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The Gnostics and Their Remains

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Demiurge
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δημιουργός (dēmiourgós, latinized demiurgus δήμιος


« Reply #135 on: March 12, 2009, 01:22:17 pm »

most threatening manner at his naked breast.) II. Naked man lying on the earth, his head resting on his hand, in the posture of repose. (Probably the penance of the bed of snow.) III. The same figure, standing with hands uplifted in a huge crescent (perhaps an ark, and representing the trial by water. To this last, Plato is reported to have been subjected during his initiation in Egypt, and to have but narrowly escaped drowning). IV. The same, but now with the pileus, cap of liberty, upon his head, rushing boldly into a great fire (the trial by fire). V. He is now seen struggling through a deep stream, and endeavouring to grasp a rock. VI. Bull walking to the left.

On the other side come the remaining stages. VII. Four guests reclining at a horseshoe table (sigma), upon which is set a boar roasted whole. VIII. Youth guided up a flight of interminable steps by an aged man. IX. Youth kneeling before a man in a long robe, whose hand he grasps in prayer. X. The same figures, but their positions are interchanged. XI. Seated man, before whom kneels a naked, crowned, youth, escorted by one in a long robe. XII. Naked man holding up the hind legs of a cow, so as to receive in his face the stream still regarded by the Hindoos as the most efficient laver of regeneration, and consequently always administered to persons at their last gasp. The same sacred fluid (as I am informed by a Parsee) is used in the sacramental cups drunk by every male upon his first admission into that religion, which takes place on his completing his seventh year. Nay more, such is the belief in its cleansing virtue, that scrupulous Parsees always carry a bottle thereof in their pocket, wherewith to purify their hands after any unavoidable contact with unbelievers!

Very similar ceremonies to these were practised in the secret societies of the Middle Ages, if we choose to accept Von Hammer's interpretation of certain mysterious sculptures, still to be seen in the Templar-churches of Germany; and which he has copiously illustrated in his 'Mysterium Baphometis revelatum.' In the intaglio already described, the kneeling neophyte is encompassed by all the terrific and mysterious host of Mithras, so remorselessly destroyed by the zealous Gracchus.

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« Reply #136 on: March 12, 2009, 01:22:30 pm »

And again, the corpses trampled on by the crowned horsemen clearly refer to that recorded test of the candidate's fortitude--the apparent approach of death--for Lampridius puts down amongst the other mad freaks of Commodus, that during the Mithraic ceremonies, "when a certain thing had to be done for the purpose of inspiring terror, he polluted the rites by a real murder:" an expression clearly showing that a scenic representation of such an act did really form a part of the proceedings. The Raven properly takes its place here, as being the attribute of the Solar god in the Hellenic creed, on which account it is often depicted standing upon Apollo's lyre.

Many other gems express the spiritual benefits conferred by the Mithraic initiation upon believers. A frequent device of the kind, is a man, with hands bound behind his back, seated at the foot of a pillar supporting a gryphon with paw on wheel, that special emblem of the solar god; often accompanied with the legend ΔΙΚΑΙΩΣ, "I have deserved it." Another (Blacas) displays an unusual richness of symbolism: the same gryphon's tail ends in a scorpion, whilst the wheel squeezes out of its chrysalis a tiny human soul that stretches forth its hands in jubilation; in front stands Thoth's ibis, holding in its beak the balance, perhaps the horoscope of the patient. This talisman too, unites the Egyptian with the Magian creed, for the benefit of the carrier; for the reverse displays Isis, but in the character of Hygieia, standing upon her crocodile; the field being occupied by strangely complicated monograms, of sense intelligible to the initiated alone, and doubtless communicated to the recipient of the talisman, who found in them "a New Name written, that no man knoweth, save he that receiveth the same." But both doctrines and ceremonial of this religion are best understood through the examination of extant representations displaying them either directly or allegorically; which in their turn are illustrated by the practice of the faithful few who still keep alive the Sacred Fire, namely the Parsecs of Guzerat. The series therefore will be most fittingly opened by the following curious description of a cave of Mithras, as discovered in its original and unprofaned condition, written by that eminent antiquary, Flaminius Vacca. (No. 117.)


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Footnotes
122:* This expression seems to prove that the notion of blessing, or consecrating, the elements, had not then (the second century) crept into the Christian practice.

127:* Perhaps the origin of the Lenten term of self-inflicted punishment.



