Presenting preview and “sketches” of work in progress coming soon as a book “The Western Mysteries (White, Red & Green)” by me.


In the month of Heshvan in the year 5413(1652) I dreamed of an enormous camel pursuing me. Fleeing it, I entered a room and closed the door with a double bolt. The animal broke through the door with a double bolt. The animal broke through the door, so I hid myself successively in many other rooms. In the last room there was a fragile light as transparent as a wave in which I wrapped myself. Having descended into the sea, I no longer feared the camel. There a young woman of great beauty came out to meet me, embracing me intimately and beseeching me not to forget that I was to be married to a queen who was, at present, hidden both by the sun and the moon. Much moved by this, I swore by her and believe I had relations with her. Immediately after, another young woman appeared, followed by the sun and the moon and I saw the resplendent queen who  apparently was my destiny. Full of terror, I awoke, stirred by that vision in which nothing in me was hidden. I went to Torah!

Abraham ha-Yakini (transl. by Jack Hirschman)

Abraham Yachini (Heb: אברהם יכיני ; also transliterated as Abraham Yakhini, or Abraham ha-Yakini) b. 1617 – d. 1682,[1][2] was one of the chief agitators in the Sabbatean movement, the son of Pethahiah of Constantinople. He studied under Joseph Trani of Constantinople (died 1644), and under Mordecai, a German kabbalist. From the latter he probably derived the touch of mysticism which, combined with cunning and great intelligence, made him the most suitable representative of Sabbatai Zevi. Yachini persuaded Sabbatai Zevi, who at that time was convinced that he was the Messiah but was timid and fearful of proclaiming himself, boldly to declare his claims. It was in Constantinople, about 1653, that Sabbatai Zevi became acquainted with Yachini, who, on account of his learning and oratorical powers, enjoyed a great reputation in his native town.[3] He is described by contemporaries as the best preacher of his day.

Yachini is said by some to have put into the hands of Sabbatai Zevi a spurious book in archaic characters, which, he assured him, contained the Scriptural proof of his Messianic origin. This fabrication, entitled The Great Wisdom of Solomon, began as follows:


I, Abraham, was confined in a cave for forty years, and I wondered greatly that the time of miracles did not arrive. Then was heard a voice, proclaiming, “A son will be born in the year 5386 [1626] to Mordecai Ẓebi and he will be called Sabbatai. He will humble the great dragon… he, the true Messiah, will sit upon My [God’s] throne.”

Queen Ragnhild’s dream Erik Werenskiold (1855-1938) – Snorre Sturlassons Kongesagaer

“Ragnhild, who was wise and intelligent, dreamt great dreams. She dreamt, for one, that she was standing out in her herb-garden, and she took a thorn out of her shift; but while she was holding the thorn in her hand it grew so that it became a great tree, one end of which struck itself down into the earth, and it became firmly rooted; and the other end of the tree raised itself so high in the air that she could scarcely see over it, and it became also wonderfully thick. The under part of the tree was red with blood, but the stem upwards was beautifully green and the branches white as snow. There were many and great limbs to the tree, some high up, others low down; and so vast were the tree’s branches that they seemed to her to cover all Norway, and even much more.”[15]

Heimskringla orThe Chronicle of the Kings of Norway Halfdan the Black Saga


Dreams could sometimes foretell the future. Their ability to do so went hand in hand with the Norse view that all events were directed by fate; as the Eddic poem The Song of Skirnir (Skírnismál) puts it, “My destiny was fashioned down to the last half-day, and all my life was determined.”[2] Since the future was preordained, it could be known in advance.

Take, for example, the famous dream of Queen Ragnhild, who reigned in southern Norway during the ninth century alongside King Halfdan the Black. One night, Ragnhild dreamed that she took a brooch off of her cloak and held it out in front of her. Roots immediately began trailing out of it and toward the ground, where they took hold. Branches then shot up from the brooch, and the tree soon grew so tall that Ragnhild was unable to see over it. The tree’s bowl was blood-red, its upper trunk green, and its branches snowy white. The branches spread out to cover all of Norway, and even extended into other lands as well.[3]

Years later, Ragnhild realized the significance of the dream. The tree symbolized her descendants. Her son, Harald Finehair, was to become the first ruler of all of Norway. The tree’s blood-red bowl symbolized the bloodshed that would occur while Harald was coming to power, the green upper trunk the vigor and glory of his reign, and the white branches his own descendants, from whom would come Norway’s rulers for many generations.[4]

The Viking Spirit by Daniel McCoy


[1] Davidson, Hilda Roderick Ellis. 1988. Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions. p. 138-139.

[2] Turville-Petre, E.O.G. 1972. Nine Norse Studies. p. 32.

[3] Ibid. p. 30-31.

[4] Ibid


Queen Ragnhild’s dream gives us a vision of White Green and Red. White above, Green in the middle and Red below. This traditional pattern we may find in the three realms. The White above, the Green in the middle and Red Below. This is the familiar pattern found in European myth. The White and the White and Red we see war of the roses, the Houses of York and Lancaster. In alchemy we see the marriage of Red King and White Queen.

This is a familiar pattern, the marriage of Sun and Moon, Gold and Silver. In Plato we see the red and white rivers of blood and stars. The World of the Sky we can see the Celestial realms full of the Angelic hosts and beings of the “sky.” The Gods of Thunder, Zeus, Taranis. The Wisdom of the Birds breathing breath from the heavens.

The Red shows us the blood of the earth or the deep fiery “blood” of the planet itself. This is not without significance, that we can see allusions to three “bowls”; or as tradition would have would be three cauldrons. Caitlin Matthew’s points to this as Knowledge, Vocation and Warming (Coire Sois, Emmae and Goirath: Three Cauldrons of Inspiration, Caitlin Matthews, from “Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom.”)


In that Earth there are gardens, paradises, animals, minerals…

Everything that is to be found on that Earth,

absolutely everything, is alive and speaks, has a life analogous

to that of every living being endowed with thought and

speech. Endowed with thought and speech, the beings there

correspond to what they are here below, with the difference

that in that celestial earth, things are permanent, imperishable,

unchangeable; their universe does not die.

Ibn Arabi


For it is one of their Tenets that nothing perishes, but, as the

Sun and Year, everything goes in a Circle, Lesser or

Greater, and is renewed, and refreshed in its revolutions.

As it is another that Every Body in the Creation moves,

which is a sort of life, and that nothing moves but what has

another Animal moving on it, and so on, to the utmost

minute corpuscle that is capable to be a receptacle of life

Robert Kirk

Here is no water but only rock

Rock and no water and the sandy road

The road winding above among the mountains

Which are mountains of rock without water

If there were water we should stop and drink

Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think

Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand

If there were only water amongst the rock

Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit

Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit

There is not even silence in the mountains

But dry sterile thunder without rain

There is not even solitude in the mountains

But red sullen faces sneer and snarl

From doors of mudcracked houses

T.S. Eliot


Above image from secret symbols of the rosicrucians

Here we The Heavenly energies and the divine magnet, pouring down into the Prima Materia. From here we travel to the mysteries again of Red and White. The Red rose of Christ and the White Lily of the Virgin Mary. We can of course continue this pattern and discus Christ’s wounds and of course Red and White roses.

