine Mother or Barbelo, in regard that in Pythagorean philosophy where the dyad is considered the One Form. It appears that Basilides and Valentinus did not use the Barbelo model in their presentation of the Dyad as Mother. The Dyad in this case equals the Monad and Duad, or Father-Mother as one thing. ({a.∩ b.} =1.)

As it is explained above, Aeon emanations are governed by a tripartite union based upon three things becoming one thing, a Monad. The Hebdomad is formed from a triad that becomes a Monad and from there; the Monad becomes a triad or trivium and then is joined with a tetrad, to become a Hebdomad.

Sethians and Valentinians only explain bits and pieces of the workings of the Monad in their works, and how a Monad becomes Hebdomads, Ogdoads, etc. Below are passages that mention the elements of the trivium. (Lao Tzu wrote very similar passages where the Monad is called the Tai Chi)

“As I (Jesus) said earlier, among the things that were created the Monad is first, the Dyad follows it, and the Triad, up to the tenths. Now the tenths rule the hundredths; the hundredths rule the thousandths; the thousands rule the ten thousands. This is the pattern immortals. First Man is like this: His Monad […].

Again it is this pattern that exists among the immortals: the Monad and the thought are those things that belong to Immortal Man. The thinking’s are for decads, and the hundreds are the teachings, and the thousands are the counsels, and the ten thousands are the powers. Now those who come from the […] exist with their […] in every Aeon […]. ”  (“Eugnostos the Blessed”)

The Sethian and Valentinian Aeonology is primarily based upon Jesus as the Monad and “Aeon of Aeons.” The Gnostic creation myths differ. But Simon Magus and Dositheos understood Aeons and this teaching was obviously passed on to Basilides and Valentinus.

Dositheos claims authorship for “The Three Steles of Seth” in the Nag Hammadi collection. He mentions Aeons and the Monad. I would point out the term Aeon very likely meant the same things to Basilides and Valentinus as Simon Magus, Dositheos, John Zebedee, and others that knew Jesus.

Simon wrote…

“Of the universal Aeons there are two shoots, without beginning or end, springing from one Root, which is the Power invisible, inapprehensible Silence. Of these shoots one is manifested from above, which is the Great Power, the Universal Mind ordering all things, male, and the other, (is manifested) from below, the Great Thought, female, producing all things.” (Simon Magus, “Apophasis Megale,” Mead)

Both the “Gospel of the Egyptians” and “The Apocryphon of John” explains the same male-female aspects as Simon mentions above.

Hippolytus declares in his works that Sethians had “The Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of the Egyptians,” and other works known in the Nag Hammadi collection. Irenaeus cited a passage which is almost a word for word parallel from “The Apocryphon of John.” This means the three works are probably among the oldest Christian scripture.

Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian all mention Aeons to refute them. They fail to explain Ogdoads, or Hebdomads. They all declare that the Sethians and Valentinians are heretics. They are all considered founding fathers of the Church, and they all had a similar anti-Gnostic agenda to eliminate Sethians and Valentinians. This is why moderns know nothing of the Aeonology.

The Holy Spirit:

Basilides described the Light of the Father and Mother as the Hebdomad of the Holy Spirit:

“…the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him. This is the meaning of the saying, ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee’–that is to say, that which came from the “Sonship” through the Limitary Spirit to the Ogdoad and Hebdomad, down as far as Mary [the body]” (Basilides, Mead)

Sethians and Valentinians were Pneumatics. Paul called them the gifted by the Holy Spirit. Clement called them gifted and Craftsmen. Pneumatics can demonstrate their gifts and skills.

Pneumatic: One who can comprehend or read Aeons and identifies with the spirit (pneuma), beyond that of the physical (hylic) world and the intellect alone (psychic). The pneuma, described in the ”Gospel of Phillip,” as ‘breath,’ refers to bonding with the internal spark (spinther) that came from and is drawn to reunite with the Father in some Gnostic schema. One who awakens it (the spinther) within the self does it through the process of ‘gnosis.’ (See; Gregory of Nicaea (known as Basil), who used the term Pneumatic in his mystical teachings. This term connotes Gnostic as a Pneumatic). (See also; ”Early Christian Mystics,” McGinn, Crossroads, 2003.) (SGG)

Pneumatophoroi: One who has united his Soul with the ‘Light’ (Sophia, Word, Wisdom) achieving Gnosis which is thought in Christian Gnosticism to be a union with Jesus as the Holy Spirit. A more common name for those who have reached this state are “Spirit Bearers.” Those having reached this state are mentioned in “Acts” and Pauline works. These attained individuals are thought to wear the Holy Spirit like a garment. (See; ”1,000 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Holy Spirit,” by Lang, Thomas Nelson Pub. 1999.) (SGG)

The Pneumatophoroi were called Craftsmen by Clement…

Craftsman: A term used to connote Gnostic attainment. The term is also used in regard to creation. “All things were made through Him,” means that it was the Word who caused the Craftsman (Demiurge) to make the world, that is it was not the Word “from whom” or “by whom,” but the one “through whom (all things were made).”. . The term also refers to men, ”The official was the Craftsman, for he himself ruled like a king over those under him.” (Heracleon)  “Clement of Alexandria explains ”…..correct expounders of the truth, are Gnostics. Since also, in what pertains to life, Craftsmen are superior to ordinary people, and model what is beyond common notions; so, consequently, we also, giving a complete exhibition of the Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, from Faith persuaded by demonstration.” (Clement;  “Stromata,” Bk. 7) (SGG)

The “Gospel of the Egyptians” explains a very similar Father, Mother, and Son schema as what Basilides presented in his passage…

“Three powers came forth from him; they are the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son, from the living silence, what came forth from the incorruptible Father. These came forth from the silence of the unknown Father.