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"And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, 'I am God and there is no other God beside me,' for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come."- Yaltabaoth
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« Reply #137 on: March 12, 2009, 01:22:44 pm »

p. 130

III. A ROMAN MITHRAS IN HIS CAVE.
"I remember there was found in the vineyard of Sig. Orazio Muti (where the treasure was discovered), opposite S. Vitale, an idol in marble about 5 palms high (3¾ ft.), standing erect upon a pedestal in an empty chamber, which had the door walled up. This idol had the head of a lion, but the body that of a man. Under the feet was a globe, whence sprung a serpent which encompassed all the idol, and its head entered into the lion's mouth. He had his hands crossed upon the breast, with a key in each; four wings fastened upon the shoulders, two pointing upwards, two downwards. I do not consider it a very antique work, being done in a rude manner, or else indeed it was so ancient that at the time when it was made the good style was not yet known. Sig. Orazio, however, told me that a theologian, a Jesuit Father, explained its meaning by saying it signified the Devil, who, in the times of heathenism, ruled over the world: hence the globe under his feet, the serpent which begirt his body and entered into his mouth, signified his foretelling the future with ambiguous responses; the keys in his hands, his sovereignty over the world; the lion's head, his being the ruler of all beasts; the wings, his presence everywhere. Such was the interpretation given by the Father aforesaid. I have done everything to see the idol, but Sig. Orazio being now dead, his heirs do not know what has become of it. It is not, however, unlikely that by the advice of the same theologian, Sig. Orazio may have sent it to some limekiln to cure its dampness, for it had been buried many and many a year." Thus was this most interesting monument destroyed through the conceited ignorance of a wretched ecclesiastic, himself more truly a worshipper of the Evil Principle, than was the ancient votary of the beneficent Lord of Light who carved that wondrous image. Vacca adds, "I remember, there was found in the same place, after the above-mentioned idol, another, only in bas-relief, also having a lion's head, but the rest of the body human: with the arms extended, in each hand a torch; with two wings pointing upwards, two downwards, from between which issued a serpent.

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« Reply #138 on: March 12, 2009, 01:22:56 pm »

At his right stood an altar with fire; from the idol's mouth proceeded a ribbon or scroll extending over the fire."

This lion-headed deity can be no other than Jerome's "Pater Bromius," a Grecian title of Bacchus; and he, we are told, distinguished himself under that disguise in the famous war of the giants--


"Tu cum Parentis regna per arduum
 Cohors Gigantum scanderet impia,
 Rhætum retorsisti leonis
    Unguibus horribilique mala."
                        (Horace, Od. II. xix. 21-24.)

[paragraph continues] And, tracing back this composite figure to the real source of such iconology, it is found to be the very one under which "Nri-singha-avatar" is depicted. It was assumed by the deity in order to destroy the tyrant Hiransyakacipu, who had obtained the gift of invulnerability against all known beasts, either by day or night.

A Mithraic cave, with the contiguous buildings, was discovered at Spoleto in 1878. In the end wall were the usual three niches for the god and his torch-bearers. In front of them an altar inscribed "Soli invicto Mithræ sacrum." Close to the altar, a tall phallic stone, perforated with a square hole near the top--perhaps the "stone symbolizing the Birth of Mithras" mentioned by Firmicus. The cave, with the ground plan of the whole edifice is given in the 'Archæologia,' vol. 47, p. 205.



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« Reply #139 on: March 12, 2009, 01:23:14 pm »

IV. MITHRAIC TALISMANS.
Mithraic gems are, for the most part, earlier in date than those emanating from the Gnosticism of Alexandria, with whose doctrines they had no connection whatever in their first origin. Little difficulty will be found on inspection in separating the two classes, the former being pointed out by the superiority of their style, and yet more so by the absence of the Egyptian symbols, and long Coptic legends that generally accompany the latter. Indeed many of them belong to the best period of Roman art--the age of Hadrian; and it is easy to perceive how the worship of Apollo gradually merged into that of his more

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« Reply #140 on: March 12, 2009, 01:23:38 pm »

spiritual oriental representative, in the times when religious ideas of Indian origin began to get the upper hand throughout the Roman world--a religion essentially speculative, and dealing with matters pertaining to another life and the Invisible, utterly different in nature from the old Grecian creed, so materialistic, so active, so entirely busying itself with the Present and the Visible.