But what is the Green? In Green we see Venus and Aphrodite and Copper. It is from Copper Sulphate that is once source for traditional green pigment. In the Rosicrucian mysteries we see Venus as the Light within the Earth itself. She is the source, the Spirit trapped in amber, the Goddess of Matter itself. It is not without reason we see this green repeat within the Western mysteries. We see Green prominently in several places. The Emerald Tablet of course is a well known image. A green tablet of Wisdom, found deep within the Earth. The green skin of Osiris in some depictions.. In Queen Ragnhild’s vision we see Green as the trunk and “the Glory of her reign.” Perhaps this links to the well known Arthurian axiom “ The King and the Land are One.” Thus the Body of the Tree not only is the very Kingdom, or as we know Kingdom is all manifest reality in Qabalah, it is the very person sitting on the throne and their actions as they do. Signifying that the candidate is the very land they walk upon, as touched upon briefly in “The Rose Cross and The Goddess” (Gareth Knight).

The Tree of course like the Garden is an ideal form, a paradise or Pardes (Orchard, Garden, Paradise) image. Our image above from the Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians moves from our two flowers to the fons miraculorum. The tree, the garden and paradise. So here we begin to understand our Green circle. The intermediary between White and Red, and idealised paradisical world, the physical realm. In Dreams though we see something perhaps inherent in the human consciousness. ILLUMINATED LANDSCAPE.jpg

So the Green circle then become the doorway, gateway between the sky and land. In turn it is a doorway between the land and the paradise world and into the under realms of the Ocean (interior ocean) realms, or Chthonic.

‘From Ismarus we sailed, with heavy hearts for the loyal friends lost, though happy to have escaped death ourselves: nor would I let the curved ships leave till we had called three times in ritual to each of our luckless comrades, who died there on the plain, at the hands of the Cicones. But Zeus, the Cloud-Gatherer, stirred the north wind against our ships, in a blinding tempest, hiding the land and sea alike in cloud, while darkness swept from the sky. Headlong the ships were driven, sails torn to shreds by the force of the gale. In terror of death we lowered the masts on deck, and rowed the vessels wildly towards land.

There we stayed for two days and nights, troubled at heart with weariness and grief. But when Dawn of the lovely tresses gave birth to the third day, we upped masts, hoisted the white sails, and took our seats aboard, and the wind and helmsman kept us on course. Now I would have reached home safely, but as I was rounding Cape Malea, the north wind and waves and the ocean currents beat me away, off course, past Cythera.

For nine days I was driven by fierce winds over the teeming sea: but on the tenth we set foot on the shores of the Lotus-eaters, who eat its flowery food. On land we drew water, and my friends ate by the ships. Once we had tasted food and drink, I sent some of the men inland to discover what kind of human beings lived there: selecting two and sending a third as herald. They left at once and came upon the Lotus-eaters, who had no thought of killing my comrades, but gave them lotus to eat. Those who ate the honey-sweet lotus fruit no longer wished to bring back word to us, or sail for home. They wanted to stay with the Lotus-eaters, eating the lotus, forgetting all thoughts of return. I dragged those men back to the shore myself by force, while they wept, and bound them tight in the hollow ships, pushing them under the benches. Then I ordered my men to embark quickly on the fast craft, fearing that others would eat the lotus and forget their homes. They boarded swiftly and took their place on the benches then sitting in their rows struck the grey water with their oars.’

Homer, Odyssey, Book IX, 63-104


W. Heath Robinson – Stories from the Odyssey Told to the Children – Jeanie Lang

This image of a dreamer, laying on the ground is significant. We know Green shows us the earth, growth, regeneration within and on the land. Thus we can see in tradition the importance of the inner landscape and the Dreamers Within the land itself. The King and the Land are One is one Arthurian Axiom. Another well known Arthurian theme is that Arthur is not dead, but is asleep deep within the land itself. Traditionally under Glastonbury Tor or similar in the Celtic Anwynn or Avalon. Barinthus perhaps helped guide Arthur to Avalon after his final battle.

Who live in this idealised paradisical landscape? We can see this in several european traditions. Most notably we see the Celtic and often Norse traditions we see the “faery races.” Most notably these are detailed by the likes of Robert Kirk, William Sharpe and many others, Jim (1891-1945) and Michael (1876-1937) of County Sligo, Eire famously entered the Illuminated Landscape and thus into Faery Land. Unlike the trite images of Walt Disney though, these are more the proud races of Tolkien. Tall and majestic. But in reality we know they may be small or tall. Scottish tradition shows us short beings such as Brownies. As short as two or three feet or typically around six feet. In the writings of William Sharpe/Fiona Macleod (member of the Golden Dawn) we find the faery cities of Falias, Gorias, Finias and Murias; similar to those mentioned in poems such as the Arthurian Spoils of Anwynn.

Dreamers then besides King Arthur we know, the sacred King Sacrificed and placed into the earth for the Goddess. We see this in the Merlin Stories.At the end Merlin is taken to the Crystal cave by Vivienne/Nimue. The Faery crystal cave deep within the earth. In turn we can return to our axis mundi tree of Buddha, surrounded by “demons” points to the earth under the Bodhi tree. Of course this pattern in the early Merlin tales ends with Merlin in his Observatory of the Stars within the Forest (1) which is also significant. We see Merlin the King having faced trials, gone mad through the reality of war, eventually ends his days in contemplation. Contemplating The Land the Stars, the Goddess. For Merlin the Land is not only the King and the Land, but also the Land and the Stars. So we see from our above diagram from the Secret symbols, we see the fruits of the planet, the metals, which we can see are fruits below that reach to the fruits above.

Dreamers are found not only in the Land but in the stars, for the Crown is within the Kingdom as any Qabalist knows. Familiar dreamers of course are Sleeping Beauty and of course Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Gnomes). It is not perhaps without merit that we see the returning motifs of the garden, the rose garden, paradise and sleepers. This we see in the Chemical wedding, Snow white and ancient stories such as Beauty and the beast (2). In the Islamic and Sufi traditions we of course see the faery races associated with trees. The rose garden in Islam is important. The gardens of figs, olives, dates and pomegranates surrounding a fountain, in which was a garden that Adam and Eve we commanded to grow roses. (3)

(1) The Vita Merlini (Life of Merlin) , Geoffrey of Monmouth.

