pistis sophia

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;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sethian ( * 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




While romanticized literature describes the Grail as a chalice, this is a much later derivation, extrapolating from Celtic tradition in which the Grail is described as a platter. Many vessels would have passed through the hands of Jesus in his short lifetime…probably humble clay and wooden bowls such as the famous Nanteos Bowl. This medieval relic, long kept sequested in Wales, is thought to be made of olive wood, and was originally revered in Glastonbury Abbey. According to tradition it was secretly carried away to avoid plundering by agents of Henry VIII. The Nanteos relic is a fragment of wooden bowl credited with miraculous healing powers, with well-attested healing effected as recently as the 1950’s. This also is not the Grail, such a humble vessel with proven powers would perhaps be a stronger candidate for having been used by Jesus. Many manifest vessels can hold Grail power, according to human intention, attunement, and practice, but no single one is the Grail itself.


The Hidden Adept & The Inner Vision


A  Parable of the Spirit


St Joseph of Arimathea




If this metaphysical space is to be known,

such knowledge can be attained only by faith and grace,

not by ‘entering’ but by ‘being entered’

-this is so because the greater must reveal itself to the lesser.

Put differently, that which is immanently ‘Spirit’ can only be known receptively,

through its own intellective vision, and not any derivative faculty such as reason,

feeling or sensation. Reason can only discern conceptually,

at best reducing reality to a dualism of subject and object

(as in the case of Descartes) or catagorical postulate

(as in the case of Kant) or dialectic process

(as in the case of Hegel) – its ‘telos’ will tend to be utopian(as in the case of Marx),

fundamentalist( as in the cases of religious, political or secular dogmatism)

or anthropocentrically consencual (as in the case of Rousseau’s social contract);

while sensation or feeling even where elevated to

the level of empirical ‘science,’ can only discern reality as matter or as psyche,

quantitatively, thereby cutting it off from its transcendent

and qualitative roots, leading to an emphasis on hypertrophic subjectivism

(as in the case of Nietzsche), Psychologism(as in the case of Freud),

or reductive positivism(as in the cases of philosophical positivism and of scientism).

That which transcends us cannot be known reductively

but only by that transcendent faculty which is immanent in us-which in

Tradition is termed the ‘Intellect’

or the Self-knowing Spirit. To know is to discern BEING.

We must empty ourselves or our ‘self’ in order to know who we ARE.

We must return to the sacred emptiness of the space that is our

ontological core in order to know that which truly IS.

–M Ali Lakhani (the Distance between us, found in Sacred Web issue 31)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chewton_Mendip Church of St Mary Magdalene, Chewton Mendip

Church of St Mary Magdalene, Chewton Mendip

In the Western world, a strong belief in the objective truths of religion, which are viewed as incontrovertible, demonstrable facts, is regarded as essential to the life of faith. When asking if somebody is religious, peo- ple often inquire: “Does he or she believe?” as though accepting certain credal propositions was the prime religious activity. Indeed, faith is equated with belief, but this equation is of recent provenance. Origi- nally the meaning of the word faith was akin to trust, as when we say that we have faith in a friend or an ideal. Faith was not an intellectual position but a virtue: it was the careful cultivation, by means of the ritu- als and myths of religion, of the conviction that, despite all the dispirit- ing evidence to the contrary, life had some ultimate meaning and value. The Latin word credo (translated now as “I believe”) seems to have de- rived from the phrase cor dare: to give one’s heart. The Middle English word beleven meant to love. When Christians proclaimed: credo in unum Deum , they were not so much affirming their belief in the existence of a single deity as committing their lives to God. When St. Anselm of Can- terbury prayed in the eleventh century: credo ut intellagam (“I have faith in order that I may understand”), he was not blindly submitting to the doctrines of religion in the hope that one day these incredible asser- tions would make sense today, if he abdicated his critical intelligence. His prayer should really be translated: “I commit myself in order that I may understand.” The meaning of dogma would only be revealed when he lived a fully Christian life, embracing its mythology and rituals whole- heartedly. This attitude is foreign to modernity. Today people feel that before they live a religious life, they must first satisfy themselves intel- lectually of its metaphysical claims. This is sound scientific practice: first you must establish a principle before you can apply it. But it is not the way that religion has traditionally worked.