And from that place, Domedon Doxomedon came forth, the aeon of the aeons and the light of each one of their powers. And thus the Son came forth fourth; the Mother fifth; the Father sixth. He was […] but unheralded; it is he who is unmarked among all the powers, the glories, and the incorruptions.

From that place, the three powers came forth, the three Ogdoads that the Father brings forth in silence with his providence, from his bosom, i.e., the Father, the Mother, (and) the Son.

The Ogdoad, because of which the thrice-male child came forth, which is the thought, and the Word, and the incorruption, and the eternal life, the will, the mind, and the foreknowledge, the androgynous Father.

The second Ogdoad-power, the Mother, the virginal Barbelon, epititioch[…]ai, memeneaimen[…], who presides over the heaven, karb[…], the uninterpretable power, the ineffable Mother. She originated from herself […]; she came forth; she agreed with the Father of the silent silence.

The third Ogdoad-power, the Son of the silent silence, and the crown of the silent silence, and the glory of the Father, and the virtue of the Mother, he brings forth from the bosom the Seven Powers of the Great Light of the Seven Voices. (Hebdomads, my insertion) And the Word is their completion.

These are the three powers, the three Ogdoads that the Father, through his providence, brought forth from his bosom. He brought them forth at that place.” (“Gospel of the Egyptians”)


Simon Magus, Dositheos, Basilides, and Valentinus wrote about the higher Aeons of Monads, Hebdomads, Ogdoads, and other aspects of Aeonology. Almost the only time these words were ever used in Orthodox Christianity was by anti-Gnostics.

The Christian Orthodoxy never produced any work that would explain what Basilides meant in his passage presented above. Most modern scholars avoid the terms and the philosophy of Aeons.

Basilides, in the one short passage presented above, reveals much of the same explanation of Jesus and his triple Ogdoad power as Pneumatophoroi. The one passage above makes a concise description of what is described in other Sethian and Valentinian works. Most of the Nag Hammadi works focus on the tripartite powers of Father, Mother, and Son. The triple powers of Father, Mother, and Son is what gives Jesus the power of a. Father, b. Son, and c. Holy Ghost. ({a.b.c.}) = 1

Basilides is describing the transcendence of Jesus to the Holy Spirit, or Logos, as the Seth


Reading 4 2 14, The Alchemical Tarot Renewed by Robert M Place

Reading 4 2 14, The Alchemical Tarot Renewed by Robert M Place



Position 1 Hanged Man, air, beginning…

Position 2 The Magus, reversed. Fire. changing. maturing

Position 3, the Queen of Vessels, Water of Water, Goddess as grail bearer of the Ocean

Position 4 9 swords, Air, destruction, cutting, moon, sex, completion not quite complete

Position 5 The High Priestess, Sophia, Lifter of the Veil, Bearer of Gnosis, Shekinah, Her of the heavens.



Tarot is an interesting thing. It works on many levels and in many ways. Some even view it as the perfect window into the soul. I don’t believe they are that good, personally…One large aspect of modern Tarot is the Hermetic traditions. The Hermetic traditions center around a form of Gnosticism (see the passages of the Corpus Hermeticum in comparison to Sethian for example cosmological beliefs etc.) centering around a divine priest in the Melchizadeck tradition honoring all priests, but from Thoth. Thoth the A Egyptian God, to Thoth the Atlantean. To a more familiar Hermes and Mercury. As an archetype for all priests the Hermetic tradition then is an interesting one. By archetype we mean more Platonic archetype and not Jungian.

One key principle or more accurately axiom of Hermeticism is “As above, So below.” The concept of macro and microcosm. The universe in miniature and in full expanse, the self and the Self. Hermeticism textually goes back around 2000 years, or approx. 1st Cent CE. Of course all text documents, of such nature are often far older than their written equivalents, oral tradition can date things… but that’s an argument for another time.

Tarot then can be seen through this lens of the Hermetic Axiom. We can see the court cards and number cards as the Microcosm, or the self. The trumps then can be seen as the Macrocosm. The Macrocosm of course can be seen as the Nous or divine mind, the mind of the divine.


The above reading is interesting in that it is composed of three potent Macrocosmic images and two Microcosmic images.

Nous: “Mind”, The soul, not the same as ‘pneuma’ or spirit. It is the part of
the anima that gives us consciousness. The anima as a whole gives life (or
literally movement.. “animates”) to our bodies. Tatian declares the soul as a
special kind of spirit. (See; Tatian’s “Letter to the Greeks’)


Ogdoad: Regarded in some texts as the “eighth kingdom above the hebdomas.” It is the realm of the Demiurgos (or sometimes that is the 7th, with the eighth being that of Sabaoth), as well as usually being the realm of the zodiac
(dodecon). Sometimes it is also seen as the beginning of freedom from the
Archons, and the beginning of connection to the Aeons. Pythagoris says…
“The ogdoad–8–was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which
form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10
(1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4’s, each 4 is divided into two
2’s, and each 2 is divided into two 1’s, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among
the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience.
Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele,
Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).” (Thomas
Taylor’s Theoretic Arithmetic, Thought by one source to be the rarest and most
important compilation of Pythagorean mathematical fragments extant.)