(2) Now thought to be approx. 5000 years old

(3) PaRDeS: On the Symbolism of the Fountain & the Garden By Nigel Jackson, Sacred Web 38

Now as to Cuchulain it has to be related thus: He called upon Laeg to come to him; and “Do thou go, O Laeg!” said Cuchulain, “to the place where Emer is; and say to her that women of the fairies have come upon me, and that they have destroyed my strength; and say also to her that it goeth better with me from hour to hour, and bid her to come and seek me;” and the young man Laeg then spoke these words in order to hearten the mind of Cuchulain:

It fits not heroes lying

On sick-bed in a sickly sleep to dream:

Witches before thee flying

Of Trogach’s fiery Plain the dwellers seem:

They have beat down thy strength,

Made thee captive at length,

And in womanish folly away have they driven thee far.

Arise! no more be sickly!

Shake off the weakness by those fairies sent:

For from thee parteth quickly

Thy strength that for the chariot-chiefs was meant:

Thou crouchest, like a youth!

Art thou subdued, in truth?

Have they shaken thy prowess and deeds that were meet for the war?

Yet Labra’s power hath sent his message plain:

Rise, thou that crouchest: and be great again.

And Laeg, after that heartening, departed; and he went on until he came to the place where Emer was; and he told her of the state of Cuchulain: “Ill hath it been what thou hast done, O youth!” she said; “for although thou art known as one who dost wander in the lands where the fairies dwell; yet no virtue of healing hast thou found there and brought for the cure of thy lord. Shame upon the men of Ulster!” she said, “for they have not sought to do a great deed, and to heal him. Yet, had Conor thus been fettered; had it been Fergus who had lost his sleep, had it been Conall the Victorious to whom wounds had been dealt, Cuchulain would have saved them.” And she then sang a song, and in this fashion she sang it:

Laeg! who oft the fairy hill

Searchest, slack I find thee still;

Lovely Dechtire’s son shouldst thou

By thy zeal have healed ere now.

Ulster, though for bounties famed,

Foster-sire and friends are shamed:

None hath deemed Cuchulain worth

One full journey through the earth.

It fits not heroes lying

On sick-bed in a sickly sleep to dream:

Witches before thee flying

Of Trogach’s fiery Plain the dwellers seem:

They have beat down thy strength,

Made thee captive at length,

And in womanish folly away have they driven thee far.

Arise! no more be sickly!

Shake off the weakness by those fairies sent:

For from thee parteth quickly

Thy strength that for the chariot-chiefs was meant:

Thou crouchest, like a youth!

Art thou subdued, in truth?

Have they shaken thy prowess and deeds that were meet for the war?

Yet Labra’s power hath sent his message plain:

Rise, thou that crouchest: and be great again.

And Laeg, after that heartening, departed; and he went on until he came to the place where Emer was; and he told her of the state of Cuchulain: “Ill hath it been what thou hast done, O youth!” she said; “for although thou art known as one who dost wander in the lands where the fairies dwell; yet no virtue of healing hast thou found there and brought for the cure of thy lord. Shame upon the men of Ulster!” she said, “for they have not sought to do a great deed, and to heal him. Yet, had Conor thus been fettered; had it been Fergus who had lost his sleep, had it been Conall the Victorious to whom wounds had been dealt, Cuchulain would have saved them.” And she then sang a song, and in this fashion she sang it:

Laeg! who oft the fairy hill

Searchest, slack I find thee still;

Lovely Dechtire’s son shouldst thou

By thy zeal have healed ere now.

Ulster, though for bounties famed,

Foster-sire and friends are shamed:

None hath deemed Cuchulain worth

One full journey through the earth.

Yet, if sleep on Fergus fell,

Such that magic arts dispel,

Dechtire’s son had restless rode

Till a Druid raised that load.

Aye, had Conall come from wars,

Weak with wounds and recent scars;

All the world our Hound would scour

Till he found a healing power.

THE SICK-BED OF CUCHULAIN TRANSCRIBED FROM THE LOST YELLOW BOOK OF SLANE. By Maelmuiri mac Ceileachair into the Leabhar na h-Uidhri in the Eleventh Century.


PaRDeS, an acronym formed from the first letters of the four levels of Torah interpretation, means ‘orchard’ in Hebrew. (The English word Paradise (PaRaDiSe) is derived from the same Persian root).


Peshat: often inaccurately translated as literal, it comes from the root which means simple, although peshat is sometimes anything but simple! Peshat correctly means the intended, explicit meaning.

Remez: alluded meaning (reading between the lines). Remez in modern Hebrew means hint. Traditionally, remez referred to methods such as gezera shava (equivalent language implying equivalent meaning) and gematria (word-number values)

Derash: Homiletical or interpretative meaning. The word ‘midrash‘ is from the same root. The drash is an interpretation that is not explicit in the text.

Sod: (lit. secret). The mystical or esoteric meaning.

There are practically no athiests among traditional farmers, even in England –a country whose main “intellectual” export right now is atheism. Also in a country like France, which is known for its secularism, where only 11% of people go to church and 40% of people are agnostics and atheists, if you were to go to the French countryside and talk to a farmer who produces that wonderful French cheese you eat for lunch, there are hardly any athiests among them. To do something that is close to God’s world is to participate in a sense in things which are natural, and thereby to circumvent the illusion of the absence of God which the modern world has created, an illusion upon which the modern world is based.

–Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The process of secularization of the microcosm resulted in one impoverishment after another of the human reality. First, the depletion of the angelic content of the microcosm helped transform the three dimensional traditional man into the two dimensional modern man. Since traditional psychology is closely related to angelology the transformation resulted in the disappearance of the idea of the soul from modern science wheras its reality at various ontological levels was affirmed in the traditional sciences. Not only that, the soul served as a key scientific concept in traditional sciences. For example, in Islamic science, we encounter the development of scientific concepts of plant, animal, rational and even universal souls. Second, the human reality became further reduced when two-dimensional man comprising body and mind was transformed into a living organism with a mechanistic body and mind largely determined by the brain. Mechanization of the human body was only one side of the coin of mechanization of the cosmos, the other being the better known mechanization of the macrocosm. The reduction of human reality reached its extreme end when every aspect and dimension of it, including consciousness, is visualized as being entirely determined by matter and physical processes.

–Osman Bakar (From secular science to sacred science: The need for a transformation, sacred web 33)

The traditional man is defined by its three essential components, namely body, soul and spirit. In the constitution of modern man the combined reality of soul and spirit has shrunk to what is called mind, a fused reality without a sacred meaning and significance.

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.”)

Just in case there are those who refuse to be caught forever by ugliness and seek some alternative, the evil of cruelty makes its claims. Cruelty is something we recognize so easily as a physical activity, yet find so hard to identify in its finer but no less dangerous forms. It is essentially an intentional misuse of power by a strong entity toward a weaker one on the same plant’ of action. For instance, a helpless cripple could scarcely be physically cruel to a strong and healthy person, yet could very well be diabolically cruel mentally to the same person if he were intellectually vulnerable. Cruelty is only possible as a calculated discharge of destructive energy directed at feebler creature unlikely to retaliate effectively. Thus cruelty automatically implies cowardice as well.The motivation of cruelty is commonly again the artificial ego-enlargement resultant from its practice. It makes the little boy feel bigger when he kicks his baby brother. If we can make others frightened of us we seem larger by comparison to their shrinking. That is the secret of cruelty. A false sense of boost because of aggressive action which appears to avoid injurious reprisals. To hurt and kill some helpless and defenseless creature makes cruel people feel enormously powerful by contrast. They may even delude themselves for an instant that they are acting like gods. Taking their pathetic little share of life energy, they are willing to expend this on damaging the lives of weaker beings for the sake of supposing themselves more powerful than they truly are. None cry louder than such cowardly criminals when justified retribution rebounds on them. Nobody hates being hurt more than those who hurt with hate.