In accordance with the rule that prescribed the proper material for talismans, the Jasper (Pliny's Molochites), green, mottled, or yellow, is almost exclusively employed for intagli embodying Mithraic ideas, and which take the place of Phœbus and his attributes amongst the glyptic remains of the second and third centuries. To judge from their fine execution, certain examples of the class may even date from the age of the first Cæsars, and thus form as it were the advanced guard of that countless host of regular Gnostic works, amidst whose terrific barbarism ancient art ultimately expires. In their beginning these Mithraic works were the fruit of the modified Zoroastrian doctrines so widely disseminated over the Empire after the conquest of Pontus--doctrines whose grand feature was the exclusive worship of the Solar god, as the fountain of all life--a notion philosophically true, if indeed the vital principle be, as some scientists assert, nothing more than electricity. As will be shown hereafter ("Serapis"), the later Platonists, like Macrobius, laboured hard to demonstrate that the multitudinous divinities of the old faiths, wheresoever established, were no other than various epithets and expressions for the same god iii his different phases. The aim of all the school was to accommodate the old faith to the influence of the Buddhistic theosophy, the very essence of which was that the innumerable gods of the Hindoo mythology were but names for the Energies of the First Triad in its successive Avatars, or manifestations unto man.

To come now to the actual types setting forth these ideas; prominent amongst them is the figure of the Lion (he being in astrological parlance the "House of the Sun"), usually surrounded with stars, and carrying in his jaws a bull's head, emblem of earth subjected to his power. Sometimes he tramples on the serpent, which in this connection no longer typifies wisdom,

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but the Principle of Evil. For in all religions emanating from the East, where deadly poisonousness is the most conspicuous character of the snake-tribe, the reptile has been adopted as the most speaking type of the Destroyer. In the West, on the other hand, where the same species is for the most part innocuous, and a mere object of wonder, it has always symbolized wisdom, and likewise eternity, from the popular belief in the yearly removal of its youth through casting the slough; on this account the serpent was made the companion of Apollo and Aesculapius; and furthermore plays so important a part in Scandinavian mythology, holding the whole universe together in its perpetual embrace.

Mithras himself often makes his appearance, figured as a youthful Persian, plunging the national weapon, "Medus acinaces," into the throat of a prostrate bull (which expresses the same doctrine as the type last mentioned), whilst overhead are the sun and moon, the group standing in the centre of the Zodiac. But the completest assembly of Mithraic figures and symbols that has come under my notice, is the intaglio published by Caylus ('Recueil d’Antiquités,' vi. pl. 84). It is engraved upon a very fine agate, 2 × 1½ inches in measurement. In the centre is the usual type of Mithras slaughtering the Bull, the tail of which terminates in three wheat-ears, and between the hind legs hangs a huge scorpion; below is the Lion strangling the Serpent--emblem of darkness and of death. On each side stands a fir-tree, admitted into this system because its spiry form imitates a flame, for which same reason its cone was taken for the symbol of the element fire, and therefore borne in the hands of deities in the most ancient Syrian sculptures. Against these fir-trees are affixed torches, one pointing upwards, the other downwards, which clearly stand for the rising and setting of the Sun. At the side of one is a scorpion, of the other, a bull's head. Above each tree again is a torch, each pointing in an opposite direction. The principal group is flanked by Phœbus in his four-horse, Luna in her two-horse car. Above the whole stand two winged figures entwined with serpents and leaning upon long sceptres, between whom rise up three flames, besides four more at the side of the right-hand

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« Reply #141 on: March 12, 2009, 01:23:53 pm »

figure, making up the mystic number seven--perhaps representing the seven Amshaspands or Archangels. A naked female, surrounded with stars, kneels before the angel on the left--doubtless the soul for whose benefit the talisman was composed--soliciting his patronage.

Could this elaborate composition be interpreted, it would certainly be found to contain a summary of the Mithraic creed as it was received by the nations of the West. As it is, however, some portions of the tableau are explained by certain legends to be found in the Parsee sacred books; whilst others derive light from comparison with the larger monuments of the same worship. Thus, the termination of the bull's tail in ears of wheat allude to the fifty life-giving plants which sprang from the tail of the Primæval Bull (or Life, the same word in Zend) after he had been slain by Ahriman. Of the same animal the seed was carried up by the Izeds (genii) to the Moon, where, purified in her beams, it was moulded by Ormuzd into a new pair, the parents of all that exists in earth, air and water. The scorpion is appended to the part of the body, properly under the influence of the sign so called, for as Manilius teaches, "The fiery scorpion in the groin delights." In this particular situation it expresses Autumn, as the serpent underneath does Winter; and with good reason takes the place of the bull's genitals, for, as the same poet sings (iv. 217.)