”… the Ogdoad, which is the eighth, and that we might receive that place of
salvation.” (”The Testimony of Truth.” See also; ”A Valentinian
Exposition.”) ) The Sacred ogdoad according to some sources is: Barbelo (deep), Sige (silence), Nous (mind), Veritus (truth), Sermo (word), Vita (life), Homo (man), Ecclesia (church). The last member of the group acts to syncretize the group.


Rba , Rabai – elect priest, chief intator and the ordainer of new Mandaean priests. Holds the office known as rabuta. Compare to the Jewish “rabbi”.

Seth: ”From Adam three natures were begotten. The first was the irrational, which was Cain’s, the second the rational and just, which was Abel’s, the third the spiritual, which was Seth’s. Now that which is earthly is “according to the image,” that which is psychical according to the ” likeness ” of God, and that
which is spiritual is according to the real nature; and with refer­ence to these three, without the other children of Adam, it was said, “This is the book of the generation of men.” And because Seth was spiritual he neither tends flocks nor tills the soil but produces a child, as spiritual things do. And him, who “hoped
to call upon the name of the Lord” who looked upward and whose “citizenship is in heaven – him the world does not contain.” (Theodotus, Criddle Collection.)

Sethian: It is a name for a specific sect of Gnostics, but also a category created by scholars to refer to a number of sects that are related to Valentinians. The Sethians as a group were known to Hippolytus who dedicated Book Five in his work, ”The Refutation of All Hereseys,” to denouncing them. (See Gaffney) Seth was a character of Gnosticism who represented a savior figure and third son of Adam, founder of the Gnostic race. Generally Sethian works include, “Pistis Sophia,” “Allogenes,” ”The Gospel of Mary,*” “Sentences of Sextus,” “Marsanes,” “Gospel of The Egyptians,*” ”The Apocalypse of Adam,*”
“Origin of The World,” ”The Gospel of Thomas,*” ”The Gospel of Philip,” “The Three Steles of Seth,” “Melchizidek,” ”The Apocryphon of John,” ”The Gospel of Judas,” Trimorphic Protennoia,” the un-named text in the Bruce Codex, and ”Zostrianos.” (Others) Some Sethian works suggest strong ties with
Jewish Gnosticism, as well as Platonic thought, as well as Zoroasterism. (They maintained three principles; darkness below, light above, and spirit in-between, according to work attributed to Dr. Roy Blizzard, University of Texas. See also; ”Sethian Gnosticism, A Literary History,” Turner) see also; ( * Indicates works from the Nag Hammadi Lib., with other works by the same name.)

Sethian Monadology: The system of the monad, constructed through the tetraktys
of the decad, which serves as an underlying philosophy in Sethian Gnosticism. It
is developed from the creation myths. The system is like, and based upon that
of Pythagoreans, and resembles the principles of the ancient Chinese philosophy
of the Tai Chi., which is based upon the ogdoad. The system is based upon
working variations of numerical values. Turner states, ”….vigorous
arithmological speculation on the first ten numbers, but especially the first
four numbers, comprising the Pythagorean tetraktys (the {mode} of the first four
numbers). This was carried on by such Pythagoreanizing Platonists as Theon of
Smyrna and Nicomachus of Gerasa, who in turn depend in part on similar
arithmological and mathematical theories produced by such early first century
Platonist figures as Dercyllides, Adrastos of Aphrodisias (a Peripatetic
commentator on Plato’s Timaeus) and Thrasyllos, a court philosopher under the
Emperor Tiberius. The harmonic ratios produced by these first four numbers and
the geometric entities of point, line, surface, and solid had been applied to
the structure and the creation of the world soul long before by Plato and his
successors in the Old Academy, especially Speusippus and Xenocrates. (See;
Turner, See also; ”The History of Chinese Philosophy, Vol. 2.,” by Fung
Yu-Lan, Princeton, 1953, See also; ”A Valentinian Exposition.”)



The Sufi mystic Ibn al-Arabi drew a diagram similar to the one used to develop a pattern around a khatam (see above). However, Al-Arabi’s diagram’s diagram is concerned with spirituality, not ornamentation. He drew it as part of his explanation that “all phenomena are nothing but manifestations of Being, which is one with God.” Conincidentally, Al-Arabi was born in Spain at around the same time the practice of zillij, mosaic design, was starting to flourish. As Sufism had particular appeal to North Africa, his spirtual use of the pattern may explain the prolific use of the eight-point star and and symetries of eight in Moroccan Islamic patterns.


The number eight was important among Sufi mystics. “The octagon, with a ninth point in the center, is also central to the mystical symbology of Sufism. It is the seal or design which Ernest Scott says ‘reaches for the innermost secrets of man’. Meaning wholeness, power and perfection, this primary geometrical symbol is one which Sufis associate with Shambhala …”

On his website of natural patterns, Ian Alexander refers to the eight-point star as both the Sufi star and the Moroccan star. He offers the following explanation, as quoted from Friday mosque in Iran “Form is symbolised by the square. Expansion is symbolised by the square with triangles pointing outwards (an 8-pointed star). Contraction is symbolised by the square with triangles pointing inwards (a 4-pointed star). The two star-shapes together symbolise the cycle of creation, ‘the breath of the compassionate.’”

Origins and Meanings of the Eight-Point Star




The spiritual vacuuming that is my life, currently unborn children, helping young people on their late 20s… a place of worship is always difficult. Other people around me of course are aware of my spirituality, some approve, others don’t, others just find it weird.