We need not always look for evident violence in order to recognize cruelty. It is possible to be extremely cruel in the “nicest and sweetest” ways. Staging little scenes deliberately to humiliate and hurt someone’s feelings while remaining righteously on the side of conventional virtue meanwhile. With the aid of a little intelligence people can contrive all sorts of cruelties yet themselves keep in the clear so far as rule books apply. Attendants in mental hospitals, for instance, have ample opportunity on these lines. So has anyone in charge of children or animals, or whoever is unable to hit back where it hurts most. Let those who think they could not be cruel examine what conscience they have within their own life-frameworks If we are still in human bodies then we are yet capable of cruelty in some degree or another. It is well to see this and convert our energies otherwise as we can.

–William G. Gray (Exorcizing the Tree of Evil)


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)




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.






I praise the Lord, Prince of the realm and King!

His rule extends across the whole wide world.

Gweir was penned beneath the fortress mound,

As tell the tales of Pwyll and Pryderi.

None before him passed into the prison,

With a heavy chain a faithful servant bound.

Bitter before the spoils of Annwn he sang,

And until Doomsday lasts our bardic prayer.

Three companies of warriors we went in —

Seven alone rose up from Elfs-castle.


Song rang out, honoring me with praise

In the four-peaked fortress, four its mighty turnings.

My verses from within the cauldron uttered,

By breath of maidens ninefold they were kindled.

The lord of Annwn’s cauldron: how is it made?

A dark ridge on its border, crusted pearls.

Its fate is not to boil the meat of cowards,

The deadly flashing sword is lifted to it,

And in the hand of the Leaper it was left.

Before the doors of hell the lamps were burning.

When we went in with Arthur, blinding trouble —

Seven alone rose up from Meads-castle.



Song rang out, honoring me with praise

In the four-peaked fortress, isle of the strong door.

Flowing water and shining jet are mingled,

They drink the sparkling wine before their followers.

Three companies of warriors sailed the sea —

Seven alone rose up from Hard-castle.


I do not deserve to be put with poetasters:

Beyond the fort they missed the valor of Arthur.

Six thousand men stood on the glass wall,

Their sentinel was difficult to speak with.

Three companies of warriors went with Arthur —

Seven alone rose up from Guts-castle.



I do not deserve the mean men, slack their shield straps.

They do not know the day of our creation,

Nor what time of day the One was born.

Who made him who strayed far from Defwy meadows?

They do not know the ox, his thick headband,

Full sevenscore links upon his chained collar.

And when we went with Arthur, woeful visit —

Seven alone rose up from Gods-castle.



I do not deserve these men — slack their will.

They do not know which day the chief was sired,

Nor what hour of day the lord was born,

Nor what beasts are kept, their heads of silver.

When we went in with Arthur, sorrowful strife —

Seven alone rose up from Box-castle.



Monks are a pack together — a choir of dogs —

They shrink away from meeting the lords who know:

Is there one course of wind? One course of water?

Is there one spark of fire?  Of fierce tumult?

Monks are a pack together, like youngling wolves

They shrink away from meeting the lords who know:

They do not know when night and dawn divide,

Nor wind, what is its course, nor what its onrush,

What place it ravages, nor where it strikes.

The grave of the saint vanishes, grave and ground.

I praise the Lord, great Prince of the whole world,

And so I am not sad, for Christ endows me.







In the center of the Castle of Brahma, our own body, there is a small shrine,

in the form of a Lotus flower, and within can be found a small space.

We should find who dwells there and want to know him….

for the whole universe is in him and he dwells within our heart.

–Chandoga Upanishad


Or, as one might say; In the center of the Castle of the Grail, our own body, there is a shrine,

and within it is to be found the Grail of the Heart.

We should indeed seek to know and understand that inhabitant.

It is the fragment of the divine contained within each one of us- like the sparks of

unfallen creation which the Gnostics saw entrapped within the flesh of the human envelope.

This light shines within each one, and the true quest of the Grail consists in

bringing that light to the surface, nourishing and feeding it until its radiance suffuses the world.

–John Matthews (“Temples of the Grail” found in At The Table of the Grail: No One Who Sets Forth on the Grail Quest Remains Unchanged )



The Grail Mystery Returned underground, wrapped itself again in its esotericism

and waited for another time toi unfold its inner revelation. Such a point was reached

after the Reformation, when the inner Grail mystery…surfaced again in the Rosicruccian

movement of the early seventeenth century. At this time…the Rosicrucians tried to incarnate

an Esoteric Christianity within the Protestant movement…in order to provide a much needed

resolution of the polarities of Protestantism. Thus we should see the Rosicrucian

movement as being inwardly related to the Grail mystery. The spiritual alchemy that

was the esoteric foundation of Rosicrucianism can be seen as a development of the Grail impulse.

–Adam Maclean (“Alchemical transmutation in history and symbolism” , found in At the Table of the Grail 1982)




intrinsic definition of Limitlessness is that It lacks nothing and can

receive nothing, for It is everything. As It is everything,

theoretictically It is the potential to be an infinite source of giving.



question arises, however, that there is nothing for It to give to

because It is everything. It would have to give to Itself. This has been

a major creation. conundrum in philosophy and theology for thousands of




suggests one way of dealing with this issue. It says that as long as

the infinite source of giving has no “will” to give, nothing happens.

However, the instant It has the will to give, this will initiates a

“thought.” Kabbalah says, “Will, which is [primordial] thought, is the

beginning of all things, and the expression [of this thought] is the



That is, the entire creation is nothing more than a thought in the “mind” ofEin Sof, so

to speak. Another way to express this idea is that the will to u give

instantly creates a will to receive. The idea that an infinite giver can

create receptivity in Itself is what Kabbalists call tzimtzum (contraction). It has to make an opening within Itself for receiving.


