Context Shifting in the “Gospel of Thomas”
Tom Saunders, B.A. /B.S. Certified Linguist

Long before I understood that the “Gospel of Thomas” was a Gnostic text, like many others, I read Thomas and drew the predicate context from my own experiences with religious teaching. Then I figured out that the Thomas gospel is aligned closely to the Gnostic philosophies, epistemology, and metaphysics presented in the other Nag Hammadi Library texts.

Both Irenaeus, and Hippolytus present evidence in their anti-Gnostic works that the Naassenes who started the Apostle’s Village in Jerusalem had some important texts. One was a no longer extant “Gospel of Matthew;” they had the “Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of the Egyptians,” and “The Apocryphon (Secret Book) of John.” These texts form the basis for the Gnostic epistemology. These texts can be found in the Nag Hammadi Library.

The first passage in the “Gospel of Thomas” reads:

“These are the Secret Sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down.” (GThom)

What makes the Secret Sayings secret is if you cannot “context shift” the meanings of the sayings so the predicate context of the passages is Gnostic, you may miss the meaning of the sayings.

Words in Gnostic passages like spirit, soul, life, and word have tripartite meanings composed of mathematical, gematric, and literal contexts. Words like spirit, soul, life, and word, have hidden or secret meanings relative to the study of the Gnostic Aeonology. All of these words can serve as Aeon-Monads and grow with others to form sequences and matrices.

The Gnostic Aeonology is very much like Chinese Ba Gua (trigram) science. Christian Gnostics learned the same binary system which was used to construct the “I Ching.” This construction is blueprinted by the Tai Chi icon which is the Yin and Yang icon surrounded by eight ba gua also known as trigrams. The “I Ching” puts sets of eight things together to 64 trigrams which form into one thing. If you can read a Ba Gua sequence you can read an Aeon sequence, I’ve checked.

Instead of the term “Chi,” Gnostics use the term “Aeon” and they both mean virtually the same thing. There is no evidence I have seen that the Gnostics used the Heaven Sequence to construct Ogdoads, but both cultures used Ogdoads for very similar things, like building “memory palaces” and developing other skills. Gnostics called the term for the study of how Aeons affect the mind and body, “Kinetikos.” Loa Tzu explains the attributes of the Tai Chi system in his work the “Hua Hu Ching.”

The “Sacred Tetrad” is a Gnostic work that forms a memory palace where four Aeon-Monads, (Word, Life, Man, Church) turns into two decads, and two dodecads forming a 44 unit Aeon matrix. This construction is made of all the good attributes of Jesus. Two works reflect knowledge of this construction, “A Valentinian Exposition” which is refuted by Tertullian in his “Against the Valentinians.” Valentinus wrote is work much earlier in the 2nd century and would have died before Tertullian wrote his work.

There is a bump in the road for most people who try to read and understand works like the “Gospel of the Egyptians” and “The Apocryphon of John.” Both the anti-Gnostic works by Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, and the Nag Hammadi Library use the unique vocabulary below relative to the Aeonology.

In order to do the correct context shifting you need to learn what the following terms mean in the list below relative to the flow of Aeons. These terms are in the “Gospel of the Egyptians,” and John’s “Secret Book” which tells how Jesus gained divinity:

(Abrasax, Adonaios, Aeons, Aphredon, Archons, Armedon, Armozel, Astraphaios, Autogenes, Barbelo, Bridal Chamber, Davithai, (Domedon) Doxomedon, Demiurge, Echamoth (Achamoth), Eleleth, Ennoia, Iao/Jeu, Gamaliel, Garment, Hebdomad, Kaliptos, Logos, Marsanes, Mirotheos, Monad, Ogdoad, Oriel, Pistis, Pleroma, Protennoia, Protophanes, Sabaoth, Saklas, Sophia, Totalities, Yaldabaoth, Youel) Note: There are variations for some spellings in the above list. (“Saunders Sethian-Valentinian Glossary”)

All of the above terms are applied to a single tripartite algorithm, (Monad/A=C) (Duad/A=B = B=C) (Triad synthesis/ A= B = C) =1. This algorithm is the formula for the emanation of all Aeons from the formation of the Monad to Duad, to Triad, to Tetrad, to Hexad, to Hebdomad, to Ogdoad and on up. All human emotions can be blueprinted to the formation of the Hebdomad. The power of Jesus as a divine entity is the power to control the Archons (Ogdoads) to use good to fight evil. Jesus has the power over Aeon-Hebdomads, good or evil.

There is evidence that earlier versions of the “Gospel of Thomas” used the term Aeon in logion 4. Hippolytus recorded a version of this passage in “Against All Heresies.” The Thomas passage was changed by later Valentinian scribes in the second century. The mention of Aeons in any early Christian work is a definite sign the work is Gnostic.

“The one who seeks me will find me in children from seven years of age and onwards. For there, hiding in the Fourteenth Aeon, I am revealed.” (Hippolytus, Ref. 5.7.20, GThom L-4)

Gnostic Christianity is not monster-free. Chapter Eight of the “Gospel of Mary” reveals the “Seven Powers of Wrath.” If you know something about the Aeonology and studied G.R.S. Mead’s work, it is no problem to understand Wrath in Mary is a description of the construction of an Aeon-Hebdomad emanation.

G.R.S. Mead writes, “In his Aeonology, Simon, like other Gnostic teachers, begins with the Word, the Logos, which springs up from the Depths of the Unknown-Invisible, Incomprehensible Silence…

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

The context of the Monad to Hebdomad construction for good or evil emotions works well with how modern Linguists see “context shifting and attitude contexts…”

“Kaplan (1989) speculated that natural language was ‘monster-free;’ that it lacks operators that manipulate contexts, understood in the Kaplanian way as tuples of indices relating to the agent of the utterance, the time of utterance, and so forth. Schlenker (2003) showed convincingly that there are monsters after all. However, both Schlenker and Kaplan mostly consider attitude contexts. This means that, while we can be sure that there are monsters lurking in the attitudes, it is not clear where else they may be found.” (“Context Shifting in Questions and Elsewhere” by McCready)

Gnostics put the ‘attitude monsters’ in the Evil Matrix of Seven Powers who have seven powers. Wrath, Lust, Hate, Envy, Grief, Lies, and Fear can all be put in the Aeon-Hebdomad blueprint matrix. Further, if you study the Aeonology and the formation of hebdomads, you can learn to manipulate the 7×7 matrix. It is beyond the scope of this work to try and teach the Aeonology but understanding part of it explains how Gnostics understood Word or Logos as emanations.