Karen ARmstrong (Faith an Modernity)




Soaring upwards
Can be like reaching down

Pushing forward

Can be like pushing back

Going right

Can be like Going left

Within is within

All things begin

And end at the cross roads

–GraalBaum 2013



This world-mountain was Nizir to the Chaldeans, Olympus to the Greeks, Hara Berezaiti to the Persians of the Avesta, the later Alborz and Elburz; a transfer, as says Mme. Ragozin, of ‘mythical heavenly geography to the earth.’ This mountain—the solar hill of the Egyptians—we shall again refer to in the next two or three chapters. At its apex springs, the heaven tree on which the solar bird is perched. From its roots spring the waters of life—the celestial sea, which, rushing adown the firmament, supplies the ocean which circumscribes the earth or falls directly in rain. At their fountain these springs are guarded by a goddess. In Egypt Nut, the goddess of the oversea, leans from the branches of the heavenly persea and pours forth the celestial water. In the Vedas, Yama, lord of the waters, sits in the highest heaven in the midst of the heavenly ocean under the tree of life, which drops the nectar Soma, and here, on the ‘navel of the waters,’ matter first took form. In the Norse, the central tree Yggdrasil has at its roots the spring of knowledge guarded by the Norns, the northern Fates; two swans the parents of all those of earth, float there. In Chaldea the mighty tree of Eridu, centre of the world, springs by the waters. The Avesta gives a very complete picture—Iran is at the centre of the seven countries of the world; it was the first created, and so beautiful, that were it not that God has implanted in all men a love for their own land, all nations would crowd into this the loveliest land. To the east somewhere, but still at the centre of the world, rises the ‘Lofty Mountain,’ from which all the mountains of the earth have grown, ‘High Haraiti;’ at its

summit is the gathering place of waters, out of which spring the two trees, the heavenly Haoma (Soma), and another tree which bears all the seeds that germinate on earth. This heavenly mountain is called ‘Navel of Waters,’ for the fountain of all waters springs there, guarded by a majestic and beneficent goddess. In Buddhist accounts, the waters issue in four streams like the

Eden from this reservoir, and flow to the cardinal points, each making one complete circuit in its descent. In the Persian Bundahish there are two of these heavenly rivers flowing east and west. To the Hindus the Ganges is such a heavenly stream. ‘The stream of heaven was called by the Greeks Achelous.’ The Nile in Egypt, the Hoang-Ho in China, and the Jordan to the Jews, seem to have been celestial rivers. This mountain of heaven is often figured in Christian art with the four rivers issuing from under the Throne of God.

Sir John Maundeville gives an account of the earthly Paradise quite perfect in its detailed scheme. It is the highest place on earth, nearly reaching to the circle of the moon (as in Dante), and the flood did not reach it. ‘And in the highest place, exactly in the middle, is a well that casts out the four streams’—Ganges, Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates. ‘And men there beyond say that all the sweet waters of the world above and beneath take their beginning from the well of Paradise, and out of that well all water come and go.






It is precisely the challenge involved

in using inadequate words

that drives the mind

beyond all words…

At the borders of speech

we open ourselves

to the positive value of silence….

Literary reading,

through its complexity, its music,

its suggestiveness, points to a fuller realm of being.

–Edward k Kaplan (citing Abraham Joshua Heschel)

Tai Chi: As an icon the Tai Chi is a symbol, composed of the Yin and Yang circle, surrounded by eight trigrams. It, in terms of function is the underlying philosophy of all Chinese, and ‘classical’ Oriental philosophy. According to the scholar Fung Yu-Lan, ”The History of Chinese Philosophy, Vol 2.” Princeton, 1953, the philosophies of Pythagoras, and the Tai Chi are almost identical. The concept of Chi, and Sophia (wisdom), Logos, and Tao, meaning ”Word,” are identical. The power of male and female polarities in the Tai Chi, resemble the ideas of Pronoia, and Protophanes, in the concept of ”Barbelo.” ( See Barbelo, and Sethian Monadology. See also; ”The Valentinian Exposition.”) The Tai Chi is associated with the ”Book of Changes,” (I Ching), in Chinese Philosophy. Pythagoras is thought to have studied Chinese Philosophy, and obviously did. (See; Bulfinch’s Mythology, Gramercy, Crown Pub.
1979.) The analogy to the Tai Chi, Sethian values are in ”Tetrakys of the
Decad, Monadic Vlaues.”

Tartaros (Tartarus): Keeper of Hades. Also referred to as Tartarucus, Tatrokis, Saklas
and Temeluchus in various Christian texts. (See; ”The Book of Thomas the Contender,” Nag Hammadi Lib. Name is also used by Clement in “Stromata“)

Tatian: (110-180) Pupil of Justin Martyr and author of the “Diatessaron,” and “Letter to the Greeks.” Formed Gnostic sects in Syria called Encratites, meaning literally, ‘Masters of Themselves.’ Qualified the soul, as a special kind of spirit. (”Letter to the Greeks.”)

Tatian the Assyrian.

Tatian the Assyrian.