That which is given is called light. That which receives is called vessel. Light

and vessel are always in balance, because light comes from an infinite

source and thus will fill a vessel to its capacity. If we put a bucket

under Niagara Falls, it instantly fills. If we put a freight train

there, it also instantly fills. Imagine that the entire universe rests

under a Niagara Falls of light, continuously being filled.



to Kabbalah, the interaction between vessel and light is what makes the

world go around. Everything in the universe is a vessel that “wills” to

receive the light of theinfinite bestower. Each molecule, plant,

animal, rock, and human is a vessel; each has the “will” to be exactly

what it is.]



consciousness is unique in that it has the quality of being “in and the

universe. If we the image of God.” This quality is expressed by what we

call free will, and free will at its core is nothing more than the

ability to bestow light. That is to say, human consciousness has an

inherent will to give. This human capability of acting like God in being a bestower is the fulcrum upon which the entire universe is balanced.



reason this is so important is that if there were a will only to

receive, as described above, the universe would be completely

predictable. Everything would be predetermined, all receptivity would

find shape in its implicit design, and every aspect of the unfolding of

creation could be anticipated. The wild card introduced here is the

premise that human consciousness is informed by a soul force that gives

it the capacity to emulate the infinite Bestower.




human beings have an extraordinary capacity to influence the direction

of creation. Each time we make use of our free will by giving, we are in

copartnership with the infinite Bestower. When this is accomplished,

with clear awareness of what we are doing, we raise the consciousness of


–David A Cooper (God Is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism)

Zhungzi and Huizi roamed on the bridge over River Hao. Zhuangzi said, “The tiao fish come out roaming, free and at ease (chuyou congrong). This is the joy of fish!.”


Huizi said, “You are not a fish, how can you know the joy of fish?”


Zhuangzi said, “You are not me, how can you know that I do not know the joy of fish?”

Huizi said, “I am not you, indeed I do not know you. You, indeed, are not a fish, that you do not know the joy of fish is completely clear.”

Zhuangzi said, “I beg to seek the beginning. For you have to have said ‘How can you know the joy of fish,’ it is as if you already knew that I know it and thus asked me. I know it by standing on the river Hao.”

Two modes of knowledge and reasoning are juxtaposed here. Huizi’s certainty is based on the logic of difference: analogous distinctions or disjunctions between man and fish, and between himself and Zhuangzi. Zhuangzi, by contrast, plays on the logic of fluid boundaries and claims to overcome the division of self and other. Instead of meeting Huizi’s logical argument on its own terms, he radically redefines it and affirms intuitive communion: he knows the joy of fish by standing on River Hao. Huizi concedes to not knowing Zhuangzi; Zhuangzi for his part must presume to know Huizi’s mind, even as he knows the fish. He attributes motives and emotions to Huizi’s question: implicit recognition of Zhuangzi’s own knowledge, possibly envy and irritation. The key word is you (roam, wander, play), which describes the movement of both Zhuangzi and Huizi, as well as that of the fish: the repetition here marks empathic continuity. Roaming is associated with the state of being free, at ease, and disinterested, whereby the mind can be most creative and best apprehend the world. To roam, wander, or play is also to overcome boundaries, to move from one state of being to another, to achieve the self –transformation in Daoist transcendence of the opposites of self and other, dreaming and waking, life and death.

Wai-Yee Li (On Becoming a fish, Paradoxes of immortality and enlightenment in Chinese literature)

> I think that the True Man can be more accurately described as the

> Jesus-Man through which the Christ can become manifest.


> As for the mirror/reflection analogy … I think of the Biblical

> phrase that we were created in the “image” of God. The word “mirror”

> can be found in the definition of “image” … not that we are/were

> “The” God, but were created in the likeness of God … a reflection of

> the divine.


> Regards,




these are important questions


“I think that the True Man can be more accurately described as the

> Jesus-Man through which the Christ can become manifest.”


The power of God is with you at all times; through the activities of mind,



senses, breathing, and emotions; and is constantly doing all the work


using you as a mere instrument.”


 –The Gita



So is Jesus the vessel and christ wine that is poured into the vessel?


Or is Jesus the vessel and the wine as is the Christ?


One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate,


the Buddha called to him,


“Manjusri, Manjusri, why do you not enter?”


Manjusri replied,


“I do not see myself as outside. Why enter?”




> As for the mirror/reflection analogy … I think of the Biblical

> phrase that we were created in the “image” of God. The word “mirror”

> can be found in the definition of “image” … not that we are/were

> “The” God, but were created in the likeness of God … a reflection of

> the divine.


Where does God end and man begin?



“When my Beloved appears,With what eye do I see Him?


With His eye, not with mine,


For none sees Him except Himself.”


–Ibn Arabi




Two points as opposites when stretched for infinity will bend in upon themselves and meet. Thus mnaking the end in the begining, or perhaps that there is no end or beginning; see college level math and chapter one of the Sefer yetzirah in theory and practice, A. Kaplan translation.


if we are alike God, but not God… is this not duality?


If I am not God, does this mean that there exists God and not God?




“He who sees himself only on the outside,


not within, becomes small himself and makes others small.”


–Mani (turfan fragment M 801)




Ain Sof in the Kabbalah of Azriel of Gerona


 (from “Origins of the Kabbalah” by Gershom Scholem)




 ”If…..there was at first a great deal of uncertainty about the use of the term ‘en-sof, no such ambiguity exists any longer in the mystical vocabulary of the school of Gerona [13th century]. ‘En-sof there is a technical, indeed artificial, term detached from all adverbial associations and serving as a noun designating God in all his inconceivability. Here it is well to remember that the determination of God as the Infinite served for for the thinkers of antiquity and the Neoplatonists…..precisely as a symbol of his inconceivability, and not as an attribute that can be grasped by reason (such as it became with the Scholastics). Among the kabbalists, God is regarded as Infinitude no less than as the Infinite One. The inconceivability of the hidden God and the impossibility of determining him, which, occasionally seem to point to a neutral stratum of the divine nature, are nevertheless those of the infinite person on the whole, the latter being the theistic reinterpretation of the Neoplatonic ‘One.’ Azriel himself introduces him as such at the beginning of his questions and answers on the sefiroth, for he identifies ‘en-sof—a word he employs often and without hesitation—with the leader of the world and the master of creation…..


        Azriel’s…..spoke of ‘en-sof as the God whom the philosophers had in mind, and whose sefiroth were but aspects of his revelation and of his activity, the ‘categories of the order of all reality.’ Precisely the most hidden element in God, that which the mystics had in mind when they spoke of ‘en-sof, he transformed into the most public. In doing so he already prepared the personalization of the term ‘en-sof, wich from the designation of an abstract concept begins to appear here as a proper name. Whereas in general, and even in Azriel’s own writings, ‘en-sof still has much of the deus absconditus, which attains anapprehensible existence in the theosophic notion of God and in the doctrine of the sefiroth only, the commentary on the ten sefiroth already presents the ‘en-sof as the ruler of the world, which certainly suggests an image of the government of the world that is very different from that of the theosophy of the Infinite and its sefiroth. For Azriel the highest sefirah is evidently the unfathomable or unknowable and especially the divine will, which in this circle is elevated above the primordial idea. In the abstract the latter could be distinguished from ‘en-sof, but in the concrete it constitutes a real unity with it. The hidden God acts by means of this will, clothes himself in it, as it were, and is one with it. In order to express this, the kabbalists of Gerona readily speak of the ‘will up to the Infinite,’ the ‘height up to the Infinite,’ the ‘unknowable up to the Infinite,’ by which they evidently mean the unity in which the supreme sefirah, represented in each case by the corresponding symbol, extends up to the ‘en-sof and forms with it a unity of action…..