As I become and am a Unitarian Universalist, I find hard to balance a head in the clouds versus the reality of UU ism. While my very thoughts and maps of belief and reality are fully colored by spiritual walking, this is difficult for others. At our church we have a discussion groups. I realize, I do find it difficult to not sound patronizing or to simply utter something that blows everyone’s minds (if I say anything at all…..which is more often the case, that I remain silent). This group has been going on decades before I joined, yet in that time, mysticism or more accurately, direct spiritual insight has not been discussed, or barely….

I remember my days as a depressed agnostic teen, overcome with the loss of my mother, I fell into the pit of Nihilism. This bleak self defeating world view and others similar to it…absurdism and other existentialist nightmarish world views. I remember years later, wanting, tasting, to cross the veil. To experience the inner planes. I did so, eventually in downtown Manhattan, NY.

Though as I have to remind myself

GNOSIS is for everyone, when they are ready, everyone is where they are meant to be…..

I guess this is one reason why I never really joined a church before, my interests were different to feeding the poor, protesting local government about bad public transport or any other social action activities; none of which are wrong…. just not my main focus… and I think that’s the problem…..when I perceive social action etc. being the main focus over actual mystical experience…….I guess, I imagined UUism would give me both. So far, it hasn’t.

I must get over myself… stop being a bung hole, realize that spirituality is, a lonely pursuit. Get a grip, work on myself, my failings…. help me to not see others as stupid, which is difficult as I do NOT view myself as advanced or anything approaching that term. I wonder how many struggle with this?

Though, I don’t see this as ever being resolved in our UU church, people are either atheists, humanists, damaged from fundamentalism or……. Having spoken to a church regulars husband at a dinner party, I am kind of coming to the sad conclusion he made in his refusal to attend reguarly because “not enough people were on a quest.”

Of course it doesn’t help that i’m an introvert and like to sound a person out before I share….. I mean, for inner walkers, how would conveying spiritual experiences go, to non walkers? Like discussing sex with a virgin?

Well that’s more rant, had to say it…. meaningless drivel. I wonder what if anyone else reading this attends a church which makes you smile……but leaves you wanting? Why is belief so scary? Why is praxis so scary? Who knows……probably it’s just me and no one could give a monkeys about discussing various cosmological variations…. why do UUs find beliefs so scary?


Thou hast sworn unto Thy servants, for Thou alone

art He who changest not, Thou alone art the Infinite

and Boundless One. Thou only art unengendered,

born of Thyself, Self-Father, Thou only art immaterial

and hast no stain, ineffable in Thy generation and

inconceivable in Thy manifestation. Hear us, then,

O Father Incorruptible, Father Immortal, God of

Hidden Beings, sole Light and Life, Alone beyond

Vision, only Unspeakable, only Unstainable, only

[Foundation] stone of Adamant, sole Primal Being,

for before Thee was nothing.

–Bruce Codex

The Gnosis Of The Light: A Translation Of The Untitled Apocalypse Contained In Codex Brucianus (Ibis Western Mystery Tradition)

gnostic crossDeep: (Bythos) The term ‘deep,’ refers to the concept of parent or parents. The term is used in the ”Untitled Text of the Bruce Codex.” This is from Irenaeus, ”Adversus Heraeses 1.8.5.” ” Ptolemy interpreted the prologue of John’s gospel (Jn 1:1-14) “Parent” is usually called “Father” or “the Deep.” “Loveliness” is usually called “Silence.” Tertullian, uses the term ‘depth.’ The term can refer to the levels of the abyss….”let the deep open and swallow these men: yea, Sabaoth.” (Acts of Philip.)

Garment: (Vesture) Meaning clothing, but in Gnostic terms can mean the flesh covering the body. Sometimes used in various references to wearing the soul or the idea of social position as a philosophical covering. From the Un-named text in the Bruce Codex: “This is Man, begotten of mind (nous) ‘, to whom thought gave form. It is thou who hast given all things to Man. And he has worn them like garment.”

”Chelkeach, who is my garment, who has come from the Astonishment, who was in the cloud of the Hymen which appeared, as a trimorphic cloud. Ane Chelkea is my garment which has two forms, he who was in the cloud of Silence. And Chelke is my garment which was given him from every region; it was given him in a single form from the greatness, he who was in the cloud of the middle region and the star of the Light which surpassed the thought and teh tetimony of those who bear witness.” (”The Paraphrase of Shem.”)

H a d you ever thought of the Tree of Life as
a sex symbol? Its originators did. To them, it was a mathematical
glyph of the supreme sex act between God and God which created
life in the first place. Not an act between a God and Goddess, but
between the masculine and feminine polarities of one and the same
being. They did not suppose that God did this exactly as man would
have to, but the fundamental principles would be the same if man
truly were “in the image and likeness” of his Creator. Humans,
however, were twofold, man and woman, each of a double nature.
So God was seen as an androgynous being, combining both sexes in
itself yet superior to either as a pure spirit of life in which all living
creatures existed.

So far as we know, the earliest human concepts of a God
were matriarchal. God was the Great Universal Mother bringing all
life out of her inexhaustible womb. As male supremacy began to
take over tribal management, the concept of Father-God gradually
grew in importance until it first overshadowed and then finally
supplanted original Mother worship in many cultures, particularly
in the Middle East and among Semites whose religious codes have
been inherited by official Christianity. How God could produce a
human son out of the Virgin Mary without some form of sexual
intercourse is a mystery the Church has never fully faced since it
first thought of the idea. Virgin birth, or parthenogenesis, is a
biological possibility and involves reproduction by the development
of a single cell (as an ovum or ovule) without fertilization by union
with the opposite sex. An instance is recorded of one male twin
developing inside the other, but this was plain mutation with no
miracles involved.