Logos; The term for Sethians and Valentinians can be synonymous with the Word of God as an emanation of truth, or as a reflection of man’s divine or Aeon form in the Pleroma. In both Sethian and Platonic Christian Gnosticism logos refers to a system of order, reason, and knowledge. Aristotle characterized logos as an examination of a premise using both inductive and deductive logic, i.e. checks and balances. The concept of truth in the Logos in Sethian-Naassene Christianity is shown with the following algorithm used in Trivium Method logic. This principle is based upon a tripartite union where three roads meet to form one road, and where four roads or the tetrad meets in the center it forms a single point: (1st Premise/Monad A=C) (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad A=B = B=C) (Synthesis/Triad of A=B=C) = 1 Logos. (Saunders Gnostic Glossaries, 2014)

The Coptic “Gospel of Thomas” uses no Sethian specific terms. This is probably because later Gnostics decided to hide the elements of the Aeonology and the mathematical construction of the monadic sequence. The study of the monad is from the teachings of Pythagoras and was traditionally kept secret for centuries.

Jesus gains his power of divinity by becoming the Monad for Gnostic Christianity. All monads are formed from three things that become one thing. Plato in his work “Republic” wrote:

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

The “Gospel of the Egyptians” explains that Jesus gained the power of divinity by combining the Ogdoad powers of the Father (Adonaios), Mother (Barbelon), and Son (Jesus). I see part of the purpose of this text as a way to understand the Gnostic context of what Jesus said. This is why I see the “Thomas, John’s Secret Book and Egyptians” as companion texts.

To understand the Thomas gospel you must context shift so that the term Father is the Monad and refers to the Ogdoad powers of Adonaios, or Adonai-Sabaoth. Mother refers to the Ogdoad powers of Barbelon and they combine forming the Duad, and then bind with the Ogdoad powers of the Son as the Triad to become one thing.

Mariamne: Mariamne is one of the women known to have traveled with Jesus and his followers. She is also known as Mary Magdalene. According to the “Acts of Philip” by Leucius Charinus, Mariamne was Philip’s sister. According to Church history Philip and Mariamne lived and taught the followers of Simon Magus, and Dositheos. They had all been followers of John the Baptist along with Jesus. The “Acts of Philip” reveal that Mariamne returned to Jerusalem. Her remains were found in Jerusalem in an ossuary inside the Jesus Family Tomb. One Nag Hammadi document is attributed to her teaching, the “Gospel of Mary.” (SGG)
Most scholars think the “Gospel of Mary” was written in the 2nd century. I think Basilidians who wanted to preserve what they knew about Mary’s teaching may have written it somewhere at the turn of the first century. They may have written the GPhil also.  Basilides was a student of both the Apostle Matthias and Glausius, Peter’s scribe, according to both Papias and Clement. We do not know when he was born but we do know he became teacher to Valentinus. This put Valentinus in a valid Apostolic lineage in regard to the secret teachings of Jesus and his followers.
Thanks to the work of G.R.S. Mead much of what we know about Gnostics is explained in his available works online at the NHL Archives. Mead has preserved some of the actual writings of Basilides, and Simon Magus. The central theme of both works are about aspects of the Sethian Aeonology. Mead even produces examples of Hebdomads related to Simon Magus. Mead never saw the Nag Hammadi collection as it is today.
The “Gospel of Mary” contains one Sethian specific term, Aeon. Any reference to the Aeonology pretty much makes the document Sethian-Valentinian Gnostic.
“In an Aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient. From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the Aeon, in silence.”
Jesus said, “Do not lay down any rules beyond what I appointed you, and do not give a Law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.” (“Gospel of Mary, Ch.8)
There is only one possible source for knowing what Jesus laid down, and that is in the gospels and scriptures of the Naassenes and those later by Valentinians. To understand these documents requires a working knowledge of the Aeonology and how the Aeon-Monad becomes a working sequence that can turn into a good or evil Hebdomad, Ogdoad, etc.
The following is from the Naassene fragment and is one of the earliest Christian written works…
(Jesus says) “Through Æons universal will I make a Path; Through Mysteries all I’ll open up a Way!
And Forms of Gods will I display; The secrets of the Holy Path I will hand on…
And call them Gnosis.”
The secrets of the Holy Path are related directly to how Jesus is regarded divinity in the Aeonology, i.e. God or more correctly the Logos…
Logos; The term for Sethians and Valentinians can be synonymous with the Word of God as an emanation of truth, or as a reflection of man’s divine or Aeon form in the Pleroma. In both Sethian and Platonic Christian Gnosticism logos refers to a system of order, reason, and knowledge. Aristotle characterized logos as an examination of a premise using both inductive and deductive logic, i.e. checks and balances. The concept of truth in the Logos in Sethian Christianity is shown with the following algorithm used in Trivium Method logic. This principle is based upon a tripartite union where three roads meet to form one road, and where four roads or the tetrad meets in the center it forms a single point: (1st Premise/Monad A=C) (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad A=B = B=C) (Synthesis/Triad of A=B=C) = 1 Logos. (SGG-2014)
All Aeon emanations work by the principles of the above algorythm.

The Story of the Merchant and the Jinni

IT has been related to me, O happy King, said Shahrazad, that there was a certain merchant who had great wealth, and traded extensively with surrounding countries; and one day he mounted his horse, and journeyed to a neighbouring country to collect what was due to him, and, the heat oppressing him, he sat under a tree, in a garden, and put his hand into his saddle-bag, and ate a morsel of bread and a date which were among his provisions. Having eaten the date, he threw aside the stone, and immediately there appeared before him an ‘Efrit, of enormous height, who, holding a drawn sword in his hand, approached him, and said, Rise, that I may kill thee, as thou hast killed my son. the merchant asked him, How have I killed thy son? He answered, When thou atest the date, and threwest aside the stone, it struck my son upon the chest, and, as fate had decreed against him, he instantly died. 1 The merchant, on hearing these words, exclaimed, Verily to God we belong, and verily to Him we must return! There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! If I killed him, I did it not intentionally, but without knowing it; and I trust in thee that thou wilt pardon me.—The Jinni answered, Thy death is indispensable, as thou hast killed my son:—and so saying, he dragged him, and threw him on the ground, and raised his arm to strike him with the sword. The merchant, upon this, wept bitterly, and said to the Jinni, I commit my affair unto God, for no one can avoid what He hath decreed:—and he continued his lamentation, repeating the following verses:—

Time consists of two days; this, bright; and that, gloomy; and life, of two moieties; this, safe; and that, a fearful.
Say to him who hath taunted us on account of misfortunes, Doth fortune oppose any but the eminent?
Dost thou observe that corpses float upon the sea, while the precious pearls remain in its furthest depths?
When the hands of time play with us, misfortune is imparted to us by its protracted kiss.
In the heaven are stars that cannot be numbered; but none is eclipsed save the sun and the moon.
How many green and dry trees are on the earth; but none is assailed with stones save that which beareth fruit!
Thou thoughtest well of the days when they went well with thee, and fearedst not the evil that destiny was bringing.