"With fiery tail when Scorpio threatens war,
 As through the stars he drives the solar car,
 He searches earth with penetrating rays
 And the mixed seed deep in her furrows lays."

The torches raised and lowered signify the East and West. In the circular altar of the Villa Borghese (Winckelmann Mon. Ined. No. 21) the bust of Luna appears resting on a crescent over an aged head in front face with crabs' claws springing out of his forehead--a speaking type of Oceanus. The bust of the rising sun, with his customary badge, the eight-rayed star, in point, rests upon an erect flambeau, whilst that of the setting luminary looking downwards, is placed upon another lowered towards earth. Again, the serpent winding four times about the figures may signify the sun's annual revolution; an explanation

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« Reply #142 on: March 12, 2009, 01:24:06 pm »

rendered the more plausible by the torso of Mithras at Arles, in which the Zodiacal Signs occupy the intervals between the coils of the same serpent. The lion and raven stand for the attendant priests; for in these mysteries the higher officials were denominated Lions, the lower Ravens: whence the rites themselves got the name of "Leontica," and "Coracica."

The fires, the planets and the genii presiding over them are in number seven--a numeral the most sacred of all amongst the Persians. But of these seven Fires, three are ever depicted in a special manner as those most worthy to be held in reverence. These three are the "Fire of the Stars," that is, of the planet Venus, named Anahid; the "Fire of the Sun," or the Fire Mihr; and the "Fire of Lightning," or the Fire Bersiov, that is, the planet Jupiter. The Mihr is the winged orb, so common in all Assyrian sculpture--an emblem which serves to explain the Prophet's simile, "the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his wings."

The worship of the Fire Gushtasp (or that of Anahid) figures on the Zend sculptures as a very ancient worship, and also in the "Shah Nameh;" just as that of the goddess Anaitis does in many Greek authors from Herodotus downwards. This historian observes (I. 131) that at first the Persians worshipped only the sun, moon, and elements, until they learnt from the Assyrians the worship of Venus Urania, whom they called Mitra, the same being the Mylitta of the Babylonians, the Alata or Alilat of the Arabians. Now Mitra (feminine of Mithras) and Anahid, are one and the same goddess, that is to say, the Morning Star, a female Genius, presiding over love, giving light, and directing the harmonious movement of the other planets by the sound of her lyre, the strings whereof are the solar rays--"Apollo's lyre strung with his golden hair" (Creuzer, Ital. de l’Antiq. ii. 731). In this doctrine we discover the reason for the separation of the Fires upon Caylus’ gem into two groups; the principal group consisting of the three most anciently adored; the subsidiary one of the remaining four.

Other Mithraic symbols are of a very speaking character, and almost explain their own meaning at first sight. Thus Mithras piercing the bull's throat with his dagger signifies the penetration

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« Reply #143 on: March 12, 2009, 01:24:20 pm »

of the solar ray into the bosons of the earth, by whose action all Nature is nourished; as is further expressed by the Dog's licking up the blood that pours from the wound. The sign Capricorn frequently introduced into the same group, declares the necessity of moisture to co-operate with the Sun's influence in bringing about the germination of the seed sown; whilst the scorpion, in the significant position above noticed, expresses the generative heat. The union of two diverse religions, already mentioned, is curiously exemplified by those stones that show the Mithraic group surrounded by sets of the sacred animals of Egypt, arranged by threes--crocodiles, goats, calves, vultures, hawks, ibises--standing around in attitudes of adoration, and gazing upon the great work of their supreme lord, Mithras (see page 41, fig. 2).