        Azriel is fond of referring Job 11:7 : ‘Can you find out the depth of God?’ to this primordial depth of God, which can signify both the fathomable as well as precisely that in the will that is unfathomable and beyond the grasp of all thought. From this primordial depth flwow all the paths of wisdom and it is this primordial depth that in the ‘Chapter on the kawwanah‘ is literally called ‘the perfection of the depth that is one with ‘en-sof,’ a phrase that can also be translated equally literally as ‘that unites itself with ‘en-sof,’ that is, that extends up to its infinity. Thus the terminology of cheqer, the primordial depth, at which all contemplation of the divine is aimed, changes at the same time into that of the ‘undepth’ (Hebrew: ‘en-cheqer), this primordial depth proving to be precisely the unfathomable, and thereby a perfect analogy, in its linguistic form as well, to the Infinite, ‘en-sof.


        The will as primordial depth thus becomes the source of all being, and the deity, insofar as it can be envisioned from the point of view of the creature, is conceived entirely as creative will…..The fact that this creative will is then understood by Azriel, in the context of the ideas analyzed in the foregoing, as the Nought, is by no means an isolated instance in the history of mistical terminology. Jacob Böhme, whose Ungrund is reminiscent of Azriel’s formulations, considers the will that eternally emerges from this Ungrund as the Nought. It is therefore no wonder that in these writings the will never appears as something emanated, but rather as that which emanates…..


        A state in which ‘en-sof would be without the will accompanying it is thus inconceivable. This again raises the problem of the necessity of the emanation versus the freedom of ‘en-sof in the primordial act of the creation…..


        It can be said of ‘en-sof as well as of the Will that nothing exists outside it.




‘All beings come from the incomprehensible primordial ether, and their existence [yeshuth] comes from the pure Nought. However, this primordial ether is not divisible in any direction, and it is One in a simplicity that does not admit of any composition. All acts of the will were in its unity, and it is the will that preceded everything…..And that is the meaning of (Job 23:13): “He is One”—He is the unity of the will, outside of which nothing exists’ [Perush Aggadot, 107)…..




Neither is ‘en-sof nor in the will is there any differentiation; both are designated as the indistinct root of the opposites. For this indistinctness…..the ‘Iyyun circle and Azriel use the Hebrew hashwa’ah; unseparated and indifferent is there called shaweh, literally ‘equal,’ a word that is never used in this snese elsewhere in the Hebrew literature. ‘En-sof as well as the will are ‘indifferent with regard to the opposites.’ They do not conjoin the opposites…..but no distinctions are admitted at all; since the opposites in these supreme principles are ‘equal,’ that is, indistinct, they coincide in them. It is in this sense that mention is often made of the ‘indistinct unity’ or of the ‘indifference of unity’ in which apparent opposites coincide…..The oppoistes are abolished in the infinite…..




‘En-sof is the absolute indistinctness in the perfect unity, in which there is no change. And since it is without limits, nothing exists outisde of it; since it is above everything it is the principle in which everything hidden and visible meet; and since it is hidden, it is the [common] root of faith and unbelief, and the investigating sages [the philosophers] agree with those who say that our comprehension of it can take place only through the path of negation’ [Sha’ar ha-Sho’el].”



Gender in Gnosticism

If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him.

–Gospel of Philip

God, the one true God, the source of being is seen as a force that transcends gender and ultimately God is beyond categories of gender. But at the same time gender is very formative of our human experience. So just like God in an absolute sense cannot be contained in words but we still have to approach God through language, right? Through myths and stories and theology and…which is all kind of creating analogies about God. Similarly we have to approach God, or approach God through gender. And traditionally of course there’s been this hyper masculinisation of God, in which God has been primarily confined to male attributes, the father, the son or you know, God as the old bearded guy of the Cisteen Chapel ceiling or God as Superman, shooting down fire from the sky and destroying people. What Gnosticism works to change this image, not to destroy the male imagery of the father, the son or the imagery of the brother, but rather to compliment it with female imagery as well. SO that we understand in some sense that our relationship to God is like a father and a mother, like a lover and the beloved, a brother and a sister; so it’s like a complimentary to the relationship.

So what I want to talk about tonight is the metaphysical nature of gender itself. I’m going to leave the question of God alone for this evening and talk about our own experiences of gender and what the spiritual significances of those might be. I think we begin from a Gnostic perspective that gender arises out of the cosmos, out of the material reality or the physical reality and like other dualities, good /evil, light/dark, right/left…these are seen as the constituents parts of material reality, its these dualities and divisions and separations that make the material what it is and create the limitations that we associate with physical reality. And of these limitations it is probably gender that Gnosticism sees as the most traumatic one of all, well except maybe the good/evil dichotomy. But the division of male/female gender, the division is very traumatic in a lot of ways, it’s been a sort of division of the wholeness of the spirit into two separate pieces and as a result can often lead to very self destructive behavior as all too often when we adhere to the gender identity that we are taught to display and see in ourselves and we don’t find a way to pursue the complimentary aspects of the spirit then we quickly descend into patterns of abuse and dependence and domination that are really devoid of the true spiritual connection.

So one of the goals of Gnosis is to transcend and heal these dualities and divisions in human experience. And thus the question of gender and the question of how we heal the brokenness that is sort of implicit in it is stressed in the Gospel of Thomas especially saying 22:

Jesus saw some infants nursing. He said to his disciples, “These nursing infants are like those who enter the (Father’s) kingdom.”

They said to him, “Then shall we enter the (Father’s) kingdom as babies?”

Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, a likeness in place of a likeness, then you will enter [the kingdom].”

So when we look at this issue of what needs healing and the reconciliation, the issue, the problem, is that we’ve been taught and conditioned not just in our own lifetimes but over in generations of humanity to ascribe huge importance over what are really minor biological differences and not really seek to expand our consciousness in this area. To assume that we are locked in this duality and that there is no way to transcend it.

So what Gnosticism does, is to argue that each of us has a spiritual identity and it is the spiritual identity that can lead us back on a path to wholeness this is because even though we live in a very divided and sometimes painful existence in the physical world the spirit has what the Gnostic teacher Carpocrates would call a “deep spiritual memory.” These are the words he uses “the spiritual memory.” The most famous place where he talks about what this memory is when he makes his Christological statement about Jesus and says “That Jesus is a man like any other man, the son of Joseph; except that he was different from other people in that his mind, pure and clear could remember, could exercise memory of what it had seen in the realm of the ungenerated God.”