—When he had finished reciting these verses, the Jinni said to him, Spare thy words, for thy death is unavoidable.


2 Then said the merchant, Know, O ‘Efrit, that I have debts to pay, and I have much property, and children, and a wife, and I have pledges also in my possession: let me, therefore, go back to my house, and give to every one his due, and then I will return to thee: I bind myself by a vow and covenant that I will return to thee, and thou shalt do what thou wilt; and God is witness of what I say.—Upon this, the Jinni accepted his covenant, and liberated him; granting him a respite until the expiration of the year.


3 The merchant, therefore, returned to his town, accomplished all that was upon his mind to do, paid every one what he owed him, and informed his wife and children of the event which had befallen him; upon hearing which, they and all his family and women wept. He appointed a guardian over his children, and remained with his family until the end of the year; when he took his grave-clothes under his arm, bade farewell to his household and neighbours, and all his relations, and went forth, in spite of himself; his family raising cries of lamentation, and shrieking.


4 He proceeded until he arrived at the garden before mentioned; and it was the first day of the new year; and as he sat, weeping for the calamity which he expected soon to befall him, a sheykh, advanced in years, approached him, leading a gazelle with a chain attached to its neck. This sheykh saluted the merchant, wishing him a long life, and said to him, What is the reason of thy sitting alone in this place, seeing that it is a resort of the Jinn? The merchant therefore informed him of what had befallen him with the ‘Efrit, and of the cause of his sitting there; at which the sheykh, the owner of the gazelle, was astonished, and said, By Allah, O my brother, thy faithfulness is great, and thy story is wonderful! if it were engraved upon the intellect, it would be a lesson to him who would be admonished!—And he sat down by his side, and said, By Allah, O my brother, I will not quit this place until I see what will happen unto thee with this ‘Efrit. So he sat down, and conversed with him. And the merchant became almost senseless; fear entered him, and terror, and violent grief, and excessive anxiety. And as the owner of the gazelle sat by his side, lo, a second sheykh approached them, with two black hounds, and inquired of them, after saluting them, the reason of their sitting in that place, seeing that it was a resort of the Jann: and they told him the story from beginning to end. And he had hardly sat down when there approached them a third sheykh, with a dapple mule; and he asked them the same question, which was answered in the same manner.


5 Immediately after, the dust was agitated, and became an enormous revolving pillar, approaching them from the midst of the desert: and this dust subsided, and behold, the Jinni, with a drawn sword in his hand; his eyes casting forth sparks of fire. He came to them, and dragged from them the merchant, and said to him, Rise, that I may kill thee, as thou killedst my son, the vital spirit of my heart. And the merchant wailed and wept: and the three sheykhs also manifested their sorrow by weeping and crying aloud and wailing: but the first sheykh, who was the owner of the gazelle, recovering his self-possession, kissed the hand of the ‘Efrit, and said to him, O thou Jinni, and crown of the kings of the Jann, if I relate to thee the story of myself and this gazelle, and thou find it to be wonderful, and more so than the adventure of this merchant, wilt thou give up to me a third of thy claim to his blood? He answered, Yes, O sheykh; if thou relate to me the story, and I find it to be as thou hast said, I will give up to thee a third of my claim to his blood.


Once upon a time . . . as a merchant set off for market, he asked each of

his three daughters what she would like as a present on his return. The first

daughter wanted a brocade dress, the second a pearl necklace, but the third,

whose name was Beauty, the youngest, prettiest and sweetest of them all, said

to her father:

“All I’d like is a rose you’ve picked specially for me!”

When the merchant had finished his business, he set off for home. However,

a sudden storm blew up, and his horse could hardly make headway in the howling

gale. Cold and weary, the merchant had lost all hope of reaching an inn when

he suddenly noticed a bright light shining in the middle of a wood. As he drew

near, he saw that it was a castle, bathed in light.

“I hope I’ll find shelter there for the night,” he said to himself. When he

reached the door, he saw it was open, but though he shouted, nobody came to

greet him. Plucking up courage, he went inside, still calling out to attract

attention. On a table in the main hall, a splendid dinner lay already served.

The merchant lingered, still shouting for the owner of the castle. But no one

came, and so the starving merchant sat down to a hearty meal.

Overcome by curiosity, he ventured upstairs, where the corridor led into

magnificent rooms and halls. A fire crackled in the first room and a soft bed

looked very inviting. It was now late, and the merchant could not resist. He

lay down on the bed and fell fast asleep. When he woke next morning, an

unknown hand had placed a mug of steaming coffee and some fruit by his


The merchant had breakfast and after tidying himself up, went downstairs to

thank his generous host. But, as on the evening before, there was nobody in

sight. Shaking his head in wonder at the strangeness of it all, he went

towards the garden where he had left his horse, tethered to a tree. Suddenly,

a large rose bush caught his eye.

Remembering his promise to Beauty, he bent down to pick a rose. lnstantly,

out of the rose garden, sprang a horrible beast, wearing splendid clothes. Two

bloodshot eyes, gleaming angrily, glared at him and a deep, terrifying voice

growled: “Ungrateful man! I gave you shelter, you ate at my table and slept in

my own bed, but now all the thanks I get is the theft of my favourite flowers!

I shall put you to death for this slight!” Trembling with fear, the merchant

fell on his knees before the Beast.

“Forgive me! Forgive me! Don’t kill me! I’ll do anything you say! The rose

wasn’t for me, it was for my daughter Beauty. I promised to bring her back a

rose from my journey!” The Beast dropped the paw it had clamped on the unhappy


“I shall spare your life, but on one condition, that you bring me your

daughter!” The terror-stricken merchant, faced with certain death if he did

not obey, promised that he would do so. When he reached home in tears, his

three daughters ran to greet him. After he had told them of his dreadful

adventure, Beauty put his mind at rest immediately.

“Dear father, I’d do anything for you! Don’t worry, you’ll be able to keep

your promise and save your life! Take me to the castle. I’ll stay there in

your place!” The merchant hugged his daughter.

“I never did doubt your love for me. For the moment I can only thank you

for saving my life.” So Beauty was led to the castle. The Beast, however, had

quite an unexpected greeting for the girl. Instead of menacing doom as it had

done with her father, it was surprisingly pleasant.