Tertullian: (160-230) Native of
Carthage who joined literalist Christianity
around 196, after becoming a lawyer in
Rome. Before he became a Montanist in 207, he argued with Hippolytus against Gnosticism. However his work does not reflect a sound knowledge of any of the pre-Christian, Valentinian, or Sethian
epistemologies. (See; Tertullian’s, ”Treatise of the Soul.”)

Tetraktys (Tetractys) of the Decad, The Monadic Values: There is no doubt that Sethian Gnostics applied the principles of this paradigm. ”Pythagorus considered all things relative to numbers… How he conceived this process has never been satisfactorily explained.” (Bullfinch, pg. 289.) Perhaps this is
the secret….



Pythagorus considered the monad as the source of all things. In the case of the tetraktys of the decad, the concepts of form and structure are related in mathematical values. These values work in harmony. They are not just a list, they are a set. The first and most obvious is numerical value is the digital sequence of one through ten. ‘Monad,’ 2. Decad, 3. Triad, 4. Tetrad, 5. Pentad, 6. Hexad, 7. Heptad, 8. Ogdoad, 9. Ennead, and 10. Decad.

Digital sequencing can be done in different base values, like using base six to count on your hands. You count to five on the right hand, and the first digit of the left hand represents six, the next set the left hand finger is given the value of twelve, then eighteen, then the sequence goes up to 35, when you run out of fingers, if you have ten. Another sequencing schema is the Heaven Sequence of the Tai Chi, which is in base eight.

The Pythagorean model showing the tetraktys of the decad is in the form of a triangle, usually shown as only dots, I have placed numbers beside the dots, denoting the digital sequence. Below is a traditional explanation for this sequence, where I have made aditions to show how the Tai Chi, and this sequence
are parallel….

o Monad
o o Decad
o o o Triad
o o o o Tetrad

________________________________These triangles should be equalateral.

2. 3.
4. 5. 6.
7. 8. 9. 10.

1.. The Tetractys represented the organization of space: {Wu Chi, Void, ”Jesus is Silence.” See; ”A Valentinian Exposition.”}
2.. the first row represented zero-dimensions (a point) {Tai Chi, yin and yang are the same.}
3.. the second row represented one-dimension (a line of two points) {Liang Yi, yin and yang are different}
4.. the third row represented two-dimensions (a plane defined by a triangle of
three points) {This is consistent with the San Ti. Man is the same as heaven and earth.}
5.. the fourth row represented three-dimensions (a triangular pyramid defined by four points) {This is consistent with the Si Xiang. This is Yin and Yang seenas two different things, or four types. This parallel to the Tai Chi does not include the Ba Gua (8 trigrams)} Wikapedia source…..

This triangle represents five, or more different mathematical values, not generally recognized unless you apply the Tai Chi model with the parallel of the Tetraktys. The mathematical values are thought of more like aphorisms, or a mantra, rather than calculations in some respect. Pythagoras put everything in terms of math, and I think the statistical terms below can be adapted to both the Tai Chi and the Tetraktys of the Decad.

The digital sequence of one through ten, connotes the decad. What cannotes the the ‘tetra’ is the number four. In the case of the tetraktys of the decad, the value of four corresponds with the relative value of the mathematical concept of ‘mode.’ One through six, would make the triangle a triad, and if you add a fifth
line, 11. through, 15., to the base, the mode is a pentad. As shown above we have the tetrad. (See; ”The Table of Ten Numbers,” http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta16.htm )

The mode is the value, or set of like units that appear most frequently in a set. As can be seen in the model of the tetraktys of the decad, all three sides of the triangle contain four units. (This is looking at the triangle of dots as an icon like the Tai Chi.) In terms of the triangle there are four levels, or modes (called types in the ”Gospel of Mary,”), Level 1. is one, level two the decad, is 2. and 3., level three the triad, is 4. 5. and 6., level four the tetrad, is 7. 8. 9. and 10.

O monad
O O decad
O O O triad
O O O O tetrad

A set in most science involving polarity, is called a field or pool, which connotes a perimeter of the form, or the unified body of the set, as a whole. Mode connotes the ‘level,’ of the form and structure of the pool. Therefor tetrads, hexads, ogdoads, etc. are thought of as modes and levels, which can be
applied to fields.

As you build the triangle by adding lines of digits to the base, the mode changes in sequence, but the values of mean, and median, also become relative to the model. This is allegorical to how a seed turns into a tree or plant. This same sequence is thought to be extant in the working of the Logos, Pleroma,
Kenoma, and Psyche of man, and collective consciousness of mankind.