Exactly why the official Church should maintain such
silence on the subject of temple impregnation or artificial
insemination by selected God-fathers is a bigger mystery than the
act itself. Humans supplied the seed, but it was God himself who
decided on the individual one which fertilized the female, therefore
the child was truly God’s. Such was the honest belief. Though the
priests could not have know the biological factors involved, they
could work out simple arithmetic. If seed from ten chosen men were
injected into a willing female, then one of this lot must be the
physical father, but which? Only God knew. Hence the custom of
counting the bloodline through mothers, and the need for ten males
to “make a minyan” or minimum number for divine worship in the
temple. Some supposed that all ten were the father, and good
qualities from each entered the child at conception.
Orthodox Semitism could accept the idea of God creating a
human woman out of Adam by the curious method of cloning a rib,
but they only saw a kind of secondhand creation in this in which
woman was not made directly in God’s image but in Adam’s, by
reflection. So it was considered a blasphemy among them to impute
any feminine aspects to God, and in banning images from their
temples, the Semites included mental images in that injunction as
well. God must not be seen as a living form, yet might be spoken of
in the masculine sense, except in the odd instance of the word
Elohim, a feminine word with a masculine plural suffix which has
caused so much argument among scriptural scholars.

None of this pleased mystically-minded people who could
not agree that any supreme spirit of life must be purely masculine in nature.
Commonsense alone made this an anomaly. They were apt to view the
Father-God concept in a somewhat suspicious light asbeing a “policy decision”
which put males in secure seats of
government and control of tribal affairs, in other words as a male
organized “takeover” which had succeeded from political and allied
angles in their spheres of culture if nowhere else. So if this fait
accompli could not be out-fought, it could certainly be out-thought.
That is exactly what happened. Behind the external male-oriented
official religion presented to the people as the will of their
rulers attributed to a God image of a nationalistic and political kind,
there grew up another sort of faith devoted to a God which could be
found by the people for themselves and in themselves, neither a
masculine nor feminine deity but both in one capable of conceiving
itself in the hearts and souls of those offering themselves to its spirit.

It was a God which could be equally invoked from a masculine,
feminine, or neutral approach. Hence the three Pillars of the Tree,
and a virtual return to a pantheon wherein all gods and goddesses
were only regarded as different aspects of the nameless spirit behind all of them.
Now it had been given a name—love.
Everyone must surely be familiar with the saying “God is
Love.” The original word used for love in that instance was AHVH
(Ah-Vah), “a breathing after.” You “breathed after” someone you
loved in the sexual sense. It was meant to be a poetic and idealistic
description of the quickened breathing during sexual excitement
where you “met your mate” in the true sense of mating for life.
You encountered your “other Pillar,” and between you, raised the
third. When you wanted God with the same intensity as when you
needed a sex partner, then that God would be with you, because you
would have to find that God or perish in the attempt. This was the
significance of the text. God itself must be your sex partner found
through the mediatorship of another human. This was the way early
mystics understood it. Their love affair with God was sexual in
every implication except physical, and some would have included
that as well.

–Wg Gray

Qabalistic Concepts: Living the Tree


(also transliterated Kether)

The Mystic Quest” by David S. Ariel

Keter (crown), is the first Sefirah emanated from Eyn Sof. It is the highest and most glorious of the Sefirot and crowns them all. It stands as the barrier between Eyn Sof and the other Sefirot and, so, encircles and crowns Eyn Sof. Because each Sefirah is emanated from another, the highest one, Keter, stands hierarchically above them all.

Sometimes Keter is identified with Eyn Sof. Most often, however, Keter is the first Sefirah radiated, or emanated, by Eyn Sof which stands above it. Those who identify Keter with Eyn Sof lean toward the ‘essentialist’ point of view and believe that the Sefirot are only different stages in the unfolding of God’s infinite essence. Those who believe that Keter is the first Sefirah and is not identical with Eyn Sof, generally follow the view that Eyn Sof acts through vessels, the Sefirot, and that God and His vessels are not similar. Therefore, the essentialists favor the ‘personalist’ notion of God and theorize that Keter is the same as Eyn Sof. The instrumentalists believe that God is impersonal, and Eyn Sof is above Keter.

There are many other names for Keter in the Kabbalah. It is often called Ayin (nothingness) because it is beyond all existence and is nonetheless the cause of all existing things. In the Prayer of Nehunyah ben ha-Kanah, written in the thirteenth century, a hymn to Keter appears:

‘Everything is in it,

for the internal powers of the Sefirot are in it.

The vitality and existence of everything stem from it.

It is analogous to the soul

which gives life to the body

and constitutes it.

The constitution of everything is in Keter.

There is no front or back,

right or left, in this Sefirah.

It is called ‘Indifferent Unity.’

It is also called Chochmah Penimit (internal wisdom) because it is the hidden potentiality of divine wisdom before it is revealed or Machshavah Elohit (divine thought) because it is produced by Eyn Sof, the pure Mind. Keter is similar to Eyn Sof in many of these respects but different in others. It differs in that it is the highest aspect of God which moves into activity out of the repose of Eyn Sof. Both Eyn Sof and Keter are unknowable and imperceptible. Keter is the more active representation of God’s will which cannot be known except during the rare moment when God chose to reveal Himself as Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (I am What I Am). The Kabbalists display a certain ambivalence about whether Keter can be known.

In the following passage Eyn Sof and Keter are described paradoxically as the hidden and revealed will of God, respectively. Keter, however, cannot be known except through the unique intuition that comes about through mystical revelation.