In the beginning, Beauty was frightened of the Beast, and shuddered at the

sight of it. Then she found that, in spite of the monster’s awful head, her

horror of it was gradually fading as time went by. She had one of the finest

rooms in the Castle, and sat for hours, embroidering in front of the fire. And

the Beast would sit, for hours on end, only a short distance away, silently

gazing at her. Then it started to say a few kind words, till in the end,

Beauty was amazed to discover that she was actually enjoying its conversation.

The days passed, and Beauty and the Beast became good friends. Then one day,

the Beast asked the girl to be his wife. .-~

Taken by surprise, Beauty did not know what to say. Marry such an ugly

monster? She would rather die! But she did not want to hurt the feelings of

one who, after all, had been kind to her. And she remembered too that she owed

it her own life as well as her father’s.

“I really can’t say yes,” she began shakily. “I’d so much like to . . .”

The Beast interrupted her with an abrupt gesture.

“I quite understand! And I’m not offended by your refusal!” Life went on as

usual, and nothing further was said. One day, the Beast presented Beauty with

a magnificent magic mirror. When Beauty peeped into it, she could see her

family, far away.

“You won’t feel so lonely now,” were the words that accompanied the gift.

Beauty stared for hours at her distant family. Then she began to feel worried.

One day, the Beast found her weeping beside the magic mirror.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, kindly as always.

“My father is gravely ill and close to dying! Oh, how I wish I could see

him again, before it’s too late!” But the Beast only shook its head.

“No! You will never leave this castle!” And off it stalked in a rage.

However, a little later, it returned and spoke solemnly to the girl._

“If you swear that you will return here in seven days time, I’ll let you go

and visit your father!” Beauty threw herself at the Beast’s feet in delight.

“I swear! I swear I will! How kind you are! You’ve made a loving daughter

so happy!” In reality, the merchant had fallen ill from a broken heart at

knowing his daughter was being kept prisoner. When he embraced her again, he

was soon on the road to recovery. Beauty stayed beside him for hours on end,

describing her life at the Castle, and explaining that the Beast was really

good and kind. The days flashed past, and at last the merchant was able to

leave his bed. He was completely well again. Beauty was happy at last.

However, she had failed to notice that seven days had gone by.

Then one night she woke from a terrible nightmare. She had dreamt that the

Beast was dying and calling for her, twisting in agony.

“Come back! Come back to me!” it was pleading. The solem promise she had

made drove her to leave home immediately.

“Hurry! Hurry, good horse!” she said, whipping her steed onwards towards

the castle, afraid that she might arrive too late. She rushed up the stairs,

calling, but there was no reply. Her heart in her mouth, Beauty ran into the

garden and there crouched the Beast, its eyes shut, as though dead. Beauty

threw herself at it and hugged it tightly.

“Don’t die! Don’t die! I’ll marry you . . .” At these words, a miracle took

place. The Beast’s ugly snout turned magically into the face of a handsome

young man.

“How I’ve been longing for this moment!” he said. “I was suffering in

silence, and couldn’t tell my frightful secret. An evil witch turned me into a

monster and only the love of a maiden willing to accept me as I was, could

transform me back into my real self. My dearest! I’ll be so happy if you’ll

marry me . . .”

The wedding took place shortly after and, from that day on, the young

Prince would have nothing but roses in his gardens. And that’s why, to this

day, the castle is known as the Castle of the Rose.


A wealthy, widowed merchant lives in a mansion with his six children, three sons and three daughters. All his daughters are very beautiful, but the youngest, Beauty, is the most lovely, as well as kind, well-read, and pure of heart; while the two elder sisters, in contrast, are wicked, selfish, vain, and spoiled. They secretly taunt Beauty and treat her more like a servant than a sister. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea. He and his children are consequently forced to live in a small farmhouse and work for their living.

Some years later, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he had sent off has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots. He returns to the city to discover whether it contains anything valuable. Before leaving, he asks his children if they wish for him to bring any gifts back for them. The sons ask for weaponry and horses to hunt with, whereas his oldest daughters ask for clothing, jewels, and the finest dresses possible as they think his wealth has returned. Beauty is satisfied with the promise of a rose as none grow in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that his ship’s cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him penniless and unable to buy his children’s presents.

During his return, the merchant becomes lost in a forest during a storm. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. A hidden figure opens the giant doors and silently invites him in. The merchant finds tables inside laden with food and drink, which seem to have been left for him by the palace’s invisible owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night there. The next morning, as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Beauty had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he can find, the merchant is confronted by a hideous “Beast” which tells him that for taking his most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Beauty, but only if the merchant or one of his daughters will return.

The merchant is upset but accepts this condition. The Beast sends him on his way, with wealth, jewels and fine clothes for his sons and daughters, and stresses that Beauty must never know about his deal. The merchant, upon arriving home, tries to hide the secret from Beauty, but she pries it from him. Her brothers say they will go to the castle and fight the Beast, but the merchant dissuades them, saying they will stand no chance against the monster. Beauty then agrees to go to the Beast’s castle. The Beast receives her graciously and informs her that she is now mistress of the castle, and he is her servant. He gives her lavish clothing and food and carries on lengthy conversations with her. Every night, the Beast asks Beauty to marry him, only to be refused each time. After each refusal, Beauty dreams of a handsome prince who pleads with her to answer why she keeps refusing him, to which she replies that she cannot marry the Beast because she loves him only as a friend. Beauty does not make the connection between the handsome prince and the Beast and becomes convinced that the Beast is holding the prince captive somewhere in the castle. She searches and discovers multiple enchanted rooms, but never the prince from her dreams.

For several months, Beauty lives a life of luxury at the Beast’s palace, having every whim catered to by invisible servants, with no end of riches to amuse her and an endless supply of exquisite finery to wear. Eventually, she becomes homesick and begs the Beast to allow her to go see her family. He allows it on the condition that she returns exactly a week later. Beauty agrees to this and sets off for home with an enchanted mirror and ring. The mirror allows her to see what is going on back at the Beast’s castle, and the ring allows her to return to the castle in an instant when turned three times around her finger. Her older sisters are surprised to find her well fed and dressed in finery. Beauty tries to share the magnificent gowns and jewels the Beast gave her with her sisters, but they turn into rags at her sisters’ touch, and are restored to their splendour when returned to Beauty, as the Beast meant them only for her. Her sisters are envious when they hear of her happy life at the castle, and, hearing that she must return to the Beast on a certain day, beg her to stay another day, even putting onion in their eyes to make it appear as though they are weeping. They hope that the Beast will be angry with Beauty for breaking her promise and eat her alive. Beauty’s heart is moved by her sisters’ false show of love, and she agrees to stay.

Illustration by Warwick Goble.