This means you are using mathematical terms as points of a contemplation, or meditation, more like aphorism than calculation. Each configuration of the triangle regardless of the mode, retains the value of the monad in the digital sequence. The mode sequence, the mean value in the sequence, and the median
values in the sequence, are not mutually exclusive. They work in harmony.

The mode sequence is determined by looking at the triangle like an icon, and determining the number of units each side of the triangle has. The mode sequence has a different numerical value than the digital sequence value. In the Tai Chi, Wu Chi, is the void or zero, and in the Sethian system Jesus is Silence. Tai Chi, is one, meaning Yin and Yang are the same. Liang Yi is the third in the Heaven Sequence, and means Yin and Yang as seperate or different. The student of the Tetraktys retains the triology, or ‘tripartite,’ as a mindset, in the contemplation of the sequence. “Man’s mind/heart, is the same as heaven and
earth.” (”Kenpo Gokui’.’)

The next stage in the Heaven Sequence, (Use of even numbers) is the Si Xiang, which represents the tetrad or four units. In the Chinese system Wu Chi = 0, Tai Chi equals 2., Liang Yi = 2, and Si Xiang= 4., puting the Tai Chi in a setof eight parts, symbolically aligned with the Ba Gua, or eight trigrams, making
the Tai Chi an organized Ogdoad. The Sacred Tetrad is regarded in the same way, as the Si Xiang, in form, structure, and mechanics. (See; Tai Chi. See; ”The History of Chinese Philosophy,” Vol. 2, Fung Yu-Lan, Princeton, 1953.)

The mean is determined by adding the number of units, in the digital sequence, then dividing that sum by the number of units, the result is an average number of units. That would be the pentad or five, the mean of ten units. In building form and structure in the Monadology, the constant value of the mean is thevalue of one, (Monad) and denotes the value of the monad in each consecutive mode in the sequence. The Monad remains integrated into the form and structure of all mode values. (See; Decalogue.)

The median, is the value where half of the units in a set are larger or smaller than the opposite set of units. The median is the point where the set is divided, and determines balance with the reflective or dual values of male/female, good/evil, light and darkness. The odd numbers where their are more units on one half of the set than the other, represents unbalance. Pythagoreans used the terms square for even numbers, and oblong for odd numbers.

In the application of the sequence the consideration of median, is that ‘duality,’ reamains a constant regardless of the level, or mode, as does the power of the Monad. Duality can be meant to be more than one feature, when drawing a monadic paradigm, as duality does not always mean opposite, it can
mean either, or. In some cases it can be implied as an opposite. It can be areflective value, like a mirror image, or reflection. (See; Bythos)

For instance, the pentad can be given five values, with good connotations, and their opposite with negative conotations. Five constructive values, are opposed to the destructive values of opposition. The Chinese use the idea of the Wu Xing, or five constructive, and destructive forces. The reflective value or
median value (duality) is always considered as part of form and structure,
regardless of the mode, or level in the sequence.

The fifth value is the parabolic, more of a geometric adaptation, which has dimensions or perspective, reflection and even vibration. (See; Parables.) The parabolic view is in reference to the higher modes of the Pentad and above, where the structure and form can be seen as multi-dimensional and having
perspective. (See; Parabole, which can be shown as viewing the inside of a
cone. See also; Gematria.)

As a contemplation device, all the values of the tetraktys of the decad, are imagined in unison as a harmony. This unified perception is imperical to the idea of how the natural order of wisdom works in the tripartite vision of man as being psyche, material, and spiritual. The sequence is operational in the realms of man, heaven and earth.

You can see that 1. 2. 3. and 5. form the equalateral cross, common in the first century. There may be more of these parallels, than I mention at this time. The Platonic tetrad, used in the ”Square of Opposition,” a tool of logic, can also be seen in the formation of 2. 3. 5. 8. and 9.

If you look at the triagle of dots you will see that 2. 3. 4. 6. 8. and 9. form a circle with 5. in the middle. 1. 7., and 9. are outside the circle. (See Tripartite) As one contemplates this image the fifth value of the parabolic becomes apparent. The image can look like it is multi-dimensional, where the center (5) as seen as closer and further away, adds perspective. The center dot 5. becomes parabolic point of center, and the middle of the sequence.

In regard to the human figure, you can draw arms going up from 2., and 3., and legs off 8. and 9., and you can imagine the human figure in the gematria within the triangle.

In martial arts, especially those aligned with the classic Tai Chi, the points of the shoulders and hips represent the primary centers of the body’s natural ”primary square of balance,” where 5. is the center of the body the diaphram. Some martial artists use this ‘cone’ image like sights on a gun, aiming at a
target, and using the same grid for defense. This shows the tool (sequence) is useful as both applied in the material world, and applied to the psyche. The entire system of Isshin Ryu Karate can be shown in the ”Heaven Sequence,” as well as the application against opponents.