‘Rabbi Shimon said:

I raise my hands upward in prayer.

When the divine will up above (i.e., Eyn Sof)

shines upon the will

which is eternally unknown and imperceptible,

the first hidden upper will (i.e. Keter)

produces its unknowable creation

and radiates what it does secretly.

Then, the will of divine thought

pursues the first will

in order to be illuminated by it.

A curtain is then opened

and, from inside, with the divine will

pursuing (the upper will),

it reaches and yet does not reach [up]

and the curtain begins to radiate.

Then illumination coming from

the hidden upper unknown will strikes the

light of the curtain

which is lit up by the will

which is unknown, unknowable and concealed.

The light of the concealed thought

strikes the light of the curtain

and they both radiate,

creating nine palaces.’ [Sefer ha-Zohar]

This passage illustrates how in moments of deep revelation Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the voice of the Zohar, reveals his mystical knowledge. Eyn Sof emanates its essence upon Keter and activates it. Keter, in turn, turns back to Eyn Sof to draw down further essence linking them together. As Keter turns back to reflect its light toward Eyn Sof, its source, it strikes a barrier that stands between it and Eyn Sof. The barrier reflects the light of Keter back to it and creates the third Sefirah. This process of emanation and reflection creates the ten Sefirot.

The Kabbalists placed great importance on the inner workings of God especially on the relationship of Eyn Sof to Keter. They attempted to explain how the infinite God can bridge the abyss between Himself and the world. In the passage above there is very little difference between Eyn Sof and Keter except the slight gradations of difference between the divine will and the upper will. Still, there is a curtain that separates them. When they sweep aside that separation, they radiate against each other and create the other Sefirot.

Some Kabbalists were disturbed by the idea that there is little difference between Eyn Sof and Keter. They believed that there were a series of three imperceptible luminous beings that interposed between Eyn Sof and Keter. They radiate out from Eyn Sof and become embedded in Keter. Keter then becomes God’s pure Thought. This is described in the following passage quoted from the Responsum of Hai Gaon:

‘The three supernal lights have no beginning for they are the name and essence and root of all roots. Thought cannot apprehend them because apprehension is impossible and the knowledge of all creatures is too weak to comprehend the Holy Name. We have learned their names: ‘primordial internal light’ which radiates in the hidden root and shines from its radiant power the likeness of the two great luminaries. The ‘polished light’ and the ‘clear light,’ all of which are one light, one essence, and one root hidden infinitely.’

Keter cannot be known because it is either identical with, or only slightly different from, Eyn Sof. Like a king who is hidden from most of his subjects, he can be known by his venerable crown which is filled with precious gems and diamonds. Keter is, however, identified as divine thought and the source of all the other Sefirot. The thirteenth-century Tradition of Wisdom from the Sages of Mata Mahasya describes Keter:

‘Supernal Keter is a world hidden unto itself. All the Sefirot receive from its emanation even though it is separate, recondite and bound up with the root of all roots which cannot be apprehended by thought. Keter receives from the root without any interruption in a subtle whisper. It emanates and pours forth from its reservoir upon the other crowns which are always close to its emanation.’

The unknowability of Keter is due to its identity with, or proximity to, Eyn Sof. Yet it is also the root of all the other phenomena of the world especially the other Sefirot. It is the cause of the Sefirot and produces them through Atzilut (emanation). Emanation, according to most Kabbalists, is a process of hypertrophy, or overflow, from Eyn Sof. Eyn Sof is, by nature, effulgent and tends to spread its essence outward. The Sefirot are there to receive this essence.

Emanation, according to other Kabbalists, most notably Nachmanides, is a process in which Eyn Sof limits its own infinity through contracting or constricting itself. God cannot create anything directly from His own boundless and infinite essence unless He voluntarily limits Himself. The Kabbalists use the analogy of the sun to explain this process. The radiant light of the sun shines endlessly due to its great power and brilliance. Nothing could be seen, however, unless the unbridles light of the sun is restricted, allowing for the emergence of shapes, contours, and details. In the same manner the radiance of Eyn Sof must be contracted and limited through the emanation of Keter , a channeling of the infinite mind and will into the more defined thought and will. Keter is the means by which the infinite God makes all other creations possible. It is the transition between God’s infinity and the finite world.

It is ironic that the Kabbalists should have so much to say about an unknowable God. They speculated endlessly on the nature of God and on His Sefirot. Although much consideration was given to Eyn Sof and Keter, the Kabbalists recognized that human knowledge could never adequately penetrate the secrets of the infinite God.”

he term, while Asher ben David employed it in a distinctly personal and theistic way.

Ein-Sof is the absolute perfection in which there are no distinctions and no differentiations, and according to some even no volition. It does not reveal itself in a way that makes knowledge of its nature possible, and it is not accessible even to the innermost thought (hirhur ha-lev) of the contemplative. Only through the finite nature of every existing thing, through the actual existence of creation itself, is it possible to deduce the eixtence of Ein-Sof as the first infinite cause. The author of Ma’arechet ha-Elohut put forward the extreme thesis (not without arousing the opposition of more cautious kabbalists) that the whole biblical revelation, and the Oral Law as well, contained no reference to Ein-Sof, and that only the mystics had received some hint of it. Hence the author of this treatise, followed by several other writers, was led to the daring conclusion that only the revealed God can in reality be called ‘God,’ and not the hidden ‘deus absconditus,’ who cannot be an object of religious thought. When ideas of this kind returned in a later period in Shabbatean and quasi-Shabbatean Kabbalah, between 1670 and 1740, they were considered heretical.