Beauty begins to feel guilty about breaking her promise to the Beast and uses the mirror to see him back at the castle. She is horrified to discover that the Beast is lying half-dead from heartbreak near the rose bushes from which her father plucked the rose, and she immediately uses the ring to return to the Beast.

Beauty weeps over the Beast, saying that she loves him. When her tears strike him, the Beast is transformed into the handsome prince from Beauty’s dreams. The Prince informs her that long ago a fairy turned him into a hideous beast after he refused to let her in from the rain and that only by finding true love, despite his ugliness, could the curse be broken. He and Beauty are married and they live happily ever after together.


Anne Anderson (1874-1931)

Fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast can be traced back thousands of years, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon.

Using techniques normally employed by biologists, academics studied links between stories from around the world and found some had prehistoric roots.

They found some tales were older than the earliest literary records, with one dating back to the Bronze Age.

The stories had been thought to date back to the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Durham University anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani, said Jack and the Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure, and could be traced back to when Eastern and Western Indo-European languages split more than 5,000 years ago.

Analysis showed Beauty And The Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old.

And a folk tale called The Smith And The Devil, about a blacksmith selling his soul in a pact with the Devil in order to gain supernatural abilities, was estimated to go back 6,000 years to the Bronze Age.

Once upon a time there lived a wealthy merchant, who had three beautiful daughters. Once he decided to do business overseas. He called for the daughters and asked what gifts should he bring them. The eldest asked for a golden tiara adorned with precious gems that sparkled brightly, and the second wanted a crystal mirror which always showed the person’s reflection as young and beautiful. The merchant knew these would be difficult to obtain, but within his means. The youngest, named Nastenka (a diminutive form of the given name Anastasia), asked for the most beautiful scarlet flower in the world, which she had seen in a dream. The merchant did not know where he could find such a flower, but promised not to disappoint.

Everything went well. The merchant bought all gifts, except for the scarlet flower. He saw many scarlet flowers, but not the most beautiful one. On the way home he was attacked by robbers, fled into the woods and became lost. When he awoke the next morning he saw a splendid palace “in flame, silver and gold”. He walked inside, marveling at the splendor, but the palace was seemingly empty. Spread before him was a luxurious feast, and he sat down and ate. When he walked out to the garden he saw the most beautiful scarlet flower, and knew it was the one his daughter desired. Upon picking it, the terrible Beast of the Forest leapt out and confronted the merchant, asking him why he dared pick the scarlet flower, the one joy of the beast’s life. The beast demanded that the merchant repay him and forfeit his life. The merchant begged for mercy and to be returned to his daughters. The beast allowed this on the one condition that within the next three days one of his daughters would willingly take her father’s place and live with the beast, or the merchant’s life would be forfeit. The beast gave the merchant a ring, and the girl that put it on the littlest finger of her right hand would be transported to the palace. Then the beast magically transported the merchant home, with all his wealth and treasures restored.

The merchant explained what happened to his three daughters. The eldest two believed the youngest should go, since it was her present that caused this disaster. The youngest daughter loved her father so, so she willingly went to live with the beast. Nastenka lived luxuriously with the beast, who granted her every desire, fed her delicious food and gave her rich jewels and clothing, yet never revealed himself to her for fear of upsetting her. However Nastenka became fond of the beast and asked to see him. When he finally revealed himself to her, she was overcome with fear but controlled herself, and apologized to the beast for upsetting him. When Nastenka had a dream that her father was ill, the Beast let her visit him. However, he said that she must come back in three days, otherwise he would perish, since his love for her was so great he loved her more than himself, and could not bear to be apart from her.

Nastenka’s visit to her father revived his spirits, but her sisters resented the wealth she lived in. They tried to talk her out of returning to the Beast, but Nastenka could not be so cruel to her kind host. The elder sisters put the clocks back and closed the windows, to trick Nastenka. When Nastenka felt that something had been wrong and came back to the Monster’s palace, he lay dying near the scarlet flower. Nastenka rushed to his side, took him in her arms, and cried that she loved him more than herself, that he was her true love. All of a sudden thunder boomed, and Nastenka was transported to a golden throne next to a handsome prince. The handsome prince explained that he was the Beast, cursed by a witch who was fighting his father, a mighty king. To break the curse, a maiden had to fall in love with him in his monstrous form. The merchant gave his blessing to the young couple, who lived happily ever after







The central text in the Nag Hammadi Library collection can be seen as “The Gospel of Thomas,” also known as “The Secret Sayings of the Living Jesus.” It is central because its contents are passages made from what Jesus said. Without having “what Jesus said” there could be no epistemology for Christianity as a philosophy.

Of great concern to students of the NHL is how “Thomas” as scripture is used as an instrument. There are clues in 1st century history. There were Jewish rules for interpretation.

The Seven Rules of Hillel on interpreting scripture existed long before Rabbi Hillel (60 BCE – 20 CE?), but he was the first known person to write them down. The rules are so old we see them used in the Old Testament. Because Hillel was a known teacher at the time of Jesus, it is logical that these Sethian Jews, familiar with the teaching of Levites would know the Seven Rules.


Hillel was a Sanhedrin Priest who shared his duties in regard to Law with another Priest names Shammai. The Sanhedrin was the lower system of lawmakers active in the Jewish Temple.

The Seven Rules of Hillel:

(1) Chol v’chomer – argument from lesser to greater (or greater to lesser) “If this …. then how much more so…”

(2) Gezeirah shavah – argument by analogy — comparing similar words in different passages.

(3) Binyan av – a foundational passage serves to interpretate other passages.

(4) Kelal ufrat – a general summary statement is followed by an explanatory, more specific statement.

(5) Sh’enei ketuvim – standard from two passages – a decision where two laws that seem to contradict are settled by another verse which resolves the conflict.

(6) Ke yotzei bo mimakom acher – “like it says elsewhere” – explanation of a word in one text is clarified by use of same word in an unrelated text.

(7) Davar halameid mi’inyano – definition from context of total passage.

Hillel concentrated on interpreting the Spirit of the Law, while Shammai followed the letter of the Law, both according to scripture. Clearly, Jesus departed from the letter of the law in concern to matters like circumcision, redeption, salvation, and spirituality.
According to the anti-Gnostics, circa 180 A.D., the primary texts for earlier Sethians were a now extinct version of the “Gospel of Matthew,” an early version of “The Gospel of Thomas,” “The Gospel of the Egyptians,” and “The Apocryphon of John.” This small group of early Christian works constitute a core collection added with the other Sethian-Valentinian works of the HHL. (Hippolytus, Ref. 5, also see Gaffney, “Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes”)
Some modern scholars contend that “The Gospel of Thomas,” is not Gnostic, and not related to the Nag Hammadi works. I contend that if you do not understand the basic principles of the Sethian epistemology, the Aeonology, you will not realize the Thomas gospel is a Sethian text and a related work. This is because the Thomas Gospel in the NHL was redacted so no Sethian Specific words were used in the Coptic text. This fact can be shown with a passage preserved by Hippolytus.

works he reveals Thomas saying 4, which can be compared to the Coptic version below. The comparison reveals that the Hippolytus’ version uses the Sethian Specific term “Aeon.”