Mithraic bas-reliefs cut upon the smoothed faces of rocks, or upon tablets of stone, still abound throughout the former western provinces of the Roman Empire; many exist in Germany; still more in France; others in this island, along the line of the Picts’ Wall, and a remarkably fine example at York, the station of the Sixth Legion. The famous "Arthur's Oon" (destroyed in the last century) upon the Carron, a hemispherical vaulted building of immense blocks of stone, was unmistakably a Specus Mithraicum--the same in design as Chosroes’ magnificent Fire temple at Gazaca. Inasmuch as the sun-god was the chief deity * of the Druids, it is easy to imagine what ready acceptance the worship of his more refined Persian equivalent would find amongst the Celtic Aborigines, when once introduced by the Roman troops and colonists, many of whom were Orientals. To the last circumstance a curious testimony is incidentally borne by Lampridius, when he remarks that the entire military force employed by Maximinus in his great invasion


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« Reply #144 on: March 12, 2009, 01:24:30 pm »

of Germany, was the same that had been raised by Severus Alexander, and which had accompanied him to the scene of his murder, "either the North of Gaul or Britain," which same army the historian describes as "potentissimus quidem per Armenios et Osrhoenos, et Parthos, et omnis generis hominum." For this sagacious emperor had appointed to subordinate commands in his own army all the prisoners of royal or noble birth whom he had taken in his preceding Persian campaign.

Although the modern Parsecs, like their Achæmenian ancestry in the days of Herodotus, abominate idols and all visible representations of things divine, yet do they still piously cherish the ideas embodied on the sculptures just passed under review. Amongst these, most conspicuous is their veneration for the Dog which they yet esteem the most holy of animals. Tavernier (I. 493) was on this account greatly scandalised by the Guebres of Surat; "they have another strange custom--when a person is on the point of death, to take a little dog, and place it upon his breast. When they perceive that he is at his last gasp, they apply the dog's muzzle to the dying man's mouth, and make it bark twice when in this position, as if they meant to make the person's soul enter into the dog, * which they pretend will deliver it unto the angel appointed to receive the same. Moreover, if a dog happens to die, they carry it out of the town, and pray to God in behalf of that piece of carrion, as though the brute's soul could derive any advantage from their prayers after its death." Following up this analogy, the sculptured dog licking up the bull's blood may actually be intended for such a vehicle of departing life. In these times the Parsecs expose their dead, upon gratings laid on the summit of the "Tower of silence," to be consumed by the birds alone; but under the Sassanian monarchy it was the inviolable rule to lay out all corpses in the open fields to be devoured by the dogs. This was no more than carrying out to the full a very ancient principle of the Zoroastrian religion. Herodotus (I. 140) states from his own knowledge that the corpse of a Magus was not allowed to be buried before it had been attacked by a bird or


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« Reply #145 on: March 12, 2009, 01:24:45 pm »

dog; adding that the same was reported of the other Persians. The Magi regarded the killing of a dog equally criminal with that of a human being. This primitive style of obsequies the Sassanians strove hard to enforce upon all nations subjected to their sway, viewing as a great sacrilege the placing of dead bodies in the bosons of the earth; a still greater, the consuming them by the sacred element, Fire. This practice above all others scandalised the narrow-minded Byzantines; the historian Agathias expressing his horror at the casting the dead to the dogs, whatever their rank or dignity in life; as in the case of the great Satrap Mermeroes, whom he saw thus exposed naked in the fields to be so devoured. When the last seven sages of Greece, expelled from their professional chairs at Athens by the stupid bigotry of Justinian, sought refuge in the ostentatious hospitality of Nushirwan the Just, even they (despite their philosophy) found themselves obliged, by their disgust at the sight of this practice, * to return home with sad loss of dignity, and submit to the spirit of the times. If the dogs refused to touch the carcase, this was looked on by the friends of the deceased as the very worst of indications as to the ultimate destination of his soul. The Parsees, who, with more decency, constitute the raven † (or equally sacred creature) sexton and sepulchre in one, derive a similar augury from observing which eye is first attacked by the bird, the preference for the right one being the token of salvation; for the left, of the reverse.

A very curious portion of the initiatory ceremony in the



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« Reply #146 on: March 12, 2009, 01:24:58 pm »