Other terms or images signifying the domain of the hidden God that lies beyond any impulse toward creation occur in the writings of the Gerona kabbalists and in the literature of the speculative school. Examples of these terms are mah she-ein ha-machshavah masseget (‘that which thought cannot attain’ – sometimes used also to describe the first emanation), ha-or ha-mit’allem (‘the concealed light’), sefer ha-ta’alumah (‘the concealment of secrecy’), yitron (‘superfluity’ – apparently as a translation of the neoplatonic term hyperousia), ha-achdut ha-shavah (‘indistinguishable unity,’ in the sense of a unity in which all opposites are equal and in which there is no differentiation), or even simply ha-mahut (‘the essence’). The factor common to all these terms is that Ein Sof and its synonyms are above or beyond thought.A certain wavering between the personal and the neutral approach to the concept of Ein Sof can also be seen in the main part of the Zohar, while in the later stratum, in the Ra’aya Meheimna and the Tikkunim, a personal concept is paramount. Ein-Sof is often (not always) identified with the Aristotelian ’cause of all causes,’ and, through the kabbalistic use of neoplatonic idiom, with the ‘root of all roots.’ While all the definitions above have a common negative element, occasionally in the Zohar there is a remarkable positive designation which gives the name Ein-Sof to the nine lights of thought that shine from the Divine Thought, thus bringing Ein-Sof out of its concealment and down to a more humble level of emanation (the contrast between the two concepts emerges through comparison between various passages, e.g., e:21a and 2:239a with 2:226a). In later cevelopment of Lurianic Kabbalah, however, in distinct opposition to the view of the earlier kabbalists, several differentiations were made even within Ein-Sof. In Kabbalah, therefore, Ein-Sof is absolute reality, and there was no question as to its spiritual and transcendent nature. This was so even though the lack of clarity in some of the expressions used by the kabbalists in speaking of the relationship of the revealed God to His creation gives the impression tht the very substance of God Himself is also immanent within creation. In all kabbalistic systems, light-symbolism is very commonly used with regard to Ein-Sof, although it is emphasized that this use is merely hyperbolical, and in later Kabbalah a clear distinction was sometimes made between Ein-Sof and ‘the light of Ein Sof.’ In the popular Kabbalah which finds expression in ethical writings and chasidic literature, Ein Sof is merely a synonym for the traditional God of religion, a linguistic usage far removed from that of the classical Kabbalah, where there is evidence of the sharp distinction between Ein-Sof and the revealed Divine Creator. This can be seen not only in the formulations of the early kabbalists (e.g., Isaac of Acre in his commentary to the Sefer Yetzirah) but also among the later ones; Baruch Kosover (c. 1770) writes: ‘Ein-Sof is not His proper name, but a word which signifies his complete concealment, and our sacred tongue has now word like these two to signify his concealment. And it is not right to say “Ein-Sof, blessed be He” or “may He be blessed” because He cannot be blessed by our lips’ (Ammud ha-Avodah).

The whole problem of creation, even in its most recondite aspects, is bound up with the revelaiton of the hidden God and His outward movement – even thought ‘there is nothing outside Him’ (Azriel), for in the last resort ‘all comes from the One, and all returns to the One,’ according to the neoplatonic formula adopted by the early kabbalists. In kabbalistic teaching the transition of Ein Sof to ‘manifestation,’ or to what might be called ‘God the Creator,’ is connected with the question of the first emanation and its definition. Although there were widely differing views on the nature of the first step from concealment to manifestation, all stressed that no account of this process could be an objective description of a process in Ein-Sof; it was no more than could be conjectured from the perspective of created beings and was expressed through their ideas, which in reality cannot be applied to God at all. Therefore, descriptions of these processes have only a symbolic or, at best, an approximate value. Nevertheless side by side with this thesis, there is detailed speculation which frequently claims objective reality for the process it describes. This is one of the paradoxes inherent in Kabbalah, as in other attempts to explain the world in a mystical fashion.

The decision to emerge from concealment into manifestation and creation is not in any sense a process which is a necessary consequence of the essence of Ein-Sof, it is a free decision which remains a constant and impenetrable mystery (Cordover, at the beginning of Elimah). Therefore, in the view of most kabbalists, the question of the ultimate motivation of creation is not a legitimate one, and the assertion found in many books that God wished to reveal the measure of His goodness is there simply as an expedient that is never systematically developed. These first outward steps, as a result of which Divinity becomes accessible to the contemplative probings of the kabbalist, take place within God Himself and do not ‘leave the category of the Divine’ (Cordovero). Here the Kabbalah departs from all rationalistic presentations of creation and assumes the character of a theosophic doctrine, that is, one concerned with the inner life and processes of God Himself. A distinction in the stages of such processes in the unity of the Godhead can be made only by human abstraction, but in reality they are bound together and unified in a manner beyond all human understanding. The basic differences in the various kabbalistic systems are already apparent with regard to the first step, and since such ideas were presented in obscure and figurative fashion in the classical literature, such as the Bahir and the Zohar, exponents of widely differeing opinions were all able to look to them for authority.”

The Universal Meaning of the Kabbalah” by Leo Schaya

Kether, the ‘crown’ – also called kether elyon, the ‘supreme crown’ amongst all the divine ‘crowns,’ Sefiroth, or universal principles – is the uncreated and infinite all-reality of God. Nothing is outside of him; nothingness does not exist, for if it did it would no longer be nothingness but reality.

Kether, the only reality, on the one hand remains hidden in itself, in its absolute transcendence, and on the other manifests itself as uncreated immanence in the midst of its own transitory reflection: the creation.