“The one who seeks me will find me in children from seven years of age and onwards. For there, hiding in the Fourteenth Aeon, I am revealed.” (Hippolytus, Ref. 5.7.20, GThom L-4)

“The old man will not hesitate to ask a little child of seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For many who are first will be last, and they will become a single people.” (Coptic Thomas, L-4)

The Nag Hammadi collection represent authors who understood Hillel’s rule No. 6, ” …the explanation of a word in one text is clarified by use of same word in an unrelated text.” And, similar words in related passages are the basis for drawing analogies.
The one Sethian Specific term that relates the Sethian-Valentinian works to the same epistemology is the word Aeon. If the Nag Hammadi authors followed Hillel in regard to what Aeon means, then Simon Magus, Dositheos, Jesus, Basilides, and Valentinians understood the same concept. I define the term Aeon as:
Aeon: The term refers to emanations (spirit or pneuma) from the Pleroma, or the energy of thought entering man’s mind, like from the demiurge as an Aeon-Monad. All human emotions enter our minds as Aeon emanations. Aeons are formed from tripartite unions of a Monad, Duad, and Triad. Aeons as emanations are one-half of a duality, and Aeon sequences like Hebdomads and Ogdoads are made of other Aeon-Monads which can form a matrix. This is like the Evil Trinity, or Sacred Tetrad. Aeon names are given mathematical, literal, and gematric tripartite values. Aeon names usually represent titles for whole fields of study. The emanation process in Sethianism is based upon the early Sethian Father, Mother, and Son, Ogdoad trinity, giving Jesus the power of divinity as the Monad. This method is based upon the concept of three roads meeting to form one road, and when four roads come together, it forms one point. Aeons are constructed from Monads aligned with the algorithm of the Trivium Method. All Aeon emanations like triads, tetrads, hebdomads, and ogdoads work based upon the same tripartite algorithm: (1st Premise/Monad A=C) (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad A=B = B=C) (Synthesis/Triad of A=B=C) = 1. (Logos) (SGG, 2015)
The use of the term Aeon is in almost every work of the NHL collection. If the term Aeon is not used, other elements of the Aeonology are. The underlying philosophy of the Sethians and Valentinians is their Aeonology. The study of the affect of Aeons on people was called “Kinetikos.” I’m sure any NHL author from 1st or 2nd century Gnostic Christianity would have understood the following terms…

The Sethian-Valentinian Lexicon:

(Abrasax, Adonaios, Aeons, Aphredon, Archons, Armedon, Armozel, Astraphaios, Autogenes, Barbelo, Bridal Chamber, Davithai, (Domedon) Doxomedon, Demiurge, Echamoth (Achamoth), Eleleth, Ennoia, Iao/Jeu, Gamaliel, Garment, Hebdomad, Kaliptos, Logos, Marsanes, Mirotheos, Monad, Ogdoad, Oriel, Pistis, Pleroma, Protennoia, Protophanes, Sabaoth, Saklas, Sophia, Totalities, Yaldabaoth, Youel)

List of Works and number of parallels to the S-V Lexicon:

“The Gospel of the Egyptians” * (23 parallels to the above lexicon)

“Books of Jeu (Iao)” (19)

“The Apocryphon of John” * (18)

“Trimorophic Protennoia” (17)

“Zostrianos” (17)

“The Second Treatise of the Great Seth” (12)

“Allogenes” (10)

“The Pistis Sophia” * (9)

“Melchizedek” (8)

“On the Origin of the World” (8)

“Hypostasis of the Archons” (8)

“The Three Steles of Seth” (7)

“Marsanes” (6)

“The First Apocalypse of James” (5)

“The Gospel of Philip”* (5)

“The Gospel of Thomas” * (3)

“The Gospel of Mary” * (1)

(*) Indicates works known by Hippolytus or Irenaeus around 180 A.D.

Outside of Hillel’s box of rules are the “Gospel of Thomas” parables. The interpretation of Christian parables is explained by Clement…
“Wherefore the holy mysteries of the prophecies are veiled in the parables preserved for chosen men, selected to knowledge in consequence of their faith; for the style of the Scriptures is parabolic. Wherefore also the Lord, who was not of the world, came as one who was of the world to men. For He was clothed with all virtue; and it was His aim to lead man, the foster-child of the world, up to the objects of intellect, and to the most essential truths by knowledge, from one world to another. Wherefore also He employed metaphorical description; for such is the parable, a narration based on some subject which is not the principal subject, but similar to the principal subject, and leading him who understands to what is the true and principal thing; or, as some say, a mode of speech presenting with vigor, by means of other circumstances, what is the principal subject.” (”Stromata,” Bk. VI, et sec.)
Several passages from different sources like Clement and Theodotus state that Jesus only spoke in parables to the masses. He taught his closest followers in private. This appears to be the case, and links the study of the Aeonology to the historical Jesus.
Tom Saunders

When Osiris reigned death was not in the land. Arms were not in men’s hands; there
were not any wars. From end to end of the land music sounded; men and women spoke so sweetly and out of such depth of feeling that all they said was oratory and poetry.
Osiris taught men and women wisdom and he taught them all the arts. He it was who first planted the vine; he it was who showed men how and when to sow grain, how to plant and tend the fruit-trees; he caused them to rejoice in the flowers also. Osiris made laws for men so that they were able to live together in harmony; he gave them knowledge of the Gods, and he showed them how the Gods might be honoured.
And this was what he taught them concerning the Gods: In the beginning was the formless abyss, Nuu. From Nuu came Rê, the Sun. Rê was the first and he was the most divine of all beings. Rê created all forms. From his thought came Shu and Tefênet, the Upper and the Lower. Air. From Shu and Tefênet came Qêb and Nut, the Earth and the Sky. The Earth and the Sky had been separated, the one from the other, but once they had been joined together. From the eye of Rê, made out of the essence that is in that eye, came the first
man and the first woman.
And from Qêb, the Father, and Nut, the Mother, Osiris was born. When he was born a voice came into the world, crying, “Behold, the Lord of all things is born!”
And with Osiris was born Isis, his sister. Afterwards was born Thout, the Wise One. Then there was born Nephthys. And, last, there was born Sêth. And Sêth tore a hole in his mother’s side–Sêth the Violent One. Now Osiris and Isis loved each other as husband and wife, and together they reigned over the land. Thout was with them, and he taught men the arts of writing and of reckoning.
Nephthys went with Sêth and was his wife, and Sêth’s abode was in the desert.
Sêth, in his desert, was angered against Osiris, for everywhere green things that Sêth hated were growing over the land–vine, and grain, and the flowers. Many times Sêth tried to destroy his brother Osiris, but always his plots were baffled by the watchful care of Isis. One day he took the measurement of Osiris’s body–he took the measurement from his shadow–and he made a chest that was the exact size of Osiris.