Kabbalistic Tetraktys illustrating the 72 names of God and  the manifestation of creation

Kabbalistic Tetraktys illustrating the 72 names of God and the manifestation of creation

Thereapeutae: (Therapuetrides) A Jewish sect in Alexandria described by Philo in his “On the Contemplative Life.” They were similar to Essenes, and were mistaken by Eusebius as being Christian. ( “The History of the Church,” Eusebius, Williamson, Penguin, 1989, pg. 422-23)

“the entire interval from dawn to evening is given up by them to spiritual exercises. For they read the holy scriptures and draw out in thought and allegory their ancestral philosophy, since they regard the literal meanings as symbols of an inner and hidden nature revealing itself in covert ideas.”

Philo, para. 28

Theodotus: A student of Valentinus, and Pantaenus in the Alexandrian lineage. Theodotus explains that passions are called spirits: ” The passions that are in the soul are called spirits, not spirits of power, since in that case the man under the influence of passion would be a legion of demons; but they are so
called in consequence of the impulse they communicate. For the soul itself, through modifications, taking on this and that other sort of qualities of wickedness, is said to receive spirits.” ( See; Fragments of Theodotus, Kirby, Criddle.

http://neonostalgia.com/xtian/Extracts_from_Theodotus.htm , and Theodotus )

Theosis: (Theiosis, Theopoiesis, Theōsis) In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic theology, theosis, meaning divinization (or deification or, to become god), is the call to man to become holy and seek union with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in the resurrection. Theosis comprehends salvation from sin, is premised upon apostolic and early Christian understanding of the life of faith, and is conceptually foundational in both the East and the West. See also; Consecration, Deification, Divine Union, Sanctification. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosis

The Ladder of Paradise icon described by John Climacus.

The Ladder of Paradise icon described by John Climacus.

Theudas: (42 CE approx.) Theudas, meaning ‘gift from God’ declared himself a prophet and was executed while attempting to ‘part the
Jordan” for his followers. Years later Valentinus laid claim to some of his teaching. ( Ehrman, “Lost Christianities, pg 193, says Theudas was a disciple of Paul, this is not true.. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.97-98 )

Theurgy: ‘Works of the Gods’ ( See; “Zostrianos”). This refers to human affairs and the effects in the earthly state. ”Theurgy (from Latin: theurgia, Greek: theourgeia) describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action of God (or other personified supernatural power), especially with the goal of uniting with the divine, achieving theosis, and perfecting oneself.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theurgy


In its “original Egyptian” use, the term Theurgy however refers to “becoming a hollow reed. This concept is quite different to the “modern” use employed by modern “Hermeticists.” Although the two concepts may in turn cross over, the fundamental difference is one involves taking from the “Gods” and the other involves opening one’s self up in order to be filled. In theory this may be the same or similar, but the actual process is different. In such that one involves manipulation and the other involves self sacrifice.


Torah: The first five books of the Bible, “Genesis,” “Exodus,” “Leviticus,”
Numbers,” and “Deuteronomy,” also referred to as “The Law.”

Transubstantiation: The act of applying or transference of Holy Spirit into wine and bread. The term is common to the Christian and Gnostic Eucharist, Communion, or sacramental ceremonies. ”A change of substance, {transmutation} usually refering to the doctrine of the Eucharist sacrement of the Lord’s Supper, where the bread and wine were declared symbols of the body and blood of Jesus.”( See; ”The Steinerbooks Dictionary of the Psychic, Mystic, and Occult,” Rudolf Steiner, 1973. pg. 219. See also; “Valentinian Exposition,”
Baptism A., B., Eucarist, Chrism, etc. Nag Hammadi Lib. See also; ”Gospel of Philip.”)

Treatise: A book or writing directed toward a specific purpose.

Sextus: (4 BCE– 65-CE ?) A first century Greek Pythagorean philosopher. A collection of his sayings are contained in the Nag Hammadi Lib. Tractate 1 Codex XII.

Silvanus: Name of main character in the “Teachings of Silvanus,” Tractate 4, Codex VII. of the Nag Hammadi Lib., anti-Pagan work not thought to be Gnostic. A person called Silvanus was a disciple of Peter who carried messages from Peter to Asia Minor from Rome. (Also mentioned by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 1,1; 2 Thessalonians 1,1; 2 Corinthians 1,19.)