So if Jesus is a great model for what we can attain, then through Gnosis we can gain access to these spiritual memories of what was in the realm of the ungenerated God, to use Carpocrates’ term. And these memories are of wholeness, of a unity, indeed not a cessation of our individual existences, but rather as it were a completion of them. And part of this spiritual memory of wholeness beyond the divisions of gender is part of what makes up this spiritual memory, and it is in this sense that the Gospel of Thomas puts this question as central to the idea of what is going to bring us into what the Gospel calls the Kingdom. It is very important to make clear here that, the Gospel of Philip makes it clear that not only is this unity, the Pleroma, the fullness, it’s not only our destiny, but it’s also as spiritual beings, but also as in the words of the Gospel of Philip, our earliest origin, the earliest origin of things. So there is some way that this wholeness of the Pleroma is imprinted and on our spirits, this pneuma or the breath that gives us life, or rather makes us human, and we can access those memories that are imprinted on us. But it is something that takes time as we are held back by other things.

So when we begin to pursue through Gnosis a kind of healing and wholeness through the question of gender a number of things begin to happen in our lives and in the way we experience the world. First of all we begin to revolutionize the way in which we relate to others especially those of the other gender or to use the more common term, the opposite sex…and really what begins to happen is instead of seeing them quote “as the opposite sex” as something to be possessed or owned or intimidated or feared or dominated or dominated by in an unhealthy way, we can begin to construct relationships with those of other genders in a way that really engage in a true human level; and seek on those others how we can begin to complete our own spiritual existence. In this sense relationships between men and women are very important because they have so much to teach us about this completeness, this wholeness and what it might look like. We are in many ways, forces of revelation to each other. Allowing us to open up the mysteries of the hidden things concealed in those things visible, to use the words of the Gospel of Philip. Or to return to the Gospel of Thomas as Jesus says “The person of light, lights up the whole world.” Or in other words, we are each other’s light. These places of spiritual wholeness are sometimes shrouded in a kind of darkness and ignorance. Through the light provided by other people we can begin to see the contours of their meaning.

So I think there is an importance for anyone seeking the Gnostic path to obtain a certain degree of intimacy with people of the opposite sex. Now what I want to make clear is what I am talking about is not tied in any way to what is called sexuality. I’m certainly not saying that heterosexual sexuality is somehow necessary for Gnosis, although it can indeed be an important manifestation of this kind of intimacy. Or it can be a barrier to this kind of intimacy, as we know. Of course we know there are lots of people who are simply not heterosexual. They don’t share this sexual orientation, as part of their constituent identities; they have some kind of other sexual orientation; that they are drawn to other ways of living as sexual beings. Gnosticism of course is generally open to lots of different forms of sexual identity.

But ultimately what I am saying is, it is not that important about sexual contact, it’s about intimacy. The kind of inter gender intimacy that can be pursued in lots of ways. Through friendship, through intellectual exchange, through the kind of connection where you learn to build mutual networks of care…and exchange of thoughts and ideas, and spiritual growth. Men and women learn from each other in a mutual way when they begin to experience this intimacy. Which indeed, indeed, even when it does involve sexuality, when it does involve heterosexual contact is in fact something that transcends it. It is an intimacy that takes place on the spiritual level and transcends merely the physical level.

So this should make clear, as is important to state, that gender like other forms of division in the material world are not EVIL; it’s not as if gender is something bad and evil and something we want to run away from. These sources of division are indeed sources of limitation. U ironically or paradoxically, the very things that create these limitations can be the sources of the transcendent liberation, that can lift us up out of the world as defined by limitations and limits or rather live in that world in a way that helps set our spirits free.

The question of suffering, similarly suffering is something we see as to be transcended through Gnosis but at the same time, it offers us things. It offers us understanding and compassion toward others. Again it can make us bitter and angry people or it can make us much more open to other people. And I think gender is much the same way. It can be a very troubling phenomenon or it can be something we harness the force of to propel us along the spiritual journey in a way that incorporates healing and reconciliation. So ultimately I think though, the pursuit of gender wholeness, if that is what we want to call it, is probably more importantly something that happens within ourselves. Our intra-gender identities rather than our inter-gender relationships.

When we begin to search for that spiritual memory that Carpocrates talks about; that memory of spiritual wholeness. In the Pleroma, that was later divided through the shaping of the Demiurge. We are really searching to recover in our own beings a wholeness of gender that has been divided and separated in our own experience of life. It is important to remember that of course that, Demiurgic forces and Archonic forces and Pleromic forces are not so much beings but are forces operating within us. So we are looking for something in our own identities and what we want to do is move closer to wholeness. And it is this wholeness that is already deep within us. As I said, as Carpocrates said it is imprinted on the spiritual memory, that we all possess through the pneuma, through the spirit that is within us.

So we want to move closer to that wholeness that is both our ultimate destiny and is our earliest origins. To use the words of the Gospel of Philip, we want to gradually transform our lives, and our beings and our existences into that image of that spiritual memory at the heart of the pneuma, the spirit. Which is indeed what really makes us human.

The journey of Gnosis is predicated on the idea that even in the midst of this limited material existence we can begin to transform things and transform ourselves. Our bodies, our minds, in a way that infuses them with a new wholeness of the spirit. And as you see in that same verse, saying 22 of the Gospel of Thomas that we not only recreate the unity of gender, that it goes on to say that we, it goes on to say that we, you know, make the hand in the place of a hand and the foot in the place of a foot and likeness in the place of a likeness… One way to think of that is it is talking about a recreation of the self and the image of the spirit. Or as some have said, through our spirit we are created in the image of God. What we need to do through Gnosis is to recreate ourselves into the likeness of God. That is to transform the entirety of our being into a full realization of this image of God that is in our deepest human natures.

In a very real sense we have already in our spirits a sort of latent inner partnership between things we have called male and female in our experience of the material and intellectual world. Thus, in a very real sense each of us has within us, a sort of inner man and inner woman, what some mystics have spoken of as the Animus and Anima. We must pursue the kind of inner metaphysical partnership that will allow their mutual complimentarity that will shine forth in our lives and transform our consciousness.

Just as we want to revolutionize our relationships externally with regards to gender, and the opposite sex; so in parallel, we want to revolutionize our gender relationships internally within our own identities.

Now, if we look at Christ and Sophia, I want to discuss how they personify a Gnostic theory of gender both in terms of what we should do unto others and how we should persue that wholeness of gender within ourselves. We see in the stories of Christ and Sophia a great exchange, a great partnership, a sort of dialogue that is going on in these stories of “cosmic missions” and developments in time. These forces that represent in some sense the feminine and the masculine within the whole unity of the Pleroma.