Soon, at the time before the season of drought, Sêth gave a banquet, and to that banquet he invited all the children of Earth and the Sky. To that banquet came Thout, the Wise One, and Nephthys, the wife of Sêth, and Sêth himself, and Isis, and Osiris. And where they sat at banquet they could see the chest that Sêth had made– the chest made of fragrant and diversified woods. All admired that chest. Then Sêth, as though he would have them enter into a game, told all of them that he would give the chest to the one whose body fitted most closely in it. The children of Qêb and Nut went and laid themselves in the chest that Sêth had made: Sêth went and laid himself in it, Nephthys went and laid herself in it, Thout went and laid himself in it, Isis went and laid herself in it. All were short; none, laid in the chest, but left a space above his or her head.
Then Osiris took the crown off his head and laid himself in the chest. His form filled it in its length and its breadth. Isis and Nephthys and Thout stood above where he lay, looking down upon Osiris, so resplendent of face, so perfect of limb, and congratulating him upon coming into possession of die splendid chest that Sêth had made. Sêth was not beside the chest then. He shouted, and his attendants to the number of seventy-two came into the banquetting hall. They placed the heavy cover upon the chest; they hammered nails into it; they soldered it all over with melted lead. Nor could Isis, nor Thout, nor Nephthys break through the circle that Sêth’s attendants made around the chest. And they, having nailed the cover down, and having soldered it, took up the sealed chest, and, with Sêth going before them, they ran with it out of the hall.
Isis and Nephthys and Thout ran after those who bore the chest. But the night was dark, and these three children of Qêb and Nut were separated, one from the other, and from Sêth and his crew. And these came to where the river was, and they flung the sealed chest into the river. Isis, and Thout, and Nephthys, following the tracks that Sêth and his crew had made, came to the river-bank when it was daylight, but by that time the
current of the river had. brought the chest out into the sea.
Isis followed along the bank of the river, lamenting for Osiris. She came to the sea, and she
crossed over it, but she did not know where to go to seek for the body of Osiris. She wandered through the world, and where she went bands of children went with her, and they helped her in her search.
The chest that held the body of Osiris had drifted in the sea. A flood had cast it upon the land. It had lain in a thicket of young trees. A tree, growing, had lifted it up. The branches of the tree wrapped themselves around it; the bark of the tree spread itself around it; at last the tree grew there, covering the chest with its bark.
The land in which this happened was Byblos. The king and queen of the city, Melquart and Astarte, heard of the wonderful tree, the branches and bark of which gave forth a fragrance. The king had the tree cut down; its branches were trimmed off, and the tree was set up as a column in the king’s house. And then Isis, coming to Byblos, was told of the wonderful tree that grew by the sea. She was told of it by a band of children who came to her. She came to the place: she found that the tree had been cut down and that its trunk was now set up as a column in the king’s house.

She knew from what she heard about the wonderful fragrance that was in the trunk and branches of the tree that the chest she was seeking was within it. She stayed beside where the tree had been. Many who came to that place saw the queenly figure that, day and night, stood near where the wonderful tree had been. But none who came near was spoken to by her. Then the queen, having heard about the stranger who stood there, came to her. When she came near, Isis put her hand upon her
head, and thereupon a fragrance went from Isis and filled the body of the queen.
The queen would have this majestical stranger go with her to her house. Isis went. She nursed the queen’s child in the hall in which stood the column that had closed in it the chest which she sought. She nourished the queen’s child by placing her finger in its mouth. At night she would strip wood from the column that had grown as a tree, and throw the wood upon the fire. And in this fire she would lay the queen’s child. The fire did not injure it at all; it burned softly around the child.
Then Isis, in the form of a swallow, would fly around the column, lamenting.
One night the queen came into the hall where her child was being nursed. She saw no nurse there; she saw her child lying in the fire. She snatched the child up, crying out. Then Isis spoke to the queen from the column on which, in the form of a swallow, she perched. She told the queen that the child would have gained immortality had it been suffered to lie for a night and another night longer within the fire made from the wood of the column. Now it would be long-lived, but not immortal. And she revealed her own divinity to the queen, and claimed the column that had been made from the wonderful tree.
The king had the column taken down; it was split open, and the chest which Isis had sought for so long and with so many lamentations was within it. Isis wrapped the chest in linen, and it was carried for her out of the king’s house. And then a ship was given to her, and on that ship, Isis, never stirring from beside the chest, sailed back
to Egypt.
And coming into Egypt she opened the chest, and took the body of her lord and husband out of it. She breathed into his mouth, and, with the motion of her wings (for Isis, being divine, could assume wings), she brought life back to Osiris. And there, away from men and from all the children of Qêb and Nut, Osiris and Isis lived together.
But one night Sêth, as he was hunting gazelles by moonlight, came upon Osiris and Isis sleeping.
Fiercely he fell upon his brother; he tore his body into fourteen pieces. Then, taking the pieces that were the body of Osiris, he scattered them over the land.
Death had come into the land from the time Osiris had been closed in the chest through the cunning of Sêth; war was in the land; men always had arms in their hands. No longer did music sound, no longer did men and women talk sweetly and out of the depths of their feelings. Less and less did grain, and fruit-trees, and the vine flourish. The green places everywhere were giving way to the desert. Sêth was triumphant; Thout and Nephthys cowered before him.
And all the beauty and all the abundance that had come from Rê would be destroyed if the pieces that had been the body of Osiris were not brought together once more. So Isis sought for them, and Nephthys, her sister, helped her in her seeking. Isis, in a boat that was made of reeds, floated over the marshes, seeking for the pieces. One, and then another, and then another was found. At last she had all the pieces of his torn body. She laid them together on a floating island, and reformed them. And as the body of Osiris was formed once more, the wars that men were waging died down; peace came; grain, and the vine, and the fruit-trees grew once more.
And a voice came to Isis and told her that Osiris lived again, but that he lived in the Underworld where he was now the Judge of the Dead, and that through the justice that he meted out, men and women had life immortal. And a child of Osiris was born to Isis: Horus he was named. Nephthys and the wise Thout guarded him on the floating island where he was born. Horus grew up, and he strove against the evil power of Sêth. In battle he overcame him, and in bonds he brought the evil Sêth, the destroyer of his father, before Isis, his mother. Isis would not have Sêth slain: still he lives, but now he is of the lesser Gods, and his power for evil is not so great as it was in the time before Horus grew to be the avenger of his father.