Simon Magus: (1st Century CE) From Samaria, he was thought to be one of the earliest Gnostics, and a follower of John the Baptist. He was skilled in the arts of the Occult. He interpreted the Garden of Eden, exodus from Egypt, and the crossing of the Red Sea as allegories. He was rejected by Peter for his views on the Holy Spirit. (see Simony) Simon Magus offered the disciples of Jesus payment for the power to perform miracles. He formed the ancient Gnostic sect of Simonianism, and is thought to have influenced later secular forms of Gnosticism. (See; ”Jung and the Lost Gospels,” by Hoeller, Theophysical Pub., 1989.) http://www.gnosis.org/library/grs-mead/grsm_simon_magus.htm (See also; Dositheos.)

The death of Simon Magus, from the Nuremberg Chronicle or Liber Chronicarum, 1493

The death of Simon Magus, from the Nuremberg Chronicle or Liber Chronicarum, 1493

Simony: The ecclesiastical crime and sin of paying for offices or positions in the hierarchy of a church, named after Simon Magus, who appears in the ”Acts of the Apostles,” 8:18-24.

: Means “Wisdom.” Like the Logos this is considered a primal form. While the Logos is personified as male, Sophia is female. Logos has a direct and intellectual basis for guidance, Sophia is inspirational (sometimes even sensual). The basic idea is comparable to wisdom being Sophia (sofia) or “Holy
Spirit” in the form of pure wisdom. Pistis, means faith, hylic, or Prunikus Sophia refers to the imperfect or earthly state of the living, or earthly form from Pleromic origins. ”As appropriated by Sethianism and the Gnostics in general, Sophia is a hypostatized form of Hokmah, (i.e., the divine Wisdom of Proverbs 8, Job 28, Sirach 24).” ( See; Turner.)

Russian Icon, Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, 1812

Russian Icon, Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, 1812

Sophist: Teachers in 5th Century B.C. Greece who took payment for lecturing. Later Sophists were known for presenting convoluted lectures on political subjects to further their own means. Clement of Alexander denounced them for distorting truths. (See; W. K. C. Guthrie, Sophists (1971); H. Diels, ed., The
Older Sophists (1972). “Stromata” Bk 1 )

Soter: “Savior” also a name used for the Logos.

Soteriology: The study of principles of salvation within a religion.

Soul: That part of the human nous that can be activated and bonded with the Holy Spirit, Light, Sophia, etc. (See the Gospel of Phillip, “….the soul bonds with the Holy Spirit….. Nag Hammadi Lib.) According to the ”Acts of Thomas,” and ”The Heart Sutra,” and the ”Sutra of Cause and Effect” the soul is composed
of five ‘skandas,’ or elements, form, perception, consciousness, action, and knowledge. (See ”The Jesus Sutras,” Palmer, Ballantine, 2001) See also, ”Tatian’s Letter to the Greeks,” ”The soul is a special kind of spirit.” (See also; Sutra)

Spinther: The “spark” or “splinter” of internal divine light, that is awakened with Gnosis. The spinther is considered a divine spark which is cast into the souls of men, by the light cast off by the Perfect man, in some scenerios this is Seth, Adamas, (Adam), or Jesus. (See Pneumatic. See; Gaffney, p. 246.)

Meaning a range of things in literalist Christian works including different ideas in the Gospels of Luke, Mark, Matthew and John. The Gospel of Mary refers to the spirit as a part of the human condition, as is the soul. Isidore and Theodotus wrote that spirit emanated from the soul. Also used to denote the Holy Spirit. Can mean vital energy, and probably best thought of as a concentration or type of energy. “Further, Clement the Stromatist, in the various definitions which he framed,that they might guide the man desirous of studying theology in every dogma of religion, defining what spirit is, and how it is called spirit, says: “Spirit is a substance, subtle, immaterial, and which issues forth without form.” ( JOANNES
VOL. I. P. 24) (See also; Theodotus)

Stele: Upright stone or pillar with an inscription or design. (See; “The Three Steles of Seth,” Codex VII, Tractate 5, Nag Hammadi Lib.)

Stoic: A philosophy strongly associated with Plato, and commonly accepted by the first century. Stoics held that virtue is attained by adapting nature and reason, they held that there are four cardinal passions: pleasure, desire, distress, and fear. They held that passions arose from false belief and ignorance, and one should adopt an ‘apatheia’ or an active role of non-passion in human feeling. (See; “The Gospel of Mary Magdala, by Karen King, Polebridge Press, 2003). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism

Sutra: Refers to literature of Eastern origins, such as the ”Heart Sutra,” known in Persian and Chinese works. Also refers to Chinese works found in Xian China, which are from an early Christian monastery. The ”Sutra of Cause and Effect,” contains the five ”Skandas” {skandhas} of the soul, ”Form, Perception, Consciousness, Action, and Knowledge.” These descriptions match those in the ”Acts of Thomas,” and the ”Heart Sutra.” (See; “The Jesus Sutras,” Palmer, Ballantine, 2001.) ”What we in our ignorance call the Self is really an interplay of five mental elements and the physical body (known as skandhas ), in temporary conjunctions, constantly changing and interacting. “Skandha” is usually translated as “heap”: or “aggregate” or “group,” each skandha being itself a combination of faculties shading into each other. The Sanskrit for the five mental skandhas can be translated as consciousness, sensations, concepts, perceptions, and volition.”The Gnostic Apostle Thomas (c) 1997 Herbert Christian Merillat. http://www.gnosis.org/thomasbook/toc.html

Syncretism: Refers to combining two or more ‘cultural’ or otherwise perspectives into one system. Gnosticism (and therefore Christianity), as well as Kabbalah and the Mysteries of Mithras etc. grew from syncretism. Influence of Jewish mysticism, Zoroastrian, and Hermetic contained in the ”Nag Hammadi
,” and other works suggest that Sethian Gnosticism is based upon a syncretism.

Syncretism is not eclecticism but is often mistaken for the same thing. The latter is a picking and choosing according to taste, without the internal framework of a genuine understanding of function. The former is when two systems come together with cultural perspectives, or mutual economy that needs to be
worked out. Thus the important deeper “hard parts” of a system will still be included after syncretism, but lost on eclecticism.

Synergy: When two or more things combine together to produce or become more than their parts. In the process of Gnosis one must bond with a higher ‘wisdom.’ This is the plemoric part of enlightenment in the trilogy of gnosis in the Plemoric, Psychic, and Hylic states of the Nous, in becoming a Pneumatic.

Synesis: Means “insight” in the aspect of meditation or contemplation in the physical inter-workings of the bonding with Sophia, as an aspect of Gnosis. It is one of the lower powers that was bound into man from the Aeons, by the Demiurge, as derived from ‘a’ Gnostic creation scenerio. This concept is like
other scenarios of the process in Gnosis of bonding with the ‘Light’ or Holy Spirit to become Pneumatophoroi, or enlightened.

Synectic: A term used by Clement of Alexandria to mean a type of thought or memory that reflects aspects of the thought process relative to being human. (See “Stromata” Bk VIII by Clement of Alexandria) “But, in truth, Procatarctic causes (thoughts) are more than one both generically and specifically; as, for example, cold, weakness, fatigue, dyspepsia, drunkenness, generically, of any
disease; and specifically, of fever. But Synectic causes are so, generically alone, and not also specifically….Further, of causes, some are apparent; others are grasped by a process of reasoning; others are occult; others are inferred analogically.” (See also; Procatarctic)

Syzygetic: Having to do with the conjunction or opposition of two heavenly bodies, or either of the points which these occur, most often in regard to the sun and moon.

Syzygos: Literally means “consort”. Sometimes used to refer to the twin. Is generally meant to imply the thing to which one is driven to connect with. A person’s syzygos is their spirit. ”Sophia’s mistake was said to be her drive to create without her syzygos.” Syzgy, is considered a blending of spirit and
soul. (See; Theodotus, Criddle Collection.)

“True solitude is found in humility, which is infinitely rich. False
solitude is the refuge of pride, and it is infinitely poor.”

–Thomas Merton


In Beginning was Mind;


And Mind was with GOD.


So Mind was God.
This was in Beginning with GOD.


All kept coming into existence through it;
And apart from it came into existence not a single [thing].

What has come into existence in it was Life;
And LIFE was the Light of the [true] Men.


And the Light shineth in the Darkness;
And the Darkness did not emprison it.


It was the True Light,
Which enlighteneth every Man
Who cometh into the world.


It was in the world;
And the world kept coming into existence through it
And the world did not know it.

It came unto its own;
And its own did not receive it.

But as many as received it,
To them it gave power
To become Children of God,


To those who have faith in his name,


Who were brought to birth,
Not out of [the blending of] bloods,


Nor of urge of flesh,
Nor of urge of a male,
But out of God.

So Mind became flesh
And tabernacled in us,


And we beheld its glory,
Glory as of [? an] only-begotten from Father,
Full of Delight and Truth.


For of its Fulness we all received,
And Delight over against Delight

–Gnostic John the Baptizer



An example of Yeshu (Jesus) teaching reincarnation can be found in the seventh book of the Pistis Sophia (an ancient Manichaean text dated to the 3rd century or earlier). In it we read of the reincarntion of Elijah, or Elias, as Yohanna d Masbuta (John the Baptist):

“Now it happened that when I came into the midst of the archons of the aeons, I looked down at the world of mankind, at the command of the First Mystery.