ancient Mysteries was the giving of the "Mark of Mithras." After successfully undergoing each stage of the ordeal, the accepted candidate was marked in a certain indelible manner, but the exact nature of this marking cannot now be ascertained The expressions used by St. Augustine (in Johan. i. dis. 7) lead us to conclude two things: firstly, that the engraved stones, the object of our consideration, were given to the candidate at the end of his probation, for a token of admission into the fraternity, and for a medium of recognition between members: and secondly, that every one, upon admission, was stamped with a secret Mark, indelibly imprinted in his flesh. "Something of the sort has been copied by a certain Spirit, in that he will have his own image to be purchased with blood, forasmuch as he was aware that mankind were some day or another to be redeemed by the shedding of blood." This last expression shows that this Mark was not burnt in, but incised or tattooed; and the same conclusion may be deduced from St. John's using the termχάραγμα, engraving, not στίγμη, branding, for that badge of servitude which all the subjects of the Second Beast, "having horns like a lamb's, and speaking like a dragon," were forced to receive, either in their right hands (i.e., upon the palm) or upon their foreheads, and he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a Mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: "and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the Mark, or the Name of the Beast, or the Number of his Name" (Rev. xiii. 17). These words contain a compendious account of the different kinds of "Stigmata" then in use to distinguish those devoting themselves to any particular deity. The Mark was the figure of the special symbol or attribute of that deity (exactly answering to the caste-marks of the modern Hindoos): the Name was his own, written at full length in some sacred language: the Number was the more recondite way of expressing that name, either by a single numeral in the primitive Chaldæan fashion, or by other letters taken numerically, and yielding the same sum. The author of the Apocalypse very probably had the Mithraicists in view when penning this allegory; yet we may be certain that the members of a secret society did not receive the mark of membership

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upon any conspicuous part of their persons. The same necessity meets us here, as in every other branch of this inquiry, for placing the origin of all such sectarian bodily Marks in India--the true fountainhead, directly or indirectly, of so many Gnostic practices. There, the votaries of the several deities are still distinguished, each by the proper symbol of his patron-god impressed upon his forehead, but by a milder process than of old, being traced, not in his own blood, but with the ashes of cow-dung, the powder of sandal-wood, or coloured-earths, daily renewed. Inasmuch as amongst them the symbol of Fire (Bramah) is an equilateral Triangle, with the apex pointing upwards, it may be conjectured that the Mithraic χάραγμα was the same simple figure, by which indeed Horapollo informs us the Egyptians symbolised the Moon, and Plutarch that Pythagoras expressed the goddess Athene. * Clarkson, however, asserts positively that the Mark of Mithras was the "Tau mysticum," but whence he derived this knowledge I have never been able to ascertain. †

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δημιουργός (dēmiourgós, latinized demiurgus δήμιος


« Reply #147 on: March 12, 2009, 01:25:10 pm »

The Seven Stars, so conspicuous upon these talismans, doubtless stand for something higher than the mere planets; in all likelihood they denote the Seven Amshaspands, the First Order of Angels in the Zoroastrian hierarchy; and who became the "Seven Spirits of God" to the later Jews, and thence by gradual transition gave the epithet "Septiformis munere" to the Spiritus Sanctus of Christianity. Of these Amshaspands the names and offices are: Ormuzd, source of life and creation; Bahman, king of the world; Ardibehest, giver of fire; Shahrivar, of the metals; Çpandarmat (the Gnostic Sophia), queen of the earth; Khordad, presiding over time and the seasons; Amerdad, over trees and plants. Of these the highest in place are (after Ormuzd) the four named next in gradation. Below this order stand the Izeds, twenty-seven in number, ruled over by Mithras; they govern the heavenly bodies and the elements.



p. 141

[paragraph continues] Against each Amshaspand and Ized is arrayed a corresponding Angel of Darkness, to thwart all his operations, namely, the Seven Arch-Devs, and the Twenty-Seven Devs.


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Footnotes
136:* As "Belenus" he continued to the last the patron god of Aquileia, that Gallic metropolis of Cisalpine Gaul, and to his power was ascribed the death of Maximin when besieging that city. The acclamations of the senate on the receipt of the news of their deliverance from the tyrant, prove that Belenus was held to be another name for Apollo. A shoe of the giant emperor, a convincing testimony, literally an "ex pede Herculem," to his incredible stature, was yet to be seen in the days of Lampridius, nailed to a tree in the sacred grove at the place of his fall.

137:* My Parsee informant assures me this ceremony is now modified into the merely bringing a dog into the dying man's chamber.

138:* To which they would have been forced to conform had they continued under the protection of the Sassanian king.

138:† The same practice prevails in Thibet with the motive thus assigned. "Several bodies exposed on the banks of the stream were being devoured by crows and buzzards, which soon leave nothing but the skeletons, which are washed away by the summer rise of the stream. The Tibetians believe that as each buzzard, gorged with its foul repast, soars into the heavens, a portion of the spirit of the deceased is taken up into heaven. In the case of rich people Lamas are employed to divide the body into small pieces and carry it up to the top of a bill, where the vulture and buzzard soon dispose of it. Interment of the dead is also practised, but only among the poorer people, who cannot afford to pay Lamas to perform the ceremony of exposing the body."--Cooper's 'Travels of a Pioneer of Commerce,' p. 270.