Tom Saunders


A mystery exists in the study of Nag Hammadi Library works as to what is actually meant by the term Aeon. What does the term really mean? There is a great deal to know about Aeons. Here are a few passages using the term…

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

“In an Aeon I (Jesus) was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient. From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the Aeon, in silence.” (GMary)

“The one who seeks me will find me in children from seven years of age and onwards. For there, hiding in the Fourteenth Aeon, I am revealed.” (Hippolytus, Ref. 5.7.20, GThom L-4)

“Through Aeons universal will I make a Path; Through Mysteries All, I’ll open up a Way!” (Naassene Fragment)

The mention of Aeons in a Nag Hammadi text is a sure sign the text has Sethian-Valentinian roots to the same secret teachings of the Naassenes. This teaching was preserved by Basilidians and later Valentinians. This fact can be shown by the shared unique Sethian Specific terms used in Nag Hammadi texts by known Valentinians and earlier Naassenes. Aeons are complex structures. Ancients who studied Aeons called the science of how Aeons affected the body, Kinetikos. Here is how I define the term Aeon…


Aeon: The term refers to emanations (spirit or pneuma) from the Pleroma, or the energy of thought entering man’s mind. All human emotions enter our minds as Aeon emanations which start with a Monad and grow to a Hebdomad. Aeons are formed from tripartite unions of a Monad, Duad, and Triad. Aeons as types of emanations are one-half of a duality, and Aeon sequences like Hebdomads and Ogdoads are made of other Aeon-Monads which can form a matrix. Aeon names like Spirit or Soul are given mathematical, literal, and gematric tripartite values. Aeon names usually represent titles for whole fields of study that become one field of study. The emanation process in Sethian-Valentinian works is based upon the early Gnostic Father, Mother, and Son, Ogdoad trinity, giving Jesus the power of divinity as the Monad. This method is based upon the concept of three roads meeting to form one road; and when four roads come together, it forms one point. Aeons are constructed from Monads aligned with the algorithm of the Trivium Method. All Aeon emanations like triads, tetrads, hebdomads, and ogdoads, etc. work based upon the same algorithm: (1st Premise/Monad A=C) (2nd Supporting Premise/Duad A=B = B=C) (Synthesis/Triad of A=B=C) = 1. (Logos) (SGG, 2015)


Aeon-Monads can form triads, tetrads, hebdomads, ogdoads, decads, etc. No matter the size of the Aeon sequence the tripartite formula applies to its construction. This allows both even and odd numbered sequences to have equal power in the tripartite unity to form one thing.

The ancient Gnostics knew that every basic human emotion could be put into the form of a Hebdomad. Jesus had the power of Light, meaning the power of good Aeons over evil Aeons. This is to say that he taught the power of recognizing the emotions as subtle powers presented a model that could be manipulated.

“Thus, from the Hebdomad, the Light–which had already come down from above from the Ogdoad unto the Son of the Hebdomad–descended upon Jesus, son of Mary, and he was illumined, being caught on fire in harmony with the Light that streamed into him…” (The Apostle Basilides, see Mead)


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

Another way to show the trivium and quadrivium as an Aeon-Hebdomad is: (h.e.b.) (d.o.a.d.) = 1. One way to describe how a Hebdomad works is by explaining the trivium works as a cause or sign to give information, and the quadrivium works like a signal or effect to represent directed action. These principles are based upon the ancient Trivium Methods “where three roads form one road, and where four roads meet, forms a single point.” (SGG-2014)


Ogdoad; Refers to a two part eight unit Aeon emanation as a body, composed of two tetrads that form a 1st and 2nd premise in the Trivium Method formula: (1st Tetrad/Premise A=C) (2nd Tetrad/Supporting Premise A=B =B=C) (Synthesis of A=B=C) = 1 Ogdoad. Another way to express the Monadic values of the Ogdoad is: (A. Monad, B. Duad, C. Triad, D. Tetrad) (E. Pentad, F. Hexad, G. Hebdoad H. Ogdoad) (Synthesis A=B=C=D=E=F=G=H) =1. A Tetrad works like a four point compass, and an Ogdoad works like an eight point compass. There are actually many different applications for the Ogdoad as a heuristic device. (SGG-2014)

The significance of the Ogdoad in Gnostic literature is that the power of divinity of Jesus is based upon the tripartite union of the three Ogdoad powers of the Father, Mother, and Son. This trinity is explained in the “Apocryphon of John,” “The Gospel of the Egyptians,” and other NHL related works. As an epistemology, this trinity is very different from the mainstream version of how Jesus gained the power of divinity.

This literal comparison of different Christian epistemology is for a discussion outside the scope of this work.

The Gnostic Aeon-Ogdoad, and the Chinese eight ba gua or trigrams of the icon of Tai Chi philosophy are used as heuristic devices the same way. According to Fung Yu-Lan, Pythagorean math and the Tai Chi’s use of trigrams are virtually the same tool. The Gnostic Sacred Tetrad, the Evil Trinity, and the Chinese “I Ching” are all constructed into a matrix the same way; all built into a literal, gematric and mathematical binomial system. All Chi or Aeon emanations are constructed based upon the tripartite algorithm, (A=C) (A=B B=C) (A=B=C) = 1.

In his work the “Hua Hu Ching” Lao Tzu names over twenty heuristic applications for Ba Gua science. As far as I know the Asian system did not use the Hebdomad. I have met other people that knew how a Ba Gua sequence worked. This is how I discovered that the Aeonology and the Tai Chi’s Ba Gua Science are the same tools. After I practiced putting together eight unit ba gua sequences, I figured out the Hebdomad, and how it works with the tripartite algorithm.

Gnostic Christians saw Jesus as the Monad, and Aeon of Aeons. In my opinion the study of Aeons is imperative to the understanding of Nag Hammadi texts.


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).

Aeonology: The study of the emanations of the Aeons from the void, or Silence. G.R.S. Meade writes, “In his Aeonology, Simon, like other Gnostic teachers, begins with the Word, the Logos, which springs up from the Depths of the Unknown-Invisible, Incomprehensible Silence. It is true that he does not so name the Great Power, He who has stood, stands and will stand; but that which comes forth from Silence is Speech, and the idea is the same whatever the terminology employed may be.

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

gnostic cosmology