I found Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist , before she had conceived him and I cast into her a power which I had received from the Little Jao , the Good, who is in the Midst, so that he should be able to preach before me, and prepare my way and baptise with water of forgiveness .

Now that power was in the body of John. And again, in place of the soul of the archons which he was due to receive, I found the soul of the prophet Elias in the aeons of the sphere; and I took it in and I took his soul again; I brought it to the Virgin of the Light, and she gave it to her paralemptors. They brought it to the sphere of the archons, and they cast it into the womb of Elisabeth. But the power of the Little Jao, he of the Midst, and the soul of the prophet Elias were bound in the body of John the Baptist.

You doubted now at the time when I spoke to you because John said : ‘I am not the Christ’ and you said to me : ‘lt is written in the scripture : when the Christ shall come, there will come Elias before him and he will prepare his way’. But when you said this to me, I said to you : ‘Elias has indeed come and he has prepared all things, as it is written : And they did to him as they pleased. And when I knew that you did not understand what I said to you concerning the soul of Elias, which was bound in John the Baptist, I answered you openly in speech, face to face, saying : ‘If it pleases you to accept John the Baptist, he is Elias of whom I have said that he will come'”. – Pistis Sophia, ch 7

Buddhists that whatever we do in this life will plant karmic seeds that will result in our next birth and its conditions. Consequently we should be careful of our actions of body, speech and mind. If we know that at each moment we are creating something for the future, we should be happy. We have the opportunity to make our actions good so that the consequences will be good for us and for others. If we strive at every moment to work selflessly for the good of all beings, then we can truly speak of a new life at every moment.


–Master Sheng-Yen





Below is a list of ten virtues found in the Pistis Sophia codex and combined with the ten precepts of Mahayana Buddhism (an extract from the quote of Yeshu is shown in red for reference):


Ten Gnostic Precepts
(Gnostic Arrangement)

1: I will be mentally focused and calm; (Be calm)
I will not give way to distraction and anger.

2: I will be loving to others and respect the property; (be loving unto others)
I will not hoard or steal.

3: I will be gentle and reverent toward all life; (be gentle)
I will not kill or benefit from killing.

4: I will be forthright, peaceful and honest; (be peaceful)
I will not deceive.

5: I will have compassionate and wise relationships; (be merciful)
I will not abuse or use others in lust.

6: I will give alms and cultivate gratitude; (give tithes)
I will not grumble or give in to envy.

7: I will be humble and helpful to those in need; (help the poor and sick and distressed)
I will not belittle or live off others.

8: I will devote myself to the Fourfold God;  (be devoted to Deity)
I will not dishonor Their Life, Light, Power or Wisdom.

9: I will keep the temple of my body and mind righteous and pure; (be righteous)
I will not overindulge its desires or endanger its health.

10: I will cultivate serenity and goodness; (be good)
I will not gossip or engage in idle chit chat.


“Mary, Mary – know me but do not touch me. Stop the tears from flowing and know that I am your master. Only do not touch me, for I haven’t seen my Father’s face yet. Your God wasn’t stolen from you, as your small thoughts lead you to believe. Your God did not die, but mastered death! I am not the gardener! I have given life and received life eternal. But I now appear to you because I have seen the tears in your eyes. Throw your sadness away from me to wandering orphans. Start rejoicing now and tell the eleven. You will find them gathered on Jordan’s bank. The traitor persuaded them to once again become fishermen as once they were and to lay down their nets that caught people to life!

–Manichaean fragment


“‘What is mine is yours and what is yours is mine’ and ‘What is mine is mine and what is yours is mine too’ are clearly the behavior of the foolish and the wicked. The first is similar to the proposition whereby ‘it is better to do nothing than to transform something into nothing,’ and the second is a typical case of unmitigated greed…..


        The stance that would seem neutral (‘What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours’) is said to be similar to the behavior of the corrupt communities of Sodom and Gomorrah. This idea derives from the rabbinical premise that we cannot detach ourselves from our community, for life happens within relationships and among people or, as we’ve nowadays come to believe, within our interactions with all living things, including plants and animals. Isolation is an illusion that is responsible for much individual and collective instability. The pragmatism of ‘What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours’ is a great ecological threat, because it tends to create societies or life networks that are cancerous and self-destructive. For the rabbis, the ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ philosophy is symbolic of something that drifts ever so imperceptibly from its path and eventually brings about its own extinction. Thus God programs His creation, leaving in it the self-destructive software necessary to stop it from going against its basic commands. The interdependence of livelihood and survival is a lot broader than simply, ‘What is mine is mine and what is yours is yours.’ It’s an ecological network that encompasses orbits of return of various different magnitudes.”


– N. Bonder (The Kabbalah of Money)


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