140:* Herself the lunar deity, according to an old tradition preserved by Aristotle.

140:† There is very good reason to discover a Mithraic mark in the "Phanaces" or, Sun between two Crescents, the regular badge of the kings of Pontus, and as such pm upon the states of Athens bearing the names of Mithridates and Aristion. (In the Duc de Luynes Collection.)



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"And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, 'I am God and there is no other God beside me,' for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come."- Yaltabaoth
Demiurge
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δημιουργός (dēmiourgós, latinized demiurgus δήμιος


« Reply #148 on: March 12, 2009, 01:27:39 pm »

V. GNOSTIC SACRAMENTS AND INITIATIONS AS CONNECTED WITH THE MITHRAIC.
In my account of Mithraicism notice has been taken of the very prominent part that sacraments for the remission of sin play in the ceremonial of that religion; the following extracts from the grand Gnostic text-book will serve to show how the same notions (and probably, forms) were transferred to the service of Gnosticism.

Baptism, Remitting Sins.--(Pistis-Sophia) (298). Then came forth Mary and said: Lord, under what form do Baptisms remit sins? I have heard thee saying that the Ministers of Contentions (ἐριδαῖοι) * follow after the soul, bearing witness against it of all the sins that it hath committed, so that they may convict it in the judgments. Now, therefore, Lord, do the mysteries of Baptism blot out the sins that be in the hands of the Receivers of Contention, so that they shall utterly forget the same? Now, therefore, Lord, tell us in what form they remit sins; for we desire to know them thoroughly. Then the Saviour answered and said: Thou hast well spoken: of truth those Ministers are they that testify against all sins, for they abide constantly in the places of judgment, laying hold upon the souls, convicting all the souls of sinners who have not received the mystery, and they keep them fast in chaos tormenting them. But these contentious ones cannot pass over chaos so as to enter into the courses that be above chaos; in order to convict the souls therefore receiving the mysteries, it is not lawful for them to force so as to drag them down into chaos, where the Contentious Receivers may convict them. But the souls of such as have not received the mysteries, these do they desire and hail into chaos: whereas the souls that have received


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Demiurge
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δημιουργός (dēmiourgós, latinized demiurgus δήμιος


« Reply #149 on: March 12, 2009, 01:27:53 pm »

the mysteries, they have no means of convicting, seeing that they cannot get out of their own place; and even if they did come forth, they could not stop those souls, neither shut them up in their chaos. Hearken, therefore, I will declare to you in truth in what form the mystery of Baptism remitteth sins. If the souls when yet living in the world have been sinful, the Contentious Receivers verily do come, that they may bear witness of all the sins they have committed, but they can by no means come forth out of the regions of chaos, so as to convict the soul in the places of judgment that be beyond chaos. But the counterfeit of the spirit * testifies against all the sins of the soul, in order to convict it in the places of judgment that be beyond chaos; not only Both it testify, but also sets a seal upon all the sins of the soul, so as to print them firmly upon the soul, that all the Rulers of the judgment place of the sinners may know that it is the soul of a sinner, and likewise know the number of sins which it hath committed from the seals that the counterfeit of the spirit hath imprinted upon it, so that they may punish the soul according to the number of its sins: this is the manner in which they treat the soul of a sinner. (300). Now therefore if any one hath received the mysteries of Baptism, those mysteries become a great fire, † exceeding strong, and wise, so as to burn up all the sins: and the Fire entereth into the soul secretly, so that it may consume within it all the sins which the counterfeit of the spirit hath printed there. Likewise it entereth into the body secretly, that it may pursue all its pursuers, and divide them into parts--for it pursueth within the body, the counterfeit of the spirit, and Fate--so that it may divide them apart from the Power and the Soul, and place them in one part of the body--so that the fire separates the counterfeit of the spirit, Fate, and the Body into one portion, and the Soul and the Power ‡ into another portion. The mystery of Baptism remaineth in the middle of them, so that it may perpetually separate them, so that it may purge and cleanse them in order




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"And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, 'I am God and there is no other God beside me,' for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come."- Yaltabaoth
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