Kether in itself is pure selfness, superintelligible essence, unity without trace of duality. It is reality without condition, without definition, in which God is what he is, beyond being; for Being is not reality as such, but its first affirmation.

Kether rests in its essence, its super-being – more than conscious of itself, without wishing anything whatsoever, without activity of any kind. For its essence is all; and, in it, all is it – all is all, without the slightest restriction, distinction, opposition or relation. In essence there is neither subject nor object, neither cause nor effect; there is only the One without a second, selfness without otherness, indivisible totality.

Kether, in its pure and absolute essence, has no aspects; it is the eternally mysterious reality: ‘There is not other to be compared with it or associated with it’ (en sheni lehamshil lo lehahbirah). It would be impossible to speak of it except by denying what it is not, or by placing it above all that is intelligible; that is, describing it in terms which are negative or superlative, or again, interrogatory.

Thus, the Kabbalah calls kether in itself: ain, ‘nothingness,’ the absence of any definite or conditioned reality: non-being or super-being, non-cause, the absolute: en sof, ‘no end,’ infinite; raza derazin, ‘mystery of mysteries,’ the superintelligible or superconscious; mi, ‘who?,’ the ‘eternal object of search’; attika de-attikin, the ‘ancient of ancients,’ or principle of all universal principles; attika kadisha, the ‘holy Ancient One,’ or supreme principle.

The absolute infinity of the supreme essence, the pure selfness of Kether, excludes all otherness and consequently all knowledge of it: ‘en sof cannot be known, nor how it makes beginning or end…..’ What is the beginning? This is the supernal point, the beginning of all, hidden in ‘thought’ (a synonym of hochmah, the supreme ‘wisdom’ which emanates from Kether), and it makes the end (of all emanation) which is called ‘the end of the matter’

(Ecclesiastes 12:13). But beyond (in kether, pure infinity) there is ‘no end,’ neither intention nor light nor lamp; all the lights are dependent on it (kether), but it cannot be reached. This is a supreme will, mysterious above all mysteries. It is ‘nothingness’ (ain, which is the absolute) (Zohar, Pekude 239a)

However, kether is not only the reality which excludes all that is not itself, but also the reality which is all-inclusive, since there is nothing outside of it. Kether is exclusive in so far as it is ain, the ‘nothingness’ of all that is not it; but as en sof, the infinite, it includes all that is possible in its boundless unity. Thus, although dwelling beyond being and knowledge in its non-causal essence, the only reality, thanks to its own unlimitedness, becomes conscious of its universal possibilities. Through its causal, intelligent and intelligible being, it knows itself and affirms itself as the unique, necessary ontological principle: ‘I AM THAT I AM’ (Ehyeh asher Ehyeh) (Exodus 3:14) ‘I am the first and I am the last and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, can proclaim – let him declare it, and set it in order for me….. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no rock (necessary being beside me)’ (Isaiah 44:6-8). ‘Before me there was no God formed (manifested), neither shall any be after me…..I am God’ (ibid. 43:10, 13).

In the absolute unity of its super-being (ain), kether bears no trace of multiplicity and transcends the causal unity of its being (ehyeh) which contains, in the entity of its intelligible aspects, or Sefiroth, the archetypes of the cosmic multitude: duality in principle. But at the same time the unity of being surpasses all dualism thanks to its infinity, which integrates itself – eternally and without any movement – in the pure and non-dual essence: super-being. In the One, therefore, there is no scission, no separation between being and super-being or non-being, nor is there any hierarchical confusion amongst them. Just as non-being includes, without distinction, being – of which it is the pure and indeterminate essence – but nevertheless is not being, having no need ‘to be’ in order to be real; so is it that being, while ‘being’ non-being, through essential identity with it, is nevertheless not non-being, in its first and ontological determination.

Kether is thus the principle which is identical at once with ain and with ehyeh, without nullifying the hierarchy of universal degrees; in other words, kether is en sof which, in its all-possibility, includes both being and non-being, while allowing each possibility to retain its own character. This is why one speaks of kether or en sof when considering this infinite, all-inclusive unity, but either of ain or of ehyeh when wishing to describe one or another of its two supreme aspects.

The identity of Kether and ain is mysteriously revealed in the introduction to the Decalogue (Exodus 20:2) ‘I (am) YHVH, thy God.’ If the A N Y are taken from the word ANoKhY, ‘I,’ these letters – according to one application of the Kabbalistic permutation of letters – form by themselves the word A Y N (nothingness); what remains is Kh (kaf), the initial of the word kether, which, according to the esoteric tradition, indicates that the Sefirah kether is the supreme universal degree, ain. Seen ad intra, kether therefore in no way differs from ain; it is only from the ‘extrinsic’ point of view of the emanated or manifested that it becomes ehyeh, the non-acting cause, situated between ain, the non-cause, and hochmah, the divine ‘wisdom,’ which is the first emanation and active cause.

In its aspect as ehyeh, or ’cause of causes,’ kether rests eternally and indistinctly in its absolute and unchangeable essence, ain; it does not act, but leaves it to the nine other Sefiroth, its emanations and ontological intellections, its ‘lights’ or ‘lamps,’ to operate in its name. He who is anokhi, the divine ‘I’ or supreme ‘self’ of all things, remains unaffected by radiations and their cosmic effects. He contains all that is, as the unity within his unity; and each thing contains him in the deepest part of itself, as the One, the unchangeable. He is the essential identity of all things with the absolute. He is the absolute itself: the ‘One without a second’.”