If we look at the creation myth of the Valentinians, these were the Gnostics that followed Valentinus, the great preacher of the 2nd century, it is a little more different and complicated from what you may be used to. Just to give you a taste of what I mean, what happens to Sophia in this story is that… of course it starts off the same, she’s an Aeon, she’s in fact sometimes portrayed as the yuoungest of the Aeons, and she goes off by herself. Wanting to obtain more about her origins, thinking she can learn more by being alone and thinking alone. This of course brings about division and separation. What she produces, now in the Valentinian story is not the Demiurge immediately, but rather a realm of imperfection, the cosmos or chaos which is the stuff that the Demiurge will later create the cosmic world. What happens in the Valentinian story (again you’ll see how this is different to the simpler Gnostic story) is that this is so traumatic that Sophia literally gets split into two pieces. There ends up being a higher Sophia, who remains kind of connected fully in the Pleroma, but there also emerges a lower Sophia, part of Sophia’s identity becomes trapped in the imperfect realm. It becomes trapped in the cosmic chaos, and it tries and tries to get out, but it can’t. What happens is the Demiurge emerges out of the imperfect realm and begins to create all this stuff and eventually creates human beings. In the Valentinian story the Demiurge thinks its creating everything on its own for its own power. But in fact the lower Sophia (Echamoth) with the help of the Aeons, is influencing the Demiurge. They are subtly, sort of influencing what he does. In particularly, subtly pressing him into the creation of human beings.

The lower Sophia realizes the only way she can free herself and the rest of the spirit that is trapped in the cosmic world is if there can emerge some kind of beings that will have some kind of amalgamated identities. That is, they will be, part of the cosmic world and part of the spirit world. Part cosmos and part Pleroma. This she sees in human beings. So there is a sort of subversion of what the Demiurge wants to do. He wants to create automatons to worship him, but Sophia wants to create autonamus beings that can achieve liberation. So it is the lower Sophia, in this Valentinian story that comes into the form of the serpent. The lower Sophia says, “Alright, I have to get in contact with the human beings.” And so she says “What I’ll do is that I will go into the most humblest and the most simple of physical things. This animal that simply slithers along the ground, the serpent.” The Demiurge is so overwhelmed with his own arrogance and his own power that he’s not going to notice something as humble as the serpent. It is going to be completely off his radar screen.

So the lower Sophia, enters the serpent and comes to the people and then has the dialogue in which she begins to tell them the truth about things which is as she says, the Demiurge is not the one true God. That in fact human beings have this divine core within them and that if they would have the courage to eat the fruit of moral truth, if they have the courage to face the realities of the universe or rather not the universe but of all existence. Then they too can be transformed into God.

So you can see that is a little more complicated than other stories. I wouldn’t say it contradicts “on the origin of the World” more that it compliments it. What we see is the relationship between Christ and Sophia becomes more explicit. When Christ comes down to earth and manifests in the human being Jesus, Valentinian Gnostics would say “Why?” you know, why? This is a problem, why does Christ come into the world? I mean what is the point? They would say it is to help liberate Sophia. It is because Sophia is so important, so fundamental to him in the Pleroma, that he sees the lower Sophia and the rest of the spirit in the cosmic realm. He wants to enter that world; he wants to be willing to empty himself into a human existence so that he can help bring about the liberation of the lower Sophia and the reunification of the two parts of Sophia. Because there is a great pain involved in the separation for every being in the Pleroma because their wholeness has been ripped apart. So there is very much a sense that Christ and all the other beings or Aeons and God, even God, is deeply moved by compassion. It is compassion that moves all of these forces to try to help us. It is compassion and it is suffering. As Origen, an early Christian theologian said something interesting, he said, he was talking about Jesus Christ and he said “Christ suffered before he died on the cross.” And that “Actually Christ suffered before he was even born.” He goes on to say that “If Christ did not suffer, he would have never have come down to Earth.” That is his explanation of why Christ enters the world. That you can see is tied into this very interesting relationship between Christ and Sophia.

Brother Matthew Ouroboro


Sophia: 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.)

Carpocrates: (100?-150 CE); Formed a sect in Alexandria known as Carpocrations. Possible successor to Samaritan Simon Magus. He taught reincarnation in his Gnostic philosophy. An individual had to live many lives and adsorb a full range of experiences before being able to return to God. They practiced free sexuality. They believed that Jesus was the son of Joseph. They questioned the docetic aspects attributed to Jesus. (See; “Stromata,” Bk 3.) http://www.antinopolis.org/carpocrates.html

Pleroma: The word means “fullness,” and the ‘All.’ It refers to ”all existence
beyond matter. Refers to the world of the Aeons, the heavens or spiritual
universe, which represents being out of the state of matter. According to the
“Gospel of Truth” “….all the emanations from the Father are Pleromas.” see
Tractates 3, 2, Codices, I, and XII, Nag Hammadi Lib. Pleroma can have other
connotations according to the Gnostic school of thought, some differences in
Sethian and Valentinian (other) schools can be noted. Pleroma, is different than
Logos. (See; Logos, See also; Gaffney, p. 246.)

Pneumatic: One who 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 Nicea (Basil), who used the term
in his mystical teachings, and is a later term which connotes Gnostic. See;
Early Christian Mystics,” McGinn, Crossroads, 2003.)

the “Pneumatics”, correspond with “Pneuma”, the spiritual
“breath”, the spiritual order.  These are the Gnostic Initiates,
those who go beyond mentality/consciousness, and all modes related to
the individuality.  That which concerns Pneumatics, is as different
from the psychics, and the psychics from the hylics.

Aeon: These are characterized as emanations from the ‘first cause,’ the Father in some Gnostic schema. The word not only refers to the “worlds” of emanation, but to the personalities as well. Sophia, Logos, and the other high principles are aeons. ”A link or level of the great chain of being, the sum total which is the ‘All’ or Pleroma…Can also mean a world age.” (See; Gaffney) ”According to other Gnostics, for example Valentinus, the first principle is also called Aeon or the unfathomable, the primeval depth, the absolute abyss, bythos, in which everything is sublimated…” translated by Scott J. Thompson from G.W.F.
Hegel’s ”Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Philosophie ii ,” (Theorie Werkausgabe, Bd. 19), Frankfurt a.M., Suhrkamp Verlag, 1977, 426-430] ( See also; Pleroma.) The first ten aeons in the Valentinian schema are, Bythios (Profound) and Mixis (Mixture), Ageratos (Never old) and Henosis (Union), Autophyes (Essential nature) and Hedone (Pleasure), Acinetos (Immoveable) and Syncrasis (Commixture,) Monogenes (Only-begotten) and Macaria (Happiness). http://www.wbenjamin.org/hegel_kabbalah.html

Demiurge: Meaning ‘Creator’ in Greek. Thought to be the “Craftsman” or creator of the material world. (Heracleon) In Orthodox thought this is a supernatural entity or force, such as the appearance of God to Moses. In the Gnostic schema the Word refers to an order, and it may be a natural sort of intelligent design, related to wisdom, the earthly or kenomic state of the higher wisdom, or form from the Pleroma. The material state is considered less than the Pleromic, and highly flawed. Archons seem to be emanations from the Demiurge process, much like other emanations from the Pleroma. (See; Pleroma, Kenoma, Archon.)


Echmoth: (Echamoth) Meaning a form of wisdom; “Echamoth is one thing and Echmoth, another. Echamoth is Wisdom simply, but (e) Echmoth is the Wisdom of death, which is the one who knows death, which is called “the little Wisdom”. (”Gospel of Phillip, NHL.)

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